Property, Income, and Dynastic Aspirations in Early Modern Italy
In early modern Italy, the wealthy classes generated income by accumulating, developing and renting property. The meteoric rise in status of Gian Paolo Della Chiesa (1521 – 1575) provides a case study for examining the relative processes and procedures.
Della Chiesa was from a patrician family in the provinces of the Duchy of Milan; he made a career for himself as a lawyer and senator in Milan and then — after the death of his wife — as a cardinal in the Roman Curia. While he lived in Milan, he acquired residential property in the city and a farm in the hinterland. He made investments as finances permitted, but also had dynastic aspirations: in preparation for marriage, he acquired a house in an aristocratic neighborhood which became his family home. He managed all of these properties himself, and he later passed them on to his descendants.
Following Della Chiesa’s surprising elevation to ecclesiastical honors and responsibilities, he was enriched with income from monastic institutions. Early on, he was named the honorific abbot of four different monasteries. With friaries available due to the suppression of the Humiliati order (1571), the reigning pope used five choice properties to benefit both Della Chiesa and the cardinal’s project for a new cathedral in his hometown. This windfall required a different level of organization, and Della Chiesa created a bureaucracy of family members, legal representatives and surveyors. Over the following three years, he amassed a large amount of silver plate, contemplated creating a permanent residence for himself in Rome, and provided his two daughters with astronomical dowries. At his untimely death, Della Chiesa’s shady dealings left an enormous debt that his heiress was required to fulfill.
The documentation about Della Chiesa’s finances provides detail about income and the property management in early modern Italy.
The Figura Serpentinata in Paradise Lost
This paper links the Mannerist figura serpentinata to the curving, twisting figure of the serpent which stretches languidly across Milton’s Eden, lending his shape to its ontological processes of creation and learning. Derived from the Platonic pyramidal flame of knowledge and light, the figura serpentinata depicted human forms in twisting, upwardly-spiraling poses in order to convey man’s moral and spiritual growth through dynamic physical realism. In Paradise Lost, the movement of the planets, botanical growth, Eve’s hair, and human learning are all figured through wandering, erring, and other to and fro, serpentine movements signaling matter’s aspiration for its divine origins. Following this, I suggest that Satan’s selection of the serpent as the vehicle for his fraud is not arbitrary in the slightest: his shape already implicitly represents the aspiration for divine knowledge that is woven into the fabric of creation.
Rhetorical Regicide: The Gendered Dynamics of Mary I’s Queenship
When Mary Tudor and Philip of Spain entered London together in 1554, Philip occupied a role that was traditionally, and until this point exclusively, female—that of the foreign royal destined to be married to England’s monarch. Scholars have noted Mary’s dominance in the entry and her marriage ceremony; she was clearly positioning her own precedence over Philip as sovereign. Her kingly rhetoric throughout these events served as a reminder to England that she, not Philip, was in charge. However, upon their marriage, Mary’s authority shifted from Queen Regnant to married woman. As the female half of the royal couple, her body would be called upon to produce an heir. While this heir would have prevented the Protestant Elizabeth from taking the throne, the act of bearing a child repositioned Mary’s authority still further from the masculine power of the throne. The fact that she suffered two false pregnancies and was subsequently abandoned by her husband left her with no authority at all—as a mother, wife, or queen. By examining Mary’s rhetorical moves before, during, and after her marriage to Philip, I argue that Mary I’s marriage stripped her of rhetoric of kingship and replaced it with the rhetoric of queenly wifehood: consort.
This paper traces Mary’s rhetorical change after her marriage from Queen Regnant to co-monarch. Material objects such as the Great Seal reflect the equalizing of power between Mary and Philip, while written documents such as the treaty defining Philip’s role as King consort reflect Mary’s demand for sovereignty. By examining contemporary historical documents as well as material objects associated with Mary, I reveal the ways in which she reconciled her queenship with her womanhood, and ultimately argue that her marriage resulted in a material and symbolic erasure of her as a capable queen.
“Let burnt sack be the issue”: Immigrants as Threat and Remedy in William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor
In this essay, I examine the ways in which Shakespeare draws on medical discourse concerning wine, and sack in particular, to explore the ambiguous and fraught status of immigrants to England. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, the only one of Shakespeare’s comedies that is explicitly set in England, Falstaff drinks sack, an imported wine specifically associated with the threat of immigrants, in order to heal himself from the disease of erotic melancholy. Sack was considered both a cause of, and remedy for, disease, in both a physiological and socio-political sense. Because of its sweetness, physicians claimed that sack could heal a variety of ailments. However, as an imported wine, it was also associated with the economic threat that immigrants supposedly posed to the English body politic. Falstaff justifies his extensive wine consumption by claiming that it will restore him, yet it seems as though the sack might be furthering his diseased state.
Because Shakespeare repeatedly implies that Falstaff’s individual body represents the body politic, relying on the common early modern literary metaphor that equates the individual body to the socio-political body, I argue that Falstaff’s consumption of wine symbolizes the complex and often fraught relationship of immigrants to the English body politic. Just as sack was associated with foreign influence yet also beneficial to the individual body, immigrants perceived as polluting to the English body politic were, in fact, essential to the health and restoration of the country. In my analysis I engage recent scholarship both on early modern medicine and alcohol consumption, which highlights the way wine evoked a wide range of complex and often contradictory meanings, both physiological and social, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Shakespeare’s engagement with both medical and political discourse concerning sack highlights the ways in which the play is deeply engaged with the nuances and complexities of England’s relationship to its immigrant population.
Who Needs a Husband? Elizabeth I of England and the Queens Regnant of Early Modern Europe
Historians have traditionally treated Elizabeth I of England as a very singular kind of queen, who bucked a traditional queenly playbook to blaze her trail as a single woman, neglecting to marry and bear heirs as most queens were expected to do. Fully aware of her possession of male gendered political power, Elizabeth’s frequent references to herself as prince in the Machiavellian sense presupposes a genderless conception of a female body politic that she ultimately found incompatible with the marriage of the female body natural. With her sister Mary’s marriage to Philip of Spain as a cautionary tale, Elizabeth’s historical reputation emerged as one that demonstrated that the advantages of remaining unmarried outweighed the dynastic risks. This model became a powerful precedent for subsequent female rulers such as Christina of Sweden and Catherine the Great of Russia, who also “neglected” to take husbands while demonstrating a woman’s ability to rule a state without a male consort.
“La Santuzza:” Santa Rosalia and the Iconography of Plague and Royalty
Santa Rosalia is the patroness of Sicily and most especially of the capital city, Palermo. During the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, we have recalled Santa Rosalia and her purgative campaign against “la peste bubbonica,” which afflicted Palermo and environs, after arriving in Sicily on a ship from Tunis in 1624. The ship, captained by the already plague-afflicted Muhammad Calavà and brought into Palermo in 1624 by Sicily’s Viceroy Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, unleashed its already-infected crew and its rats on the city, spreading the plague throughout the island of Sicily and beyond. Santa Rosalia’s cleansing panacea for Palermo emanated from her dead body, her moribund bones, which had lain buried and dormant in her wet and numinous mountain retreat for almost five–maybe sixteen–centuries, depending on which version of her hagiography you select. Palermo was delivered from the Black Death between 9 June and 15 July of 1625 in a type of processional “passover” after Rosalia’s relics were processed through the city streets, at her behest in one of her earthly appearances.
Through the power of her cadaverous and salvific bones, “La Santuzza,” or “the little Saint,” halted the bubonic plague that had beset the city and emerged as Palermo’s uncontested heroine and guardian through today. “Viva Palermu e Santa Rusalia,” is the chant, in Sicilian dialect, passionately wailed as she is paraded in effigy through the streets on her “festa” or feast day in mid-July.
Indeed Rosalia has entered, once again, into the forefront of Christian prayer during the coronavirus pandemic. She has been invoked by the people of Palermo—and by faithful believers worldwide–to halt the coronavirus. She is trending on social media, Twitter, and Instagram. This young hermit saint, who led a life of renunciation, contemplation, and prayer, has offered up to the faithful, again, an example of penitence and hope. This paper will examine some of the stages in the iconography of Santa Rosalia from the early Middle Ages to van Dyck’s celebrated image of the saint of 1624, painted as he witnessed the plague ravage the island.
The Living Bust in Seventeenth-Century Author Portraits: A Baroque Rendering of a Classical Motif
Most Renaissance scholars know the topos of an author’s published work enduring as a living monument after his or her death. Hitherto unremarked is a pictorial version of this formula that I call “the living bust,” a portrait type, common in book frontispieces, that developed in the seventeenth century. This iconographic convention depicts an author as classical bust, but, rather than mimic carved stone, presents illusionistically rendered flesh, eyes, hair, and fabric. An uncanny effect develops as the bust’s insistently fragmented body—readily accepted by the eye when depicted in the uniform tones of marble—coexists uneasily with the vibrantly rendered features. The visual paradox is typically Baroque, unsurprisingly, as the prototype of the living bust motif is Cornelis Galle I’s 1615 collaboration with Peter Paul Rubens for an engraving of Philip Rubens. This visually arresting portrait inspired similar works by Willem Jacobsz. Delff, Anthony Van Dyck, Jacob Neefs, Wenceslaus Hollar, William Faithorne, and others, many of which appeared as elements within monumental frontispieces of such books as the Beaumont and Fletcher folio, Robert Herrick’s Hesperides, Richard Lovelace’s Posthume Poems, and Katherinie Philips’s Poems, to name only a few. These images allegorize the Horatian and Ovidian claims that “part” of the author survives in his or her works. Yet this triumphant boast is typically balanced by the admission that another, mortal “part” will pass away. The impossibly “alive” busts emblematize this mixture of victory and defeat. Lacking trunks and limbs, yet occupying positions of authority and textual potency, they stand liminally between ability and disability, mortality and immortality, evoking the Kristevan “abject” and challenging viewers to confront what Rosemarie Garland-Thomson calls the “parameters of human wholeness and the limits of free agency.” The living bust represents a threshold between the ego’s transcendental aspirations and bodily transience. This interdisciplinary paper first establishes the existence of the living bust as a portrait type and then proceeds to demonstrate, through the detailed analysis of several examples, the ways in which these images interact with other paratextual and textual elements to articulate the liminality of the book as a living monument.
John Webster the Hoarder: Signifying the Feminine in The Duchess of Malfi
John Webster was a hoarder, at least as revealed by his writings. He collected stories from William Painter’s The Palace of Pleasure; he famously collected sententiae and peppered his plays with commonplaces. These proverbial couplets jarringly follow scenes of violence or confusion, but rather than providing solace, their presence juxtaposes awkwardly with the material realities of the plot and situations. In contrast to his universalizing rhetorical tropes, Webster also hoards and records material minutia, the subject of much contemporary feminist work investigating the corporeality of the Duchess, her embodied self. The Duchess of Malfi is cluttered both with physical objects and verbal tropes that convey the materiality of the female body. As in a court trial, a situational device that Webster used explicitly in several other plays and implicitly in Bosola’s Act Four testing of the Duchess, the play contains multitudinous physical evidence of the Duchess’s sex and its consequences. Earlier critical opinion was polarized; while some proclaimed the foolishness of the Duchess’s actions in her covert marriage beneath her social class and others praised her strength of character, most interpretations since the 1990s unabashedly proclaim her feminism. However, a closer look at all aspects of the play reveals rather than overlooks the tension between material girl and idealistic, virtuous woman. I hypothesize that the excess of material objects signifying the feminine overuses Stuart stereotypes of women, creating a doomed “flesh and blood” female, as the Duchess proclaims herself, and, in the process, deconstructing the transcendent aphorisms that further clutter the play.
