The term serendipity was coined by Sir Horace Walpole on the 28th of January 1754, who, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, said that he had formed it upon the title of the fairy-tale The Three Princes of Serendip the heroes of which “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of” — “that is, looking for one thing and finding another,” explains a nineteenth-century user of the word.
In life as well as research, I very often look for one thing and find another. On this blog, I record my serendipitous interests in the fields of early modern culture, the cultural history of emotions, ecocriticism, teaching English literature, and whatever else crosses my path.
My name is Kristine Steenbergh. I am a lecturer in English literature at the Vrije Universiteit (k[dot]steenbergh[at]vu[dot]nl) in Amsterdam. Between 2011 and 2016, I am a Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research VENI researcher. In my project Moving Scenes, I explore the role of the theatre in several contexts in which compassion is felt to be under pressure in early modern English culture. I analyse how compassion operates in the theatre, and how plays engage with social discussions about the limits of compassion.
I am co-founder of the Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disiciplinary Emotion Studies and co-editor of Cultural History, the journal of the International Society for Cultural History.