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The popularity of music in Restoration Shakespeare can be explained in part by the hitherto unacknowledged circulation of Shakespeare’s songs in print and manuscript during the Interregnum. It has often been assumed that the closure of the public theatres between 1642 and 1660 and the suppression of polyphonic church music caused seventeenth-century England to lag behind Europe musically. The Interregnum has therefore been side-lined by music and theatre historians in favour of the Restoration and its stimulating theatrical revival. While the cultural restrictions of the Civil War and Commonwealth inevitably impeded new theatrical works, a survey of the literature produced during the Interregnum conﬁrms a continued interest in drama and dramatic song. The songs from Shakespeare’s original plays reached an all-time peak in their appearance in print during the mid-seventeenth century. The Wits, or, Sport upon sport reveals that during the closure of the theatres, excerpts from pre-war plays were performed privately. The diaries of Evelyn and Pepys indicate that recreational and domestic music-making ﬂourished, and the distinction between professional and amateur musicians developed a ﬂuidity that would persist into the Restoration. The irrepressible enthusiasm for dramatic songs fuelled the phenomenon that would come to be known as Restoration Shakespeare.
This essay explores overlapping and intersecting modes of communicative interchange which characterised Gaelic cultural expression in the long early modern period. For a variety of complex reasons, print failed to supplant script as a communicative mode in Irish until arguably late in the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century. Accordingly, the present essay seeks to delineate an often elusive but nonetheless intellectually dynamic encounter between print technology and communication in Irish down to the nineteenth century. Given the potent cultural and historical resonance of Gaelic script, it is argued that early modern Gaelic Protestants were acutely attentive to the ideological implications of an alignment of venerable scribal practice with print technology in the presentation of a new and radical religious programme. It is proposed that a vibrant Gaelic scribal culture was informed and energised by a creative confluence of script, print, and orality.
Technology in Irish Literature and Culture shows how such significant technologies—typewriters, gramophones, print, radio, television, computers—have influenced Irish literary practices and cultural production, while also examining how technology has been embraced as a theme in Irish writing. Once a largely rural and agrarian society, contemporary Ireland has embraced the communicative, performative and consumption habits of a culture utterly reliant on the digital. This text plumbs the origins of the present moment, examining the longer history of literature's interactions with the technological and exploring how the transformative capacity of modern technology has been mediated throughout a diverse national canon. Comprising essays from some of the major figures of Irish literary and cultural studies, this volume offers a wide-ranging, comprehensive account of how Irish literature and culture have interacted with technology.
Chapter 1 treats the War of the Morea as a major media event that sheds new light on the relationship between communication and power in seventeenth-century Venice. Challenging the exceptionalist assumption that secrecy was the guiding principle of official policy, wartime culture reveals an active willingness to deploy publicity to boost government reputation and bolster the Republic’s declining ruling class. In considering different information modalities – oral, manuscript, print, ritual – the chapter approaches news as a form of discourse that integrates facts, emotions, and interpretations. As Walter Benjamin noted, news reporting always comes with explanation, a ‘psychological connection’ that is ‘forced on the reader’. Rather than limit the scope of analysis to the mechanics of communication, the chapter critically examines how war news integrated fact and value to justify military action abroad and encourage popular engagement with empire at home.
Molière’s publishing career highlights the ambiguities and eccentricities of the early modern Parisian book trade, while also demonstrating the author’s concern for his plays’ passage from stage to page. While Molière was initially victimised by unscrupulous booksellers, he eventually became an able participant in the publication process, capable of exploiting print’s possibilities to his own advantage. His career can be roughly divided into three phases: his early and ultimately successful battles against pirated editions that led to a stable publishing approach; his mid career rupture with his initial publishers and the resultant search for new partners; and his subsequent collaboration with Jean Ribou, including the alternative publication measures taken as a result of Ribou’s continued legal troubles. While on occasion Molière disavowed an interest in publication rhetorically, his actual practice reveals an author invested in the circumstances of his works’ printing and inventive in his interactions with Parisian publishers, in some instances even outmanoeuvring the professionals of the book trade. Working in an era prior to modern copyright protections, Molière learned to use publication, the royal privilege system, and personal notoriety to ensure ownership and control over his theatrical corpus.
