Space and Self in Early Modern European Cultures by David Warren Sabean, Malina Stefanovska

By David Warren Sabean, Malina Stefanovska

The inspiration of ‘selfhood’ evokes photographs of self-sufficiency, integrity, introspectiveness, and autonomy – features commonly linked to ‘modernity.’ The 17th century marks the the most important transition to a brand new type of ‘bourgeois’ selfhood, even supposing the idea that is going again to the pre-modern and early smooth interval. A richly interdisciplinary assortment, Space and Self integrates views from historical past, background of literature, and background of artwork to hyperlink the difficulty of selfhood to the hot and important literature on space.

As Space and Self shows, there have constantly been a number of paths and substitute percentages for forming identities, marking personhood, and experiencing existence as a concrete, singular person. Positioning self and house as particular and evolving constructs, a various team of participants discover how folks develop into embodied specifically locations or inscribed in concrete house. Space and Self thus units the phrases for present dialogue of those themes and offers new methods to learning their cultural specificity.

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This suggests that at stake in representations of the self-sufficient scholar was also the image of scholarly work and the ensuing entitlements, an image which downplays, if not utterly conceals, forms of interdependence and collaboration. Can we appraise concretely the social specificity of scholars’ images? How can we use historical documents to get a sense not only of the imperceptible presence of others in a scholar’s study, but also of the process of making them invisible? Although these questions can primarily be tackled through case studies of particular scholars’ households, I shall try a different path here, At the Study 25 using visual representations of scholars in their studies as my guiding thread, invoking more detailed examples, not in order to claim they are representative, but rather to exemplify the spectrum of possibilities and to identify underlying forces.

Miller, The Bishop’s Palace: Architecture and Authority in Medieval Italy (Ithaca, NY, 2000); for kings, Richard Firth Green, Poets and Princepleasers: Literature and the English Court in the Late Middle Ages (Toronto, 1980), 38–70; for merchants, Jaume Aurell, ‘Merchants’ Attitudes to Work in Barcelona of the Later Middle Ages: Organisation of Working Space, Distribution of Time and Scope of Investments,’ Journal of Medieval History 27, no. , A History of Private Life, vol. 2, Revelations of the Medieval World (Cambridge, MA, 1988), 535–630.

Switching back from the analysis of particular texts to the series of images, I want to point out a last and hitherto neglected exception, which I shall consider very briefly. There is in fact one sort of scholar quite regularly depicted in a crowded and noisy study, surrounded by apprentices, helpers, servants, and occasionally by a wife and children. 69 Alchemists, almost by definition, mixed the kitchen and the study – the two sharply separated yet mutually interdependent poles of scholars’ family households.

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