Gail Kern Paster

in Humoring the Body

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780226648477
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226648484 | DOI:

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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

Chapter.  9591 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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