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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2022
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Book description

Drawing together leading scholars of early modern memory studies and death studies, Memory and Mortality in Renaissance England explores and illuminates the interrelationships of these categories of Renaissance knowing and doing, theory and praxis. The collection features an extended Introduction that establishes the rich vein connecting these two fields of study and investigation. Thereafter, the collection is arranged into three subsections, 'The Arts of Remembering Death', 'Grounding the Remembrance of the Dead', and 'The Ends of Commemoration', where contributors analyse how memory and mortality intersected in writings, devotional practice, and visual culture. The book will appeal to scholars of early modern literature and culture, book history, art history, and the history of mnemonics and thanatology, and will prove an indispensable guide for researchers, instructors, and students alike.


‘Bridging the fields of memory and death studies, this collection is an important contribution to our understanding of the complex interconnections between memory and mortality in early modern English literature, visual culture, and the commemorative arts. These essays by a group of leading scholars offer thought-provoking, highly readable analyses on how English society confronted such vital questions as how to use the memory arts to prepare for death and how the dead should be memorialized and remembered. Each of these case studies provides fresh insight into the far-reaching aesthetic, political, religious, and cultural ramifications of memory and mortality in the period.'

Paul D. Stegner - California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

‘A stimulating collection of cross-disciplinary essays and signal contribution to the ‘religious turn' in early modern studies which is highlighting the centrality of the memory arts to how reformation England framed its remembrance of death and the dead. Memory and Mortality in Renaissance England not only offers an accessible introduction to two overlapping fields of interdisciplinary inquiry, the memory and death arts; its twelve chapters, written by some of the leading scholars in early modern studies worldwide, also show how a focus on remembering death in the early modern period can generate new, insightful readings of key English Renaissance authors, including Donne, Shakespeare, Milton and Marvell. With its accessible structure and extensive editorial apparatus, Memory and Mortality adds greatly to growing academic interest in the customs and cultures that grew up around the remembrance of death in early modern England and will appeal to scholars and students of English literature, reformation history, and art history.'

Stewart Mottram - University of Hull

‘The present volume is the explicit commentary on the implicit connections between two earlier anthology projects helmed by the same editorial team, The Memory Arts in Renaissance England (2016) and The Death Arts in Renaissance England (2022). Memory and Mortality in Renaissance England provides the critical commentary and analysis of the literary, dramatic, and artistic subject matter of the memory arts and the death arts that were scrupulously curated in the previous works. … A welcome addition to the fold of sixteenth and seventeenth century studies, Memory and Mortality in Renaissance England offers a litany of engaging paths for those with a variety of interests… Historians of early modern England working on emotion, the body, and space and place especially would be remiss to bypass Memory and Mortality in Renaissance England.’

Rachel Monsey Source: The Seventeenth Century

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