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Shakespeare and DonneGeneric Hybrids and the Cultural Imaginary$
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Judith H. Anderson and Jennifer C. Vaught

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251254

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251254.001.0001

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Working Imagination in the Early Modern Period: Donne’s Secular and Religious Lyrics and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth, and Leontes

Working Imagination in the Early Modern Period: Donne’s Secular and Religious Lyrics and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth, and Leontes

Chapter:
(p.185) 9. Working Imagination in the Early Modern Period: Donne’s Secular and Religious Lyrics and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth, and Leontes
Source:
Shakespeare and Donne
Author(s):

Judith H. Anderson

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823251254.003.0011

This chapter takes the Aristotelian tradition of faculty psychology to be the basic, fullest, and most important one in the early modern period, although it is also one that mixes with others, the medical and Neoplatonic traditions being cases in point. In Aristotle’s system, imagination is an affection, or motion-a stimulating or agitating-of the passible (sensitive) soul. Aristotle’s non-committal skepticism about the reliability of the images that imagination processes touches the foundation of his system for knowledge with doubt, a fact that the chapter connects to developments in early modern optics. Invoking the Aristotelian tradition and instances of intensely imaginative work in Shakespeare’s plays (Hamlet, Macbeth, Leontes) and Donne’s secular and religious lyrics (“The Canonization,” “A Nocturnal,” “Good Friday, 1613”; the Holy Sonnet “At the round earth’s imagined corners,” “The Dream,” and “Image of her whom I love”), it brings into sharp relief an urgent attention to the mind’s operations in their writings. The cognitive, formal, and cultural concerns of this chapter also underlie the whole volume.

Keywords:   Imagination, Shakespeare plays, Donne lyrics, Faculty psychology, Aristotle, Optics, Hamlet, Macbeth, Leontes, Affection

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