Renaissance Fictions of Anatomy

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9780870234705: Renaissance Fictions of Anatomy
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This book is the first significant study of a genre that was popular in Renaissance England, the anatomy. In a wide range of texts―theological, scientific, and literary―Renaissance writers used their pens as scalpels to strip away false appearances in order to expose the truth. Devon L. Hodges explains this "impulse to dissect" as a symptom of a cultural transformation. The anatomy, she argues, is a transitional form marking the shift from a metaphorical to an analytical view of the world.

Following a discussion of the anatomy form and the impact of medical methods on the practice of writing, Hodges offers innovative interpretations of several English anatomies: Lyly's Euphues: Anatomy of Wit, Nashe's Anatomy of Absurdity, Shakespeare's As You Like It and King Lear, Bacon's project to conduct an "Anatomy of the World," and Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. Throughout these readings, Hodges makes use of contemporary literary theory to illuminate the difficult process of cultural transformation.

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About the Author:

Devon L. Hodges is assistant professor of English and American studies, George Mason University.

Review:

"In an unusually lively and succinct style, Hodges exposes the primary watershed of Renaissance thought when writers and thinkers founded the modern world by dismissing analogy for analysis. The sharpness of the insight and the profound effects it had lead her to provocative analyses of some of England's most enduring literary works. Her strategic sense of anatomy as the delicate balance between the earlier Thomistic and Elizabethan world pictures and the disruptive effect of surface rhetoric and self-fashioning allows her to suggest how the best works of Shakespeare's and Bacon's shared age still possess infinite meaning. This could be a seminal study as it is an immensely suggestive one."―Arthur Kinney, Author of Humanist Poetics: English Thought, Rhetoric, and Fiction in the Sixteenth Century

"This is a tightly written, intelligent, suggestive study of a 'kind' that has attracted almost no first-rate criticism that I know of since Frye. It should prove stimulating to Shakespeareans as well as to Renaissance scholars in general, and beyond that to those exploring new theory in all areas."―Susan Snyder, Author of The Comic Matrix of Shakespeare's Tragedies

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Hodges, Devon L.
Published by University of Massachusetts Pr (1985)
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Devon L. Hodges
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Devon L. Hodges
Published by University of Massachusetts Press (1985)
ISBN 10: 0870234706 ISBN 13: 9780870234705
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