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(p.243) Epilogue
Humoring the Body
Gail Kern Paster
University of Chicago Press

The classical doctrine of the four humors gave playwrights, including William Shakespeare, a theory of personality, behavior, status, gender, age, and ethnicity that had the distinct advantage of being rooted in what they believed to be indisputable facts about the human body and its relation to the natural world. As one of the six Galenic non-naturals that made up an individual subject's specific physical environment, the passions served as a powerful, if broad, focus for thinking about the relations between inside and outside, between bodily interiority and the phenomenal object world, between self and other even when the other is a servant, a woman, or a cat. That we identify these emotions as identical to our own, though often expressed in an estranging discourse, speaks in part to the long dominance of psychological materialism and the historically specific bodily contents that it presupposed.

Keywords:   passions, humors, William Shakespeare, human body, natural world, emotions, self, psychological materialism, physical environment

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