Premodern Bodies

How are bodies configured in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts and how do we read them from a twenty-first century perspective? What cultural weight do bodies bear when represented as gendered; as icons of nationhood or mortality; as objects of desire - sometimes of violent desire - in literary texts? Is social identity inevitably shaped by corporeality or do the processes of bodily exposure and concealment offer ways of self-fashioning? This module addresses these questions by examining the ways in which embodied identities are contingently constructed in a period of religious and political and change.