The Inner Senses (NEW!)

Project: Collecting the Inner Senses (Contribute your findings below!)

Most scholars studying late medieval and early modern authors have encountered references to or performances of the inner senses. These inner senses appeared in scientific, medical/surgical, architectural, alchemical, literary, natural philosophical, popular, trade and religious texts, images, rituals and plastic arts. My project is an attempt to collect, organize and interpret the influence of the inner senses in late medieval and early modern culture. If you have come across references, or think you have encountered the inner senses in your readings, please submit your encounters with these 'organs of the soul.'

What are the Inner Senses?

From the fourth through the 18th Century, individuals believed that the organs of the soul (located in the ventricles of the brain) allowed one access to the secrets of the world. This belief created long-lasting brain rituals that were both generally practiced and specific to individual thinkers and their communities. The inner senses were defined as (in the ventricles of the brain, moving from the front to the rear) common sense, imagination (fantasy), reason (intellect/judgment/estimation), and memory (reminiscence), which were differentiated from the five 'external senses' of touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing.

What are Some Examples of the Inner Senses?

I am looking for references to the inner senses or their proper performance as well as secondary source approaches to the inner senses. Below are some that I have found already:

Contribute your findings to this Project:

In order to access sources outside of my own field, I am requesting submissions from any one interested in Early Modern Culture. Please use the form below to provide citations you have found that deal with the Inner Senses. ALL SUBMISSIONS WILL REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL. Contact information is voluntary and will only be used for questions regarding your submission or to further dialogue about the inner senses.