Experimental Selves: Person and Experience in Early Modern Europe
Drawing on the generous semantic range the term enjoyed in early modern usage, Experimental Selves argues that 'person, ' as early moderns understood this concept, was an 'experimental' phenomenon--at once a given of experience and the self-conscious arena of that experience. Person so conceived was discovered to be a four-dimensional creature: a composite of mind or 'inner' personality; of the body and outward appearance; of social relationship; and of time.
Through a series of case studies keyed to a wide variety of social and cultural contexts, including theatre, the early novel, the art of portraiture, pictorial experiments in vision and perception, theory of knowledge, and the new experimental science of the late-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the book examines the manifold shapes person assumed as an expression of the social, natural, and aesthetic 'experiments' or experiences to which it found itself subjected as a function of the mere contingent fact of just having them.
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