Peter Holbrook
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A potential danger with the humoral psychology of the Renaissance, which bears a rough analogy to physical-reductionist pictures of humanity today, is that it downplays the role of agency in human life, since one no more chooses one’s basic humour than one does one’s neurophysiology. The formidable influence and explanatory and rhetorical power of such physical accounts of humanity is not to be doubted. But we must hope to find other ways of talking about ourselves ¬perhaps in religion, art, philosophy, perhaps in writers like Shakespeare? These would be ways of talking that enabled us to believe in and act upon our own collective and individual sense of agency.

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The Renaissance of emotion

Understanding affect in Shakespeare and his contemporaries


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