Amber Boetger (Faulkner University)
Richard’s Linguist Deposition in Shakespeare’s Richard II
This paper examines the nuances deposition in William Shakespeare’s Richard II. When examining Richard II, many scholars, actors, and directors choose to emphasize the juxtaposition between Richard’s and Bolingbroke’s linguistic expressions, particularly their use of conflicting metaphors (water and fire). However, throughout the course of Richard II, Richard begins the process of linguistic deposition prior to any secondary interactions with Henry Bolingbroke. Throughout the later half of the tragedy, starting with the death of Kings, Richard’s place in the English court is degraded resulting in an apparent shift in his use of pronouns and metaphors. Richard shifts from use of the royal we to the subjective and servile I as an indication of his symbolic transference of power. His initial transference of power, apparent in his pronoun shift, is then emphasized through his use of the metaphors, which transfer from Biblical allusions and illustrations of a thriving land to invocations of the Medieval concept of death, and his use of rhetorical forms, particularly antimetabole and anaphora.
While Richard’s transference of power through linguist deposition illuminate his personal insecurities and insufficiencies as a ruler, his manipulation of language also provides opportunities for Richard to display his moral superiority over Bolingbroke and conceived remnants of power. Finally, Richard’s personal deposition creates an environment where he can evoke sympathy during his literal deposition scene.
The Lamentations for the Death of Henry, Prince of Wales: Grieving the Loss of an Heir or the Reign of a King?
By the time of his death, the young Henry, Prince of Wales (1594-1612), had already managed to be regarded as the ideal heir of James I. Henry had gained widespread popularity due to his reputation for chivalric and prudent behavior as well as his Protestant piety and militarism. These were also the characteristics that had been attributed to the young Prince in the court masques that had celebrated his potential as a virtuous and successful heir to the English throne and a leading European monarch. It is interesting that Henry himself tried to construct such a self-image with his active participation in the production of the relevant masques. These representations of Henry as well as his own conduct inevitably highlighted his differences from his father and put the latter in an uncomfortable position. Henry’s military aspirations and almost impeccable reputation was in sharp contrast with James’s pacifism and the steadily deteriorating public opinion about him. And while James’s pacifism could be easily presented as the policy of an experienced and wise King, the increasing corruption of his court could not be as easily excused. The texts and entertainments that sought to praise the young Prince were themselves caught in this conflict, as they tried to extol the son without offending the father. When the young Prince died, there was an unprecedented outpour of private and public grief that is manifested in numerous sermons, elegies and poems. By examining these texts, this paper will explore the implications of the profuse lamentation over Henry’s death in relation to the attitudes of the English people towards James I and their evaluations of his reign.
Kimberly Bressler (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
“Villain, what hast thou done?”: A Comparative Analysis of Rape in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and Middleton’s Women Beware Women
Much has been written about rape during the Renaissance period, both considering actual cases, as well as literature written about it. Scholars such as Donatella Pallotti discuss these intersections quite elaborately within their work. However, this scholarship tends to overlook the process of hue and cry that women would have experienced during the Renaissance in order to simply report a rape. This difficult process accounts for the lack of documented accounts of rape often missing in Renaissance research archives. For this reason, it can be assumed that women often chose other avenues than reporting a rape in order to move past the event. In this way, my scholarship aims to address the crossroads women stood betwixt once raped during the Renaissance era. Specifically, I will be looking at the characters of Lavinia in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and Bianca in Middleton’s Women Beware Women, both rape victims who choose different outcomes after their attacks, one justice and the other marrying her rapist. The crux of my argument lies in the fact that Bianca is living in a world of poverty while Lavinia is the daughter of a well-known war hero; financial security would appear to dictate the course of action a woman could take within a society dependent upon a hue and cry judicial system. Overall, this research will ideally illuminate the complexities of the hue and cry and why our history lacks records of rape from the Renaissance era.
Holy Mary: Dress and the Fashioning of Mary I’s Catholic Identity
There remains a large gap within current early modern English scholarship concerning Mary I’s wardrobe as well as Marian fashion more generally. Studies of Tudor dress have tended to focus almost exclusively upon the court of Mary’s father Henry VIII or her half-sister Elizabeth I, whose impressive wardrobe has already been extensively studied. Janet Arnold has provided an exhaustive pictorial and textual inventory of Elizabeth I’s wardrobe, while Carole Levin has definitively demonstrated how dress was integral to the formulation of Elizabeth’s lasting image as the “Virgin Queen” or “Gloriana.” Yet, how has fashion contributed to the formation of Mary’s image and legacy as “Bloody Mary,” the papist murderer of Protestant martyrs? This paper examines the role of dress in the fashioning of Mary I’s royal image, with particular attention to her Catholic identity. I first explore Mary’s apparel before and after her accession in 1553, and then proceed to analyze her posthumous wardrobe within drama, literature and printed works from the seventeenth century to today. This paper reveals how such an emphasis on specific colors, cuts, styles and garments has helped shape her historical identity as a Catholic queen. I demonstrate how playwrights and authors emphasized Mary’s Catholic faith through her dress and physical appearance. Indeed, Mary was often garbed in opulent and heavily embellished attire in order to symbolize popish vice and excess. Other authors dressed her in Iberian styles or in the plain garb of a novice as in Webster and Dekker’s Sir Thomas Wyatt in order emphasize her loyalty to Spain. Ultimately, this paper reinforces how fashion was, and still remains, a fundamental aspect of religious, political and historical identity.
“Wilde Iustice” in Titus Andronicus
This paper hopes to build on extant scholarship on revenge in Shakepseare’s Titus Andronicus by investigating the role of justice as an ideal and as a system. In viewing Titus Androncius through this lens, this paper points to elements that mirror specific anxieties about the Elizabethan justice system, such as the head of state’s role as head of justice for the state. This paper goes on to clarify these anxieties in Titus with two aspects of Elizabethan justice that were highly controversial. First, I address the anxiety surrounding the royal pardon and how that anxiety manifests in the resolution of Act I. Second, I address Lavinia’s rape and the murder of Bassianus as a way of looking at the monarchy’s role in local justice systems and the subsequent creation of the justice of the peace.
The conflation of justice and the state is immediately problematized in Titus as the play begins with a tremulous succession. As a result, I propose that Saturninus’ failure as an ideal Roman emperor leaves Rome without a strong sense of justice. Saturninus and Bassianus represent two competing notions of Rome, and their competing candidacies are on which the fate of justice in Rome lies. The latter aligns more with a republican ideology and therefore represents an ordered state in which justice thrives. Saturninus, however, represents the Roman tyrant. According to Saturninus, Rome must recognize the validity of his claim, giving him the “justice” of its support; in this, he fails to comprehend his responsibility as a proposed leader to deliver justice for, and in service to, the state. Though Act I resolves the issue of succession, I contend that the rest of Titus continues in a state of disordered chaos and compromised justice and its unfettered milieu allows such brutal violence and retaliation to occur.
Viewing the Bronze Narrative Reliefs by Bellano and Riccio at the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua
Paduan sculptor Bartolomeo Bellano made ten bronze reliefs of Old Testament narratives between 1484 and 1486 and his successor Andrea Riccio made two more in 1506-1507 for the exterior of the choir enclosure of the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua. Following a major fire in the church in 1749, numerous original architectural elements were re-used in the reconstruction of the choir enclosure; however, the bronze reliefs were moved inside along with some architectural parts formerly on the exterior. While scholars have disagreed about the plan of the original choir, all have accepted the elevation drawings of the choir enclosure’s original exterior published in 1851-1852 by Bernardo Gonzati in his massive work devoted to the Basilica of the Santo. Although the elevations scrupulously adhere to the detailed description of the original enclosure published in 1590, significant inaccuracies of scale appear to exist. The elevation drawings enlarge the scale of the three-by-two foot bronze panels and position them some eight feet high, making their small-scale elements difficult to see, whereas inside the rebuilt choir they are placed slightly above eye level.
The present paper considers three factors essential to considering how the reliefs originally looked to visitors: 1) their gilding and relief height; 2) comparison with the size and viewing height of reliefs on other choir enclosures; and 3) the viewing height of other gilded bronze reliefs by the sculptors and Donatello for the High Altar within the choir itself.
Aaron Cassidy (Baylor University)
In Praise of Crypsis: Milton’s Revised Ramism
John Milton’s revision of Peter Ramus in Artis Logicae represents both a significant break with Ramism and a return of Ramism to its roots. In his 1572 Dialecticae, Ramus insists that his famous “method,” which dictates a straightforward order of presentation, is the sole method to be used, not only by teachers but also by poets and orators, if they are honest. By contrast, he denounces crypsis, the omission or addition of matter or the inversion of sequence, as necessarily deceptive because it departs from the Ramist method. When Milton revises Ramus’s 1572 Dialecticae into his own 1672 Artis Logicae, he breaks with Ramus by suggesting that poets and orators should choose their own method and by reclaiming crypsis. In keeping with the principle of decorum, Milton allows that one’s method of presentation should fit the needs of the particular rhetorical occasion (kairos). Thus, one method cannot fit every kairos. In his revisions, Milton presents crypsis as a common mode of writing which strategically omits, adds, or inverts, often through rhetorical figures, to achieve legitimate pedagogic and poetic goals. These revisions also bring Artis Logicae into harmony with the 1546 edition of Dialecticae, where Ramus allowed for two methods, a “method of teaching” (later, his only method) and a “method of prudence” (later, crypsis). The method of prudence is named for the prudence that a teacher must show in situations where the method of teaching will not reach the audience. Milton shows the incongruity in Ramus’s 1572 denunciation of crypsis (the method of prudence) by emphasizing where crypsis remains embedded within even Ramus’s 1572 Dialecticae. Milton’s reinstatement of crypsis in Artis Logicae constitutes a return to Ramus’s prior position, as well as a defense of rhetoric and poetry.
