Cambridge Catalogue  
  • Help
Home > Catalogue > The Poetics of Melancholy in Early Modern England
The Poetics of Melancholy in Early Modern England
Google Book Search

Search this book


  • 9 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 268 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.57 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 821/.309353
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR428.M4 T74 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • English literature--Early modern, 1500-1700--History and criticism
    • Melancholy in literature

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521834698 | ISBN-10: 0521834694)

The Poetics of Melancholy in Early Modern England explores how attitudes toward, and explanations of, human emotions change in England during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. Typically categorized as 'literary' writers Edmund Spenser, John Donne, Robert Burton and John Milton were all active in the period's reappraisal of the single emotion that, due to their efforts, would become the passion most associated with the writing life: melancholy. By emphasising the shared concerns of the 'non-literary' and 'literary' texts produced by these figures, Douglas Trevor asserts that quintessentially 'scholarly' practices such as glossing texts and appending sidenotes shape the methods by which these same writers come to analyse their own moods. He also examines early modern medical texts, dramaturgical representations of learned depressives such as Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the opposition to materialistic accounts of the passions voiced by Neoplatonists such as Edmund Spenser.

• A reconsideration of seventeenth-century literature in light of how many writers analysed their moods • A history of the nascent development of the modern understanding of depression • An analysis of the relation between scholarly practices and subjectivity


1. The reinvention of sadness; 2. Detachability and the passions in Edmund Spenser's The Shepheardes Calender; 3. Hamlet and the humors of skepticism; 4. John Donne and scholarly melancholy; 5. Robert Burton's melancholic England; 6. Solitary Milton; Epilogue: after Galenism: angelic corporeality in Paradise Lost.

printer iconPrinter friendly version AddThis