Erin Sullivan
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The passions of Thomas Wright
Renaissance emotion across body and soul
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This chapter examines the central role Thomas Wright’s The Passions of the Minde in Generall (1601) has played in the historiography of early modern emotion, particularly in relation to humoral theory. By reading Wright’s book within the context of his life as a Jesuit priest and his other, much more polemical religious writings (including two treatises on the Eucharist and a pamphlet on the ‘notorious errors’ of Protestantism), this chapter shows how Wright’s approach to affective experience was part of a larger intellectual project addressing the complex relationship between the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul, in both the private and public domains. Such an analysis illustrates how Wright’s understanding of the passions was both more particular and more complicated than has often been acknowledged, highlighting the importance of accounting for both local contexts and the influence of multiple intellectual frameworks (medical, religious, political, and philosophical) in the study of early modern emotion.

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