'More swete vnto the eare / than holsome for ye mynde': Embodying early modern women's reading

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This article draws together the theories of practice articulated by Michel de Certeau and recent work on the physiology of reading to argue that early modern women’s reading should be understood as an embodied activity situated within, and affected by, its physical situation. Drawing upon a range of sources, including funeral sermons, diaries, and Helkiah Crooke’s influential Mikrocosmographia, the article demonstrates the interconnectedness of optics and aurality, the psychophysiological basis of memory, and the extent to which the connection between reading and eating should be understood as a physical rather than a figurative phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-432
Number of pages20
JournalHuntington Library Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


  • sixteenth- and seventeenth-century representations of women reading
  • Thomas Lodge
  • commonplacing of Elizabeth I
  • Margaret Hoby
  • Thomas Middleton

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