Throughout our cultural history, tears have been intimately connected with the arts, whether as inspiration or response.
Thomas Dixon is director of the UK's first Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University London.
In this programme he explores the history of weeping as an aesthetic response to works of art: paintings, writing, music, theatre and film.
What it is about works of art and religious symbols that induce weeping and why do we shed tears over performances by actors and singers, fictional characters, abstract symbols, poems, music, metaphysical ideas - in other words things that are not real?
Margery Kempe, Gluck, Mark Rothko and Sophocles' Electra may provide some of the answers.
Thomas Dixon talks to Fiona Shaw, Miri Rubin, Pete de Bolla, Virginia Eatough, Giles Fraser, Ian Bostridge, Matthew Sweet and Simon Goldhill.
Producer: Natalie Steed.