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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Humoring the Body
Author(s):
Gail Kern Paster
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226648484.003.0001

In his Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soule of Man (1640), Bishop Edward Reynolds compares the passions of Christ to those of ordinary men. Reynolds's troping of the passions of Christ is a dense metaphorical layering of the key elements of early modern cosmological thought, and it ends with a surprising and vivid image—of Christ as a vessel of clear liquid. But the passions—thanks to their close functional relation to the four bodily humors of blood, choler, black bile, and phlegm—had a more than analogical relation to liquid states and forces of nature. This book explores a spectrum of emotions including anger and melancholy during a period when the psychological had not yet become divorced from the physiological. It examines self-experience and the psychophysiology of bodily fluids, focusing on the language of the emotions in William Shakespeare's drama and taking it as representative of the thinking about the embodied emotions that is peculiar to early modern English culture.

Keywords:   bodily humors, Edward Reynolds, blood, choler, black bile, phlegm, emotions, psychophysiology, bodily fluids, William Shakespeare

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