Working Title: Reclaiming the Soul: Thinking Beyond the Body in Renaissance England
Editors: Drs. Sarah E. Johnson, Johnathan H. Pope, and Deanna Smid
This book aims to provide a comprehensive engagement with discussions and representations of the soul in Renaissance England. The recent abundance of body criticism has enriched our understanding of corporeality during the period. Despite the centrality of the soul to discourses of the body, however, the soul has received relatively little scholarly attention and has often been relegated to foregone conclusions even as scholarship on the minutiae of the body continues to proliferate. This book will focus on the wide variety of lively debates that were taking place in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England in an effort to ‘reclaim the soul’ as a productive and multi-faceted subject of inquiry that informed Renaissance understandings of the self, the body, and one’s relationship with other selves and bodies.
In this book we are interested in perspectives on the soul that reflect the scope of the discourse in Renaissance England. We encourage submissions that address the representation of the soul in all types of writing from approximately 1558 to 1660, but particularly in literary texts as the site on which these debates played out. We are interested in all theoretical approaches, and interdisciplinary chapters are also welcome.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
- the soul in medical and/or anatomical texts
- the soul-body dialectic
- devotion and the soul
- denominational debates over the soul
- the soul and subjectivity/selfhood
- the soul and class
- imagining the soul
- mortalism/the afterlife of the soul
- superstition about the soul
- spirits and/vs. ghosts
- representations of the soul in drama
- images of the soul in emblem books
- the soul and the mind
- soul-body dialogues in poetry
- gender/sex and the soul
- the soul in women’s writings
- the soul and political debate
- the soul and its attributes/components: imagination, memory, the common sense, appetite, passions, reason
- the soul and animals
Proposals of approximately 300 words along with a short CV should be attached as .doc, .docx, or .rtf files. Please include contact information along with your submission. Proposals must be received by April 30th, 2011. Completed chapters of approximately 6000 words from authors whose proposals have been selected will be due by September 30th, 2011. Publication of all material will be subject to publisher approval.
Dr. Sarah Johnson is revising her dissertation on women and the soul-body divide in Jacobean drama for book publication. Her current research focuses on women’s writing and shifting ideas about the soul-body dynamic in Interregnum and Restoration literature. Sarah is Assistant Editor with Early Theatre. This summer she is taking up a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at Queen’s University. Her publications include articles on The Witch of Edmonton and on The Birth of Merlin and The Devil Is an Ass.
Dr. Johnathan Pope is currently a CLT Assistant Professor in the Department of English at St. Francis Xavier University. He has recently published articles on the anatomist John Banister and the emblematist Francis Quarles. He is currently revising his dissertation, “An Anatomy of the Soul in English Renaissance Religious Poetry,” for publication.
Dr. Deanna Smid is currently a part-time instructor in the Department of English at Redeemer University College. Her dissertation, “‘The World in Man’s Heart’: The Faculty of Imagination in Early Modern English Literature,” analyzes the characteristics and necessity of imagination in Renaissance texts. Her research interests also include emblems and science fiction, two areas in which she has recently published articles. She will be taking up a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at the University of Toronto this summer.