Molière was an experienced actor and dramatist before he became a published author. He warned readers on more than one occasion that much of his art was simply lost in print. If that is self-evidently true, it is also the case that it was not all loss for Molière’s original readers: they could read his dedicatory epistles to society’s potentates whom he was trying to impress; they could read his occasional prefaces, in which he addressed his readers directly and with a lightness of touch that anticipates the dramatic text itself; and they could sometimes see illustrations that crystallised key aspects of his comic imagination. Moreover, readers would have been familiar with newly established conventions in the printing of dramatic literature that would have helped them to reconstitute in their mind’s eye aspects of performance: scene divisions evoking entrances and exits, and stage directions both explicit and (more importantly) implicit. The punctuation of the printed text is an unreliable guide to actual performances, but helps readers to hear the particular performance inscribed into the printed version of the text. Meanwhile, different editions, in the seventeenth century and since, with ever-evolving apparatus, offer readers increasingly varied approaches to the plays.
Chapter 1 explores the process of adjusting to England's new and uncertain religious settlement, and the broader impact that this process had on the way that religious differences were discussed. It does so by seeking answers to two questions. First, why was the legislation of 1689 an inadequate framework for managing religious difference? Secondly, how did contemporaries seek to overcome these perceived inadequacies? Through exploring these questions, it becomes apparent that adaptation to toleration involved the development of rhetorical strategies – particularly in contemporary print – that set up oppositions between Church and Dissent not just in political or religious terms, but also in terms of social status and behaviour. As the process of coming to terms with toleration unfolded, therefore, religious difference came to shape the developing social and cultural norms of the period.
Chapter 4 examines the codification of agricultural knowledge, the process through which practical knowledge was transformed into writing. Rather than asking whether this produced ‘useful’ knowledge to improve farming methods, it asks: for whom was such knowledge useful? It first identifies the construction of ‘agriculture’ as a literary category and an independent body of theory in the seventeenth century, departing from classical and medieval genres. The main section analyses four key modes of codification from 1669 to 1792: systematic, theoretical, experimental and observational. It argues that fundamentally all these modes of codification were shaped by the need to subordinate customary knowledge and labour and establish the supremacy of written knowledge. It further argues that the art of husbandry was codified in accordance with the cultural preferences and managerial interests of landowners, professionals and large farmers. Hence farming books provided a managerial knowledge suitable for the emerging occupational structures of agrarian capitalism.
The Anacreontic Society was one of the most prominent convivial societies of the late eighteenth century – an era in which the associational world flourished. This essay treats the Anacreontic Society as a literary, as well as a musical, society, and focuses on the anacreontic songs that were performed there. The essay focuses on the Anacreontic Society’s relationship to the print marketplace, considering both the way the physical gatherings were publicized in newspapers, and the way songs performed at the meetings were printed. It argues that print was considered an important end in itself, but ultimately led to the collapse of the society, as the society imploded under the scrutiny of the print public sphere. The Anacreontic Society might be seen as an exemplary failed institution, one which exposes the criteria by which a successful institution might be judged.
The rise of agrarian capitalism in Britain is usually told as a story about markets, land and wages. The Enclosure of Knowledge reveals that it was also about books, knowledge and expertise. It argues that during the early modern period, farming books were a key tool in the appropriation of the traditional art of husbandry possessed by farm workers of all kinds. It challenges the dominant narrative of an agricultural 'enlightenment', in which books merely spread useful knowledge, by showing how codified knowledge was used to assert greater managerial control over land and labour. The proliferation of printed books helped divide mental and manual labour to facilitate emerging social divisions between labourers, managers and landowners. The cumulative effect was the slow enclosure of customary knowledge. By synthesising diverse theoretical insights, this study opens up a new social history of agricultural knowledge and reinvigorates long-term histories of knowledge under capitalism.
