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Title: The body emblazoned : dissection and the
human body in Renaissance culture
Author / Visual Creator: Sawday, Jonathan.
Publisher: Routledge
Published date: 1996
SBN / SSN No: 9780415157193
Pages: pp159-170
Course of study: English with Creative Writing/ English with
Media Studies
Unit code: EGH140
Scan authorised by: Chris Dobson
Ji1 L`!``Y i1Y
^111^11 111 11 _11111 11 11 11111`
Jhc crcation o| `fartcsian Man`, at sonc point in thc carl\ SV`J1tt11!!1
ccntury, was a|so thc noncnt at which an a|icnatcd hunan sul[c;I \\JS O11.
La/ing introspcctivc|y into thc intcrior in fartcsian ncditation, lJ H |111J11
sub[cct had bcconc awarc that thc `sc||` was an apparcnt|y COOlIJ
ncchanisn. Jhcrc was nothing innatc in thc construction o| hunan IOJ-
ti( 5o, `sc|lhood` - thc scnsc o| having or bcing a unihcd sc|| WJS
naintaincd on|y whcn thc sc|| ccascd to think about thc sc||. In lJ
|ornu|ation o| thc on|y thc `` |ha| was awarc o| itsc|| thinking COOO
announcc thc ccrtainty o| cxistcncc. nd, paradoxica||y, in thc vcry noncnt
o| ccrtainty thc scnsc o| who|cncss, as cscartcs had cxp|aincd to thc
rinccss |i/abcth, co||apscd. xprcsscd thus, `fartcsian Man` is a crcaturc
abstractcd |ron thc wor|d and |ron its own scnsc o| idcntity `Know Jh,sc||
thus bcgins to cxprcss not so nuch sc||know|cdgc as sc||division. thc |atc
o| Mar|owc` s aust or Mi|ton` s 5atan. Lcrch o| a honc, wandcring in a nist
o| con|usion and unccrtainty, thc hunan sub[cct osci||atcd, now, bctwccn
unthinking unity, and rchcctivc dis|ocation.
n thc twcnticth ccntury, a vcry di||crcnt ncans o| dcscribing this scnsc
o| dis|ocation has cncrgcd. n II rcud o||crcd thc un trans|atab|c scnsc
o| that which is `unhcin|ich` to dcscribc thc radica| a|icncity which thc
hunan sub[cct, a|tcr cscartcs, was supposcd to cndurc. rcud` s account o|
olInann` s ta|c, `Jhc 5andnan`, sought to unravc| that ccric scnsc o|
dis|ocation which hc dcscribcd as a scnsc o| thc `unhcin|ich` or `uncanny`
Jhc uncanny, rcud wrotc, `is that c|ass o| thc |rightcning which |cads back
to what is known and |ani|iar`:
HcinIicI . .. fion iIc idca of 'IoncIiIc`, 'bcIonging io iIc Iousc`, iIc fuiiIci
idca is dcvcIocd of sonciIing wiiIdiawn fion iIc cycs of siiangcis, sonc-
iIing conccaIcd, sccici. . .. TIc noiion of sonciIing Iiddcn and dangcious.
fou|d this `c|ass o| thc |rightcning` bc discovcrcd insidc thc hunan body:
]ohn onnc, in his 1. o| I+:\ ccrtain|y undcrstood his discascd body
as a p|acc o| trcachcry, concca|ing soncthing `sccrct . .. hiddcn and
dangcrous` rcud, howcvcr, had a di||crcnt |ocation o| body|car in nind.
t thc cnd o| his account o| o||nann` s ta|c, rcud drcw out thc psycho
ana|ytic para||c|s which, hc bc|icvcd, |urnishcd `a bcauti|u| conLrnation o|
our thcory o| thc uncanny` :
I i oficn Iacns iIai ncuioiic ncn dccIaic iIai iIcy fccI iIcic is sonciIing
uncanny aboui iIc fcnaIc gcniiaI oigans. TIis unheimlich Iacc, Iowcvci, is
iIc cniiancc io iIc foinci !eim Honc| of aII Iunan bcings, io iIc Iacc
wIcic cacI onc of us Iivcd oncc uon a iinc and in iIc bcginning.
crc is thc psychoana|ytic basis |or an account o| thc Mcdusa` s hcad which
J11 i1Y 1NiiZ`11
|ics wi|hin |hc bodyin|crior. |hc |car as rcud wcn| on |o obscrvc, o| `in|cr
u|crinc` cxis|cncc. 1hc `uncanny` - |hc rc|urn o| |hc |ani|iar or (as rcud
says c|scwhcrc in |hc cssay) |hc `doub|c` - is |ha| poin| a| which a wcb o|
s|rangcncss sccns |o cnc|osc wha| has |ong bccn known and undcrs|ood. |
|hc sanc |inc (as rcud wou|d havc i|) , |or |hc `ncuro|ic` na|c, |hc
concca|cd and sccrc| na|urc o| |hc |cna|c gcni|a|s a|cr|s us |o |hc
`unhcin|ich` na|urc o| |hc p|acc which was, oncc, |hc cn|rancc |o |hc honc
o| a|| o| us. |hc |cna|c body. Lu| is i| on|y |hc |cna|c body which (|o ncn)
is hc|d |o bc bo|h `hcin|ich` and, |o||owing |hc |ogic o| rcud`s `5andnan`
ana|ysis, `unhcin|ich`: or ncn and woncn, |hc scxua||y undi||crcn|ia|cd
bodyin|crior is a rcgion o| ccric un|ani|iari( nadc doub|y ccric (and |hus
uncanny) by |hc know|cdgc |ha| |his un|ani|iar gcography is a|so par| o|
oursc|vcs. 1his is |ha| in|crior |andscapc which is so rarc|y g|inpscd cxccp|
(as |hc young o|Lccr woundcd in |hc a|k|ands Var rcnindcd us) undcr
condi|ions o| such cx|rcnc dis|rcss.
rcud`s undcrs|anding o| |hc body as a `hcina|` has an ancicn| anccs|ry,
which s|i|| in|orns our cvcryday |hinking abou| our own bodics. nagincd
as a cons|ruc|cd cn|i|y (as csa|ius and |hc ana|onis|s inagincd i|) , |his
|ani|iar bu| un|ani|iar p|acc can bc dccons|ruc|cd in a purc|y archi|cc|ura|
|ropc o| |hc inagina|ion. cyc|c o| rc||cc|ion bcgins |o surround |hc body.
