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Look Inside The Poetics of Melancholy in Early Modern England

The Poetics of Melancholy in Early Modern England


Part of Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: June 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521114233

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About the Authors
  • The Poetics of Melancholy in Early Modern England explores how attitudes toward, and explanations of, human emotions change in England during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Typically categorized as 'literary' writers Edmund Spenser, John Donne, Robert Burton and John Milton were all active in the period's reappraisal of the single emotion that, due to their efforts, would become the passion most associated with the writing life: melancholy. By emphasising the shared concerns of the 'non-literary' and 'literary' texts produced by these figures, Douglas Trevor asserts that quintessentially 'scholarly' practices such as glossing texts and appending sidenotes shape the methods by which these same writers come to analyse their own moods. He also examines early modern medical texts, dramaturgical representations of learned depressives such as Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the opposition to materialistic accounts of the passions voiced by Neoplatonists such as Edmund Spenser.

    • A reconsideration of seventeenth-century literature in light of how many writers analysed their moods
    • A history of the nascent development of the modern understanding of depression
    • An analysis of the relation between scholarly practices and subjectivity
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521114233
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The reinvention of sadness
    2. Detachability and the passions in Edmund Spenser's The Shepheardes Calender
    3. Hamlet and the humors of skepticism
    4. John Donne and scholarly melancholy
    5. Robert Burton's melancholic England
    6. Solitary Milton
    Epilogue: after Galenism: angelic corporeality in Paradise Lost.

  • Author

    Douglas Trevor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Douglas Trevor is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Iowa. He is co-editor of Historicism, Psychoanalysis, and Early Modern Culture (2000), and has published articles on Michel de Montaigne, Thomas More, Edmund Spenser, John Donne, George Herbert, and other early modern writers. He is also a contributing editor to The Complete Pelican Shakespeare (2002), and serves on the Editorial Board of the Shakespeare Yearbook.

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