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  1. 1. Introduction: Excess and the Grotesque 4 items
    This first session is designed as an introduction to some different ways of thinking about the body in the Renaissance. In particular, students will be introduced to the four humours, and we will discuss the consequences of the humoural understanding of the body for notions of selfhood and individualism more broadly. We will also think about the distinction between “open” and “closed” bodies through a careful reading of select passages from Rabelais’s Gargantua.
    1. Primary reading 1 item
      1. Gargantua - François Rabelais, trans. J. M. Cohen 1955

        Book 

    2. Secondary reading 2 items
      1. Rabelais and his world - M. M. Bakhtin, trans. Hélène Iswolsky 1968

        Book  Pp. 1-58 and pp. 303-323

    3. Additional reading 1 item
  2. 2. Humoral Subjects 4 items
    The most sustained and complex poetic exploration of the human body in the English language, Book Two of Spenser’s Faerie Queene is also a challenging meditation on how to live in and with a humoral self. In this session we will study the first half of Book Two in the contexts of humoralism and of the Aristotelian concept of temperance. We will focus on notions of self-control, desire, and the mean, thinking about the difficulties of regulating and shaping a self driven by humors and passions.
    1. Primary Reading 1 item
      1. The Faerie Queene - Edmund Spenser, ed. A. C. Hamilton 2001

        Book  Read: Book 2, Cantos 1-6. (Various editions in the Library at PR2358.)

    2. Secondary Reading 2 items
      1. Aristotle: The Nicomachean ethics - trans. H. Rackham 1934

        Book  Read: Book III.x-xii (pp. 173-187)

      2. Humoring the body: emotions and the Shakespearean stage - Gail Kern Paster 2004

        Book  Read: Chapter 1, 'Roasted in Wrath and Fire', pp. 25-76.

    3. Additional Reading 1 item
  3. 3. Temperance and Self-Control 4 items
    In this session we will continue our exploration of Book Two of The Faerie Queene, looking in detail as Spenser’s representation of dormant and desiring bodies as well as his magisterial anatomy of the human body in Canto 9. We will also think about some of the larger political ramifications of bodily discipline, in particular in the context of Spenser’s work as a colonial administrator in Elizabethan Ireland.
    1. Primary text 1 item
      1. The Faerie Queene - Edmund Spenser, ed. A. C. Hamilton 2001

        Book  Book 2, Cantos 7-12

    2. Secondary reading 2 items
      1. Renaissance self-fashioning: from More to Shakespeare - Stephen Greenblatt 1980

        Book  Read: Chapter 4, pp. 157-192

    3. Additional reading 1 item
  4. 4. Experience and the Senses 5 items
    Michel de Montaigne was one of the most original and idiosyncratic thinkers of the Renaissance. Written over the course of more than 20 years, his Essais give the human body an increasingly central role as they proceed, emphasizing the significance of sensory and embodied experience in particular. In this session we will think about what Montaigne means by “experience” and about how it relates to the body; we will also think about Montaigne’s position in cultural history and in the emergence of modern ideas of the self.
    1. Primary Reading 2 items
      1. The complete Essays - Michel de Montaigne, ed. M. A. Screech 2003

        Book  Read: ‘We reach the same end by divergent means’, ‘On the power of the imagination’, ‘On sleep’, ‘On smells’, ‘On the length of life’ ‘On experience’ (digitised).

      2. (Monataigne's essays also available online in an older translation: 'That men by various ways arrive at the same end', 'Of imagination', 'Of sleep', 'Of smells', 'Of age' , 'Of experience'.)

    2. Secondary Reading 2 items
      1. Montaigne in motion - Jean Starobinski 1985

        Book  Chapter 4, pp, 138-184

    3. Additional reading 1 item
      1. Phenomenology of perception - Maurice Merleau-Ponty 1962

        Book  Read: ‘Experience and Objective Thought: The Problem of the Body’

  5. 5. Inward Living 4 items
    Reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets we will think about the ways in which interior experience, as articulated in lyric poetry, is connected to—or disconnected from—bodily and sensory experience. We will look in detail at how the lover and the object of his desire, the beloved, are constructed via humoral and bodily systems; we will think specifically about the relationship between the “inside” and the “outside” of the human body in lyric poetry as well as about notions of waste and fragmentation in the sequence.
    1. Primary Reading 1 item
      1. Shakespeare's sonnets - ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones 2010

        Book 

    2. Secondary Reading 2 items
    3. Additional Reading 1 item
      1. Desire, discontent, parody - Catherine Bates

        Chapter  Available in the Library and as an e-book

  6. 6. Independent Learning Week 4 items
    1. No Required Reading.