|o inaginc i| (|ani|iar|y) as a honc, i| has |o bc .+I as such, bu|, in
ordcr |o cnbark on |hc cons|ruc|ion, i| has |o bc dccons|ruc|cd in |hc Lrs|
ins|ancc and inagincd as a sca||cring o| par|s. n nodcrn scicn|iLc dis
coursc, wc arc |ani|iar wi|h |his |anguagc o| cons|ruc|ion and dccon
s|ruc|ion. Vc spcak, |or cxanp|c, o| anino acids as |hc `bui|ding b|ocks` o|
na|urc, ou| o| which, |hrough |hc ncchanisn o| cvo|u|ion, conp|cx ana|
gans arc |orncd which wi|| cvcn|ua||y bc idcn|iLcd as `bodics` |hcnsc|vcs
cons|ruc|cd ou| o| nyriads o| cc||s. 1hus, |hc body (whc|hcr anina| or
hunan) is bo|h uniLcd I.I |ragncn|cd. 1hough |hc body wou|d appcar |o
bc a sing|c organisn, |his is no|, in |hc bio|ogica| scnsc, cn|irc|y |ruc. n |hc
car|y par| o| |hc ocn|ic|h ccn|ury, |hc ourna|is|, |awycr, and na|ura|is|,
ugcnc Marais, obscrvcd o| |hc |crni|c connuni|ics |ha| hc had s|udicd in
|hc 5ou|h rican vc|d |ha| |hcy shou|d propcr|y bc undcrs|ood `no| as a
hcap o| dcad car|h, bu| as a scpara|c anina| a| a ccr|ain s|agc o| dcvc|op
ncn|`. Modcrn bio|ogica| undcrs|anding o| bodics as conposi|c cn|i|ics is
rc||cc|cd in o|dcr, rc|igious, ncoorks o| bc|ic|. Vc havc a|rcady sccn 5|
au|`s dcscrip|ion o| |hc chris|ian connuni( as rcscnb|ing a `body`. Lu|
|hc nc|aphor o| |hc connuni(, a||icd |o |hc archi|cc|ura| conposi|ion o|
|hc cons|ruc|cd cn|i|y o| |hc body|abric, rc|urns us |o |hc no|ion o| |hc
`housc` o| |hc body - a connuni|y ra|hcr |han an archi|cc|ura| s|ruc|urc.
Lcn]onson`s pocn, `1o cnshurs|` ,I+I+ |or cxanp|c, a|cr|s us |o |hc car|y
nodcrn scnsc o| a `housc` as an undoub|cd|y idca|i/cd socia| nc|work o|
J11 L`!``Y ilY
a|L|ia|ion and rcciproci|y and o| nu|ua| ob|iga|ions which arc sonc|hing
norc |han bricks or nor|ar.' 1his idca is no| on|y ancicn|, bu| |ound
ou|sidc a purc|y wcs|crn |radi|ion o| undcrs|anding. . K. foonaraswany,
dcscribing an lndian |cnp|c, |hc Fndarya Mahcdo, has obscrvcd |ha|. `|hc
hunan |ranc, |hc cons|ruc|cd |cnp|c, and |hc univcrsc bcing ana|ogica|
cguiva|cn|s, |hc par|s o| |hc |cnp|c corrcspond |o |hosc o| |hc hunan body
no |css |han |o |hc univcrsc i|sc||. ` ' l| |or `|cnp|c` wc subs|i|u|c |hc word
`church` |hcn |hc ana|ogica| cguiva|cncc is p|accd wi|hin an cgua||y ancicn|
chris|ian con|cx|. 1o |hc ang|osaxons, |or cxanp|c, idcas o| ha||, church,
and body wcrc na|ura||y ana|ogous, as |hc ||d ng|ish pocn 1 !+.
dcscribcd as bcing in |hc |radi|ion o| `sacrcd ana|ony` - dcnons|ra|cs. '
`5acrcd ana|ony` Lnds i|s cxprcssion in ncdicva| |cx|s, |oo. Kobcr|
Lrossc|cs|c` s 1 CII+ I+ and |hc honi|y I WII (bo|h |ron
|hc Lrs| ha|| o| |hc |hir|ccn|h ccn|ury) |ogc|hcr wi|h assus l2 (`L` 1cx|) o|
! !I. can bc p|accd wi|hin |his |radi|ion. ``
Vha|, |hough, o| rcud` s `ncuro|ic` scnsc o| na|c un|ani|iari|y wi|h |hc
`unhcin|ich` |cna|c gcni|a|s: fan such psychoana|y|ic idcas hc|p us |o
undcrs|and a six|ccn|hccn|ury |cx|: 1hc psycho|ogica| paradigns avai|ab|c
|o |hc six|ccn|hccn|ury rcadcr wcrc, c|car|y, cn|irc|y a|icn |o |hosc which
wc havc dcrivcd |ron rcud. owcvcr, as an cn|rancc |o |hc `housc` o| |hc
body, which is a|so |hc univcrsa| `hcina|`, |hc |cna|c gcni|a|ia nay, indccd,
rcvca| |hc opcning |o a s|rangc and sccrc| p|acc which is |hc bodyin|crior.
Lu|, |o |hc cx|cn| |ha| wc inhabi| |hc far|csian body, |his `hcina|` nccd no|
on|y bc scnscd in ncurosis. |r |o pu| |his ano|hcr way, |i|crary |radi|ions o|
cons|ruc|ion o| |hc bodycn|i|y suggcs| |ha| `our` rc|a|ionship wi|h `our`
bodics is (i| rcud is corrcc|) con|inua||y `ncuro|ic`. 1hc body is |ani|iar and
un|ani|iar - |ha| which wc know bcs| and yc| no| a| a||.
