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The Physics of Melting | Early Modern and Open Access

By April 19, 2015 No Comments

This is part of a weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer-reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.

Citation and Link:

Andrea Brady, “The Physics of Melting in Early Modern Poetry,” Ceræ: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 (2014): 22-52.


Melting is a familiar trope in early modern erotic poetry, where it can signify the desire to transform the beloved from icy chastity through the warmth of the lover’s passion. However, this Petrarchan convention can be defamiliarised by thinking about the experiences of freezing and melting in this period. Examining melting in the discourses of early modern meteorology, medicine, proverb, scientific experiments, and preservative technologies, as well as weather of the Little Ice Age and the exploration of frozen hinterlands, this essay shows that our understanding of seeming constants – whether they be the physical properties of water or the passions of love – can be modulated through attention to the specific histories of cognition and of embodiment.


Author Lindsay

Lindsay Ann Reid is a regular contributor to The Scrivener and Early Modern and Open Access. She holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is a Lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

More posts by Lindsay

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