Reading Sensations in Early Modern England explores the power of literature to affect, for better or worse, readers' minds, bodies and souls. Considering texts by a broad range of early modern writers, including Sir Philip Sidney and John Donne, Katharine A. Craik explores the ways in which literature not only inflamed the emotions, but also transformed the colour, temperature and texture of the material body. Although such ideas originate in antiquity, the authors considered here are immersed in Renaissance theories of the passions and humours, and subscribe especially to the idea that psychological and physiological feeling are inseparable. Each makes bold new constructions about the ability of literature to influence the complexional, appetitive and humoral make-up of English gentlemen, and all are animated by the notion that sensation is a vital force in literary reception and the world at large. Reading emerges not only as an emotionally and physically transformative experience, but as an ethically and morally nuanced one as well.

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