“And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the four humors

One of the greatest writers of all time, William Shakespeare, defined human personality in terms of four bodily humors: blood, bile, melancholy, and phlegm. According to Shakespeare, the four humors shaped and defined personality as well as physical and emotional health.

STC 22273 Fo.1 no.01, title page
Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library

“And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the four humors explores the four humors in several of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays through beautiful imagery and rare books from both the National Library of Medicine and the Folger Shakespeare library, and examines more modern interpretations of the four humors in contemporary medicine.

Developed and produced by the Exhibition Program at the National Library of Medicine and the Folger Shakespeare Library, check out the exhibit coming for the month of January.