Cheryl Castles (Northeastern State University)
Navigating Progressive Society from Within Patriarchal Culture in Measure for Measure
Shakespeare’s comedies highlight England’s evolving, more progressive attitudes towards women while effectively navigating the predominately patriarchal society. In her book, Domination and Defiance: Fathers and Daughters in Shakespeare, Diane Dreher notes that these shifts in cultural values challenged the “hierarchical obedience” expected in familial relationships, especially those of the father-daughter relationship. Shakespeare presents this cultural upheaval in his comedies through spirited young women who breach legal and social customs while demonstrating their intellectual prowess and brave tenacity in order to have a say in their own lives. Through the father-daughter relationship, Shakespeare calls into question the father’s expectations of absolute authority and the compulsory obedience required. Those fathers who violate their authority are censured, and the daughters are protected through their own actions or by a substitute patriarchal authority. Through the comedic form, Shakespeare depicts the evolving father-daughter relationships from a relationship of protection to one that allows the daughter a measure of independence. However, in Measure for Measure (MM), what scholars posit as his final comedy, Shakespeare highlights the societal complications that arise when daughters experience the absence of familial patriarchal authority. Three daughters experience social and moral challenges without the protection of a father or any established parental guardianship. Shakespeare’s convoluted and fantastical solution is delivered through dual supreme surrogate patriarchal authorities, yet he continues to operate within the acceptable bounds of both civil and ecclesiastical patriarchal authority to achieve suitable justice for each woman. MM emphasizes the vulnerability of young women who, despite their intelligence and rhetorical skills, might have been left at the mercies of corrupt authority. As a result, while Shakespeare validates the more progressive culture where women intervene and act according to their own choices, he continues to preserve the culturally acceptable role of women as wives.
De Girolami Cheney (University of Bari, Italy)
Giorgio Vasari’s Fiery Putto: Artistic Armorial
Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) recounted in his vita or autobiography that his knowledge of emblems derives from his formal education in the classics with the humanists, Giovanni Pollastra and Pierio Valeriano in 1530; his contact with Andrea Alciato in 1540, when he is painting the Refectory of San Michele in Bosco in Bologna; and his interactions with the humanists, Vincenzo Borghini, Annibale Caro and Paolo Giovio, when in 1546, Vasari was decorating the Sala dei Cento Giorni in the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome (Vasari, VII, 686).
As a consequence of his schooling and contacts, Vasari was aware of the literary and printed traditions associated with emblematic and mythographic sources and their assimilation and application to artistic imagery. In his coat of arms depicted in his homes, Arezzo and Florence, Vasari visualized this appropriation.
Louise Cole (University of Arkansas)
Barrenness, Monstrosity, and Redemption: Exploring Motherhood in Paradise Lost
When the voice first speaks to the newly formed woman contemplating her reflection, it offers Adam to her as a more substantial companion than her watery image, declaring, “To him [thou] shalt bear / Multitudes like thyself and then be called / Mother of human race” (4.473-5). The heavenly voice —presumably that of God—refrains from referring to her as “Eve,” a name which will conflate her identity with her maternal role. To both Adam and the poet, however, she is already “Eve” whom Adam directly addresses when she turns aside at their first meeting and whom the poet a few lines later refers to as “our gen’ral mother” (492). Eve’s association with motherhood while in Paradise can be seen as part of the complexity of time in the epic, as the narrative perspective shifts between the dramatic “now” of the prelapsarian Garden, her future as the prophesied mother of mankind, and her mythical role as ancestor to the poet and his readers. Milton’s concept of time in Paradise Lost and other works, such as his “Nativity Ode,” distinguishes between “two ‘nows’”—one being the “now” of eternity or the static “now” and the other being the dramatic “now” of time, constantly in flux. Although the association of Eve with motherhood seems fitting within the eternal framework of the narrative as the starting point for human history, the association is somewhat problematic within the dramatic narrative of time as it unfolds in the epic since Eve fails to conceive in Paradise despite being given a divine injunction to be fruitful and multiply and (thanks to Milton) an established sex life. Eve’s delayed fertility eventually gives way to post-lapsarian motherhood, but after the fall, motherhood is conflictingly characterized as both a curse (depicted allegorically in the character Sin) and a means of salvation (foreshadowing the Virgin Mary as a perfected “second Eve”).
Shakespeare and the Gentiles
Ernst Kantorowicz in The King’s Two Bodies (Princeton 1957) cites to the Case of the Dutchy of Lancaster, 4 Eliz. Mich (1560) in Plowden’s Reports (1578) where the justices in England held that the King had two bodies, one where he speaks for himself in his personal capacity, and one in which he speaks as the head of the body corporate for the monarchy itself, which has no infancy, nonage or death. What Kantorowicz and others like Marie Axton developing these findings have overlooked is that the political theology of the King’s Two Bodies was in part derived from the grammar of royal speech: every self-referential utterance used by the monarch, every salutation used by the monarch and every reference to the monarch in the third person required the speaker to employ either the singular form of a personal pronoun to reference the monarch in his personal body or the gentile, the corporate form of the pronoun known to us in common parlance as the “royal we” but distinguishable from the plural, as in Claudius’s grant of jurisdiction to Hamlet, “Be as ourself in Denmark.”
Shakespeare’s plays introduce unexpected variance in the use or omission of the gentile in the self-referential, salutory and third-person forms in key passages in several of Shakespeare’s works. This essay shall discuss what the variance means at law. Contextualizing the analysis with passages from William Lilly’s royally approved grammar, the essay shows erroneous the presumption that a concordance of Shakespeare’s works constitutes a database that can be mined to discover the quotidian use of pronouns in Shakespeare’s day. By illustrating the plot implications deriving from deviant gentile use, the discussion shall show how Shakespeare’s plays tested the keenness of his audience attention to royal speech. As the Case of the Dutchy of Lancaster implicitly signals, the distinction between the two bodies was crucial for those in the Inns of Chancery who copied out Letters Patents and grants of title in the King’s name. Inasmuch as the education in law in England began in the Inns of Chancery, it appears that Shakespeare’s variance in the use of gentile serve to differentiate the naïve understanding of the masses who neglected the nuances of gentile use from those more attentive listeners in his audience who were better trained at law.
Hayley Cotter (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)
Robbers of the Sea: Popular Accounts of Piracy, 1609-1675
In England, between 1519 and 1610, the government issued twenty-seven royal proclamations concerning piracy. These proclamations included calls for the discovery and apprehension of specifically named pirates as well as general prohibitions against piracy (such as a 1599 proclamation that forbade piracy against allied shipping). Between 1611 and 1675, the number of this type of proclamation dropped to seven. Interestingly, the decline in printed royal proclamations concerning piracy corresponded with an increase in popular accounts of pirates: examples include Ward and Danseker: Two notorious Pyrates (1609), A true relation, of the lives and deaths of two most famous English pyrats (1639), News from Sea, or, The Takeing of the Cruel Pirate (1674), and An Exact Narrative of the Tryals of the Pyrates (c. 1675). Some of these accounts included woodcuts, suggesting an appeal to a popular readership.
My paper does not address the crime of piracy from a legal-historical context, but rather considers how non-lawyers, non-mariners, and non-merchants obtained their information about this maritime crime. Piracy occupies a unique position in early modern English crime narratives: unlike infractions committed on English soil, which were adjudicated by the common law courts, criminal and civil cases of piracy were handled by the High Court of Admiralty. And just as most readers would never encounter pirates on the high seas, most would never have cause for business in the admiralty court. Consequently, the world of pirates remained removed from readers’ everyday existence; piracy represented a transgression that they would have scant opportunity to commit.
Ultimately, my paper considers how, as a genre, a proclamation differs from a “popular account” in the way it conveys information about piracy, and implications of this difference. It considers these popular accounts as the offspring of the royal proclamation, one that both supplanted and transformed the government document, and traces this genealogy by analyzing distribution (from publicly displayed to privately purchased), form (from official government document to commercial text) and content (from unembellished facts to sensational narrative). It also ponders how the illustrations in certain popular accounts act as an additional means of theorizing early modern piracy.
Jasmin Cyril (Benedict College)
Display and Ornament: Carlo Crivelli and the Taste for Islamic Textiles in North Italian Painting
The appearance of Islamic carpets and textiles in North Italian painting represented the entanglement, according to the theories expressed in current scholarship by Brian Catlos, Michael Dietler and the Mediterranean studies community, between the Ottoman empire and the trading cities on the Adriatic. The process of entanglement relates the understanding of exchange and transmission across cultures both diachronically and synchronically. It is the aim of this paper to review and reframe the experience of how North Italian artists included specific examples of Islamic textiles and carpets and the reception of the images in sixteenth-century Italy. Gentile Bellini made direct contact with the Ottoman east and produced a portrait of Sultan Mehmet II., c. 1480, National Gallery, London. He included a prayer rug, sajjada, in his Madonna and Child Enthroned, National Gallery, London, 1475-85. The carpets are identified as a Para-Mamluk carpet and an “Ushak” re-entrant prayer rugs.. Carlo Crivelli, Venetian painter who travelled broadly in the Veneto and Marches, had access to trading contacts and luxurious fabrics and textiles. This is confirmed in his paintings as he rendered those sumptuous and visually tactile quality in the paintings. He used gold leaf, sgraffito, pastiglia and metal stamps to relay the depth and richness of those complex and lush textiles. In the Annunciation with St. Emidius, 1486, National Gallery London, the three Islamic carpets alone are indicative of this obsession, however the brocades and silk textiles in the robes of the participants and interior domestic scene rival those in splendor. Crivelli’s St. Mary Magdalene, 1480, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam is a paean to his attraction to surface texture, pattern and luxury derived from Islamic sources. It will be suggested here that the inclusion of silk, brocade and luxurious rugs signified the ongoing exchange and construction of cultural memory bonds between the Ottoman empire and the Adriatic communities in Italy.
Marvell’s Mower Poems: Between Labor and History
This paper examines Andrew Marvell’s mower poems, with a keen focus on “Damon the Mower,” and their representation of the figure of the laborer. While Marvell critics like Rosemary Kegl have done much to argue for the mower as representative of an emerging class of displaced wage laborers, this literature has not gone far enough in its consideration of the social being of the wage laborer as Marvell represents it.
Rather than focusing on the nature of the mower’s labor, I intend to focus on the nature of the mower as laborer. As such, this paper purports to examine the mower’s relationship to history. This relationship, I argue, emerges in a double register. Firstly, I claim that the mower as a character is unable, often comically, as in the case of the defanged snake and his eventual “fall” in “Damon the Mower,” to recognize the historical associations his actions bear. In both examples, Damon fails to recognize the biblical precedents his actions suggest. Here, through a brief comparison to the character of Thestylis in “Upon Appleton House,” who happily accepts the narrator’s linking of her labor to a Biblical precedent, I show how the mower’s itinerancy as a worker yields an inability to form a historical consciousness, unlike Thestylis, who, as a worker rooted in the Appleton estate, is able to form that consciousness easily.
Secondly, I argue that the way the poems are written enacts this same structure, as they take on many of the tropes of pastoral poetry, even while they constantly undermine them and unfold as poems that are outside the typical generic confines of pastoral. Through this logic of alluding to and invoking a past tradition only to continually disavow it, Marvell’s poems seek to engender in their reader the same instability represented in the figure of the mower. This dual inability to connect the past and the present, I conclude, is emblematic of an aristocratic reaction against the rise of wage-labor. Rather than being purely nostalgic, however, as an idyllic pastoral might be, Marvell’s poems are attuned to the material processes of labor throughout.