1hc idca o| cn|rancc in|o |hc un|ani|iar |ani|iar Lnds i|s prccisc para||c|
in |hc orna|c cons|ruc|ion and dccons|ruc|ion o| |hc bodyhousc cn
coun|crcd in 5pcnscr` s 1 II Q+.-|hc housc o| |na (l_ll. ix) . nd
|o a| |cas| onc ana|onis| o| |hc pcriod, 5pcnscr` s |cx| was |o provc crucia|
|o an undcrs|anding o| |hc body as bo|h a |abric and a p|acc whcrc `wc`
rcsidc. rcud` s accoun| o| |hc body as `unhcin|ich` |ays spccia| cnphasis on
|hc |cna|c body as |hc |oca|ion o| s|rangcncss. ln 1 II Q+. a
nu||i|udc o| |cna|c bodics arc cncoun|crcd, sonc o| which arc indccd
dangcrous ob[cc|s o| bo|h dcsirc and horror (crasia, |or cxanp|c, or
ucssa) . fhic| anongs| |hc ob[cc|s o| dcsirc is |hc `_uccnc o| acrics`
hcrsc||, cncoun|crcd by r|hur in his drcan o| L|oriana (l.ix. 1J) . L|oriana
is conposcd o| a scgucncc o| doub|cs who `shadow` |hc rccipicn| o| |hc
who|c pocn. |i/abc|h . ln his 1SJ |c||cr |o 5ir Val|cr Ka|cigh, 5pcnscr
cxp|aincd |ha|, in |hc Lgurc o| |hc acric _uccnc, |hcrc cou|d bc g|inpscd
`g|ory in ny gcncra|| in|cn|ion`. Lu| |hc acric _uccnc a|so dcno|cd `|hc
J11 ilY 1NiiZ`1l
nost cxcc||cnt and g|orious pcrson o| our sovcrcinc thc _uccnc`. 1hc
sovcrcign Lgurc was hcrsc|| rcdoub|cd, so that shc `bcarcth |wo pcrsons`.
5hc cou|d bc apprcciatcd as both a po|itica| pcrsona and a privatc individua|
who was `a nost vcrtuous and bcauti|u| |ady`. 1hcsc conp|cncntary c|c
ncnts wcrc rc||cctcd in thc conpoundcd nanc o| Lc|phocbc - a nanc
which unitcd fynthia and hocbc, aspccts o| thc charactcr o| iana,
anothcr poctic pcrsona o| thc `rca|` |i/abcth. `'
cna|c pcrsonac, both ncgativc and positivc, sta|k thc narrativc |andscapc
o| thc pocn which was addrcsscd to a wonan concca|cd bchind a shinncr
ing and ||uid scrics o| `guiscs` . rcd` s dcscription o| thc `unhcin|ich` night
|cad us to think o| thc pocn as a honagc to na|c ncurosis, an intcrprctation
which is givcn a|| thc norc substancc whcn wc rcca|| 5pcnscr` s own dc
scription o| thc pocn as a `darkc conccit`, whosc purposc was to `|ashion a
gcnt|cnan or nob|c pcrson` . 1hus, thc (na|c) rcadcr o| thc 1II Q+.
is `|ashioncd` into a socia| bcing. |r, as 5tcphcn Lrccnb|att obscrvcs, a `sc||`
is born into a `cu|tura| systcn o| ncanings`, in which 5pcnscr` s tcxt is ust
onc o| thc nany `contro| ncchanisns` at work to shapc and dcLnc socia|
idcntity. ` 1hc sonatic inpu|sc, thc uncovcring o| thc body as thc |ani|iar
un|ani|iar, is part o| a proccss o| sc||discovcry and, hcncc, sc||crcation. 1hc
ousc o| |na cpisodc is a crucia| passagc in thc conp|ctc `|ashioning`
procct o| thc 1 II~ Q+. |istair ow|cr has dcscribcd thc ousc o|
|na scction o| thc pocn as |orning thc `corc canto` o| Look , sincc its
subcct is `an cxtcndcd a||cgory o| hunan naturc` . `` Lut `hunan naturc` was
not, |or 5
cnscr, sonc discnbodicd abstraction. nstcad, i| thcrc was any
`naturc` to bc uncovcrcd within thc individua|, thcn it |urkcd at thc point
whcrc thc body and thc sc|| conspircd to producc a socia| idcnti|y - a
`|ashioncd` cxistcncc, conpriscd o| bodi|y gcsturc and dcncanour, atti
tudcs, va|ucs, and nc|works o| bchaviour. 1hc corrcspondcncc bctwccn thc
court|y poctic o| 5pcnscr, intcnt on `|ashioning` thc socia| idcntity o| his
rcadcr, and cscartcs, intcnt on invcstigating how or whcrc idcntity is
|ocatcd, bcgins to cncrgc and thcn ncrgc. or both thc poct o| court|y
idcntity, and thc (|atcr) phi|osophcr o| bourgcois idcntity, thc probab|c
honc o| that idcntity was thc sanc. thc `hcinat` providcd by thc body.
rcud` s `body`, un|ortunatc|y, is no casy p|acc o| rc|ugc. nd ncithcr was
5pcnscr` s. lts |ani|iarity as a `hcinat` is a|so `hcin|ichkcit` - a p|acc o|
sccrccy and rcscrvc. nd out o| thc body` s innatc sccrccy is |ashioncd thc
`unhcin|ich' - a scnsc o| thc uncanny. n othcr words, what wc night cxpcct
to cncountcr within thc ousc o| |na is thc `doub|c`, a nirror|ikc
structurc o| rc||cction. Lut wc nust rcca|| thc |csson o| anatonica| and
rc|igious art at this point. oncc thc body has bccn cntcrcd and ga/cd into,
thcn it is constructcd as a |cnini/cd |andscapc, whatcvcr its bio|ogica| scx
nay bc. Vhat, thcn, arc thc |caturcs o| thc ousc o| |na: irst, it is
J11 L`!^^Y ilY
undoubtcd|y |cnininc. |na - thc sou| - is thc govcrning powcr o| thc
rcgion, and thc bodyhousc is `hcr` body, `hcr` |ocation. 5trangc|y cnough,
howcvcr, thc body o| |na has no narks o| bio|ogica| scxua| di||crcncc.
