CFP: Physical Pain in Early Modern Period (Netherlands) (12/1/06; 10/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Dijkhuizen, J.F. van

Call for Papers

Physical Pain in Early Modern Culture
October 2007

The experience of pain, far from being a purely bodily sensation, is
powerfully mediated by cultural belief systems. The early modern period
is one of most important eras in the history of pain in Western Europe.
For example, the origins of modern Western attitudes towards pain as
meaningless are partly to be found in the Reformation era, when
Protestant theologians attempted to redefine and circumscribe the
spiritual meaning of physical suffering, and rejected late medieval
assumptions about pain. In late medieval religious culture, physical
suffering was seen as a way of participating in the Passion of Christ,
or as a form of 'purgatorial suffering' that could contribute to
salvation. Reformation theologians, by contrast, downplayed the
theological significance of physical suffering, and saw Christ's
self-sacrifice as a unique and complete event, from which humans were
excluded. This often highly ambivalent and piecemeal transformation was
only one among a range of developments within early modern notions of
pain, whose roots frequently go back to the later medieval period.

This conference will investigate these developments from a range of
different angles, and from an international as well as interdisciplinary
perspective. The editors welcome articles on theology, humanism (for
example on the humanist interest in Stoicism), medicine (the impact of
anatomy on conceptions of pain, or the growing separation between
medical and theological notions of pain), print culture (the impact of
the printed book on our understanding of the body), visual culture
(representations of the Passion in early modern art) and literary texts
(pain in devotional verse, or the role of pain in the warrior ethos of
epic poetry). This list is not exhaustive, and the editors are
specifically interested in essays which investigate the interrelations
between the various fields sketched here.

Proposals should be sent (preferably by email) no later than 1 December
2006 to

Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen
University of Leiden
Department of English
PO Box 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Conference papers will be published in volume 12 of Brill's
Intersections series, scheduled to appear in 2008. For more information
about Intersections, see

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Received on Fri Nov 03 2006 - 18:08:04 EST