Afterword
in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the role of the senses in the reception of art and the experience of intense emotion. It addresses the ways in which the passions, humours and senses merge within the complex physiology of the human body. The book shows us to what extent theories of vision were in flux and how the eyes were seen both as the "most noble, perfect and admirable" of the senses, while being burdened with the notion of 'visual deception'. As a result of this dichotomy, the ability of sense perception to enlighten or harm an individual meant that people were constantly reminded to be vigilant, guarded and to regulate their sensory activities. In addition to hierarchies and dichotomies, the senses are beset by conflict, vulnerable to deception and held hostage to the emotions.

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