Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England

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

4.26 (19 ratings by Goodreads)

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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 220 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 13mm | 330g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 4 Halftones, unspecified
  • 0521669022
  • 9780521669023
  • 975,838

Table of contents

List of illustrations; Preface; 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; Afterword; Notes; Index.
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Review quote

'... this study offers resourceful and inspired readings of central texts in English poetry, presented in elegant style and including some rather memorable witticisms.' Anglia "Including extensive notes in lieu of a separate bibliography, this rich and rewarding book is very highly recommended for all academic libraries..." Choice "Including extensive notes in lieu of a separate bibliography, this rich and rewarding book is very highly recommended for all academic libraries..." Choice "...a useful addition to the growing body of studies addressing the complexity of the early modern self...this is a book to read, mark, and inwardly digest." Sixteenth Century Journal "But food and appetite may, indeed, have been as important as sex, if not more so, and Schoenfeldt's Bodies and Selves takes a critical step in defining the scope and significance of that consuming obsession." Modern Philology
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Rating details

19 ratings
4.26 out of 5 stars
5 42% (8)
4 42% (8)
3 16% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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