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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
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
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

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.

Reframing Experience in Harun Farocki’s Eye/Machine Series
Alba Gimenez

Harun Farocki’s Eye/Machine (2003) is a video installation which analyses how what Farocki calls ‘the operational image’ reconfigures our visual regimes. The ‘operational image’ allows machines to operate ever more autonomously and to perform their tasks with no need for human supervision. Farocki links the birth of such operational images to the missiles with integrated cameras used during the Gulf War (1991) and therefore to military purposes. Eye/Machine poses a paradox: operational images generate a process of abstraction in which the image depicted (in the case of the war, the battlefield) gets detached from its indexical dimension, appearing as abstract and unreal. However, such detachment can be reversed when these images are recontextualised and reframed within an exhibition space, since that places them within a human experiential framework. Images, and our perception of them, are part of what Judith Butler calls the ‘extended materiality of war’. Thus, war is not only fought in the battlefield, but also at the level of the senses.

Film Studies
Poetry, science, and religion in the eighteenth century
Author: Rosalind Powell

Perception and analogy explores ways of seeing scientifically in the eighteenth century. It discusses literary, theological, and didactic texts alongside popular works on astronomy, optics, ophthalmology, and the body to demonstrate how readers are prompted to take on a range of perspectives in their acquisition of scientific knowledge. With reference to topics from colour perception to cataract surgery, the book examines how sensory experience was conceptualised during the eighteenth century. It argues that by paying attention to the period’s documentation of perception as an embodied phenomenon we can better understand the creative methods employed by disseminators of diverse natural philosophical ideas. This book argues for the central role of analogy in conceptualising and explaining new scientific ideas. It centres on religious and topographical poetry by writers including James Thomson, Richard Blackmore, Mark Akenside, Henry Brooke, David Mallet, Elizabeth Carter, and Christopher Smart. Together with its readings of popular educational dialogues on scientific topics, the book also addresses how this analogical approach is reflected in material culture through objects – such as orreries, camera obscuras, and Aeolian harps – that facilitate acts of perception and tactile engagement within polite spaces. The book shows how scientific concepts become intertwined with Christian discourse through reinterpretations of origins and signs, the scope of the created universe, and the limits of embodied knowledge.

Open Access (free)
Farah Karim-Cooper

Afterword Farah Karim-Cooper In 1620, Richard Brathwaite worried that the five senses, which had the capacity to convey ‘morall or diuine discourse to the imagination’, could instead be abused and therefore make the body vulnerable to vice and corruption. Here, Brathwaite demonstrates the tension that existed within the medical and moral discourses on sense perception in the early modern period: the senses were gateways to knowledge and God, but they were bodily channels susceptible to Satan’s devastating influences too.1 Early modern discussions of the senses

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
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
John Donne, George Chapman and the senses of night in the 1590s
Susan Wiseman

7 ‘Did we lie downe, because ’twas night?’: John Donne, George Chapman and the senses of night in the 1590s Susan Wiseman Above the now lost bough of the rood, in the highest panel of the Doom picture in St Peter’s, Wenhaston, Christ judges the world, whose fate is spread below him. He is seated on a rainbow flanked by the sun to his right and the moon to his left.1 In the early 1500s the story of light and dark expressed in the representation of sun, moon and rainbow above darkness held a clear but also complex and evocative message concerning God’s power. The

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
Rob Boddice

and the cognitive in the word ‘sense’, suggests the rich possibilities in a study of the senses. Moreover, it suggests that the senses ought properly to be a part of the history of emotions. There have been significant inroads into the history of the senses, most of which connect to a history of the emotions, but seldom have historians of the emotions substantially noticed. In 1989, for example, David Howes made a strong case for the relationship of the senses to ‘affective mechanisms’ and demonstrated the extent to which certain senses, particularly the

in The history of emotions