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How a man differs from a dog

Fudge, Erica (2003) How a man differs from a dog. History Today, 53 (6). pp. 38-44. ISSN 0018-2753

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Abstract

In early modern history, numerous vices were represented as having the ability to transform humans into beasts. These representations would appear to play into a theological and moral conceptualization of the world rather than a “zoological” one. An analysis of early modern constructions of perception and the role of the passions reveals a logic in which humans can actually become animals through their actions. The writer discusses the work of Oxford clergyman and author Robert Burton, whose early exploration of self, The Anatomy of Melancholy, drew heavily on the belief that human failings constituted a kind of base animal immorality.