Amy Drake (Independent Scholar)
Theater Closure in the Seventeenth-Century and Today: Remaining Relevant Then and Now
My research explores the parallels between the closing of the theaters in England from 1642 to 1660 and the closing of Broadway, regional, and city theaters during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a playwright, my colleagues and I have had to find ways of keeping out work in view of our audiences and stay relevant in our field, much as playwright of the seventeenth-century had to find ways of adapting to forced closures of theaters. Although the circumstances vary, the struggle is much the same. The one constant is that they, and we, must keep writing. My presentation will discuss the Zoom phenomenon in presenting plays. I have had my work in four Zoom events in the last few months. As I will discuss, this is not an ideal solution for the lack of live theater, is does provide an outlet for the creative arts and content for audiences struggling with isolation.
One of the great differences between the seventeenth-century closure theater and today’s lockdown, is that in the earlier era the mere presentation of theater was a criminal offense. Today, we are contained by mandates disallowing gatherings of actors, techs, and the public to prevent the spread of the virus. Theater may not be against the law, but the stakes preventing public events are much higher in that they could be deadly.
The common factor between both closures is that playwrights continued writing. In the seventeenth-century there was a resurgence of closet drama, plays written by the upper class, typically women, to be read to a select circle in the privacy of their chambers and published discretely. Playwrights today continue to write, seeking to find an online audience which could be far wider than could be allowed into any standard theater.
One thing is certain—we will eventually emerge from the pandemic and theaters will reopen as they did historically. What that theatrical landscape will look like remains to be seen. This and similar topics will be covered in my forthcoming book on theater.
Sexual Violence, Politics, and the Queenship in Titus Andronicus and “The Rape of Lucrece”
Garthine Walker argues that rape has a history, and, to understand any particular instance of rape, we must consider its historical context. I would argue that representations of rape and sexual violence also have a history and stem from particular social contexts. With this argument in mind, this paper will examine representations of rape in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and “The Rape of Lucrece” in order to consider how the political and social context of the late 1580s and early 1590s influences representations of sexual violence in these works. The paper will focus on two significant late sixteenth-century anxieties: fear of England’s vulnerability to invasion and unease about female rule. Writers and artists conflated the body of Elizabeth I with the realm; her virginal body suggesting the inviolability of the nation. Titus and “Lucrece” present the violation of Roman matrons whose bodies are in meaningful ways conflated with land and state. The paper considers this anxiety about invasion from foreign powers, as well as agents of the Pope. It also examines continuing anxiety about female rule through a consideration of Tamora’s role in spurring on of her sons to rape Lavinia, an act which confirms stereotypes about the dangers of powerful women.
Jennifer Ehlert (Salve Regina University)
Restless Spirit: Jean Paul Richter’s Assessment of the Painting Scenes from the tale of Ginevra Degli Almieri and Antonio Rondinelli (c.1540)
In the 1895 exhibit catalog for London’s Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition of Old Masters, art historian and collector Jean Paul Richter lists a painting as Scenes from the tale of Ginevra Degli Almieri and Antonio Rondinelli. He dates the painting to circa 1540, attributing it the “German School.” It is now loosely attributed to Hans Schaufelein. At the time of the exhibit, the Renaissance legend of Ginevra degli Almieri was enjoying a huge resurgence throughout Italy, Britain, the United States, and elsewhere. However, despite Richter’s claim that this oil-on-wood panel relates to the popular tale, his claims merit scrutiny as the image presented on the panel, does not follow the visual or literary legacy of the tale.
The novella, La Historia di Ginevra degli’Almieri, penned circa 1550, retells the legend of Ginevra’s doomed marriage, her plague-related death, and her resurrection, deep in the tombs of the Florence Cathedral. It remains part of Florentine street culture as tour guides still retell this legend of love’s power and God’s grace under the shadow of Giotto’s campanile.
Published as a chapbook, geared towards tourists and revelers of street festivals, the woodcuts of this legend have received little scholarly merit, despite its continued popularity and inclusion in collector’s libraries. By focusing on the woodcuts, which are a combination of original illustrations and some cobbled from other stories, this paper will assess Richter’s attribution, to demonstrate that the 1540 panel does not follow other visual representations of the novella, and seems to belong to entirely different legend, possibly Bocaccio’s “Legend of Griselda and Gualtieri.”
Shepherd Aaron Ellis (The University of Cincinnati)
Dynasty, Interrupted: The Stuart Monarchy, the Protestant Reformation, and Early Nationalism
This paper investigates religious policy in the Stuart monarchy in England, before and after the Interregnum period. Policies from the Interregnum period are also intimately examined. The paper sorts through the philosophy, literature, and laws that address the relationship between the English government and religion. Special attention is paid to the ideas of toleration and religious diversity. In the process, Anglican, Puritan and Catholic theology are explored and connected to ideas of citizenship and early nationalism. I argue that the Puritan Interregnum, and the Glorious Revolution aimed to create a homogenous kingdom-wide religion. This culminated in Anne’s legal unification of Great Britain resulted in a self-consciously constructed ideal of Anglican citizens, reinforced by a sense of British national identity. In between this, the reign of the other Stuarts, especially James II, looked to broaden religious toleration, and English identity. While specific religious policy fluctuated, the Stuarts facilitated the last internal battle of the Reformation, and shaped England, and then Great Britain’s early national identity.
D. Geoffrey Emerson (University of Alabama)
Reflection and Refraction in Marvell’s Poetry and Prose
In his poetry, Andrew Marvell refigures refraction and reflection as distorting, yet often clarifying influences on human vision. In The Rehearsal Transpros’d, however, he primarily uses reflection to illustrate Samuel Parker’s flawed representations. By figuring Parker’s rhetoric as bent or broken mirrors, Marvell demonstrates not only how optical metaphor determine public discourse, but also how public discourse determines optical principles like reflection and refraction. Opticians and writers alike exert mastery over appearance by manipulating the light in which their audience sees the subject. Marvell, a master of textual optics himself, renders the literal and figurative lines that determine such appearances and, in doing so, demonstrates optical metaphors determine public discourse—dismissing it as mere appearance or claiming it as a faithful rendering or the world.
As Joanna Picciotto and Jane Partner explore, Marvell develops his analogical skills while optics come into focus during the early modern period—culminating in Isaac Newton’s aptly titled Opticks (1704), over a quarter century after Marvell’s death. Yet, Newton stood on the shoulders of Boyle, Hooke, Huygens, and Grimaldi who were supported by Descartes, Kepler, and della Porta among others. Despite these advancements, their contemporaries often viewed optics with deep skepticism arguing that magnification exacerbated the flaws of human vision rather than, as Hooke suggests, prosthetically correcting them. Both these advancements and their criticisms, however, are depend on metaphors determining the world: the eye becoming a camera obscura (Kepler), and a ray of light a tennis ball bouncing on the court (Descartes). The weight of the history of optics and its popular understanding live in the optical metaphors of public discourse.
By reflecting and refracting on both poetry and prose, Marvell distorts and clarifies his subject, sometimes simultaneously. He demonstrates that whether through lenses, water, steel, or language, master over appearance determines public and scientific discourse—indeed, he demonstrates that these spheres are mutually influential. By reconciling the optical images on Marvell’s poetry with the bent and broken mirrors of Rehearsal Transpros’d, I argue that Marvell demonstrates not only the value of scientific, but also the value of expertise in form and figure in the early modern period and in our own contemporary moment.
Enrique Fernandez (University of Manitoba)
Performative Gender and Perfunctory Sex in the Dance Macabre and Resurrection of the Flesh
I examine the competing vision of gender and sex as real vs constructed categories in the early modern period through the analysis of their treatment in the imagery of the Dance Macabre and the Resurrection of the Flesh. The imagery of the Dance Macabre reinforces the category of gender by presenting men and women joining the dance in scenarios highly specific to their gender and social position. However, the two categories are parodied by the dance-leading genderless skeletons who mimic the gender and position of the living by donning fool-like attires in the tradition of carnival and crossdressing. The living are parodied as an unstable aggregate of parts, like the skeleton made up of loosely attached bones, in which gender and class are ridiculed as mere props.
In the images of the Resurrection of the Flesh, skeletons coming out of the tomb are re-fleshed according to their previous sexual identities and become young, attractive naked bodies. Later, the saved ones are redressed across gender lines upon reaching heaven, while those gone to hell remain naked. However, this re-attribution of sexed flesh and gendered clothing lacks any purpose in their new lives. In hell, naked males and female are in communal scenarios that, in spite of resembling orgiastic cesspools, ban all possibility of sexual activity or procreation. Bodies and especially sexual organs only serve as mere loci of punishment by the devils. In heaven, the sexual differentiation becomes also purposeless since all the saved, even if attired and occasionally separated according gender lines, are eternally entranced in static adoration of the Creator and without interaction among themselves. As hell as in heaven, in spite of the previous re-fleshing and redressing according to sex and gender divides, sexual activity and gender roles are deprived of any meaning. As with gender in the Dance Macabre, sex differentiation is represented but neutralized through a higher-level discourse.
Gabriel Fernandez (The Catholic University of America)
“‘See Better’: Shakespeare’s Conception of King Lear through King David”
When looking at Shakespeare and religion, the task of categorizing The Bard to any sort of non-secular affiliation appears to be a daunting endeavor. To many scholars and critics, Shakespeare maintains throughout his oeuvre a “heterogeneous, protean theological-philosophical set of positions,” which is, ultimately, indivisible from his works. However, this particular argument does not consider Shakespeare’s “calculations of conception,” as I term it; in other words, when plays are considered on an individual basis, a different tale begins to unfold. For example, when entering the dysfunctional and stiflingly pungent “pagan” world of King Lear, one begins to witness the slow unraveling and deterioration of most, if not all, of the character’s souls and forces of beings because of, what many term, the “godless nihilism” of the play: “Nothing can come of nothing.” One is required to “speak again” to postulate, to form, to morph together, even to grasp closely any form of elemental gravitas that will lead to some sort of relative purpose of being. As the play begins its slow, sinking spiral of delusion and loss, one begins to see the play’s moment of irreversible stasis arrive when Lear is told to “see better” by the loyal and “prophetic” Kent. In a direct parallel from the story of King David, the prophet Nathan, through the means of a parable, informs David of the same, to “see better.” In short, this example being just one, Shakespeare implicitly alludes to and implies that his version of King Lear is also his version of the Biblical King David – kings and rulers lost within the opaque hubris of their own existence who are forced to suffer the ultimate penalty, as Nathan states the YHWH’s words, “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you.” When considering Shakespeare’s full “pagan” story of King Lear, the shadows and detritus of King David in the Hebrew Scriptures ring forth a clarion call of similarity of spirit and penurious loss of purpose of being.
