What is the relationship between Eros and music? How does the intersection of love and music contribute to define the perimeter of Early Modern love? The Early Moderns hold parallel discourses on the metaphysical doctrines of love and music as theories of harmony. Statements of love as music, of music as love, and of both as harmonic ideals, are found across a wide range of cultural contexts, highlighting the understanding of love as a cultural construct. The book assesses the complexity of cultural discourses on this linkage of Eros and music. The ambivalence of music as an erotic agent is enacted in the controversy over dancing and reflected in the ubiquitous symbolism of music instruments. Likewise, the trivialization of musical imagery in madrigal lyrics and love poetry highlights a sense of degradation and places the love-music relationship at the meeting point of two epistemes. The book also shows the symbolic deployment of the intertwined ideas of love and music in the English epyllion, and offers close readings of Shakespeare’s poems The Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis.
The book is the first to propose an overview of the theoretical, cultural and poetical intersections of Eros and music in Early Modern England. It discusses the connections in a richly interdisciplinary manner, drawing on a wealth of primary material which includes rhetoric, natural philosophy, educational literature, medicine, music theory and musical performance, dance books, performance politics, Protestant pamphlets and sermons, and emblem books.