Humoring The Body: Emotions And The Shakespearean Stage

Paperback | September 23, 2014

byGail Kern Paster

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Though modern readers no longer believe in the four humors of Galenic naturalism—blood, choler, melancholy, and phlegm—early modern thought found in these bodily fluids key to explaining human emotions and behavior. In Humoring the Body, Gail Kern Paster proposes a new way to read the emotions of the early modern stage so that contemporary readers may recover some of the historical particularity in early modern expressions of emotional self-experience.

Using notions drawn from humoral medical theory to untangle passages from important moral treatises, medical texts, natural histories, and major plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Paster identifies a historical phenomenology in the language of affect by reconciling the significance of the four humors as the language of embodied emotion. She urges modern readers to resist the influence of post-Cartesian abstraction and the disembodiment of human psychology lest they miss the body-mind connection that still existed for Shakespeare and his contemporaries and constrained them to think differently about how their emotions were embodied in a premodern world.

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Though modern readers no longer believe in the four humors of Galenic naturalism—blood, choler, melancholy, and phlegm—early modern thought found in these bodily fluids key to explaining human emotions and behavior. In Humoring the Body, Gail Kern Paster proposes a new way to read the emotions of the early modern stage so that contempo...

Gail Kern Paster is the former director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. She is the author of The Idea of the City in the Age of Shakespeare and The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England.

other books by Gail Kern Paster

The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England
The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Sham...

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Reading The Early Modern Passions: Essays In The Cultural History Of Emotion
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Paperback|Mar 31 2004

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:290 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:September 23, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022621382X

ISBN - 13:9780226213828

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
A Note on Citations
Introduction
Chapter 1- Roasted in Wrath and Fire: The Ecology of the Passions in Hamlet and Othello
Chapter 2- Love Will Have Heat: Shakespeare's Maidens and the Caloric Economy
Chapter 3- Melancholy Cats, Lugged Bears, and Other Passionate Animals: Reading Shakespeare's Psychological Materialism across the Species Barrier
Chapter 4- Belching Quarrels: Male Passions and the Problem of Individuation
Epilogue
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"In an engaging and fascinating work, the author succeeds in restoring 'the historical particularity of early modern emotional self-experience' in the plays of Shakespeare and others. . . . Not only has the author helped us reassess the uses of employment of the passions in early moderd drama, but she has reminded us that the daily experience of emotions in the early modern age was different from our own."