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Structures of Feeling in Seventeenth-Century Cultural Expression

Structures of Feeling in Seventeenth-Century Cultural Expression

Edited by Susan McClary
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Structures of Feeling in Seventeenth-Century Cultural Expression
    Book Description:

    Structures of Feeling in Seventeenth-Century Cultural Expressionexplores how artists made use of various cultural forms - notably the visual arts, poetry, theatre, music, and dance - to grapple with human values in the increasingly heterodox world of the 1600s.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8585-7
    Subjects: History, Performing Arts, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    Susan McClary
  4. Illustrations
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. introduction: On Bodies, Affects, and Cultural Identities in the Seventeenth Century
    (pp. 3-16)

    Following the waning of the Renaissance and prior to the period of consolidation we call the Enlightenment, many fundamental aspects of human behaviour – for example, ideals of bodily deportment, theories for understanding and manipulating the passions, constructions of gender and the erotic, expressions of religious devotion, ways of experiencing time and space, conceptions of the self – changed radically and permanently. Historians who take the eighteenth century as normative often trace forerunners of various elements back into the previous period, and they have contributed a great deal to our collective knowledge, for the 1600s did indeed usher onto the cultural stage...

  6. Part I: The Science of Affect

    • chapter one Disciplining Feeling: The Seventeenth-Century Idea of a Mathematical Theory of the Emotions
      (pp. 19-34)

      The seventeenth century was fascinated both by mathematics and by the emotions. So, in a way, it is not surprising that in this period there emerged a mathematical theory of the emotions.

      Modern mathematics, from algebra as we now know it, to analytic geometry, to the calculus, was born in the seventeenth century. It is also during this century that mathematical physics as we know it came into being. In the beginning of the century Galileo was the first to tame motion mathematically, with his mathematical account of free-fall and projectile motion; the century ended with Newton’s monumentalPrincipia, where...

    • chapter two Clockwork or Musical Instrument? Some English Theories of Mind-Body Interaction before and after Descartes
      (pp. 35-59)

      The title of my essay refers back to an article I wrote about twenty years ago, ‘Some English Theories of Hearing in the Seventeenth Century: Before and after Descartes.’¹ Then as now, it proved essential to discuss my findings about early modern English theories of perception in relation to Descartes’s mechanical philosophy, especially his dualistic account of the interaction between material body and immortal soul. The two works that contained the essence of Descartes’s model of man wereDe homine figuris, which he completed around 1633, and his final work,Les passions de l’âme, which was published in 1649. In...

    • chapter three The Sound World of Father Mersenne
      (pp. 60-90)

      Marin Mersenne’s friends must have wondered. For some ten years, the Minim father had been promising to his correspondents the publication of a major encyclopedia of musical knowledge, bits and pieces of which were tantalizingly dished out in a series of earlier publications. But when theHarmonie universelle contenant la théorie et la pratique de la musiquefinally appeared in two major volumes between 1636 and 1637, many of his impatient readers must have been perplexed by what they read. For the sprawling, multi-volume treatise was unlike any other work of music theory that had ever been published.

      Running to...

  7. Part II: Colonial Extensions

    • chapter four ‘Voluntary Subjection’: France’s Theory of Colonization/Culture in the Seventeenth Century
      (pp. 93-116)

      One day a young Huron girl began to cry when a Frenchman briefly touched her hand to help guide her along a treacherous path in Quebec. Her friends, witness to this act, gasped in horror. Through her tears, the young girl reproached the Frenchman: ‘I have washed my hands so often that it is impossible that anything can remain of the harm that [you] may have done me.’ The girls had interpreted the Frenchman’s touch to mean he had stolen her virginity from her. This story’s narrator, Jesuit Father Paul Le Jeune, chuckled: ‘Such innocence is most amusing.’¹

      This anecdote...

    • chapter five Fear of Singing (Episodes from Early Latin America)
      (pp. 117-146)

      It is difficult to tease apart, in this passage by Theodor Adorno, the layers of Euro-chauvinism and blinkered fantasy about others, of sad, ironic wisdom about Europe itself, even of vestigial hopefulness – almost as difficult, indeed, as it is to analyse our ambivalences in reading it today. Adorno’s is a convoluted parable, at once celebrating the grand European fin de siècle at the expense of savages and pointing an accusing finger at Europe’s own savagery.

      If, on the one hand, the passage beckons us to contemplate it, it is not only because the brutality Adorno commemorated – his words come from...

    • chapter six The Illicit Voice of Prophecy
      (pp. 147-172)

      The 1634 Latin edition of John Smith’s history of the Jamestown colony featured a series of elaborate engravings illustrating episodes from Smith’s narrative, including one that showed several Powhatan priests singing and dancing around a fire in a state of trance (Figure 6.1). Smith had narrated this episode in theGenerall historie(1624) as follows:

      Early in a morning a great fire was made in a long house, and a mat spread on the one side, as on the other; on the one they caused him to sit, and all the guard went out of the house, and presently came...