A Bodily Hell: Contagion in The Spanish Tragedy
In The Spanish Tragedy, passion acts as a root cause of death, which, in turn, creates a “plague” like setting for the characters in the play. As the play unfolds in the first scene, we see fits of passion from many characters that lead to acts of revenge and ultimately death. Because passion, and in Shakespearean England, ‘spirits’ infect the characters’ rationale, the plague that runs through the play is both physical and mental. This then leads to my analysis of the play from a mental health perspective and how touch facilitates contagion of revenge and anxiety, ultimately allowing the play to be a quintessential picture of the decline of mental health due to an uncontrollable physical attack on the body.
On Acting in Hamlet and Plato’s Sophist, Statesman, Republic, and Laws
Rhodri Lewis’ Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness argues that the pervasive venatorial imagery in Hamlet “serves to utterly discredit Cicero’s moral philosophy” (102). Rather than reading these references to hunting as a critique of Cicero’s tired and shop-worn humanist morality, this paper reads the venatorial references that Lewis so astutely hunts down in terms of the trope of the sophist as hunter and hunted in Plato’s Sophist. Cicero’s analysis of “the knavery that masks itself as wisdom,” (de Officiis, 3.72), and his entire account of personation is closely connected to this trope. I argue that the play’s depiction of acting is intimately connected with Plato’s depiction of acting and that these references show that Hamlet is less a critique of Cicero, than it is an attempt to show Hamlet and the players as figures for a wisdom that wears the mask of knavery in a way that closely follows Plato’s use of the trope of acting. Through an analysis of the repeated appearances of this trope in the Sophist, Statesman, and Republic, and Laws. I argue that the play appeals to the imagery of hunting and acting less to disparage an exhausted Humanist morality, than to present Hamlet and the tragedians as more worthy of ruling than Claudius by virtue of their superior grasp of dialectic. This suggests that contrary to expectation, that the play is structured to display character, or “that within which passeth show,” as superior to external appearance in a way that that suggests that Hamlet is inverting Plato’s apparent critique of tragedy to make the display of ideas and virtue, or the philosopher’s thought and character into the central unifying theme of his tragedy.
“O how I rejoice! More women!”: Sisterhood in John Dryden and William D’Avenant’s revisioning of Shakepeare’s The Tempest
In 1667, John Dryden and William D’Avenant, revisited Shakespeare’s The Tempest to re-tell this story with the songs and sentiments of the Restoration period from its comic style to the political satire of establishing and maintaining governments. This version was extremely popular, resulting in an even more successful operatic adaptation in 1674 that was the standard version of the play audience saw until a return to the original in the 1830’s. What is an especially interesting change in this version is the addition of Dorinda, Miranda’s sister along with her love interest: Hippolito, the orphaned duke of Mantua, Prosporo’s ward whom arrived on the island with them and yet is raised in isolation. For these two daughters of Prospero, the chance to bond over their isolated upbringing, their devotion and frustration for their father, and their intrigue over the concept of a “man” complicates their growing sense of independence and agency, particularly for Miranda. Dorinda is the more comical and naïve of the two girls, offering Miranda yet another chance to show her compassionate nature for her and for the men they encounter on the island. As these women work to understand love, passion, and the rituals of courtship, their own sisterhood bonds, especially for Miranda and Dorinda, become lost. Fearing that her sister has affection for her beloved, each decries to never again share a bed with her sister who has betrayed her. Even as the play moves towards its conclusion of happy and multiple marriages, the sisters recognize that while they may be reconciled, their fate lies in the beds of their husbands. This essay will examine how Shakespeare’s isolation of Miranda in the original version places her within the traditional social constructions of courtship and marriage and how, even with the joyful addition of “more women,” this newer version subscribes to similar views. What role do female relationships thus play in The Tempest, and how does they contribute to its views of marriage and the state?
Wesley Garey (Baylor University)
“In every leaf, lectures of Providence”: Lucy Hutchinson, Natural Theology, and the Emblem-Book Tradition
Throughout her biblical poem, Order and Disorder, the seventeenth-century Puritan poet Lucy Hutchinson (1620-1681) retells the Genesis narrative, meditating on its spiritual meanings while engaging in nuanced ways with secular poetic genres, including romance, heroic epic, and Lucretian philosophical epic. Although Order and Disorder lacks any illustrations, Hutchinson’s paraphrase of the Genesis creation account frequently draws on language associated with the early modern emblem book tradition. Specifically, she often refers to objects, creatures, and phenomena in nature as if they are “emblems”—visual images charged with allegorical significance—that seventeenth-century readers encountered in multimodal devotional emblem books such as Francis Quarles’s popular 1635 Emblemes (O&D 2.97).
Although Hutchinson’s modern readers have noted her emblems in passing, this topic has received surprisingly little sustained discussion from scholars. Drawing on evidence from Hutchinson’s Genesis paraphrase and her recently published theological texts, I argue that Hutchinson participates in a specifically Reformed tradition of natural theology also found in writings by the Reformed theologians John Calvin and John Owen, whose works Hutchinson carefully read, annotated, and, in Owen’s case, translated into English. However, unlike Calvin and Owen, Hutchinson’s biblical epic uses specifically emblematic language to describe the natural world. In particular, as Hutchinson uses her emblems to teach her readers how to understand the “lectures” and “lessons” found in nature, she deploys interpretive strategies that have significant functional similarities to medieval allegorical hermeneutics (2.91, 2.295). Although Protestant hermeneutics has often been seen as focused on literal and typological readings of scripture, rather than “allegorical” ones, Hutchinson’s emblems frequently offer moral and eschatological readings that are strikingly reminiscent of medieval allegory. Hutchinson’s Reformed emblems thus show how early modern Protestant exegesis—even if opposed to allegorical hermeneutics in theory—might be quite allegorical in practice, both in terms of interpreting scripture and the natural world.
Worlds Enough and Time: The Fantastic Afterlives of “To His Coy Mistress”
Reception studies of Marvell have examined his political and high cultural legacy but neglected comparatively low cultural prose genres such as science fiction and fantasy. Between 1950 and 2020, “To His Coy Mistress” was by far his most influential work in these realms, generating some 30 titles—two of them including Marvell’s name, one making him a character in the story. Most treat the poem as a romance in embryo, in which sublimely vast scales of time and space subtend the adventures, separations, and reunions of loved ones. The Coy Mistress is understood to give in.
Christy Gordon Baty (University of Nebraska, Kearney) and Erin Harvey Moody (University of Glascow)
Elizabethan Embroidery: Gloriana’s Gifts and the Power of the Needle
In the Elizabethan court, gifts were not only highly valued, they were an important vehicle to create relationships, cement mutual obligations, and open up financial opportunities. In this era, when needlework was considered art, embroidered items elevated gift giving to a new level. Bess of Hardwick used embroidered gifts to secure placements at court. Princess Elizabeth used her needlework to secure favor with her mercurial father and new stepmother. Mary, Queen of Scots, used her needlework to court a prospective husband and send a message of mutual treason. All these gifts results in marriages secured, lineages established, and heads rolling.
In our presentation, we will examine the impact of embroidery in the Elizabethan court. By looking at Elizabeth I’s relationship to embroidery and gifts, and how the people of her court gave and received items, we will show how embroidery was both art and economic commodity.
Let’s Talk about “the Indian Slaves” in Marvell’s “Mourning”
Not much has been said about Marvell’s “Mourning,” and even less about “the Indian Slaves” that appear in the eighth stanza. This critical neglect is especially odd since, with the sudden appearance of American slavery in the poem, the narrator stops hesitating and “withholding” and starts passing judgement. He rebukes those who doubt the sincerity of Chlora’s tears in one of the poem’s most arresting images:
How wide they dream! The Indian Slaves
That sink for Pearl through Seas profound,
Would find her Tears yet deeper Waves
And not of one the bottom sound.
Here, Wilcher argues that we find “the true note and it indicates that the true afflatus had come on the poet…for the whole feeling of the poem changes, and instead of the ‘conceited’ and ‘metaphysical’ nonsense of which it has hitherto consisted, it ends simply and surprisingly.” But he doesn’t ask why that true note is found in the image of slaves who, by the time Marvell wrote the poem, had been part of the economy of the Caribbean pearl fisheries for over a hundred years. In 1516, the Spanish established their first rancheria on the island of Cubagua. By 1540, they had hundreds throughout the Caribbean, in which indigenous and African slaves had harvested over 120 million pearls. Those pearls represent at least 1.2 billion times that slaves sank “through Seas profound” to ship treasure back to Europe.
And yet that forced labor is elided from most discussions of the poem. In Paul Delany’s otherwise rich and sensitive close reading, for example, the whole question of slavery evaporates. “The beautiful image of the pearl divers,” writes Delany, “represents vividly the dreamlike futility of the observers’ quest for final truth.” The slaves here become divers, freely plumbing the depths of experience.
This brief paper will open up a conversation about the ways Marvell and his critics aestheticize slavery, connect it to the pastoral fictions of the rest of the poem, and undergird the production of beauty –and meaning – with it.
John Hall (Franklin Academy)
The de la Pole Family from the Champions of Henry VI to White Rose Thorn’s in the Tudors’ Sides
A brief investigation of the de la Pole family beginning with Shakespeare’s ahistorical depiction of William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk in is juvenilia works Henry VI Part 1 & Part 2, which is juxtaposed with the real Duke, the Lancastrian patriarch, married to Alice Chaucer (Grand-daughter of the Poet); whose descendants would marry into Richard, Duke of York’s family and become Yorkist advocates and pretenders to the crown of England. The de la Poles, with their Plantagenet blood, will be a threat to the upstart Tudors for decades after Bosworth Field and well into the rein of Henry VIII. This threat only ending on the bloody fields of Pavia.
Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales, and the Legacy of the Prince’s “Collegiate Court” at Nonsuch Palace
Historians of Stuart art are cognizant of the role played by Thomas Howard, fourteenth earl of Arundel, in the development of Charles I’s art collection. They also note Arundel’s relationship with Prince Henry, who died in 1612 at age 18. Arundel brought to both friendships his family ties to Nonsuch, the Tudor palace situated in Surrey southwest of London. Nonsuch was one of several residences that James designated for all his children; however, as Henry grew to adolescence it became specifically identified with him and his activities: his classical studies, athletic pursuits, literary patronage, and art, book, and manuscript collecting. Parry, Howarth, Smuts, Butler and others have recognized the importance of Henry’s friendship with Howard, finding in it the seeds of what would later become the earl’s more consequential collaboration with Charles I. I will focus on that earlier relationship and offer more information about Nonsuch. What do we now know about the galleries, courtyards, gardens, and entertainment grounds of this site that was actually lost to the modern era until the summer of 1959? Owing to that year’s archaeological excavation, we gain a sense of why the 18th-century historian Thomas Birch–writing 80 years after Nonsuch’s demolition–called it Henry’s “Collegiate Court.” Our understanding widens when we explore Howard’s close family connections: Howard’s paternal grandmother was a daughter of the first post-Henrician owner of Nonsuch, Henry Fitzalan, twelfth earl of Arundel. The younger Arundel grew up enjoying access to Fitzalan’s properties and to John Lumley, Fitzalan’s son-in-law, keeper of Nonsuch during the latter reign of Elizabeth I. Howard would have known Nonsuch’s displayed art and perhaps the artworks that lay hidden in its guarderobes. He would have been familiar with Lumley’s renowned library and with the garden statuary for which Nonsuch became a foreigners’ tourist attraction. He might have understood Nonsuch’s roots in the Italian-influenced 1530s’ architectural boom in French and English royal properties. Using works by Biddle, Dent, and historians of the Gonzaga of Mantua, I argue that Howard’s influential knowledge of Continental art must have derived, at least in part, from his lifelong familiarity with Nonsuch’s treasures.
