Meteorology and Physiology in Early Modern Culture: Earthquakes, Human Identity, and Textual Representation, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Meteorology and Physiology in Early Modern Culture

Earthquakes, Human Identity, and Textual Representation, 1st Edition

By Rebecca Totaro


172 pages

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Hardback: 9781138092167
pub: 2017-12-01
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315107622
pub: 2017-11-28
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Meteorology and Physiology in Early Modern Culture: Earthquakes, Human Identity, and Textual Representation provides the first sustained examination of the foundational set of early modern beliefs linking meteorology and physiology. This was a relationship so intimate and, to us, poetic that we have spent centuries assuming early moderns were using figurative language when they represented the matter and motions of their bodies in meteorological terms and weather events in physiological ones. Early moderns believed they inhabited a geocentric universe in which the matter and motions constituting all sublunary things were the same and that therefore all things were compositionally and interactively related. What physically generated anger, erotic desire, and plague also generated thunder, the earthquake, and the comet. As a result, the interpretation of meteorological events, such as the 1580 earthquake in the Dover Strait, was consequential. With its radical and seemingly spontaneous shaking, an earthquake could expose inconvenient truths about the cause of matter and motion and about what, if anything, distinguishes humans from every other thing and from events. Meteorology and Physiology in Early Modern Culture reveals a need for reexamination of all representations of meteorology and physiology in the period. This reexamination begins here with a focus on the Titanic metamorphoses captured by Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, and the many writers responding to the 1580 earthquake.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. A Tale Put in for Pleasure

Chapter 2. The Sneezing of the Earth

Chapter 3. Much Enmoved, but Steadfast Still Persevered

Chapter 4. Like an Overcharged Gun

Chapter 5. These Signs Have Marked Me Extraordinary

Chapter 6. These Earthquakes in Himself



About the Author

Rebecca Totaro is a Professor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University.

About the Series

Perspectives on the Non-Human in Literature and Culture

In recent years, many disciplines within the humanities have become increasingly concerned with non-human actors and entities. The environment, animals, machines, objects, weather, and other non-human beings and things have taken center stage to challenge assumptions about what we have traditionally called "the human." Informed by theoretical approaches like posthumanism, the new materialisms, (including Actor Network Theory, Object-Oriented Ontology, and similar approaches) ecocriticism, and critical animal studies, such scholarship has until now had no separate and identifiable collective home at an academic press. This series will provide that home, publishing work that shares a concern with the non-human in literary and cultural studies. The series invites single-authored books and essay collections that focus primarily on literary texts, but from an interdisciplinary, theoretically-informed perspective; it will include work that crosses geographical and period boundaries. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
NATURE / Earthquakes & Volcanoes
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Meteorology & Climatology