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Mortal ThoughtsReligion, Secularity, & Identity in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture$
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Brian Cummings

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199677719

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677719.001.0001

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Soft Selves: Adam, Eve, & the Art of Embodiment

Soft Selves: Adam, Eve, & the Art of Embodiment

Dürer to Milton

(p.278) 8 Soft Selves: Adam, Eve, & the Art of Embodiment
Mortal Thoughts

Brian Cummings

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the development of artistic representations of Adam and Eve in the Renaissance from Dürer, through Hans Balding Grien and Lucas van Leyden, to Rembrandt. It focuses on the idea of human embodiment, in its formation both within classical philosophy and Christian theology. It examines how religious representations resonate with the materialist ideas of the new philosophy of Descartes and Hobbes. The chapter finishes with a detailed analysis of embodiment in Milton's Paradise Lost. At its heart is the representation of Adam and Eve as primal figures of human identity. The chapter uncovers the ambiguous meaning of embodiment in the Genesis story in relation to sexuality and mortality. It uses a variety of artistic, philosophical, and literary materials to place the idea of selfhood in new contexts.

Keywords:   embodiment Adam Eve materialism identity mortality engraving Milton

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