Courtney Herber (Independent Scholar)
Warrior Queen and Defender of the Faith: Mary I, Hero of the Catholic Chronicles of the Sixteenth Century
In Pedro Calderon’s La Cisma de Inglaterra, first performed in the late 1620’s, the Infanta Maria, upon the grisly death of Ana Bolena, takes the throne beside her father. She makes it clear, however, that she would rather give up her right to the throne rather than renounce the Roman Catholic Church, as her father had done. When examining the play’s source history, it is easy to see how Calderon built directly from Pedro de Ribadeneyra’s Historia ecclesiastica in his characterization of Maria. These Spanish sources give a glowing portrayal of Mary and her reign.
La Cisma and Historia are not the only early modern sources which depict Mary and her rule in a positive light. The Catholic (or crypto-Catholic) chroniclers of England in the sixteenth century including Nicholas Sander, Henry Machyn, and Antonio de Guaras all depict the accession and reign of Queen Mary as unambiguously positive. In general, Protestant Chronicles, including Foxe’s Actes and Monuments and Holinshed’s chronicle, begrudgingly admit that Mary was warmly welcomed into London, but her later reign cast that goodwill into the mud.
It is not surprising that Catholic writers would see Mary’s reign as a godly one and the Protestant writers would disparage her. Within their depictions, however, there are more subtle differences which can be telling of what traits Mary displayed that were seen as positive by the Catholic writers versus those of a more Protestant persuasion. For example, neither Holinshed nor Foxe depicted Mary at the head of an army of supporters, rallied around her to reclaim her throne from Queen Jane, but de Guaras did. By describing Mary’s martial ability, de Guaras linked her to the memories of both her mother, Katherine of Aragon, before Flodden Field, and her grandmother, Isabel of Castile, during the Reconquista. By examining these chronicles, and ones that depict her mother’s tenure as a consort queen and her grandmother’s as a regnant queen, I will show that how Mary was depicted was reflective of much more than just a Catholic and Protestant divide, but also linked her to her mother’s Spanish family through her bloodline and her faith.
“To her whose virtues and kingdoms he inherits”: The Politics and Practice of Tudor Imperial Queenship
It takes as its inspiration one part of the epitaph that graces the tomb of Elizabeth I, commissioned by and completed during the reign of her successor, James VI & I, which extolls her memory as (in translation of the original Latin) “queen of England, France and Ireland,… mother of her country, a nursing-mother to religion and all liberal sciences, skilled in many languages, adorned with excellent endowments of both body and mind, and excellent for princely virtues beyond her sex” and elevates James by extension, as he who “hath devoutly and justly erected this monument to her whose virtues and kingdoms he inherits.” We assume that the epitaph refers solely to Elizabeth and that is precisely the text explicitly states and what James intended. However, as a sole line at the base of the same monument reminds us, “partners both in throne and grave, here we sleep Elizabeth and Mary, sisters”: the tomb marks both Tudor queens regnant, albeit one far more prominently than the other, and reminds us of what they shared. I argue, then, that James’s verse and specifically the clause that reveres the kingdoms—plural—that he inherited from Elizabeth can and should be construed as applicable to Mary as well, the predecessor from whom Elizabeth inherited her own crown. Doing so, and thus fighting against the entrenched historical and historiographical bias against the “bloody” Tudor queen while also elevating her using many of the same sources, methodologies, and units of analysis that have recently been deployed to revolutionize Elizabethan Studies, I unearth new insights into the politics and practice of Tudor queenship as an imperial pursuit, one that looked abroad as well as to the domestic sphere and laid the basis for James’s accession as “king of Great Britain, France and Ireland” and of a nascent British Empire in 1603.
Se-Eun Hu (Ewha Womans University)
The Dynamic between Bound and Unbound in John Lyly’s Galatea
This paper primarily discusses the plots of John Lyly’s Galatea and attempts to provide an understanding of Galatea, not as separate plots but, as a whole, connected with one another by tracking the bound and unbound images. While at first glance, the plots seem distinct to one another, especially that of the wandering pages, yet the dynamic between the bound and unbound permeate in each of the plots. Galatea and Phillida, Cupid, and the brothers are unbound in the woods. Unrestricted, they all venture outside the social norm to pursue their desires. They are, in the end, bound back which seemingly follows the conventional ending of the comedy genre: “through release to clarification.” However, the dynamic of the unbound and bound questions the authority that binds them altogether: the power of Neptune and the patriarchal system he embodies. The dynamic presents how the male authority is possibly threatened and instead how female authorities take over. Hence, Galatea works well as a court drama praising the authority of the female monarch.
Hetty Hughes (King’s College London)
“Turn’st away thy face for shame”: The Use and Reception of Engendered Blood on the Renaissance Stage
This paper forms part of a wider study that charts the life-cycle of a Renaissance woman (virgin, wife, mother, queen and bawd), examining her presentation on both the early modern stage and beyond through the medium of her blood. Within this paper the first stage of that cycle, the figure of the Renaissance virgin, is examined using Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (1597), Titus Andronicus (1594) and Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling (1622) to examine the socially constructed notion of virginity and ‘maidenhood’, and chart the repercussions of untimely or forbidden spilling of hymenal blood. The characters of Juliet, Lavinia and Beatrice Joanna represent the Renaissance virgin in their universally guarded virginity, their sexual violation or rebellion as an act against the ‘father’, and their death as theatrical ‘punishment’ for the subversion of the norm. The narrative of all three dramatic works is driven by the untimely or un-sanctified loss of virginity, and each woman perishes on stage in a pool of her own blood.
Bláithín Hurley (University College Cork / Waterford Library Services)
The “Civilising”: of an Irish Town by Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork
Early modern Irish society was a feudal, often savage, one. To English colonialists, the Irish, their language, customs and politics were considered barbarian. The Gaelic chieftains ran their fiefdoms with feudal rigour and worked to their own political agendas, with little reference to English authority. Into this situation, in 1588, arrived young Richard Boyle, the Cambridge-educated son of a Canterbury Yeoman. Boyle came with money in short supply, but ambition in abundance. He quickly built up a substantial property portfolio in both England and Ireland, bought Lismore Castle from Sir Walter Raleigh and was created 1st Earl of Cork. Lismore was a castle which befitted an Earl, allowing him to bring English civility and Protestant religious reform, fashioned in his own image, to the County Waterford town. Indeed, it could be argued that without Boyle’s intervention, St Carthage’s Cathedral in Lismore might not have survived. A strong adherent to the Protestant faith and vigorous supporter of the throne, Boyle viewed the reconstruction of the old, Roman Catholic, cathedral as an opportunity to instil his version of English values in Lismore. Boyle’s reconstruction, significantly, saw the church converted to Protestant worship, at his private expense. To this end, the restoration and religious conversion of the cathedral, in the town which housed Boyle’s castle, is noteworthy. Could his motives be considered as altruistic, or as having a divine or political mandate? What is undeniable is that St. Carthage’s Cathedral is a living representation of the connection between governmental and religious reform in Boyle’s Ireland. Through an examination of the Earl’s writings, and the cathedral church of St. Carthage, we will determine how he effected administrative and religious change in his estate and what legacy he left to the people and town of Lismore, Co. Waterford, Ireland.
Marvell and Attachment Theory: An Alternative Psychoanalytic Approach
Marvell’s depictions of little girls and his resistance to conventional marriage have attracted psychoanalytic critics, most notably William Kerrigan. Versions of Freudianism, including feminist revisions to this tradition, predominate. Yet another school of psychoanalysis, attachment theory, might better illuminate Marvell’s oeuvre as well as his biography. Pioneered by John Bowlby in the 1950s, attachment theory replaces Freud’s insistence on a universal fantasy with a scrutiny of the presence and quality of an infant’s emotional connections across time and space. Because it focuses on the stability of a household and on the dispositions of the child’s caregivers, this methodology lends itself well to historicism. Though, like Freudianism, it invites charges of anachronism, it relies for its claims on the study of material conditions that the mid-seventeenth century shares to a certain extent with the early- and mid-twentieth since it concentrates on child-rearing arrangements including proxy parents and on the wartime estrangement of children from their families. The upper-middle-class Bowlby resembles his early modern counterparts in that he was raised by a nursemaid and a nanny. Like British children of the 1640s and 50s, Bowlby had his sense of security disturbed by war: to escape the strategic bombing raids of World War I, he was sent away at seven to boarding school. Attuned to parental separation, Bowlby followed his absentee father into medicine, working at a child psychiatry unit with children evacuated from London to the countryside during World War II and with the Jewish children rescued from Hitler’s Europe through the Kindertransport program. The rapport between domestic employees such as tutors or nurses and their charges, the effects on children of the dislocation of war, the struggles of orphans and others lacking “a secure base”—these are the preoccupations not only of the attachment theorist but of our own orphan of the storm.
Emily Jay (Texas Tech University)
Hollow, Hallowed Body: Santa Rosalia and the Reconstruction of Identities in Palermo during the 1624 Plague
In 1624 Palermo was besieged by the plague. Within the year a once little-known
medieval saint, Rosalia, would become Palermo’s preeminent patron and protectress. Rosalia’s rise in popularity surged after her bones, discovered in a cave on Monte Pellegrino, were processed throughout Palermo and believed to have stopped the spread of pestilence. This paper seeks to explain Rosalia’s meteoric rise in popularity through the lens of performance studies, via examination of the ways that plague destroyed civic and individual identities in Palermo, and the performative means of identity reconstruction that the collective focus on a female body enabled. Analyzing the processions of Santa Rosalia’s relics and the subsequent legislation that instituted her as the city’s premier patron saint allows me to argue that Rosalia and the rituals that surrounded her allowed the city to enact the change they needed during a plague crisis. This was done by way of what Louise Marshall calls the “manipulation of the sacred”. The Palermitani called upon Rosalia through processional means, and in doing so utilized her female body (in both relic and icon form) as a site for transformation. Santa Rosalia’s sacred femininity afforded Palermo regeneration by functioning as the perfect hollow, hallowed vessel for the projection and transmutation of plague induced fears and anxieties, allowing for a reinstating of Palermitani identity.
