CFPs in Renaissance Intellectual History

Physical Pain in Early Modern Culture

Source of Information:, 2006-10-09
Date of Event: 2007-10-30
Location of event: Leiden, The Netherlands
Deadline for abstracts etc.: 2006-12-01

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 
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

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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