I'm reading an article about Philip K. Dick written by Roger Zelazny. Zelazny talks about Dick's Galactic Pot-Healer and says:

Galactic Pot-Healer -- When the encyclopedia defines a particular creature as the dominant life-form on a certain planet and then points out that the species only consists of one member ... This one is almost whimsical. But not quite. A Philip Dick book can never be categorized that neatly. But this one is a bit special in the focussing of its humours (Elizabethan usage) and in the almost pastoral quality of certain sections.

I'm confused about what Zelazny means by "humours (Elizabethan usage)". According to what I found on the internet, the word "humour" in Elizabethan time could mean "the characteristics that make up a man's temperament". Is that what Zelazny means?

I mean, he talks about how Dick cannot be categorized. Then he says Dick is special in focusing on his characters' temperaments and writing pastorally. I don't see the logic or relation between one thing and another. Can anybody explain the idea for me?

1 Answer 1


Zelazny does not say that Dick's work cannot be categorized at all: he says that it cannot be categorized “that neatly”, referring to the immediately preceding categorization of Galactic Pot-Healer as “whimsical”.

He then substantiates this assertion by providing two further categories which may be brought to bear on Galactic Pot-Healer: comedy of humours and pastoral, both of which were important genres in Elizabethan literature.

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