Inventing the Body (TRU3036)

30 credits

Inventing the Body charts the cultural construction of the body, and experiences of embodiment, from early modern ‘humours’ right up until the scientific modernity of the early nineteenth century. The period 1600 - 1830 marks increasingly sophisticated understandings of the body’s workings, mediated through advances in fields like anatomy, nerve theory and vitalism. Contextualised through the major philosophical, medical and scientific theories of the time, the module covers literature of many kinds (poetry, novels, plays, children’s fiction, essays) to explore themes including affect/emotion, sensation, the mind/body dualism and illness. The module will also consider the ‘normative’ body in relation to its Others: non-Europeans, freaks, animals etc.