“His better tune remembers”: Lear’s Monstrous Moans versus the Effeminate Music of Masculine Melancholy
In Shakespeare’s King Lear, Edmund introduces the discourse of madness and music in 1.2: “my cue is villainous melancholy, with a sigh like Tom o’ Bedlam—…Fa, Sol, La, Mi.” Tom appears again in Edgar’s resolution toward disguise in 2.3 as he considers “Bedlam beggars” also called Abraham-men. This potent image of masculine madness grants Edgar/Poor Tom the invisible-visibility of the disabled, so long as he acts the part with “roaring voices” and nonsensical songs. As the quintessential mad man of early-modern England, Mad Tom, or “Tom a Bedlam,” was also a popular tune, with several variants in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Mapping masculine melancholy, Tom wanders the countryside, cavorting between delusions and various emotional states, remembering to cry for food and alms during his refrain.
Throughout the play the Fool sings regularly as part of his trade and Edgar, in his disguise as Poor Tom, also sings as proof of his supposed lunacy. Only Lear himself, despite the depths of his madness, resolutely does not sing. At key moments throughout his ordeal, Lear bemoans his situation with howls and repeated exclamations of “O,” but with plentiful musical models of male madness, why does Lear devolve to animalistic noises rather than music? Linda Austern’s study of the conceptualization of music and effeminacy in early-modern England may provide part of the answer; she notes that music was personified as female, perceived as a “vain sensual delight and enemy to masculine rationality.“ The current study uses textual-musical analysis of “Tom a Bedlam” and contextual analysis of Lear’s non-textual aurality to argue that Lear’s non-musical madness is not simply a dichotomy between the portrayal his authentic madness versus the feigned postures of Edgar and the Fool, but is a direct result of fragile masculinity responding to the threat of the feminine power of music by escaping toward the bestial.
“Am I not king?”: Reconsidering Regicide in Richard II
“I am Richard II; know ye not that?” Elizabeth I once famously demanded. It’s unknown whether the queen was making a reference to Shakespeare’s play specifically; the popularity of the English history play in the late Tudor period meant many contemporary productions featured the Plantagenet king. Regardless, Shakespearean scholars have long connected her comment to his Richard II. After all, the play features a successful rebellion by a nobleman, and Elizabeth made this statement shortly after the aborted rebellion by the Earl of Essex. Supporters of the earl had even paid Shakespeare’s own company to perform a play titled Richard II the night before the rebellion, apparently wanting to arouse the audience’s support. The queen was clearly not alone in identifying herself with Richard.
Modern scholars have not questioned this connection, pointing to the Elizabethan censoring of the scene in which Richard is deposed (4.1) as further proof that the queen’s reading of the situation was the standard one, clearly intended by Shakespeare. Yet the play was able to be printed in 1608 complete with the deposition scene. The suggestion has been that, with Elizabeth’s death in 1603, a deposition was no longer quite as delicate a topic. Yet the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 demonstrates that James Stuart’s life and reign were just as threatened as Elizabeth’s. I argue that while Elizabeth does have an analogue in Richard II, it is not meant to be Richard, the deposed and murdered (but still lawfully anointed) king. Rather, Shakespeare associates her with Bolingbroke, the usurper (potentially) responsible for Richard’s death. Who would be the intended counterpart, then, for Richard? I say it is Mary, the deposed Queen of Scots, imprisoned and ultimately executed on Elizabeth’s orders. Shakespeare choosing to portray Richard’s/Mary’s fall as a tragedy implicitly criticizes Bolingbroke/Elizabeth, the one responsible for their death. I posit that Shakespeare argues in Richard II that just as Bolingbroke’s involvement with the deposition and murder of Richard was unjustifiable and the source of an English civil war, Elizabeth’s involvement in the deposition and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, might spur the same.
Green Sickness: Anti-Erotic Poetics in “The Garden”
The way Marvell’s poems tend to linger on young, virginal, and even infant girls has alarmed some critics; others have read the frequent association of those girls with plants as indicative of a radically non-normative sexuality, with tree-hugging as an alternative erotic mode. But everyone agrees that adult women do not seem to belong in Marvell’s poetry.
I will argue that this is because Marvell associates women with poetics and is tired of both, and that replacing, for example, Petrarch’s Laura and the poetic laurel at once—with a literal laurel—is the easiest way to dispense with both. Reading “The Garden” alongside Petrarchan lyric that compares women to flowers and trees, I will show how Marvell’s obsession with “vegetable love” is less an example of straightforward pedophilia or misogyny, or of “queer ecology,” than a symptom of fatigue, or a low-key death drive. The figure of the woman represents the difficulty, or annoyance, of poetic production, so that Marvell’s refusal of metaphor is also a refusal of women, his primary metaphor for metaphor.
Sharon Khalifa-Gueta (University of Haifa)
Raphael’s St. Margaret paintings as a reflection of their recipient patron – Marguerite de Navarre
In 1518 Raphael painted two paintings of St. Margaret, both of which will be claimed in this lecture to have been intended to Marguerite – the Queen of Navarre. Documentation for the Louvre painting are vague but earned a scholarly consensus: the painting was commissioned by Pope Leo X, to be sent to the absent Queen in the wedding of Lorenzo de’ Medici and Madeleine de la Tour d’Auvergne on August 10, 1518. The Vienna St. Margaret there are almost no documentations. But why should the Pope go to so much trouble to satisfy the King’s sister – Queen of Navarre? And why did the second painting, painted by the Renaissance’s busiest and most productive artist, end up in the not so important collection of a Venetian ambassador Msser Zuanantonio Venier?
In my lecture I will contend both paintings were intended to Marguerite de Navarre, and both had layers of interpretation to satisfy both Raphael’s clients: the ordering patron – Pope Leo X, and the recipient client – Marguerite de Navarre, conveying different massages to each. I will further demonstrate, by comparing Raphael’s St. Margarets to his Archangel Michael painting, that the paintings were meant to reflect the personality and essence of the recipient patron, embedded with the artist’s attitude and social conceptions toward women in unusual position of power. I will also demonstrate how the Vienna St. Margaret was too explicit, and was altered with the Louvre one, which eventually reached France.
Yiokyoung (Esther) Kim (Ewha Womans University)
Artegall’s Inconclusion in the Irena Episode: Spenser’s Embodied Reflection on Justice
A crucial point of inquiry in understanding Spenser’s fifth book of Faerie Queene, The Legend of Artegall, or of Justice (1596) is the significance of Artegall’s failed mission. As the knight of justice’s mission is prompted by the command to salvage Irena and to reform her land, Spenser’s discussion on justice is evidently linked to England’s reformation of Ireland. Many critics have thus read Artegall’s failure as a historical allegory. Reading his abrupt summoning to Faerie Court in relation to historical events which had impeded Spenser’s own militant Protestant reform in Ireland, most interpretations have focused on his dissatisfaction with Elizabeth I’s half-hearted foreign policy. While this approach certainly provides valuable insight into Spenser’s critique on Elizabethan politics, it significantly limits our understanding of Spenser’s discussion on justice. In reading the ending as an explicit historical allegory, historical facts have muted the poem’s textual subtleties, allowing interpretation to be derived from historically-informed yet assumptive analysis. I intend to bring these subtleties to the surface and prove that Spenser’s inconclusion is less a critique of Elizabeth’s lack of support than a manifestation of his internal struggles as a New English poet writing in Ireland. I will prove this by first investigating the justice Spenser demands in his in his political essay A View of the Present State of Ireland; then, I will integrate Spenser’s insecurities induced by the discrepancy between his desire for justice and his Irish reality; finally, I will provide a close textual reading of Artegall’s failure to prove that in depicting his failure the private, more speculative Spenser is disclosing his lack of confidence in the justice his public persona urges for. As such, I argue that the ultimate inconclusion of justice discloses Spenser’s self-doubt about the justice he proposes, which is incurred by an awareness of his liminal state as the Irish savagery he seeks to rid is found within the New English, and more importantly himself.
Grace Kimball (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Trimming the Tree: King James I’s Racial Genealogy in Symbolic Competition with Macbeth’s Lineage
In my work, I argue that King James I’s racial genealogy manifests in Macbeth through a competitive depiction of an alternative ancestral narrative that melds Shakespeare’s reality, Scottish and English history, and well-crafted fiction. Shakespeare emphasizes racial genealogy through the survival of Banquo’s line and the downfall of Macbeth’s family to solidify James’s royal legitimacy for the future of Great Britain. Therefore, the historical context of James’s ascendancy becomes a primary focus of my work, as it will explain the tensions of the period that transfer into Shakespeare’s play. The challenges associated with his succession emphasize the division between territories of different racial, national, and cultural identities. Despite this opposition, James wanted to unite Scotland, Ireland, and England into a cohesive region. My argument reflects that James needed to create this unity by showing his connection to all of these nations and that he stood as a worthy monarch for England by conforming to their national ideals.
I also outline how Shakespeare’s Macbeth coheres with a national need for unity by comparing James’s lineage, as seen through Banquo’s line, with the discontinued house of Macbeth. James’s ancestry, which represents a white, pure genealogy associated with Fleance’s eventual right to the throne, is used in Shakespeare’s work to create a form of genealogical competition through the Macbeths. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth represent corruption in Scotland and the source of cultural disorder shown through their gradual staining. Lady Macbeth’s racial degeneration due to associations between lineage, gender, and sexuality is of particular importance. Their line fades due to their otherness as they become morally blackened, stemming from religious beliefs of the transferability of blackness internally and externally. The couple is also an example of stereotypical Scottish barbarism within the play, which is perpetuated through geohumoral theory, notions of moral blackness, and a lack of cultural civility continued from Elizabethan perceptions of the Scottish. Therefore, the Macbeths embody cultural anxieties associated with race and gender because they exist in opposition to whiteness.
Melissa Kleinschmidt (University of New Hampshire)
Medical Practice on the Margins: Melissea’s Interventions and National Health in Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania
As is typical in early modern romances, several characters in Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania travel to far reaching places and, understandably, experience numerous physical illnesses and other obstacles to their wellbeing, including lovesickness and madness. From Antissia’s madness to Trebisound’s and the Sultaness of Babylon’s wounds and the many misadventures of Steriamus, Amphilanthus, Pamphilia, and Urania, one character binds their experiences together and helps them recover their physical, spiritual, and mental health: the sage Melissea. Although she has been identified only on the margins of many conversations about these characters’ experiences, I intend to demonstrate the centrality of Melissea’s interventions, as well as the significance her interventions have on the national wellbeing. My paper examines how Melissea’s knowledge and actions participate in a broader project of codifying ideals for an early modern English woman to follow.
Wroth depicts evolving but definite boundaries of good Englishness by strategically aligning Melissea’s skills with those expected of English housewives as shared in early modern domestic manuals. I argue that Melissea embodies the attributes of a perfect English housewife because, as Catherine Richardson observes, “authority over the household was…analogous to government of the state.” Melissea not only maintains control of her island of Delos, she also is described as the protectress of the Morean court and acts as such throughout Urania. Even more important than their authority is her use of medical knowledge, which cures Antissia, Trebisound, and the Sultaness of Babylon of their ailments or injuries, and provides invaluable aid to Steriamus, Amphilanthus, Pamphilia, and Urania throughout their travels. Melissea’s practice and knowledge makes apparent the value and significance of a woman’s practice beyond the boundaries of her immediate domain. More-so, I assert that including Melissea’s actions and wisdom in academic conversations disrupts the notion of disparate gender roles in nation-building enterprises.
