The Temporary Nature of Health: The Humoral Body in Early Modern Drama
AuthorHeadley, Cynthia Marie
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoDissertation Not Available (per Author's Request) / University of Arizona affiliates can find this item in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Full-text Database
AbstractThe Temporary Nature of Health: The Humoral Body in Early Modern Drama explores the ways in which drama, political theory, and travel accounts deploy metaphors and practices generated by the humoral body to provide an account for living in a postlapsarian world. This project's interdisciplinary approach builds on the work of Gail Paster and Valerie Traub and analyzes the ways in which understandings of the body both inflect and are inflected by culture. Chapter one, "'Letting' Blood: The Impossibility of Social Health and Stability in Shakespeare and Cary," focuses on metonyms and metaphors of blood, using both Richard II and Elizabeth Cary's The Tragedy of Mariam. Both plays challenge the notion that blood as bloodline metonymically means character fitness and the ability to rule. Chapter two, "The Failure of Authority: Medical Practitioners and Heads of State in The Winter's Tale, All's Well that Ends Well, and Measure for Measure," argues that these plays' central characters fail as healers in their attempts to find balance and stability for others, usually through the comedic conventional ending of marriage. Chapter three, "Pastoral's Temporary Healing: Elizabethan-Jacobean Comedies, Tragicomedies, and Travel Accounts," uses pastoral dramas such as Mary Wroth's Love's Victorie, John Fletcher's The Faithful Shepherdess, and Shakespeare's As You Like It, as well as travel accounts such as Walter Ralegh's A Discourse Concerning Western Planting. This chapter examines the relationship among pastoral drama, humoral understanding of the body, and travel accounts.
Degree ProgramGraduate College