Coming home again: Johannes Hofer, Edmund Spenser, and premodern nostalgia

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The word ‘nostalgia’ was coined by the Swiss medical student Johannes Hofer in his 1688 Dissertatio medica de nostalgia, oder Heimwehe. Hofer’s treatise and Edmund Spenser’s 1595 poem Colin Clouts Come Home Againe exemplify a premodern nostalgia. Hofer moves between moments of familiarity and alienation, while Spenser’s poem offers a richly imaginative response to the Elizabethan attempt to ‘plant’ new homes in Ireland. In each case, premodern nostalgia situates the longing for home within patterns of doubling and repetition that unsettle ideas of origin and belonging even as they propagate them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-38
Issue number2
Early online date20 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2017


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