Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Phantasmatic ShakespeareImagination in the Age of Early Modern Science$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Suparna Roychoudhury

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501726552

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501726552.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 20 October 2019



Theseus, Phantasia, and the Scientific Renaissance

(p.1) Introduction
Phantasmatic Shakespeare

Suparna Roychoudhury

Cornell University Press

This chapter offers a reading of the most famous Shakespearean lines on imagination, a speech by Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, arguing that this speech presents not a unified but a pluralistic idea of what imagination is—a story; a section of the brain; a shape; a substance. To account for this variegation, the chapter summarizes the long intellectual history of imagination, emphasizing the cognitive or psychological tradition founded by Aristotle. The chapter then examines the complex and often confused early modern discourse of imagination, arguing that these confusions indicate the ways in which proto-scientific fields were destabilizing faculty psychology. To understand Theseus’ polysemic idea of imagination, and Shakespeare’s more generally, we must explore the various contexts in which imagination’s earlier philosophy was tested or recast by the early modern history of science; these contexts will be explored in subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theseus, imagination, faculty psychology, Aristotle, history of science

Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.