What interests you about the early modern period? Do you have a favorite text/historical figure/concept/area of study or whatever? (Multiple answers are of course allowed, nay, encouraged.)
Chaucer's Treatise on The Astrolabe makes be very happy. So does Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale and Cymbeline (though the ending of the latter struck me as "OMG! I meant for this to have a happy resolution -- gotta fix it, fast!" Still... as a whole it pleases me).
The current bee in my bonnet is the concept and classification of "monsters" in literature, from Antiquity through to current modern times, particularly in the way concepts of what's "monstrous" vs. "normal" have lingered in society and the way public policy segregates people, even though the scientific and rational explanations have left Early Modern understanding of Order and Disorder behind (The personal is political, and so is the artistic). I am no longer studying any of this in a formal, academic, way, but simply for my own understanding, and to add to my personal "Discourse Toolbox."
How do you feel about the whole Renaissance vs. early modern nomenclature debate?
I don't. Just let me at the poems, plays, essays, graffiti...
We all know nobody really wants to live in a time before sanitation, antibiotics, central air conditioning/heating, indoor plumbing, and so forth. So if you could visit any time/place in the early modern period, what would it be, and why?
I want to nick a TARDIS, and invite Susanna Hall in for lunch... I want to convince her to write something from her own perspective (cue subversive laughter).
Have you read The Faerie Queene? Be honest. ;)
*Hangs Head* Only excerpts... it's on my perpetual "To read" list, though.
Anything else you'd care to share?
And here are my questions: I've recently come across reference to Isidore of Seville's system of classifying monsters by type, thus: 1) Hypertrophy of the body, 2) Atrophy of the body, 3) Excrescence of body parts, 4) Superfluous body parts, 5) Deprivation of body parts, 6) Mixture of Human and Animal body parts, 7) Animal births by human women, 8) Mislocation of organs or body parts, 9) Disturbed growth, 10) Composite beings, 11) Hermaphrodites, 12) Monstrous Races (exotic races of humans).
What I'm particularly interested in/curious about, is how "Disturbed Growth" (Category #9) has been defined through the eras. I've seen it explained as "Being born old," But would the opposite (I.E. not maturing out of "babyhood," despite aging chronologically) be placed in the same category? This is actually of personal interest to me, because I've been labeled by modern doctors as "Developmentally Disabled" -- sans wheelchair I still crawl like an eight-month old. ...If I am going to nab a TARDIS and do a little time surfing, I'd like to know if I need to watch out for torch-wielding mobs... ;-)
Also, any tips on finding early modern illustrations of these monster types, online? I've tried Google searching, and all I've gotten are images of Dungeons and Dragons fan art.