Translation is embedded in the globalization of literature from the inception of print circulation. From fifteenth-century Western Europe to a world increasingly networked by imperialism in the early nineteenth century, printed translations are not simply reproductions or transferals of original literary texts, but dynamic assemblies of agents. In addition to the author, translator, editor, and publisher, numerous non-human agents including print and book design, but also the intellectual abstractions of world literature and the history of the idea of translation itself are actors in the process. Paradigmatic examples from diverse spatio-temporal zones including Renaissance multilingual translation, colonial translations in North India, and Arabic translations of European literature in the nineteenth century demonstrate that putting a work into a new language is beset with the Eurocentric aesthetics of world literature and reinforced by colonial regulation. At the same time, it challenges a controlled world system with indeterminacy and decentralization. As literary linguistic contacts grow and evolve across the globe in this period, the praxis of translating is not restricted by prescription. More importantly, the ontology of translation is unbound. Rather than belated second acts of literature translations are co-creations with the source.
Via petitions for freedom, addresses to children, and writings about religious deliverance, Black authors of the first decade of the nation’s founding expressed hope and encouragement for a free future beyond themselves. Both early Black literary and emancipation efforts contributed to a project of imagining and producing early Black futures. Forms of intergenerational address reached beyond any individual author’s scope to speculate about the future and to address the actual Black children whom they acknowledged as part of their communities, among their potential readers, and as would-be beneficiaries of their work. When we consider print technologies among the larger scope of Black technoculture and theological discourse alongside other notions of the speculative, we can understand early Black community, literature, and generational address as a form of (proto-)Afrofuturism. The fullest understanding of Black literary sociality is generational in scale, extending Black print from producing Black community to imagining Black futurity. Attention to early African American literature’s future gesturing also allows us to regard later scholarly interest in literary “firsts” with an eye not only to our contemporary construction and reconstruction of literary canons but also to account for early Black writers’ most hopeful literary visions.
One of the most striking developments of this period was the rise and success of the official lottery, first staged in 1694. Prior to its abolition in 1823 – the last official lottery was held in 1826 – the lottery represented state-sanctioned gambling, as well spawning a whole host of derivative gambling activities. This chapter explains the operations of the lottery, in particular the markets for lottery tickets as they developed very rapidly from the 1690s, and grew to encompass the whole of Britain, penetrating deep down into as well as across British society. It emphasizes how far the early development of the lottery marketplace was enfolded within the contemporaneous financial revolution. From early on, however, it also owed much to widely diffused entrepreneurial spirit and energies, in particular those of the lottery office keepers and their proliferating agents. The lottery was thus another facet of the accelerating commercialization of British society in this period, as well as a leading exploiter of the new power of publicity unleashed by a relatively free and ebullient print industry. From newspapers to hastily printed single-sheet handbills, publicity was key to stoking contemporary interest in and demand for the lottery and its various derivatives.
Building on the turn to religious and political networks in the field of early modern women’s writing, the Introduction draws on the theory of intersectionality and the historiography of Puritan culture to argue that uses of the female voice in early Stuart England cut across lines of gender to build coalitions and undermine the essentialism on which the field is based. Challenging critics who suggest that early modern male ventriloquism leads to repression of the female voice, the Introduction offers the counter-example of Thomas Scott, who uses Esther’s words to articulate his own radical politics. Situating the present study as a necessary intervention in a field that is increasingly marginalized even as its archive has ballooned and its dispersal celebrated, this book answers the call for a larger narrative that puts the female subject and her voice at the heart of the early Stuart political imaginary.
Rabbi Jacob Emden (1697–1779) was an important rabbi and scholar in the area of Hamburg. One of his works, Mitpaḥat Sefarim (“Book Cloth,” Altona, 1768), is a critique of the Zohar (“Book of Splendor”), a canonical Jewish mystical text attributed to the ancient scholar Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai (ca. 2nd cent. CE). In Mitpaḥat Sefarim, Emden casts doubt upon the Zohar’s provenance, authorship, and age. This critique has led some to identify Emden with the early beginnings of the Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment, as an opponent of mysticism. However, Emden took mystical sources very seriously, both in the spiritual realm, and, as this article shows, even in his writings on religious law. This article examines the perceived contradiction in Emden’s thinking, and proposes a view of Emden as an early modern printer and critic with a unique perspective, rather than a confused precursor of modern ideas.
