Intricate Movements: Experimental Thinking and Human Analogies in Sidney and Spenser

1st Edition

Bradley Davin Tuggle

March 22, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 225 Pages
ISBN 9780367194529 - CAT# K417774
Series: Routledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture


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Renaissance humanism takes as one of its subjects for inquiry the category of the human itself. As Intricate Movements: Experimental Thinking and Human Analogies in Sidney and Spenser shows, late sixteenth-century English poets found some remarkably radical ways to interrogate and redefine the status of humans.

The recent vogue for posthumanist theory encourages a view of non-human objects and animals in Renaissance literature as pathways to essentially anti-humanist thought. On the contrary, this book argues that Sidney, Spenser, and their contemporaries employ animals, earth, buildings, and fictions as analogies employed toward a better understanding of what makes humans a special category, both ontologically and ethically. Horses and riders are studied by Sidney as a way to understand readers and writers; the 1580 Dover Straits Earthquake provides Spenser and Gabriel Harvey an opportunity to explore human emotion; liturgical spaces are represented by Sidney and Spenser in order to reassess human community; and fictional persons are interrogated by Spenser as models for human interpersonal epistemology.

This volume seeks to return critical assessments of the period's engagement with the non-human back to human concerns. Focusing on several early modern analogies between human and non-human entities, Intricate Movements argues Sidney's and Spenser's thinking about the human is both radically experimental and, ultimately, humane.

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