Disgust c. 1600

ENGLISH LITERARY HISTORY 81.2 (2014): 553-583

Abstract: This article traces a history of disgust from the moment the word is first attested in English. It tracks the grammar of disgust and its relationship to an emerging socioaesthetics of taste in an urban scene. And it explores some of the literary texts that take disgust as their subject: Ben Jonson’s Poetaster and “On the Famous Voyage,” Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, with reference to William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. The largest claim is that in the early modern period a rhetorical theory of the passions that treats them as situated social events decisively shaped the forms of literary production with results that are still with us today.