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Look Inside Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England

Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England
Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton


Part of Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: January 2000
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521630733

£ 72.99

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About the Authors
  • Michael Schoenfeldt's fascinating study explores the close relationship between selves and bodies, psychological inwardness and corporeal processes, as they are represented in early modern English 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 behavioural phenomena, giving the poets of the period a vital and compelling vocabulary for describing the ways in which selves inhabit and experience bodies. In contrast to much work on the body which has emphasized its exuberant 'leakiness' as a principal of social liberation amid oppressive regimes, Schoenfeldt establishes the emancipatory value that the Renaissance frequently located not in moments of festive release, but in the exercise of regulation, temperance and self-control.

    • Brings together literature and history of medicine in innovative ways
    • The body and selfhood are both very hot topics, brought together in an original relationship in Schoenfeldt's work
    • Treats major poets of the English Renaissance, including both lyric and epic forms
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… this study offers resourceful and inspired readings of central texts in English poetry, presented in elegant style and including some rather memorable witticisms.' Anglia

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2000
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521630733
    • length: 220 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. Bodies of rule: embodiment and interiority in early modern England
    2. Fortifying inwardness: Spenser's castle of moral health
    3. The matter of inwardness: Shakespeare's Sonnets
    4. Devotion and digestion: George Herbert's consuming subject
    5. Temperance and temptation: the alimental vision in Paradise Lost

  • Author

    Michael C. Schoenfeldt, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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