nstcad, thcrc arc two `cntranccs` to thc body. thc nouth and thc anus. `
5ccond|y, thc ousc o| |na is a p|acc o| rctrcat and sa|cty |or Luyon and
rthur at this point in thcir odysscy. 1hcir arriva| at thc cntrancc to thc
cast|c sccurcs |or thcn rc|ic| |ron thc a|icn and uncivi|i/cd hoards who
surround thc construction. 1hcsc `vi|c caytivc wrctchcs` swarn `|ikc Lnats`,
a nystcrious and inhunan cncny which (historica||y) can bc associatcd with
5pcnscr's own cxpcricncc o| what lc bc|icvcd to bc thc wi|d and savagc
`othcrncss` o| thc rish anongst whon hc was |iving as hc was writing this
scction o| thc pocn. `` Vhat is a|so to bc rcnarkcd about thcsc cncnics o|
protcstant `tcnpcrancc`, as thcy scck to thwart thc rctrcat o| thc knights into
thc housc o| tcnpcrancc, is that thcy arc nystcrious|y unbodicd. `cwing
and s|ashing` thcir way through thcsc `id|c shadcs`, in a dcscription cu||cd
|ron irgi|`s account o| cncas` visit to thc undcrwor|d ,A.I\:+J-\
thc knights discovcr that `though thcy bodics sccnc, yct substancc |ron
thcn |adcs` (l_. ix. 1) . ron this wor|d o| bodics without substancc, thc
knights gain sanctuary within thc body. Lut, crucia||y, thc knights rcnain
unaoarc both o| thc cxistcncc o| thc cast|c as a body, and thc possibi|ity o|
thc bodystructurc through which thcy wandcr bcing a sinu|acrun o| thcir
own bodics. 1hus thc doub|c, associatcd with thc `uncanny` (and |orning
part o| 1II: Q+.s structurc o| doub|cs) , nakcs its appcarancc in thc
tcxt. 1hc knights wou|d appcar to havc rctrcatcd |ron a discnbodicd wor|d
o| shadows without substancc into a bodi|y donain. n actua|ity, howcvcr,
thcy havc rctircd |ron thc dangcrous shadow wor|d in to thc wor|d o| thcir
own bodics. thc |ani|iar but un|ani|iar `hcinat` t this point thc tcxt`s
`ncurotic` stratcgics bcconc apparcnt. 1hc `ousc o| |na` cxists as a
`dc|ani|iari/ing` structurc, trans|orncd through a||cgory into an cnb|cn o|
what rcud wou|d tcrn `ncurosis`. `
5igniLcant|y, |or rcud, it was thc cntrancc to thc |cna|c body which thc
`ncurotic` saw as `unhcin|ich`. 5igniLcant|y, too, |or Luyon and rthur, it
is thc body`s cntranccs which appcar to bc thc strangcst part o| thc conp|ctc
structurc. s in a|| such anatonica| [ourncys, thc c|phic in[unction - `Know
1hysc||` - cchocs through |na`s ha||s. Lut knowing yoursc|| can bc an
uncon|ortab|c cxpcricncc, particu|ar|y i| you don`t rca|i/c that it is yoursc||
that you arc vicwing. 5pcnscr` s conncntators havc notcd, |or cxanp|c, thc
structura| sini|aritics bctwccn thc `ousc o| |na` and thc car|icr (in
tcrns o| narrativc chrono|ogy) `ousc o| Mannon` (. vii) cpisodc o| thc
pocn. n that car|icr passagc, rthur approachcd Mannon`s dwc||ing, but
suddcn|y bccanc awarc o| anothcr cntrancc `a |itt|c dorc . . . ncxt adoiyn
ing` thc |argcr cntrancc to Mannon` s rca|n. 1his provcs to bc thc cntrancc
. +\
J11 ilY 1NiiZ`1l
|o c||. | is ou|sidc |his doub|cga|cd s|ruc|urc |ha| r|hur pauscs. `|h` |Ln
knigh| wi|h wondcr a|| |hc way,id |ccd his cycs, and L|d his inncr |hough|`
(.vii. '1) . n sini|ar ncasurc, |hc cn|ranccs |o |hc ousc o| |na - |hc
nou|h and |hc anus - arc dcscribcd in a way which nakcs |hcn appcar as
vir|ua||y conoincd.
TIcicin iwo gaics wcic Iaccd sccnIy wcII:
TIc onc bcfoic, by wIicI aII in did as,
Did iI` oiIci fai in woiInansIi cxccII;
Lu| i| is on|y whcn r|hur and Luyon s|and insidc |hc ousc o| |na, nuch
|a|cr, |ha| wc can bcgin |o unravc| |hc doub|c ana|onica| s|ruc|urc which
|hc knigh|s had Lrs| cncoun|crcd ou|sidc Mannon` s housc, and |hcn again
as |hcy cn|cr |na` s cas||c. 5o, passing |hrough |hc bodybui|ding o| |na,
|hc knigh|s rcach |hc `backga|c`, |hc `or| sgui|inc`, whcrc was|c is
disposcd o|. crc, having |raccd in |hcir own ourncy |ron |hc s|onach |o
|hc bowc|s |hc was|c disposa| sys|cns o| |na` s cas||c, as i| |hcy wcrc
|hcnsc|vcs |ood, |hc knigh|s pausc, as r|hur had car|icr pauscd bc|orc |hc
favc o| Mannon.
WIicI goodIy oidci, and gicai woiInan`s sIiII
WIcncas iIosc InigIis bcIcId, wiiI iaic dcIigIi,
And gazing wondci iIcy iIcii ninds did hII;
Foi ncvci Iad iIcy sccnc so siiaungc a sigIi.
|r ncvcr, a| |cas|, |ron |hc insidc. 1his s|rcss on |hc scopic (`bchc|d`,
`ga/ing`, `sccnc` ) is an inpor|an| par| o| |hc ourncy. | is no| cnough |o
`rcad` |hc `book` o| |hc body in ordcr |o undcrs|and i|. Ka|hcr, |hc body has
|o bc opcncd ou|, disp|aycd, so |ha| i|s in|crior dincnsions arc |ru|y known
and cxpcricnccd. Ly |his s|agc, having (as i| wcrc) ingcs|cd |hc knigh|s, lna
is rcady |o rcvca| |o |hcn |hc |ruc na|urc o| |his doub|cd s|ruc|urc in|o which
|hcy havc rc|rca|cd. s cach |ca|urc o| |hc bodywor|d is disc|oscd |o |hcn,
i| is as i| |hc rca|n o| |hc body has bcconc as a|icn or o|hcrwor|d|y as |hc
savagc discnbodicd wor|d |ron which |hcy had I|cd. Vha| |na shows
|hcn, a| |as|, is |ha| |hc ourncy |hcy havc cnbarkcd upon is a voyagc in|o
|hc in|crior which brings |hcn |acc|o-|acc wi|h sinu|acra o| |hcnsc|vcs. a
|ru|y s|rangc ('unhcin|ich` ) sigh|. 1hcir own socia| idcn|i|ics arc |o bc
disp|aycd wi|hin a nirror o| |hcnsc|vcs.