This chapter examines the oratorical tradition of the soapbox speech in Ellison's fiction and describes the similarities between prominent New York orators of the early twentieth century and aspects of the protagonist of Invisible Man.
If one of the most prominent features of early America was the collision of peoples from two hemispheres, much of this collision found expression through different expectations of how men and women should behave. Because participants in these encounters saw that what they thought of as natural attributes of men and women were not consistent across the lines of culture, and because printed descriptions of those encounters expanded the audience for those encounters, it is not an exaggeration to say that early America as a site of contact did much to provoke widespread contemplation of what in the twentieth century came to be known as the distinction between sex and gender. Texts such as John Marrant’s account of his captivity in a Cherokee town and Amerigo Vespucci’s letters illustrate how understanding early America in all its complexity requires accounting for the intricacies of gender as they were performed in intersection with other identity categories such as race. The history of colonialism and the Atlantic slave trade also shows how gender became an instrument of domination. Finally, the stories of figures like Catherine Tekakwitha demonstrate that occasionally individuals found new lives in early America in part by adopting foreign performances of gender.
Looks forwards to the shipping container, a universally recognisable box crucial to the networks and infrastructures of contemporary capitalism. This ubiquitous object, a box with a standardised form, has transformed the global movement of stuff. The box of all boxes, this icon of modernity is a reminder that the way we live continues to be constrained by material things. Summarises how the book as a whole has told the story of the early modern precursors to this object, a dynamic range of boxes that enfranchised ways of being, thinking, and writing.
Focuses on the reliquary: an enclosing, revealing structure, which engages intensely with its contents. The apparently idolatrous worshipping of ‘Gods bodye in the box’ was a persistent complaint among reformers, and the murky box of the reliquary epitomised the falseness of the Roman Catholic faith. The chapter starts with sixteenth-century encounters with relics, beginning with Erasmus, whose attitude is characterised by ambiguities about the spiritual significance of material things. Comparing satirical and polemical responses to relics from both sides of the religious divide, the chapter considers how these boxes operated as contested sites. It then turns to the afterlife of the reliquary once it had been removed from the religious sphere, and locates its survival in the vocabulary of post-Reformation libraries as new kinds of shrine, and in seventeenth-century printed reliquiae, as safer kinds of receptacle. Even after the reliquary appeared to be emptied of its dangerous significance, the very idea of the relic and the possibilities offered by this controversial box endured as ways of thinking about the interweaving of physical and intellectual apprehension demanded by books.
Within the holdings of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto there is a curious, rarely examined handwritten book entitled Opera Evangelica, containing translations of several apocryphal works in English. It opens with a lengthy Preface that provides an antiquarian account of Christian apocrypha along with a justification for translating the texts. Unfortunately, the book's title page gives little indication of its authorship or date of composition, apart from an oblique reference to the translator as ‘I. B.’ But citations in the Preface to contemporary scholarship place the volume around the turn of the eighteenth century, predating the first published English-language compendium of Christian apocrypha in print by Jeremiah Jones (1726). A second copy of the book has been found in the Cambridge University Library, though its selection of texts and material form diverges from the Toronto volume in some notable respects. This article presents Opera Evangelica to a modern audience for the first time. It examines various aspects of the work: the material features and history of the two manuscripts; the editions of apocryphal texts that lie behind its translations; the views expressed on Christian apocrypha by its mysterious author; and its place within manuscript publication and English scholarship around the turn of the eighteenth century. Scholars of Christian apocrypha delight in finding ‘lost gospels’ but in Opera Evangelica we have something truly unique: a long-lost collection of Christian apocrypha.