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This book offers the first full-length study of early modern contentment, the emotional and ethical principle that became the gold standard of English Protestant psychology and an abiding concern of English Renaissance literature. Theorists and literary critics have equated contentedness with passivity, stagnation, and resignation. However, this book excavates an early modern understanding of contentment as dynamic, protective, and productive. While this concept has roots in classical and medieval philosophy, contentment became newly significant because of the English Reformation. Reformers explored contentedness as a means to preserve the self and prepare the individual to endure and engage the outside world. Their efforts existed alongside representations and revisions of contentment by authors including Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton. By examining Renaissance models of contentment, this book explores alternatives to Calvinist despair, resists scholarly emphasis on negative emotions, and reaffirms the value of formal concerns to studies of literature, religion, and affect.
Shakespeare education is being reimagined around the world. This book delves into the important role of collaborative projects in this extraordinary transformation. Over twenty innovative Shakespeare partnerships from the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Europe and South America are critically explored by their leaders and participants. –Structured into thematic sections covering engagement with schools, universities, the public, the digital and performance, the chapters offer vivid insights into what it means to teach, learn and experience Shakespeare in collaboration with others. Diversity, equality, identity, incarceration, disability, community and culture are key factors in these initiatives, which together reveal how complex and humane Shakespeare education can be. Whether you are interested in practice or theory, this collection showcases an abundance of rich, inspiring and informative perspectives on Shakespeare education in our contemporary world.
'The danger is in the neatness of identifications', Samuel Beckett famously stated, and, at first glance, no two authors could be further distant from one another than William Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett. This book addresses the vast intertextual network between the works of both writers and explores the resonant correspondences between them. It analyses where and how these resonances manifest themselves in their aesthetics, theatre, language and form. It traces convergences and inversions across both œuvres that resound beyond their conditions of production and possibility. Uncovering hitherto unexplored relations between the texts of an early modern and a late modern author, this study seeks to offer fresh readings of single passages and entire works, but it will also describe productive tensions and creative incongruences between them.
Cervantes the Poet travels from the court of Isabel de Valois to Rome, Naples, Palermo, Algiers, and Madrid's barrio de las letras. Recovering Cervantes' nearly forty-year literary career before the publication of Don Quijote, Gabrielle Ponce-Hegenauer demonstrates the cultural, literary, and theoretical significance of Cervantes' status as a late-sixteenth-century itinerant poet. This study recovers the generative literary milieus and cultural practices of Spain's most famous novelist in order to posit a new theory of the modern novel as an organic transformation of lyric practices native to the late-sixteenth century and Cervantes' own literary outlook.
Lauren Robertson's original study shows that the theater of Shakespeare and his contemporaries responded to the crises of knowledge that roiled through early modern England by rendering them spectacular. Revealing the radical, exciting instability of the early modern theater's representational practices, Robertson uncovers the uncertainty that went to the heart of playgoing experience in this period. Doubt was not merely the purview of Hamlet and other onstage characters, but was in fact constitutive of spectators' imaginative participation in performance. Within a culture in the midst of extreme epistemological upheaval, the commercial theater licensed spectators' suspension among opposed possibilities, transforming dubiety itself into exuberantly enjoyable, spectacular show. Robertson shows that the playhouse was a site for the entertainment of uncertainty in a double sense: its pleasures made the very trial of unknowing possible.
This volume maps Shakespearean virtue in all its plasticity and variety, providing thirty-eight succinct, wide-ranging essays that reveal a breadth and diversity exceeding any given morality or code of behaviour. Clearly explaining key concepts in the history of ethics and in classical, theological, and global virtue traditions, the collection reveals their presence in the works of Shakespeare in interpersonal, civic, and ecological scenes of action. Paying close attention to individual identity and social environment, chapters also consider how the virtuous horizons broached in Shakespearean drama have been tested anew by the plays' global travels and fresh encounters with different traditions. Including sections on global wisdom, performance and pedagogy, this handbook affirms virtue as a resource for humanistic education and the building of human capacity.
An emotive, haunting story of a community torn apart, the Essex witch accusations and trial of 1581-2 are, taken together, one of the pivotal instances of that malign and destructive wave of misogynistic persecution which periodically broke over early modern England. Yet, for all their importance in the overall study of witchcraft, the so-called witches of St Osyth have largely been overlooked by scholars. Marion Gibson now sets right that neglect. Using fresh archival sources – and investigating not just the village itself, but also its neighbouring Elizabethan hamlets and habitations – the author offers revelatory new insights into the sixteen women and one man accused of sorcery while asking wider, provocative questions about the way history is recollected and interpreted. Combining landscape detective work, a reconstruction of lost spaces and authoritative readings of crucial documents, Gibson skilfully unlocks the poignant personal histories of those denied the chance to speak for themselves.
