Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-8bbf57454-gwkvl Total loading time: 0.319 Render date: 2022-01-24T18:06:00.863Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

6 - Touching the self: masturbatory Marston

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2009

T. F. Wharton
Affiliation:
Augusta State University
Get access

Summary

John Marston begins the prefatory letter to his 1604 comedy Parasitaster, or the Fawn with a disingenuous bit of self-analysis and strategic self-positioning vis-à-vis his ‘Equal Reader’:

I have ever more endeavoured to know myself than to be known of others, and rather to be unpartially beloved of all, than factiously to be admired of a few; yet so powerfully have I been enticed with the delights of poetry, and (I must ingeniously [i.e. ingenuously] confess) above better desert so fortunate in these stage-pleasings, that (let my resolutions be never so fixed to call mine eyes into myself) I much fear that most lamentable death of him,

Qui nimis notus omnibus, Ignotus moritur sibi.

– Seneca.

The move is to disarm those critics who would not be even-handed (or ‘equal’) by professing a deeply introspective and self-critical tendency that renders further scrutiny of this particular ‘stage-pleasing’ redundant. Marston also announces his philosophical allegiance with the Stoics, ancient and modern, the familiar burden of whose counsel is Nosce teipsum, Know thyself, and he opposes the strict virtues of self-knowing to the delightful blandishments of Dame Poesy. Even as he sets up knowledge as the higher goal, however, the very existence of this preface asserts his intention to continue his career on the public stage, to persist in his ‘self-hindering labours’. Why should Marston make such a point of simultaneously aspiring to the commonly approved goal of self-knowledge and revealing his resistance to it?

Type
Chapter
Information
The Drama of John Marston
Critical Re-Visions
, pp. 100 - 123
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2001

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×