By Jennifer Feather (auth.)
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Extra info for [(Writing Combat and the Self in Early Modern English Literature: The Pen and the Sword)] [Author: Jennifer Feather] published on (December, 2011)
Chapman’s appropriation of Homer’s Iliad, thus, begins to reveal how early modern writers shape classical sources in ways inflected by medieval English depictions of combat. Such reworkings of classical models anticipate modern forms of subjectivity while accommodating premodern English notions of self. The very project of the “Renaissance” is founded upon this process of appropriation and recuperation. Perhaps, then, we should not be surprised that a period, the Renaissance, so invested in escaping its barbarous past by assimilating a classical past should share some of its investments with a sporting event, the Olympic Games, that aims to be a revival of classical forms of competition.
12 Wr iting Combat a nd the Self between the material and the abstract through its relationship to the body and the psychological faculty of memory. This connection makes physical criteria for identity—an integrated body—and psychological criteria—a continuous set of memories—difficult to separate. 39 In these texts, the repetition of armed combat roots social meaning in an embodied experience of violence, shaping subjects. Because notions of trauma and healing are deeply reliant upon modern conceptions of self, they are not effortlessly applicable to early modern texts in which a modern notion of autonomous agency is not fully instantiated.
The dignity of the individual relies on the ability of her will to control her body, and body donation, as von Hagens suggests, enshrines rather than undermines this right. Understanding the body as an object separate from an autonomous will that defines personhood, von Hagens’s version of anatomy is consistent with agonistic modes of combat. Von Hagens’s articulation of his work and the understanding of embodiment implicit in it invoke Vesalius’s authorizing strategy in which he creates his own self-image by defeating both the medical establishment and the body itself.