Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton
Michael Schoenfeldt's fascinating study explores the close relationship between selves and bodies, psychological inwardness and corporeal processes, as they are represented in English Renaissance literature. After Galen, the predominant medical paradigm of the period envisaged a self governed by humors, literally embodying inner emotion by locating and explaining human passion within a taxonomy of internal organs and fluids. It thus gave a profoundly material emphasis to behavioral phenomena, giving the poets of the period a vital and compelling vocabulary for describing the ways in which selves inhabit and experience bodies.
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Adam affections allows Alma Anatomy of Melancholy angels appetite argues become blood body Book Castle central Chapter Christian Civill cold consuming consumption continually corporeal culture Death demands describes desire devotional diet digestion discipline discourse disease divine early modern eating emotion England English ethical excess experience explore Fall feast flesh forces frequently fruit Galenic give heart heat Herbert human humoral imagined individual inner internal inwardness John kind lines live London material matter meaning medicine Melancholy Milton mind moral moreover nature notes nourishment offers once organs Paradise Lost particular passions physical physiological pleasure poem political produced provides psychological purged reading reason regime remarks Renaissance rule seems sense sexual Shakespeare social Sonnet soul speaker Spenser spirit stomach suggests temperance temptation things Thomas Thomas Elyot thou thought throughout tion turn University Press virtue
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