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Contagious Metaphors: Liturgies of Early Modern Plague

Contagious Metaphors: Liturgies of Early Modern Plague Kathleen hines Contagious Metaphors Liturgies of Early Modern Plague Between 1623 and 1666, plague’s broad sweep through England resituated t- he bor ders of contagion. Eviscerating once- fa miliar physical bodies, the disease also transformed literary, religious, and scientific bodies of knowledge. Able to destroy the flesh and defamiliarize the body, plague also asserted its virulence most deeply by infecting language and its practice. Rebecca Totaro writes: Experience with plague was neither uniform nor isolated, but was rather simul- taneously uniquely horrifying and extensive . . . . In their literary accounts, early moderns responded in corresponding fashion to this shape shifting terror by representing the plague as. . . an always hungry monster, consuming bodies re- gardless of age, gender, reputation, or economic status, or as a tyrant, because it so easily unseated government officials from mayors to monarchs. (19) Totaro alludes to plague’s ability to consume not only the body, but also the lan- guage surrounding those bodies. Drawing her descriptions from early modern plays, political tracts, and bills of mortality, she alludes to plague’s elusive power— one grounded in its ability to jump from the physical body to the metaphorical one—to shift from its microbial presence http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Contagious Metaphors: Liturgies of Early Modern Plague

The Comparatist , Volume 42 – Nov 19, 2018

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

Kathleen hines Contagious Metaphors Liturgies of Early Modern Plague Between 1623 and 1666, plague’s broad sweep through England resituated t- he bor ders of contagion. Eviscerating once- fa miliar physical bodies, the disease also transformed literary, religious, and scientific bodies of knowledge. Able to destroy the flesh and defamiliarize the body, plague also asserted its virulence most deeply by infecting language and its practice. Rebecca Totaro writes: Experience with plague was neither uniform nor isolated, but was rather simul- taneously uniquely horrifying and extensive . . . . In their literary accounts, early moderns responded in corresponding fashion to this shape shifting terror by representing the plague as. . . an always hungry monster, consuming bodies re- gardless of age, gender, reputation, or economic status, or as a tyrant, because it so easily unseated government officials from mayors to monarchs. (19) Totaro alludes to plague’s ability to consume not only the body, but also the lan- guage surrounding those bodies. Drawing her descriptions from early modern plays, political tracts, and bills of mortality, she alludes to plague’s elusive power— one grounded in its ability to jump from the physical body to the metaphorical one—to shift from its microbial presence

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 19, 2018

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