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Feeling PleasuresThe Sense of Touch in Renaissance England$
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Joe Moshenska

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712947

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712947.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 December 2021

Introduction: Touching the Past

Introduction: Touching the Past

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: Touching the Past
Source:
Feeling Pleasures
Author(s):

Joe Moshenska

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712947.003.0001

The chapter begins with a moment of iconoclasm in Salisbury in the 1530s in which the extent to which holy objects could and should be handled was disputed, and uses this to illuminate the contested and unstable value of touch in this period. The relationship between touch and language in the rhetorical writings of the sixteenth century is explored, especially the role of metaphor in expressing bodily experiences, and the way in which turns of phrase involving touch permeate everyday speech. Recent discussion of the senses by historians, theorists and critics is explored, and the chapter distances itself from narratives that associate the onset of the modern age with the rise of vision at the expense of touch. It is argued instead that debates around touch remained prominent and were among the ways that central questions concerning the nature of the human and the material word were navigated.

Keywords:   iconoclasm, feeling, metaphor, sensory history, modernity, nostalgia

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