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These four humors were understood to define peoples’ physical and mental health and determined their personality as well. The language of the four humors pervades Shakespeare's plays. Their influence is felt above all, in a belief that emotional states are physically determined.
Carried by the bloodstream, the four humors bred the core passions of anger, grief, hope, and fear—the emotions conveyed so powerfully in Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies.
Curator Gail Kern Paster explains, “The four humors were an early typology for human personality. Shakespeare uses them, even as he transcends them, to create the vivid characters whose emotions continue to fascinate and delight us.”
“And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the four humors explores the role played by the four humors in several of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays and examines more modern interpretations of the four humors in contemporary medicine.
This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and the Folger Shakespeare Library.
At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantastical story, the magic in these books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy. Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, the seven-part Harry Potter series examines important ethical topics: the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power.
This exhibition explores Harry Potter’s world, its roots in Renaissance science, and the ethical questions that affected not only the wizards of Harry Potter but also the historical thinkers featured in the series.
We invite you to explore Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine at the Spokane Valley Library!
This exhibition is brought to you by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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