The hurt(ful) body

Performing and beholding pain, 1600-1800

Edited by Tomas Macsotay, Cornelis van der Haven and Karel Vanhaesebrouck

The hurt(ful) body


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1352-8
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: July 2017
  • BIC Category: Pain & Pain Management, Humanities / Social & cultural history, History of medicine, HEALTH & FITNESS / Pain Management, DRAMA / General, PSYCHOLOGY / General, PHILOSOPHY / General, HISTORY / Europe / General, ART / Performance, Humanities / European history, Psychology, Humanities / Philosophy, The arts / Performance art, The arts / Theatre studies, Early Modern History, History, Europe, European history, Performance art, Pain & pain management, Social & cultural history, HISTORY / Social History


This book offers a cross-disciplinary approach to pain and suffering in the early modern period, based on research in the fields of literary studies, art history, theatre studies, cultural history and the study of emotions. The volume's two-fold approach to the hurt body, defining 'hurt' from the perspectives of both victim and beholder - as well as their combined creation of a gaze - is unique. It establishes a double perspective about the riddle of 'cruel' viewing by tracking the shifting cultural meanings of victims' bodies and confronting them with the values of audiences, religious and popular institutional settings and practices of punishment. It encompasses both the victim's presence as an image or performed event of pain and the conundrum of the look - the transmitted 'pain' experienced by the watching audience.


'This edited volume is critical for anyone working on the representations and functions of the suffering body, its effects on the onlooker, and the ways in which the hurt(ful) body is inscribed and deployed in various political, judicial, and economic institutions of the early modern period. The diverse methodological approaches to the study of the body in pain illustrate the complexity of the topic, and the book will surely inspire scholars to continue their reflection on the roles and stakes of the harmed body and the body that harms.'
Michael Meere, Wesleyan University, Bulletin of the Comediantes volume 70.2


Introduction - Tomas Macsotay, Cornelis van der Haven and Karel Vanhaesebrouck
Part I: Performing bodies
1 Spectacle and martyrdom: bloody suffering, performed suffering and recited suffering in French tragedy (late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries) - Christian Biet
2 The Massacre of the Innocents: infanticide and solace in the seventeenth-century Low Countries - Stijn Bussels and Bram Van Oostveldt
3 To travel to suffer: towards a reverse anthropology of the early modern colonial body - Karel Vanhaesebrouck
Part II: Beholders
4 'I feel your pain': some reflections on the (literary) perception of pain - Jonathan Sawday
5 Masochism and the female gaze - John Yamamoto-Wilson
6 Epicurean tastes: towards a French eighteenth-century criticism of the image of pain - Tomas Macsotay
7 Wounding realities and 'painful excitements': real sympathy, the imitation of suffering and the visual arts after Burke's sublime - Aris Sarafianos
8 Forced witnessing of pain and horror in the context of colonial and religious massacres: the case of the Irish Rebellion, 1641-53 - Nicolás Kwiatkowski
Part III: Institutions
9 Theatrical torture versus dramatic cruelty: subjection through representation or praxis: Frans-Willem Korsten
10 Palermo's past public executions and their lingering memory - Maria Pia Di Bella
11 The economics of pain: pain in Dutch stock trade discourses and practices 1600-1750 - Inger Leemans
Epilogue - Javier Moscoso


Tomas Macsotay is Research Lecturer in Art History at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona

Cornelis van der Haven is Senior Lecturer in Dutch Literature at Ghent University

Karel Vanhaesebrouck is Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the Université Libre de Bruxelles

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