Vanities of the Eye: Vision in Early Modern European Culture

OUP Oxford, 29.03.2007 - 415 Seiten
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Vanities of the Eye investigates the cultural history of the senses in early modern Europe, a time in which the nature and reliability of human vision was the focus of much debate. In medicine, art theory, science, religion, and philosophy, sight came to be characterised as uncertain or paradoxical - mental images no longer resembled the external world. Was seeing really believing? Stuart Clark explores the controversial debates of the time - from the fantasies and hallucinations of melancholia, to the illusions of magic, art, demonic deceptions, and witchcraft. The truth and function of religious images and the authenticity of miracles and visions were also questioned with new vigour, affecting such contemporary works as Macbeth - a play deeply concerned with the dangers of visual illusion. Clark also contends that there was a close connection between these debates and the ways in which philosophers such as Descartes and Hobbes developed new theories on the relationship between the real and virtual. Original, highly accessible, and a major contribution to our understanding of European culture, Vanities of the Eye will be of great interest to a wide range of historians and anyone interested in the true nature of seeing.

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Vision and Values
Seeing Without What was Within
Illusions in Magic and Art
Demons and Virtual Worlds
The Reformation of the Eyes
The Discernment of Spirits
King Saul and King Macbeth
Philosophical Scepticism
The Epistemology of Sleep
Vision and the New Philosophy

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Über den Autor (2007)

Stuart Clark was born in 1942 in Marple, Cheshire. He studied at University of Wales, Swansea and at Cambridge. He was senior lecturer in the Department of History at UW Swansea from 1995-98 and then Professor from 1998 to the present. He has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and Lilly Fellow at the National Humanities Centre, North Carolina. He was elected to the British Academy in 2000.

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