sccnding |ron |hcir con|cnp|a|ion o| |hc `grca| worknans ski||`, visib|c
in |hc cons|ruc|ion o| |hc backga|c o| |hc s|ruc|urc, |hc knigh|s arc ushcrcd
in|o a `good|y par|our` which is |hc hcar|, |hc sca| o| lna. 1hcrc |hcy arc
grcc|cd by a `|ovc|y bcvy o| |airc adics`, and |hc s|rangcs| cncoun|cr o| a||
J11 I`!``Y ilY
bcgins. or, as thc two knights cach procccd to court onc o| thcsc |cna|c
hgurcs, it is rcvca|cd that thcir choscn paranours arc aspccts o| thcir own
socia| idcntitics. 1hc `bcvy o| |airc adics` arc thc a||cctions, or noods,
arrangcd (as. f. ani|ton notcs) `according to dcgrccs o| inwardncss` (l_
. ix. J (notc) ) . `nwardncss` is thc kcy to thc nystcry which is bcing probcd.
or thc two conpanions choscn by rthur and Luyon (`raysdcsirc` and
`5hanc|astncssc`) arc, sc||rc||cxivc|y, nirrors o| thcir own inward notiva
tion. 1his rcvc|ation causcs constcrnation. rthur is `in|y novcd` and trics
`with |airc scnb|aunt` to `hidc thc brcach` in his own socia| |abric which thc
rcvc|ation has causcd. Lut his b|ushcs (`changc o| co|our`) scrvc on|y to
disc|osc thc inncr nan. Luyon chooscs a conpanion who is `straungc` in
hcr attirc and in hcr passions - a strangcncss which hc cannot conprchcnd.
Lut |na in|orns hin o| hcr (and hcncc his) idcntity.
WIy wondci ycc
Faiic Sii ai iIai, wIicI yc so nucI cnbiacc?
SIc is iIc founiainc of you nodcsicc;
You sIancfasic aic, bui Shamqastnesse ii scIfc is sIcc.
n cxp|anation which covcrs hin (|itcra||y) in thc signs o| con|usion that hc
strugg|cs to concca|.
TIcicai iIc Ifc did bIusI in iiviicc,
And iuincd Iis facc away; bui sIc iIc sanc
DisscnbIcd faiic ...
,IQII ix. 44)
1hc point about a b|ush is that it cannot bc concca|cd. privatc b|ush is no
b|ush at a||. nd as Luyon attcnpts to concca| thc narks o| con|usion, his
|cna|c nirror docs thc sanc. Vithin thc structurc o| `doub|cs`, or thc
|ani|iar un|ani|iar, two knights (who rcI|cct aspccts o| a sing|c idcntity) cntcr
a body (thcir own body) and ncct two woncn (cgua||y aspccts o| a sing|c
idcnti|y) who arc rc||cctions o| thcnsc|vcs. 1hus, a `brcach` has bccn crcatcd
in thc socia| idcnti|y o| thc charactcrs which nust bc hca|cd through
congucst o| thcsc (potcntia||y) unru|y passions - a path which wi|| cvcntua||y
|cad to thc vio|cnt ransacking o| thc `Lowcr o| L|issc` (. xii) .
1hc body through whch thc knights havc wandcrcd, and wondcrcd at, is
not an abstractcd cntity but a rcprcscntation o| socia| idcntity. 1hcrc is,
thcn, no discovcry o| an `innatc` hunan naturc within |na`s rca|n. nstcad
cach knight has activc|y choscn thc idcntity with which hc wi|| |acc thc wor|d.
1hc rcvc|ation o| that act o| choicc, so dccp|y concca|cd that thc vcry
chooscrs arc ob|ivious to thcir own notivcs, is rcvca|cd in an a||cgory o|
rctrcat, I|ight, and sanctuary. Kctiring into thc inncr wor|d - o| which thc
J11 ilY 1Ni1Z`1l
hunan body is thc icon - in an attcnpt at cscaping thc chaotic cxtcrior, thc
p|acc o| sa|cty is shown to bc ncithcr a rc|ugc nor a sanctuary. Kathcr, it is
thc |ocation o| disturbing inagcs o| thc sc||`s attcnpts at concca|ing itsc||
within an inncr |ortrcss o| stab|c idcntity.
cscribcd thus, `1hc ousc o| |na` bcgins to appcar not ncrc|y as a
ncurotic tcxt (as rcud was to undcrstand that tcrn) , but onc which, in
twcnticthccntury tcrns, bordcrs on thc schi/ophrcnic. or it is in schi/o
phrcnia (as Li||cs c|cu/c dcscribcs it) that thc bodysur|acc bcgins to brcak
apart, so that thc body bcgins to cxist as `|ragncntcd parts`. a dissociation
o| |orn and structurc. nd, in thc nirror o| idcntity into which 5pcnscr`s
knights ga/c, thcrc is norc than a hint o| that `nirror` subscgucnt|y
dcscribcd by jacgucs acan. acan has traccd thc sub[cct`s scarch |or
idcntity, rc||cctcd in drcans o| a `|ortrcss` towards which thc sub[cct
`houndcrs` in scarch o| a `|o|ty rcnotc inncr cast|c`.` 1his is cxact|y thc
cxpcricncc o| Luyon and rthur in thcir ||ight |ron thc discnbodicd
cxtcrior to thc |u||y bodicd intcrior o| thcir own sc|vcs.
