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Journal of Interdisciplinary History Announcing its intention "to demonstrate how the human body was constituted. One of the most important features of this book's argument comes in its appreciation of how frequently body paradigms change. In Part I, "The Subject's New Body," Scholz identifies the instantiation of early modern bodies as products of culture--subjects regulated from within and freed from the corporeal.

According to Scholz, this newly ordered body created, in turn, a concomitant devaluation of the feminine still linked to the body and dismissed accordingly --a maneuver that encouraged, among other things, a growing separation between masculine and feminine identities. Scholz's constant attention to repercussion and "fall out" is what makes this discussion worthwhile. With an eye to proliferating effects and consequences, Scholz keeps alive contemporaneous evocations of self-regulation in individual and collective contexts.

Moving from an early focus on bodily comportment and regulatory practices Chapter One to gender differentiation in sexualized bodies Chapter Three , from the construction of a newly boundaried English Protestantism within collective and community contexts Chapter Four to the imperialist goals of the national body beyond English borders Chapter Seven , Scholz's book traces many of the perceptual relocations that were to occur in early modern constructions of the embodied subject.

She suggests how changing the boundaries between and within bodies can reshape a host of competing variables that include, but are not limited to, race, gender, and national identity. The same impulse that drives Scholz to emphasize ends also propels her narratives about history.

At the outset, Scholz insists "that we cannot escape the teleologies involved in describing early modern approaches to [End Page ] the human body" 3. Movement through time, both in our writing and in our understanding, necessitates an ordering that, in hindsight, is always linear in its trajectory.

Still, there are ways that we can mitigate the causal impulse that comes with narrating the past; we can remind our readers of the fragmentation that exists outside and beyond the orderly confines of our accounts.

Unfortunately, such is not the case with Body Narratives. This book is symptomatic of a larger problem that many of us, drawn to criticism for its political implications, are likely to encounter. In Scholz's account, master narratives dominate, teleologically shutting down much of the potential play between alternate sites and histories. This book sees too clearly.

Everything fits. Indeed, Scholz's tidy conceptual frames leave little room for stray storylines or problem texts. Body Narratives is further compromised in that it depends on a limited number of writings to represent those trajectories.

Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene stands in for most of the conceptual categories that Scholz deploys in her her overview. At the same time, because this account exerts most of its energy attending to theoretical concerns, we must take many of its assertions as fact, without the benefit of wide-ranging proof.

The most bothersome of Body Narratives' teleological troubles come in its erasure of standard historical registers. In this study, the material events that make up early modern experience get shunted to the sidelines, listed only briefly and at rare intervals.

Insisting on "big picture" narratives, Scholz repeatedly sacrifices "lived" historical practice and, somewhat ironically, early modern bodies themselves. Those of us interested in history who want to place these insights into specific contexts with tangible effects are accordingly going to find little about this theorized literary study that appeals.

Despite its disciplinary problems--and they are serious enough to warrant critique-- Body Narratives reads aright many Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Institutional Login. LOG IN. Journal of Interdisciplinary History. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Journal of Interdisciplinary History Martin's Press, pp.

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Twentieth-Century Literary Theory pp Cite as. There has recently emerged within Renaissance studies, as in Anglo-American literary studies generally, a renewed concern with the historical, social, and political conditions and consequences of literary production and reproduction: The writing and reading of texts, as well as the processes by which they are circulated and categorized, analyzed and taught, are being reconstrued as historically determined and determining modes of cultural work; apparently autonomous aesthetic and academic issues are being reunderstood as inextricably though complexly linked to other discourses and practices — such linkages constituting the social networks within which individual subjectivities and collective structures are mutually and continuously shaped. This general reorientation is the unhappy subject of J. However, the prevailing tendency across cultural studies is to emphasize their reciprocity and mutual constitution: On the one hand, the social is understood to be discursively constructed; and on the other, language-use is understood to be always and necessarily dialogical, to be socially and materially determined and constrained. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content.


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