The making of the monstrous: Female navigation of the Galenic humoral model in early modern England
This thesis will focus on the way the female subject was discursively produced within the Galenic-humoral model. There has recently been a move by literary and historical theorists to view this model one in which the subject may have the ability to fashion him/herself through moderation and self-control. In his recent work Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England, Michael Schoenfeldt writes: "I stress the empowerment that Galenic psychology and ethics bestowed on the individual." Working in a different direction than those who have claimed the Galenic model to be one of repression, Schoenfeldt, "emphasizes rather that self-control authorizes individuality" (11). The arguments he makes are convincing, and it is easy to see that the discourse of the humors instilled a need for balance in almost all aspects of early modern life. Yet, I will that this is not true of all subjects, and move to show that women's physical bodies and place in the discourse of balance excluded them from the realm of self-fashioning through moderation or self-control. This created a situation in which women had to search for alternative ways to find the agency to fashion the self.
British and Irish literature
0453: Womens studies
0593: British and Irish literature