Upcoming conference: ‘My love is as a fever . . .’: Love Treatises in the Renaissance | UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies | January 20-21, 2017
by Jessica C. Murphy
Please consider coming to UCLA for this CMRS Ahmanson Conference
I will be presenting some of my work in progress on medical representations of women’s love ailments. The draft program promises a wide variety of excellent speakers from across art history, history, and literature.
Their description: “Treatises discussing the origin, nature, and effects of love are prevalent throughout the European Renaissance. The Neo-Platonic tradition of love treatises has been studied for its philosophical and literary implications and for its influence on sixteenth-century culture; these studies have illuminated how the “ladder of love” model permeates poetry, prose narratives, and religious and moral treatises. Less attention has been paid to medical treatises dealing with the somatogenesis of love and its effects, or chapters in books of natural philosophy discussing the workings of erotic passion. While Neo-Platonic treatises focus on how one should love and the moral and spiritual value of love, medical treatises offer insight into the early modern conception of what love is and how the body reacts to it. A coherent discussion of love in the Renaissance must concern itself with both types of treatise because the phenomenon as a whole can only be understood if both aspects are studied together. How was the experience of love conceived of as a bodily phenomenon? How does that inflect our understanding of love as a moral value, a religious experience, or an object of aesthetic representation? In addition to exploring how love was valued in Renaissance culture, this conference also examines how love was constructed and conceived of in physical, medical terms, approaching the two types of love treatises as creating one complex, coherent genre.”