Lut what, in thc ncantinc, o| thc rcadcr who was supposcd|y bcing
`|ashioncd` by thc un|o|ding o| this [ourncy into inwardncss: crc, in
Lguring thc rcadcr within thc narrativc, thc cpisodc a||ows onc |ast twist o|
thc uncanny to appcar. cd by |na upwards into thc hunan brain, a|tcr
thcir disturbing cncountcr with thcnsc|vcs, thc knights cntcr a scrics o|
roons, which corrcspond to thc thrcc highcr |acu|tics o| thc sou|. inagina
tion, rcason, and ncnory. n thc chanbcr o| ncnory (`th`hindnost o|
thrc') thcy ncct thc `nan o| inLnitc rcncnbrancc`. 1his Lorgcsian Lgurc,
unncstcs, is acconpanicd by his assistant, nanncstcs, a Lgurc o| |orgct
ting. Vondcring at his |ibrary, thc knights scc two books 1. ..
and thc `A.+ o| II~ ond` ,IQ . ix.JJ) . n thc Lna| stan/a o| thc
canto, `Lurning with |crvcnt Lrc`, thcy bcgin rcading and, in this Lna| inagc,
thc cyc|c o| rcI|cctions is conp|ctcd to cnbracc thc rcadcr o| 1 II:
Q+. n thc |o||owing canto, thc contcnts o| thcsc tcxts |ocatcd within thc
ousc o| |na arc disp|aycd as part o| thc tcxt o| 1 II~ Q+. 1hc
pocn itsc||, thcn, docs not on|y cxist in thc cxtcrior wor|d, but a|so in thc
ncdiation bctwccn ncnory (unncstcs) and |orgctting (nanncstcs) - a
variation on thc |ani|iar |atonic idca that a|| know|cdgc is but a ncnory
o| what had oncc bccn known but is now |orgottcn. 5pcnscr`s rcadcr is
rcading an account o| what thc knights arc rcading which is itsc|| |ocatcd
within thcnsc|vcs. 1his di//ying . I/ or i||usion o| inLnitc rcgrcss,
|ocatcd within thc intcrior wor|d o| thc hunan nind, is a rchcction o| thc
proccss o| |ashioning through rcading which 5pcnscr`s |cttcr to Ka|cigh
cxp|aincd as bcing thc dcsign o| thc who|c cndcavour. '
Lut is such an intcrprctation o| `1hc ousc o| |na` consonant in any
way with thc sixtccnth and scvcntccnthccntury rcadcr`s cxpcricncc o| thc
J11 L`!``Y ilY
tcxt: | thc tcxt' s purposc was to `|ashion' a rcadcr and, in this proccss o|
|ashioning tcach hin or hcr that thcrc is nothing `natura|` about hunan
naturc or thc powcrs o| thc nind, thcn whcrc wou|d wc uncovcr cvidcncc
|or thc awarcncss o| such a purposc, |ct a|onc its rca|i/ation: |r arc wc to
undcrstand that 1II: Q+. has waitcd Lrst |or cscartcs' s discovcry o|
thc a|icncity o| thc hunan subcct - an a|icncity which is so dc|icatc|y
constructcd within thc ousc o| |na - and thcn |or rcud` s noncnt o|
rcvc|ation o| thc `unhcin|ich` naturc o| thc body:
ppropriatc|y cnough, it was an anatonist, vcry soon a|tcr thc pub|ication
o| thc grcat |o|io cdition o| 5pcnscr` s co||cctcd works in 1o11, who rca|i/cd
thc inp|icions o| 5pcnscr' s account o| thc inward naturc o| both body and
nind as a construction. Vcn, in 1o1, c|kiah frookc` s anatonica|
tcxtbook I)I appcarcd, ng|ish rcadcrs had bc|orc thcn a
synthcsis o| both ancicnt and nodcrn accounts o| thc structurc, appcarancc,
and |unction o| thc hunan body. frookc' s work a|so containcd thc a||
inportant csa|ian and postcsa|ian i||ustrations which had crcatcd a ncw
standard by which to ncasurc thc rcprcscntation o| thc hunan |ranc.
frookc, who had studicd in cidcn, whcrc hc took his ncdica| dcgrcc in
1J/, was wc|| vcrscd (as wc havc sccn) in thc c|phic tradition o| `nora|
anatony` as it was to bc |ound in thc cidcn anatony thcatrc. ot sur
prising|y, thcrc|orc, his tcxt book was |accd with rc|crcnccs to thc spiritua|
dincnsions o| anatony - dincnsions which wcrc sti|| visib|c in Kcnbrandt` s
painting o| 1oJ'.
Lut as thc rcadcr workcd through I)I watching thc pro
grcssivc disnant|ing o| thc hunan |ranc, an a|tcrnativc and shadowy
prcscncc bcgan to nakc itsc|| |c|t. or, a|though I)I rc|ics
a|nost conp|ctc|y on thc work o| contincnta| anatonica| sourccs, it is a|so
a tcxt within which can bc g|inpscd 5pcnscr` s vision o| sc||rc||cction, cu||cd
|ron frookc` s rcading o| 1II: Q+. 5o, in thc prc|acc to thc twc||th
book o| zI)I frookc survcys thc who|c procct upon which hc
had cnbarkcd.
Oui Wcbbc now wcaics ncaic iIc iIicds. TIc gIoiy and bcauty of iIis siaicIy
nansion of iIc Soule wc dccIaicd in iIc hisi BooIc. TIc outwaid waIIcs wc
disnaniIcd in iIc sccond. TIc cooIc-iooncs & ScuIIciics wiiI aII iIc Iouscs
of ofhcc and iooncs of icasi wc suivaycd in iIc iIiidc. TIc gcniaII Bcd and
Nuisciy wc vicwcd in iIc fouiiI and Ffi. In iIc sixi wc wcic Icddc inio iIc
iicIc aiIoui of Icasuic wIcicin wc wcic cniciiaincd by a bcvy of DanzcIs,
onc Modest as nodcsiy iiscIfc, anoiIci Shame[aste, anoiIci Coy, anoiIci ocund
and nciiy, anoiIci Sad and IunisI, and a woiId of sucI Iassions wc found
inIabiiing in iIc IiiiIc woiId .... Fion iIcncc wc ascci:dcd in iIc scavcniI
booIc, by siaiics of Ivoiy inio iIc icscncc cIanbci, wIcic iIc SouIc naIciI
Ici cIicf abodc; iIcic wc saw iIc counscII gaiIcicd, iIc iccoids ocncd, and
J11 ilY 1NiiZ`1l
disaicIcs nadc and signcd foi iIc good govcinncni of iIc wIoIc faniIy. ...
