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Title: 'When we have stuffed these pipes and these conveyances of our blood with wine and feeding' : sacramental eating and Galenic humourism in the drama of William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson
Author: Kotzur, Julia
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 2100
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the interconnection of sacramental eating and humoural curing in selected plays by William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. It contends that the drama actively participated in the medico-religious debates of post-Reformation England. Investigating the health benefits attributed to the Eucharistic meal in its pre- and post-Reformation forms, this thesis shows that early modern religious debates occupy an important place in contemporaneous drama, proposing that aspects of religion, particularly the Eucharist, were explored by Shakespeare and Jonson with regards to the Sacrament's medicinal efficacy. The thesis suggests that the drama identifies religious anxiety as medico-spiritual trauma, and offers performative sacramento-humoural therapy. In tracing intersections of sacramentality, cannibalism, and Galenic humourism in six plays, the thesis analyses early modern concepts of the body, blood, food, medicinal practices, the Eucharist, and morality, showing that drama was used as a medical and didactic tool. Chapter 1 explores issues of corporeality and community in Coriolanus, unearthing interconnected concepts of humoural eating and changing religious communities. Chapter 2 investigates early modern medical practices in Titus Andronicus, placing medicinal cannibalism at the nexus of martyrdom, sacramentality, and humoural disease. Chapter 3 develops notions of sacramentality by analysing the philosophy of neo-stoicism in Julius Caesar and linking it with acts of penance. Chapter 4 discusses the portrayal of these themes in Bartholomew Fair, examining Jonson's investigative approach to dramatic portrayals of medico-religious debates. Chapter 5 compares Every Man In His Humour and Every Man Out of His Humour, identifying themes of the medieval morality play, and showing that they were employed for didactic and medicinal purposes. This thesis concludes that interconnected discourses of sacramental eating and humoural curing constitute dramatic commentary on contemporaneous medico-religious issues, and offer temporary, performative salvation for a religiously troubled nation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sacred meals in literature ; Healing in literature ; Body fluids