    2. Suggested Reading: 3 items
      1. Reading the early modern passions: essays in the cultural history of emotion - Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, Mary Floyd-Wilson 2004

        Book 

  7. 7. Staging Bodies 4 items
    Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy abounds in scenes of violence and punishment inflicted on what it calls, in the second line, “this wanton flesh.” In this session we will be thinking about spectacles of public violence and punishment and about what is achieved by replicating these spectacles in the theater. Is public violence simply a form of public entertainment, or does the theater offer the possibility of critiquing the spectacle of punishment?
    1. Primary Reading 1 item
      1. The Spanish Tragedy - Thomas Kyd 2009

        Book  Multiple editions available in the Library at PR2654.

    2. Secondary Reading 2 items
      1. Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison - Michel Foucault 1995

        Book  Read: ‘The Spectacle of the Scaffold’, pp. 32-69.

    3. Additional reading 1 item
  8. 8. The Body in Parts 4 items
    Titus Andronicus is Shakespeare’s most notoriously violent and graphic play, involving scenes of mutilation and extreme violence. In this session we will continue our meditation on violence as a spectacle on stage; we will also think about notions of bodily fragmentation and wholeness, as well as about the notion of race and its connection to the human body in early modern England.
    1. Primary reading 1 item
      1. Titus Andronicus - William Shakespeare, ed. Eugene M. Waith 1984

        Book 

    2. Secondary reading 2 items
    3. Additional reading 1 item
  9. 9. Contagion and the Body Politic 4 items
    The human body has long been associated with political systems (the body politic) and this powerful metaphor was frequently used in order to equate political corruption with physical disease. John Webster’s tragedy, The Duchess of Malfi, is a play which is obsessed with bodies in various stages of decay and we will explore how this theme is linked to ideas about the transmission of political corruption.
    1. Primary Reading 1 item
      1. The Duchess of Malfi - John Webster 2014

        Book  Multiple copies in the Library at PR3184.

    2. Secondary Reading 2 items
    3. Additional Reading 1 item
  10. 10. Ecstasy and Meditation 6 items
    Looking at a range of meditative religious verse by George Herbert, Robert Southwell and Amelia Lanyer we will consider how these poets imagine a physical and sensate relationship with God. This will necessitate a careful analysis of how language is used to create a spiritual corporeality.
    1. Primary Reading 3 items
      1. The poems of Aemilia Lanyer: Salve Deus Rex Judæorum - ed. Susanne Woods 1993

        Book  Read: ‘The Passion of Christ’, pp. 62-84 (digitised) and ‘Eve’s Apology’, pp. 84-92

      2. The Temple - George Herbert

        Book  Read: ‘The Agony’ and ‘Good Friday’

      3. Collected poems - Robert Southwell 2007

        Book  Read: 'Christs bloody sweate' (p. 17); 'Mary Magdalenes Blush' (p. 29); 'The Burning Babe' (p. 14); 'The Circumsision' (p. 7); 'Man to the Wound in Christs Side' (p. 62).

    2. Secondary Reading 2 items
      1. Women and religious writing in early modern England - Erica Longfellow 2004

        Book  Read: Chapter 2, pp. 59-91

    3. Additional reading 1 item
      1. Closet devotions - Richard Rambuss 1998

        Book  “Introduction: Sacred Eroticisms” (pp. 1-10) and Chapter 2, “Devotion and Desire” (pp. 73-102)

  11. 11. Godly Bodies 4 items
    In this session we will consider in detail John Milton’s astonishing decision to portray unfallen Adam and Eve in the acts of eating, drinking, and even making love. What do such activities look like before our lapse into sin? Are passion and pleasure possible before sin comes into the world? How does the notion of gender affect Milton’s answers to these questions? What are the consequences for those of us who live in the fallen, postlapsarian world?
    1. Primary reading 1 item
      1. Paradise Lost - John Milton 1989

        Book  Book 4.288-357, 689-809; Book 5; Book 8.249-653

    2. Secondary reading 2 items
    3. Additional reading 1 item
      1. Feeling pleasures: the sense of touch in Renaissance England - Joseph Moshenska 2014

        Book  Read: pp. 131-168

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