The Virtue of Sympathy
Magic, Philosophy, and Literature in Seventeenth-Century England
Series: Yale Studies in English
Beginning with an analysis of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and building to a new reading of Milton’s Paradise Lost, author Seth Lobis charts a profound change in the cultural meaning of sympathy during the seventeenth century. Having long referred to magical affinities in the universe, sympathy was increasingly understood to be a force of connection between people. By examining sympathy in literary and philosophical writing of the period, Lobis illuminates an extraordinary shift in human understanding.
“Lobis offers a wide-ranging intellectual and literary history of sympathy in seventeenth-century England, demonstrating how it becomes a key subject of philosophical debate and literary representation. His discussion of the sources and complexities of sympathy brings an important new lens to bear on major literary authors such as John Milton and Margaret Cavendish, with equally insightful readings of such later authors as James Thomson, Mary Shelley, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.”—Laura Knoppers, University of Notre Dame~Laura Knoppers