Now wc aic aiiivcd ncai iIc iinciaIs of iIc buiIding, wIcic wc nay scc Iow
iIcy aic oincd, Iow iIcy aic fasicncd, and bound iogciIci, Iow iIcy aic
covcid and dcfcndcd ... and naIIy in iIc ncxi and Iasi booIc wcc sIaII wiiI
God io fiicnd conc unio iIc iinciaIs iIcnscIvcs and io iIc vciy foundaiion
and gioundwoiIc wIcicon iIc wIoIc fianc is iaiscd. `
`ow gins this good|y |ranc o| 1cnpcrancc,airc|y to risc` 5pcnscr had
writtcn at thc opcning o| thc Lowcr o| L|issc cpisodc ,IQ . xii. 1) . or
frookc, ust as |or 5pcnscr, thc bodybui|ding, travcrscd through that
Kcnaissancc dc|ight in I~I containcd a conp|cx cconony o| |unctions
- a distribution o| govcrnncnt throughout thc who|c cdiLcc which was a|so
thc nora||y and spiritua||y `tcnpcratc` individua| who was to bc `|ashioncd`
by thc pocn, and survcycd by thc anatonist. 1hc cguiva|cncc o| this passagc
|ron frookc` s anatonica| tcxt with onnc` s wandcring through thc grcat
cc||ars and vau|ts o| thc hunan |abric in his scrnon is c|car. Lut whcrc
onnc` s passagc cncountcrcd on|y vo|unc and concavity - a scgucncc o|
cnpty spaccs - frookc` s wor|d is pcop|cd with a consort o| inhabitants. thc
`passions`, ru|cd ovcr by thc guccn o| thc who|c nansion, thc sou|. 1o a
scvcntccnthccntury rcadcr, howcvcr, thc cchocs wou|d havc bccn un
nistakab|c. Kcading frookc` s account o| thc body, thcy wou|d a|so havc
rccogni/cd thc statc|y passagc o| 5pcnscrian stan/as ovcr thc tcxt.
frookc` s a||cgorica| trans|ornation o| thc body cchocs in a|nost cvcry
dctai| thc `ousc o| |na` passagc o| 1 II Q+. which had Lrst
appcarcd in 1J0, and thcn had bccn rcpub|ishcd in 1Jo, 1o0J, and 1o11.
frookc, in his disnant|ing o| thc body, |o||owcd thc `ordcr o| disscction`
(noving |ron stonach, to thorax, to hcad) which is a|so thc ordcr |o||owcd
by 5pcnscr` s knights, rthur and Luyon, as thcy novc through thc body
which is a|so a cast|c. inguistic para||c|s bctwccn thc two tcxts nirror thc
structura| sini|arity. 1hus, Luyon and ^thur pass |ron a `kitchcn-rownc`
(.ix. 'S) into thc `good|y par|our` o| thc hcart (.ix. JJ) , ust as frookc |cd
thc rcadcr through thc `cookc-rooncs` into thc `richc par|our` o| thc
passions. Vithin thc hcart, thc `|ovc|y bcvy o| |airc adics` bcar a passing
rcscnb|ancc to frookc` s `bcvy o| an/c|s`. n 5pcnscr` s cast|c o| |na, as
wc havc sccn, can bc |ound ` I[I. it sc||c` (. ix. 1J) a Lgurc whon
frookc sp|its into two individua|s. `Modcst as nodcs( itsc||c` and `anothcr
5hanc|astc`. Kcading frookc` s dcscription, it is as i| thc anatonist had an
opcncd copy o| 1 II~ Q+. in |ront o| hin rathcr than cithcr an
anatonica| tcxt or a cadavcr, a suspicion which is conLrncd on turning back
to Look o| I)I (` || thc Vho|c Lodic and owcr Lc||y` ) ,
whcrc frookc guotcs thc |anous arithnctic stan/a o| 5pcnscr` s pocn
(. ix. '') as a prc|acc to thc anatonica| ourncy hc is inviting thc rcadcr to
J11 \`!``Y ilY
JIc Fianc iIcicof sccnd aiiIy ciicuIaic,
And aii iiianguIaic, I woiI divinc;
JIcsc iwo iIc hisi and Iasi iooiiions aic,
JIc onc incifcci, noiiaII, focnininc;
JI` oiIci innoiiaII, cifcci, nascuIinc,
And twixi iIcn boiI a quadiaic was iIc basc,
Piooiiioncd cquaIIy by scvcn and ninc;
Ninc was iIc ciicIc sci in Icavcns Iacc,
AII wIicI conacicd nadc a goodIy diaasc.
,IQII.ix 22)
Ly guoting this stan/a in particu|ar, frookc was cxp|icit|y inviting thc rcadcr
o| his anatonica| tcxt to nakc a conparison bctwccn it and 1II~ Q+.
Lut to what cnd: vcr sincc 5ir Kcnc|n igby`s attcnpt at intcrprctation
o| this stan/a, in 1o11, its gconctric intricacics havc pu//|cd 5pcnscr's
rcadcrs.` Lut, |or igby, writing within a fartcsian |ranc o| rc|crcncc, thc
`ncaning` o| thc stan/a sccncd c|car. xprcsscd in thc opposition o|
gconctric Lgurcs, pcr|cction and inpcr|cction, norta|i( and innorta|ity,
na|c and |cna|c, was thc fartcsian ridd|c o|.
iIc oyning iogciIci of iIc iwo d;|jenl and indccd oosile subsianccs in Man,
io naIc onc cifcci conound; iIc Soul and iIc Eody, wIicI aic of so con iiaiy
a naiuic, iIai iIcii uniling sccns io bc a niiacIc.'
igby's 1o11 rcading o| thc stan/a pointcd to soncthing c|sc as wc||. or it
was igby who notcd that, at this point in 1 II~ Q+. 5pcnscr's poctic
ncthod sccns to havc gonc nystcrious|y awry. n igby`s words.
