Martin Porter's Windows of the Soul: Physiognomy in European Culture PDF

By Martin Porter

ISBN-10: 0199276579

ISBN-13: 9780199276578

In overdue 15th century Florence, Renaissance humanists rediscovered a mystery, typical language hidden within the visible knowledge of the proverb 'the eyes are the home windows of the soul'. via its magical prism, the language of eyes, faces, voices, laughs, walks, even stones, vegetation and animals, all turned home windows into the souls of different humans, of oneself, of nature, and eventually of God. a few observed in its phrases the ideal hieroglyphic language wherein Adam had first named nature, which, while mixed with the paintings of reminiscence, may possibly result in a kind of 'inner writing' or mystical self-transformation. but many others brushed off it as a suite of arbitrary conventions, superstitious enigmas, or 'gypsy' riddles. Embroiled within the non secular persecution of the Reformation, rejected as a technology throughout the medical Revolution, within the age of Enlightenment physiognomy got here to be obvious as not anything greater than an a laugh leisure. yet with the sunrise of Romanticism, be it within the geographical regions of technological know-how, faith, or poetry, a few started to see that physiognomy used to be no video game and the flame of significant curiosity in physiognomy was back rekindled. Combining booklet background and visible background, Dr Porter reconstructs this physiognomical eye, translates the best way books on physiognomy have been learn and lines the broader highbrow, social, and cultural adjustments that contributed to the metamorphosis of this fashion of beholding oneself and the flora and fauna from the Renaissance to the sunrise of Romanticism.

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Windows of the Soul: Physiognomy in European Culture 1470-1780 (Oxford Historical Monographs) by Martin Porter

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