Corps Morcelé: Spectacular Anatomy, Anatomy Theatres, and The Fragmented Body of John Donne

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Hamda Shakil (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
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Abstract: Recently scholars have shown how John Donne’s poetry was influenced and energized by the discourse of anatomy in seventeenth century-England, which provided the poet with a theoretical framework to engage the relationship between the physical body and its intermingled soul. This paper participates in this larger trend by investigating Donne’s anatomical focus in “The Ecstasy,” and “A Valediction of My Name in The Window,” two poems that have not been sufficiently examined in these terms. This paper discusses the uses and implications of anatomy in the period, paying specific attention to the role of anatomy theatres in early modern medicine and their spectacle of the body’s fragmentation. Reading Donne’s poetry through the lens of early modern English medicine reveals the subtle relations between physical and intangible phenomena in his work, as well as his didactic method of explaining erotic, sexual, and physical death in relation to the universe.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
John Donne, anatomy, poetry

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