This book attempts to interrogate the literary, artistic and cultural output of early modern England. Following Constance Classen's view that understandings of the senses, and sensory experience itself, are culturally and historically contingent; it explores the culturally specific role of the senses in textual and aesthetic encounters in England. The book follows Joachim-Ernst Berendt's call for 'a democracy of the senses' in preference to the various sensory hierarchies that have often shaped theory and criticism. It argues that the playhouse itself challenged its audiences' reliance on the evidence of their own eyes, teaching early modern playgoers how to see and how to interpret the validity of the visual. The book offers an essay on each of the five senses, beginning and ending with two senses, taste and smell, that are often overlooked in studies of early modern culture. It investigates Robert Herrick's accounts in Hesperides of how the senses function during sexual pleasure and contact. The book also explores sensory experiences, interrogating textual accounts of the senses at night in writings from the English Renaissance. It offers a picture of early modern thought in which sensory encounters are unstable, suggesting ways in which the senses are influenced by the contexts in which they are experienced: at night, in states of sexual excitement, or even when melancholic. The book looks at the works of art themselves and considers the significance of the senses for early modern subjects attending a play, regarding a painting, and reading a printed volume.

The thinking of Regie

This book is dedicated to a conceptual exploration of the thinking of Regie: of how to think about theatre direction, and how Regietheater thinks itself. The focus is on what directing does, and what directing can do, tapping into and realising the potential of what theatre does and may do. Part I of the book outlines the social, ideological, political, cultural and aesthetic contexts of Regie, and some of its core intellectual and conceptual roots, by circumventing some standard reference points. Philosophical ideas and concepts of situating Regie within the Rancièrian 'aesthetic regime of art' and its specific 'partition of the sensible' are explained. The book specifically links Regie to Georg Hegel's influential thought, maintaining that Regie expresses a cultural dynamic of making sense and making sensible. The book presents the respective positions of Friedrich Schiller and Leopold Jessner, symptomatically capturing central trajectories of thinking the conceptual space of Regie, both mobilising the speculative dynamics of theatral thinking. Part II of the book explores the contested notion of 'the truth of the text', and the dialectic sublation of the play-text in play-performance. It looks at the mediation which the double-edged act of thea affords, with its emphasis on both performing and spectating, marked by the Žižekian notion of the 'parallax perspective'. The overarching political potential inherent in Regie and the very formal structure of theatre offer a playfully excessive resistance to the dominant logic of economy, efficiency, sustainability and austerity which defines present-day global neoliberal semiocapitalism.

Aurélie Griffin

8 Love melancholy and the senses in Mary Wroth’s works Aurélie Griffin In his Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Robert Burton defines the effects of love on humankind: How it tickles the hearts of mortall men,    Horresco referens, — I am almost afraid to relate, amazed, and ashamed, it hath wrought such stupend and prodigious effects, such foule offences. Love indeed (I may not deny) first united Provinces, built citties, and by a perpetuall generation, makes and preserves mankind, propagates the Church; but if it is rage it is no more Love, but burning lust, a

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
Natalie K. Eschenbaum

6 Robert Herrick and the five (or six) senses Natalie K. Eschenbaum When you descend to the lower level of the Art Museum of New South Wales, you are greeted with an intense, pungent, but welcoming aroma. Cinnamon, cardamom and cloves – the same spices that lured English Renaissance traders to India – draw you into a room that houses Ernesto Neto’s installation, Just Like Drops in Time, Nothing.1 Dozens of massive semi-transparent tubes of stocking-like fabric hang from the ceiling, weighted down by hundreds of pounds of ground spices. As Neto’s title prompts

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
The pleasure of reading comedies in early modern England
Hannah August

11 ‘Tickling the senses with sinful delight’: the pleasure of reading comedies in early modern England Hannah August In the introduction to Shakespearean Sensations (2013), Katharine A. Craik and Tanya Pollard foreground the degree to which early modern antitheatricalists’ anxieties about the theatre are couched in descriptions of sensory affect. They cite Stephen Gosson’s complaint that plays’ ‘straunge consortes of melody [...] tickle the ear’, the actors’ ‘costly apparel [...] flatter[s] the sight’, while their ‘effeminate gesture[s] [...] ravish the sence

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
Friedrich Schiller and the liberty of play
Peter M. Boenisch

3 Theatre as dialectic institution: Friedrich Schiller and the liberty of play We have started exploring how Regie reveals through scenes and senses a historically situated ‘style of thinking’, associated with the post-Kantian, post-1789 Western European ‘aesthetic regime of art’. No longer serving the functional semiotic economy of representation, it uses the three theatral ‘sensibles’ of kinesis, aisthesis and semiosis to insist on a subjective, affective intelligibility and sensibility. Already in 1803, we find a detailed outline by none other than German

in Directing scenes and senses
Hegel, theatrality and the magic of speculative thinking
Peter M. Boenisch

‘Schauspiel’: the second term that complements the polyvalent idea of Schau is, of course, the ‘Spiel’ of playing, players and playhouses – the very term that remained common parlance for theatres and actors long into the nineteenth century. Considering drama and its performance as Schauspiel, as a game or 34 Directing scenes and senses play of sight and showing, enables us to further develop our understanding of Regie, and our grasp of its mediation, introduced in the previous chapter. Theatre, from this perspective, designates first and foremost an art that plays with

in Directing scenes and senses
Rob Boddice

think?’) and a literal investigation into our senses, on three levels. It might ask us to identify the level of, say, pain in a given moment: during a dental procedure, for example. It might ask us to rate or evaluate another sort of sensory experience: how do you feel about the chocolate cake, about the noise levels, about the view? And it is also literally an enquiry into how we feel. What are the mechanisms involved in allowing us to make sense of the world? The conceptual confusion of all this, compounded by the semantic overlap, which conflates the sensory

in The history of emotions
Laurence Lux-Sterritt

7 • What place for the senses in contemplative life? The study of emotions in conventual writings reveals that religious women’s relationship to the body and to physically mediated experiences was complex, and at times paradoxical. The contemplative ideal rejected the physical in favour of the spiritual, it treated the flesh as a burden, a hindrance to religious perfection. Yet nuns remained women of flesh and blood; their religious experience was, by necessity, mediated through the senses. In their daily o ­ ccupations for the pragmatic running of the convent

in English Benedictine nuns in exile in the seventeenth century
Open Access (free)
Simon Smith, Jackie Watson and Amy Kenny

Introduction Simon Smith, Jackie Watson and Amy Kenny What can texts, performances and artworks tell us about the senses in early modern England? The sensory experiences of subjects living some four centuries ago are to some degree lost. We cannot hope to recreate the experiences of hearing, smelling and feeling the interior environment of a church at a service in the 1590s, or seeing, touching and tasting the River Thames on a boat journey in the 1640s. Today, we might encounter early modern culture through language, sight and touch, mediated by written texts

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660