  8. Part III: The Politics of Opera

    • chapter seven Daphne’s Dilemma: Desire as Metamorphosis in Early Modern Opera
      (pp. 175-208)

      In his marvellously erotic novelLeucippe and Cleitophon,the Greek novelist Achilles Tatius offered a highly eroticized retelling of the invention of Pan’s pipes. He describes the goat-god’s fruitless pursuit of the lovely Syrinx – a chase ‘inspired by love.’ Just at the moment in which he, ‘close on her heels,’ is about to grasp the nymph by the hair, Pan realizes that he holds only a clump of reeds. ‘In a passion,’ Achilles Tatius writes, Pan ‘cuts away the reeds, thinking that they were hiding his beloved from him.’ After searching for her in vain, and realizing that she had...

    • chapter eight A Viceroy behind the Scenes: Opera, Production, Politics, and Financing in 1680s Naples
      (pp. 209-250)

      Undeterred by the centuries-old Black Legend that ‘equated Spain with the Inquisition, religious bigotry, and the bloody persecution of Protestants and Jews,’¹ scholars in recent decades have worked insightfully to understand the relationships among power, authority, religion, nobility, and musical expression in early modern Spain and its extensive dominions. A number of early modern Spanish rulers and aristocrats were ardent connoisseurs, collectors, or patrons of music, art, and theatre – individuals with taste, passion, and personality, rather than faceless bureaucrats or prudish zealots. The question I hope to begin to address in this essay concerns the extent to which their choices...

  9. Part IV: Baroque Bodies

    • chapter nine Crashaw and the Metaphysical Shudder; Or, How to Do Things with Tears
      (pp. 253-271)

      William Ian Miller’s absorbing, though in places erotically blinkered, bookThe Anatomy of Disgustdetails with gusto ‘the interpretively rich universe of the disgusting.’¹ In doing so, Miller finds biological and social life to be rich with revulsion, with so many things making the case for being vilest of all. As one would expect, excrement, blood, gore, pus, and rot in turn all come to the fore of Miller’s visceral phenomenology of what turns the stomach and how. But other leading candidates emerge here as well. Miller recalls, for instance, the beginning of Julia Kristeva’s book on rejected and abjected...

    • chapter ten ‘Law’s Bloody Inflictions’: Judicial Wounding and Resistance in Seventeenth-Century England
      (pp. 272-295)

      In the annals of punishment, the brutalization of James Naylor, the self-proclaimed Quaker messiah, was particularly notorious. Charged by parliament in 1656 with ‘horrid blasphemy’ (among other offences, he rode into Bristol on a donkey, singing hosannas with his palm-wielding followers), the incendiary preacher-Christ and troublesome colleague of George Fox was ordered to the pillory, to be whipped at every cross street along the way. Accounts vary as to the extent and nature of Naylor’s sufferings during his grim procession, with one witness describing three stripes on his back, ‘no bigger than a pin’s head,’ and another writer claiming that...

    • chapter eleven Excursions to See ‘Monsters’: Odd Bodies and Itineraries of Knowledge in the Seventeenth Century
      (pp. 296-312)

      In 1649, the parents of conjoined twins made a dash to Paris to put their ‘monsters’ on display for profit.¹ They didn’t make it in time, and the dead infants were dissected at the École de Médecine. In 1676 a pamphlet invited the public to see a horned woman at the Sign of the Swan in London.

      As conjoined babies and a horned women found their places within the display spaces of the city, they reveal what McClary calls ‘cultural stages’ in the most literal sense of the term.² Cities, fairgrounds, inns, and medical amphitheatres were sites of display where...

  10. Part V: Toward a History of Time and Subjectivity

    • chapter twelve Temporality and Ideology: Qualities of Motion in Seventeenth-Century French Music
      (pp. 315-337)

      In a classic essay from 1973, art historian Michael Fried focused on a quality he had discerned in French eighteenth-century painting – a quality he called ‘absorption.’¹

      The paintings he examines in the course of the article depict individuals so immersed in meditation that they seem withdrawn from the world. Those artists who excelled in this genre rarely chose heroic figures as their subjects; Jean-Baptiste Greuze, for instance, often preferred to present pretty children quietly pondering their dead canaries or gazing in distraction away from their school books. Today these paintings may strike viewers as precious and sentimental – certainly not the...

    • chapter thirteen Temporal Interventions: Music, Modernity, and the Presentation of the Self
      (pp. 338-360)

      Music has long played an important role in myriad practices associated with cultural and ethical assessments of time and its use or abuse. Experiencedintime and, in essence,oftime, music invites a heightened experience and engagement with temporality. Adorno once put this nicely: ‘The self-evident, that music is a temporal art, that it unfolds in time, means, in the dual sense, that time is not self-evident for [music], that [music] has time as its problem. It must create temporal relationships among its constituent parts, justify their temporal relationship, synthesize them through time. Conversely, it itself must act upon...

  11. Contributors
    (pp. 361-362)
  12. Index
    (pp. 363-382)