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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
1 Bodies of rule: embodiment and interiority in early modern England 1
2 Fortifying inwardness: Spenser's castle of moral health 40
3 The matter of inwardness: Shakespeare's Sonnets 74
4 Devotion and digestion: George Herbert's consuming subject 96
5 Temperance and temptation: the alimental vision in Paradise Lost 131
Afterword 169
Notes 173
Index 198
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