Described by one contemporary as the 'sweet singer of The Temple', George Herbert has long been recognised as a lover of music. Nevertheless, Herbert's own participation in seventeenth-century musical culture has yet to be examined in detail. This is the first extended critical study to situate Herbert's roles as priest, poet and musician in the context of the musico-poetic activities of members of his extended family, from the song culture surrounding William Herbert and Mary Sidney to the philosophy of his eldest brother Edward Herbert of Cherbury. It examines the secular visual music of the Stuart court masque as well as the sacred songs of the church. Arguing that Herbert's reading of Augustine helped to shape his musical thought, it explores the tension between the abstract ideal of music and its practical performance to articulate the distinctive theological insights Herbert derived from the musical culture of his time.
The interconnected themes of land and labour were a common recourse for English literary writers between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, and in the twenty-first they have become pressing again in the work of nature writers, environmentalists, poets, novelists and dramatists. Written by a team of sixteen subject specialists, this volume surveys the literature of rural working lives and landscapes written in English between 1500 and the present day, offering a range of scholarly perspectives on the georgic tradition, with insights from literary criticism, historical scholarship, classics, post-colonial studies, rural studies and ecocriticism. Providing an overview of the current scholarship in georgic literature and criticism, this collection argues that the work of people and animals in farming communities, and the land as it is understood through that work, has provided writers in English with one of their most complex and enduring themes.
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.
Race may dominate everyday speech, media headlines and public policy, yet still questions of racialized blackness and whiteness in Shakespeare are resisted. In his compelling new book Ian Smith addresses the influence of systemic whiteness on the interpretation of Shakespeare's plays. This far-reaching study shows that significant parts of Shakespeare's texts have been elided, misconstrued or otherwise rendered invisible by readers who have ignored the presence of race in early modern England. Bringing the Black American intellectual tradition into fruitful dialogue with European thought, this urgent interdisciplinary work offers a deep, revealing and incisive analysis of individual plays, including Othello, The Merchant of Venice and Hamlet. Demonstrating how racial illiteracy inhibits critical practice, Ian Smith provides a necessary anti-racist alternative that will transform the way you read Shakespeare.
The Masculinites of John Milton is the first published monograph on Milton's men. Examining how Milton's fantasies of manly authority are framed in his major works, this study exposes the gaps between Milton's pleas for liberty and his assumptions that White men like himself should rule his culture. From schoolboys teaching each other how to traffic in young women in the Ludlow Masque, to his treatises on divorce that make the wife-less husband the best possible citizen, and to the later epics, in which Milton wrestles with male small talk and the ladders of masculine social power, his verse and prose draw from and amplify his culture's claims about manliness in education, warfare, friendship, citizenship, and conversation. This revolutionary poet's most famous writings reveal how ambivalently manhood is constructed to serve itself in early modern England.
The Pursuit of Style in Early Modern Drama examines how early modern plays celebrated the power of different styles of talk to create dynamic forms of public address. Across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, London expanded into an uncomfortably public city where everyone was a stranger to everyone else. The relentless anonymity of urban life spurred dreams of its opposite: of being a somebody rather than a nobody, of being the object of public attention rather than its subject. Drama gave life to this fantasy. Presented by strangers and to strangers, early modern plays codified different styles of talk as different forms of public sociability. Then, as now, to speak of style was to speak of a fantasy of public address. Offering fresh insight for scholars of literature and drama, Matthew Hunter reveals how this fantasy – which still holds us in its thrall – played out on the early modern stage.
Boy Actors in Early Modern England: Skill and Stagecraft in the Theatre provides a new approach to the study of early modern boy actors, offering a historical re-appraisal of these performers' physical skills in order to reassess their wide-reaching contribution to early modern theatrical culture. Ranging across drama performed from the 1580s to the 1630s by all-boy and adult companies alike, the book argues that the exuberant physicality fostered in boy performers across the early modern repertory shaped not only their own performances, but how and why plays were written for them in the first place. Harry R. McCarthy's ground-breaking approach to boy performance draws on detailed analysis of a wide range of plays, thorough interrogation of the cultural contexts in which they were written and performed, and present-day practice-based research, offering a critical reimagining of this important and unique facet of early modern theatrical culture.