I n iIis Siaffc sianza| iIc AuiIoi sccncs io nc io iocccd in a diffcicni
nannci fion wIai Ic doiI cIscwIcic gcnciaIIy iIiougI Iis wIoIc booI. Foi
in oiIci Iaccs, aIiIougI iIc bcginning of Iis AIIcgoiy oi nysiicaI scnsc, nay
bc obscuic, yci in iIc ioccssc of ii, Ic doiI IinscIf dccIaic Iis own
concciions in sucI soii as iIcy aic obvious io any oidinaiic caaciiic: Bui in
iIis sianza|, Ic sccncs oncIy io gIancc ai iIc iofoundcsi noiions iIai any
scicncc can dcIivci us, and iIcn on a suddcn ,as ii wcic) iccaIIing IinscIf oui
of an niIusiasnc, Ic iciuins io iIc gcniIc RcIaiion of iIc AIIcgoiicaI Iisioiy
Ic Iad bcgun, Icaving Iis icadcis io wandci u and down in nucI obscuiiiic.'
n igby's account, thc arithnctic stan/a sccns to disrupt thc snooth
onward un|olding o| what 5pcnscr tcrncd (in his |cttcr to Ka|cigh o| 1SJ)
thc `darkc fonccit` o| thc pocn, ushcring thc rcadcr into a rca|n which has
suddcn|y bcconc unconncctcd |ron thc casy transaction bctwccn sur|acc
and dcpth which thc rcadcr had bccn ncgotiating as thc a||cgory was pushcd
|orwards. ikc rthur and Luyon in thc ousc o| na, thc rcadcr is |c|t `to
wandcr up and down in nuch obscuritic`.
t was this scnsc o| un|ani|iarity that thc ng|ish anatonist, c|kiah
J11 ilY 1NiiZ`1l
frookc, sough| |o cvokc in guo|ing |his s|an/a as a prc|acc |o his ana|onica|
[ourncy. n 5pcnscr`s `ousc o| na`, |hc shock o| |hc un|ani|iar is a |ca|urc
o| |hc `uncanny` wor|d which |hc knigh|s havc cncoun|crcd as |hcy novc
|hrough |hc bodys|ruc|urc. |hcir [ourncy |akcs |hcn |hrough cvcr norc
ar|iLcia| cons|ruc|ions, so |hcir scnsc o| wondcrncn| grows. Jhc [okc, o|
coursc, is |ha| wha| |hcy arc ga/ing a| is |hcnsc|vcs - an idca|i/cd vcrsion o|
wha| |hcy scck |o aspirc |owards. Lu| such a [ourncy in|o |hc body and (|or
5pcnscr) in|o |hc nind was on|y possib|c bc|orc cscar|cs`s cxp|ora|ions
anong |hc s|augh|crcd anina|s and crinina| bodics o| ns|crdan which
Kcnbrnd| was |o pain|. |cr cscar|cs, body and nind wou|d appcar |o cxis|
in univcrscs which, c|osc|y ad[accn| as |hcy wcrc, ran para||c| |o onc ano|hcr.
5pcnscr`s vicw o| |hc na||cr was |ha| |hcrc was no rca| dis|inc|ion bctwccn
body and nind, sincc, as hc inagincd his knigh|s discovcring in |hcir [ourncy
|hrough |hcnsc|vcs, bo|h body and nind cou|d bc par|icu|ari/cd - a vicw |o
which Kobcr| Lur|on was |o subscribc in 1 A.I ' I. Jhc
nind, |oo, cou|d cxhibi| i|sc|| on |hc sur|acc o| |hc individua|`s body (|hc
b|ushcs o| con|usion cxpcricnccd by |hc knigh|s) in ways which wcrc un
con|ro||ab|c by |hc hunan sub[cc|. Jhc bcs| |ha| cou|d bc hopcd |or, in ordcr
|o nain|ain |hc socia| |abric o| idcn|i|y, was concca|ncn|. ikc cscar|cs,
howcvcr, 5pcnscr g|inpscd |ha| |hc kcy |o undcrs|anding |hc inncr wor|d was
in |hc abs|rac|cd ga/c o| sc||rc||cc|ion. Jhc produc| o| |ha| proccss (and
again cscar|cs concs |o nind) was no|, howcvcr, |orcsccab|c. or cscar|cs,
|hc ou|conc was |hc crca|ion o| a nachincbody, cxis|ing as par|s, and an
in|c||cc|ua| |acu|ty which cou|d ncvcr bc dividcd. Lu|, |or 5pcnscr (who, |ikc
cscar|cs, had sccn cnough bodics |orn in|o picccs in |hc bru|a| ncchanisn
o| govcrnncn|, wi|hin which hc was a no| a||ogc|hcr insigniLcan| ins|ru
ncn|) , |hc ncccssity o| ncn|a| division |ay a| |hc roo| o| his dcsign. ow c|sc
was |hc socia| bcing |o bc |ashioncd in `vcr|uous and gcn||c discip|inc`: n
an a||cnp| a| brcaking down |ha| ncn|a| s|ruc|urc, in ordcr |o rcnou|d i|
|hrough |hc circu|a|ing dcviccs o| a||cgory, 5pcnscr crca|cd a |cx| which was
i|sc|| |ashioncd ou| o| visions o| dis|oca|ion and dissocia|ion. nirrors o| socia|
idcn|i( and sc||hood. |cr rcud, i| wou|d bc possib|c |o pu| a nanc |o |his
I|igh| o| |hc inagina|ion in|o i|s own in|crna| ncchanisns - ncurosis, or cvcn
schi/ophrcnia. Lu|, wha|cvcr |abc| wc wish |o a||ach |o |hc inward [ourncy o|
5pcnscr`s knigh|s, |hc rcsu|| was |hc sanc. |hc hunan sub[cc| had cn
coun|crcd |hc `o|hcr` no| in sonc cx|crna| and as yc| undiscovcrcd rcgion,
bu| ncs||cd uncon|or|ab|y wi|hin i|s own dccpcs| rcccsscs.
11 ^1W11 111 11 11111^ 1111111
n IoJJ, in |hc ycar |o||owing Kcnbrand|`s dcpic|ion o| two bodics novcd
by onc in|c||cc|, hincas |c|chcr`s 1 !+) 1I.I was pub|ishcd. |c|chcr`s