Belching Quarrels

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:
Belching Quarrels

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Thomas Wright begins his influential 1604 treatise The Passions of the Minde in Generall by explaining his topic's “goodly and faire glosse of profit and commodity” for many sorts of Englishmen. This chapter examines how Wright's use of thermal imagery to express the passionate unrestraint characteristic of some birthright gentlemen calls attention to the role that Galenic humoralism plays in the master social tropes of early modern urbanization and elite socialization. It discusses the problematic relationship between the social and the emotional hierarchies of early modern England, with particular attention to the key issue of humors and passions in men—and especially the social privileges both required by and often assumed in the expression of male anger. First, it suggests how contemporary rhetoric of the passions and the humors functions in two discourses that work together to express, manage, and adjudicate among claims to emotional privilege: biological discourse and discourse of literary satire. The latter describes the humors as an agreed-upon social fiction by which men describe and claim individuality.

Keywords: Thomas Wright; passions; thermal imagery; men; urbanization; socialization; England; humors; anger; individuality

Chapter.  22278 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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