"The Virtue of Sympathy" by Seth Lobis

The Virtue of Sympathy Magic, Philosophy, and Literature in Seventeenth-Century England Seth Lobis

Yale Studies in English
Publication date:
08 Jan 2015
Yale University Press
432 pages: 235 x 156 x 29mm
Sales territories:

Buy this eBook

You can purchase this title from a number of online retailers:

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.

Seth Lobis teaches in the Literature Department at Claremont McKenna College, focusing on British literature from 1500 to 1800.

“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