in Bodies complexioned
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Institutions can purchase access to individual titles; please contact for pricing options.


If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

Early modern folk typecast according to humoral temperaments made manifest by hair colour, facial features, skin-tone, and bodily proportion. Neither the doctrine of monogenesis, nor uncertainty regarding the mechanisms of variation’s inheritance across generations, precluded an embodied inequality. In fact, the very existence of human diversity was testimony of the divine. Yet God’s providence was also believed to bestow immortal, immaterial souls on people’s variously complexioned flesh. When it comes to the perpetration of racism, this belief should have been the saving grace for all early modern English men and women. Unlike the Ancients, who (allegedly) thought that human souls were determined by their bodies’ elemental composition, and that the cosmos was eternal and random, Christian orthodoxy assumed an ordered Creation, and that humans’ rational souls would ultimately bridle the bodily inclinations to which people’s humours otherwise disposed them. However, early modern bodily prejudice became entirely racist among those who denied this dualism and instead favoured a form of organicism; when they assumed that they themselves were wholly the product of an autonomous Nature which was not God’s handmaiden.

Bodies complexioned

Human variation and racism in early modern English culture, c. 1600–1750


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 31 8 0
Full Text Views 7 3 0
PDF Downloads 3 1 0