Shakespeare Survey is a yearbook of Shakespeare studies and production. Since 1948, Survey has published the best international scholarship in English and many of its essays have become classics of Shakespeare criticism. Each volume is devoted to a theme, or play, or group of plays; each also contains a section of reviews of that year's textual and critical studies and of the year's major British performances. The theme for Volume 75 is 'Othello'. The complete set of Survey volumes is also available online at https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we-publish/collections/shakespeare-survey This fully searchable resource enables users to browse by author, essay and volume, search by play, theme and topic and save and bookmark their results.
The first-ever critical anthology of the death arts in Renaissance England, this book draws together over 60 extracts and 20 illustrations to establish and analyse how people grappled with mortality in the 16th and 17th centuries. As well as providing a comprehensive resource of annotated and modernized excerpts, this engaging study includes commentary on authors and overall texts, discussions of how each excerpt is constitutive and expressive of the death arts, and suggestions for further reading. The extended Introduction takes into account death's intersections with print, gender, sex, and race, surveying the period's far-reaching preoccupation with, and anticipatory reflection upon, the cessation of life. For researchers, instructors, and students interested in medieval and early modern history and literature, the Reformation, memory studies, book history, and print culture, this indispensable resource provides at once an entry point into the field of early modern death studies and a springboard for further research.
Upending conventional scholarship on Milton and modernity, Lee Morrissey recasts Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes as narrating three alternative responses to a world in upheaval: adjustment, avoidance and antagonism. Through incisive engagement with narrative, form, and genre, Morrissey shows how each work, considered specifically as a fiction, grapples with the vicissitudes of a modern world characterised more by paradoxes, ambiguities, subversions and shifting temporalities than by any rigid historical periodization. The interpretations made possible by this book are as invaluable as they are counterintuitive, opening new definitions and stimulating avenues of research for Milton students and specialists, as well as for those working in the broader field of early modern studies. Morrissey invites us to rethink where Milton stands in relation to the greatest products of modernity, and in particular to that most modern of genres, the novel.
Victoria Moul's groundbreaking study uncovers one of the most important features of early modern English poetry: its bilingualism. The first guide to a forgotten literary landscape, this book considers the vast quantities of poetry that were written and read in both Latin and English from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Introducing readers to a host of new authors and drawing on hundreds of manuscript as well as print sources, it also reinterprets a series of landmarks in English poetry within a bilingual literary context. Ranging from Tottel's miscellany to the hymns of Isaac Watts, via Shakespeare, Jonson, Herbert, Marvell, Milton and Cowley, this revelatory survey shows how the forms and fashions of contemporary Latin verse informed key developments in English poetry. As the complex, highly creative interactions between the two languages are revealed, the work reshapes our understanding of what 'English' literary history means.
Closely examining the relationship between the political and the utopian in five major plays from different phases of Shakespeare's career, Hugh Grady shows the dialectical link between the earlier political dramas and the late plays or tragicomedies. Reading Julius Caesar and Macbeth from the tragic period alongside The Winter's Tale and Tempest from the utopian end of Shakespeare's career, with Antony and Cleopatra acting as a transition, Grady reveals how, in the late plays, Shakespeare introduces a transformative element of hope while never losing a sharp awareness of suffering and death. The plays presciently confront dilemmas of an emerging modernity, diagnosing and indicting instrumental politics and capitalism as largely disastrous developments leading to an empty world devoid of meaning and community. Grady persuasively argues that the utopian vision is a specific dialectical response to these fears and a necessity in worlds of injustice, madness and death.
Margaret Cavendish's prolific and wide-ranging contributions to seventeenth-century intellectual culture are impossible to contain within the discrete confines of modern academic disciplines. Paying attention to the innovative uses of genre through which she enhanced and complicated her writings both within literature and beyond, this collection addresses her oeuvre and offers the most comprehensive and multidisciplinary resource on Cavendish's works to date. The astonishing breadth of her varied intellectual achievements is reflected through elegantly arranged sections on History of Science, Philosophy, Literature, Politics and Reception, and New Directions, together with an Afterword by award-winning novelist Siri Hustvedt. The first book to cover nearly all of Cavendish's major works in a single volume, this collection brings together a variety of expert perspectives to illuminate the remarkable ideas and achievements of one of the most fascinating and prolific figures of the early modern period.