A Patron’s Character Reflected by his Art Collection. Niclaes Jongelinck and Interior Decorating During the Sixteenth Century
Objects selected to adorn one’s interior spaces, say a lot about their owner’s character. As people across the globe are still required to stay at home, many have used their spare time to reorganize or innovate their spaces to make them either more efficient for working from home or as passion projects to show off who they are as individuals. Because of this new energy found in interacting and changing our personal spaces, a renewed interest on art history and the topic of collecting and displaying seems appropriate. Looking at the art collection found at the urban villa belonging to financial agent Niclaes Jongelinck (1517–1570), we see how individuals outside of the nobility decorated their homes as if they did. A patron to both Frans Floris (1517–1570) and Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1520/25–1569), his residence located on the outskirts of Antwerp, presents an opportunity to understand how an individual’s taste reflects their character.
Proposal for Round-Table on “Mourning”
Andrew Marvell’s “Mourning” announces its subject with blunt, workmanlike candor in its title: the poem is, demonstrably, about mourning. Marvell has many such poems to his credit––most prominently, his funeral elegies for Francis Villiers, Henry Hastings, and Oliver Cromwell, all of which memorialize the deceased by engaging elegiac structures of bereavement, grief, and consolation. “Mourning,” by contrast, seems scarcely to traffic in the work of mourning. Instead, the speaker’s work is to measure the sincerity of a woman’s grief based on the quality of her tears, the opacity of which makes this work, ultimately, a fool’s errand.
I would like to submit “anti-mourning” as a theoretical framework for understanding the way that Marvell treats the situation of grief. I believe that this framework can help us understand the poem as something more than a case study in hermeneutic futility—or worse, casual misogyny. I draw the concept of “anti-mourning” from the art historian Margaret Iversen, who, in her 2007 book Beyond Pleasure: Freud, Lacan, Barthes, suggests a pathway for understanding aesthetic representations of grief outside the Freudian mourning/melancholy binary. For Iversen, “anti-mourning” signifies the work of denying, rather than facilitating, detachment from the lost object. She cites the reflections or “shadowy revenants” in Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial wall to illustrate how loss is rendered permanent and visible. “Instead of severing attachments,” Iversen writes, “[the wall] establishes a cathexis by reopening an archaic psychic wound” that demands the spectator remember, not recover.
As signifiers of loss, Chlora’s tears are similarly fraught. Doubts of their sincerity sit alongside pure wonder at their reach, number, and functionality. The speaker voices suspicions about Chlora’s motives but cannot bring himself to join the chorus of critics who declare her grief false. In this respect, he acknowledges a paradigm of mourning that is based not on a well-tended process of bereavement, grief, and consolation, but rather on endless and artful permutations of the tear. If this iteration of mourning seems an unnatural response to loss, the speaker may judge Chlora for it. But he cannot deny his own complicity in that creation.
Jane Lawson (Emory University/University of Sheffield)
The Background and Origin of Mary’s Book of Household Ordinances
Among the holdings of the Sheffield City Archives is an unstudied manuscript from the first year of the reign of Queen Mary I. This 1553 manuscript, ‘The book of the ordinances of the Queen’s Household’ is the only surviving example of the household ordinances of her reign. Ideally, it should have been preserved among the official State Papers; however, it was preserved, instead, among the papers of the Wentworth family. This manuscript, written from the perspective of England’s first queen regnant, provides a description of the workings of her household for the first year of her reign and follows the same basic court structure as was practiced by the English sovereigns preceding and succeeding Mary’s reign. The 1790 publication by the Society of Antiquaries, A Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the Government of the Royal Household, has served as the benchmark reference for the household ordinances of English sovereigns, although no manuscript of Mary’s reign is included. Mary’s book of ordinances provides details specific to her reign, adapting the regulations of her father and earlier sovereigns to her unique position as England’s first queen regnant. An immediately obvious transition was the substitution of the title queen for that of king, as well as the modification of pronouns from masculine to feminine. However, in his compilation of this manuscript, Wentworth created a document which selected relevant sections from earlier household ordinances, omitted some, reorganized the placement of others, and introduced additional concepts and regulations providing a different perspective of the Marian Court. Succeeding reigns incorporated some of these changes and modified others in later household ordinances. The manuscript has been under-used by most scholars of Mary’s reign, if consulted at all, primarily because it was unknown to them and has never been transcribed.
Huey-ling Lee (National Chi Nan University)
“Let’s go hand in hand, not one before another”: Conflicting Temporalities and Sibling Rivalry in The Comedy of Errors
The rise of market economy during the early modern period changed people’s conception of time by identifying it with profits and commercial opportunities. This change threatened to disrupt the recurring rhythm of social life and undermine the communal solidarity. By examining the sibling rivalry in The Comedy of Errors, this paper explores the way in which the separation of the twin brothers are intertwined with conflicting temporal orders of the market and the family, and the way in which their reunion is achieved by further subordinating domestic rites and rituals to the pursuit of business opportunities.
The separation of the twin brothers results from their parents’ different conceptions of time, so they are pitted against each other due to the conflict of the two temporal orders between the market needs and familial rituals. Being a merchant, Antipholus of Ephesus repeats the same mistake of his father when he willfully follows the spontaneous rhythm of commerce at the expense of daily routines that help maintain the order of his household and the solidarity of his family. Out of sync with his family, he unwittingly opens up an opportunity for his identical twin to accidentally step into his place. As a result, an unintended sibling rivalry ensues as the two brother unknowingly engage in a zero-sum game as one threatens to replace the other.
Since the sibling rivalry results from the prioritization of commercial opportunities over rites and rituals, it is resolved through the gossips’ feast, through which both brothers, symbolically reborn as members of the same family and community, can finally inhabit in the same time zone and synchronize with, not competing against, each other. Such a solution is achieved primarily by shifting the responsibility to women who ideally can remedy the consequence of such a temporal conflict through their infinite patience.
Looking Up: Syncretism and Heavenly Motion of Thoughts in the Poetry of Hester Pulter and Margaret Cavendish
How does one move their thoughts upward and away from dejection? In Hester Pulter’s “The Center” and “The Revolution,” she uses the method of Renaissance syncretism to demonstrate how scientific speculation and philosophy can guide one’s thoughts upward towards heaven by placing one’s focus on God as the creator of all that one observes, merging scientific language with religious language and faith. Pulter’s work has only been studied in recent decades following the transcription and newfound attention to her manuscript, and thus this essay seeks to focus on her innovative syncretic poetics, to call for a greater focus on her work, and to compare her syncretic writings to her contemporary, Margaret Cavendish. Though Pulter argues that focusing one’s thoughts solely on the earth and space will lead to a downward and solemn mindset, Pulter does not reject scientific and metaphilosophical thought. Her inclusion of these empirical thoughts signifies, among other things, the human condition of wonder and inquiry, and she uses them to demonstrate their connection to Christian creationism that serves as the vehicle by which her reflections are able to move upward towards Godly joy and light through praising God as the creator of what she observes and contemplates. The readings I present of these poems indicates that science and religion do not inherently impose one another and that the assumption that they do is a human-made construction that leaves reduced room for philosophical, personal, and social inquiry and progress because of its false, reductive, separatist guidelines. I argue that Pulter and Cavendish’s syncretism allows science and religion to work in harmony towards the upward motion of thoughts, signifying the embracing of humankind’s tendency towards metaphysical contemplation while simultaneously allowing God to remain at the center of all creation wherein faith is not sacrificed for, but rather is supported by, scientific philosophy.
The Dangers of Being Close to the Throne: The Case of Margaret Clifford
One of Queen Elizabeth’s potential heirs was Margaret Clifford Stanley, Countess of Derby. Margaret was the only surviving child of Eleanor Brandon, the younger daughter of Mary Tudor, the French Queen, and Charles Brandon, and Eleanor’s husband, Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, whom he married in 1535. Margaret was born five years later. She was only seven when her mother died and her father devastated. He left court and was very involved in his studies, especially of astrology and alchemy. His daughter’s interest in reading, patronage, and in various kinds of magic probably came from her father.
Margaret had the unfortunate distinction of the last named potential heir in her cousin’s Edward VI’s Devise for the succession, after naming Lady Jane Grey and her sisters Katherine and Mary, and all their potential sons, he listed Margaret and her potential sons as well. John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland had considered marrying his youngest son Guildford to Margaret, but decided that Jane was a much better match. But of course, after only nine days of Jane’s rule, Mary I was queen. Margaret’s father the Earl did all he could to show his loyalty and Margaret was welcomed at Mary’s court, where she had precedence over many of the other ladies, sometimes only behind Margaret, Countess of Lennox. 7 February 1555, when only fourteen or fifteen, Margaret married Henry Clifford, Lord Strange, heir to the Earl of Derby. He was nine years older. They had four sons, two of whom survived to adulthood, Ferdinando and William. It was not a happy marriage. Margaret was extravagant and became deeply in debt, to Henry’s great chagrin.
But her closeness to the throne, and her carelessness, caused serious problems. In 1579 Elizabeth became very upset when she learned that the Countess had been gossiping about her and the Duke of Alencon. But that concern became far more intense because she had employed a cunning man named Randall to help her gain her health back when she was ill and her resided in her household for several months. But the Privy Council also thought he was an astrologer and the Countess asked him to determine through conjuring how much longer the queen would live. Despite the begging letters she sent Sir Francis Walsingham and Sir Christopher Hatton, Margaret was held under house arrest for many years, being released only three years before her death in 1596.
Gabriel Lonsberry (Purdue University)
Princess Elizabeth’s Wedding and the Contested Stuart Court Stage
Immediately following King James I’s accession to the English throne in 1603, a popular, militant Protestant cult began to form around the King’s nine-year-old son, Prince Henry Frederick, who, it was hoped, would one day reverse his father’s pacifist policies and restore the vanished glories of chivalric England by leading a renewed crusade against the Catholic powers of Europe. The Prince came to embrace and consciously develop this adversarial role over the course of his teenage years, but factional crisis was averted when he succumbed, quite suddenly, to typhoid fever in November of 1612. His death marked not the end of this polarizing conflict, however, but its climax, for Henry had been closely involved in planning the festivities meant to celebrate his sister Elizabeth’s marriage to Frederick V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine, and the 1612–13 holiday entertainment season would see his shows openly competing with those of the King to define the union’s political significance. The present paper examines these festivities in full, including a fireworks show, a mock sea-battle, court masques written by Francis Beaumont, George Chapman, and Thomas Campion, and another, cancelled masque—the anonymous Masque of Truth. Those arranged by the Prince, I demonstrate, characterize the wedding as a great victory for militant Protestantism, but the King’s contributions work to delegitimize all others and reassert his hegemony over courtly mythmaking. The 1612–13 season does not only illuminate ideological struggles of the period, then; it encapsulates the power and vulnerability of the Stuart court stage.
Ruby Lowe (New York University)
“A World Within”: Wither, Milton and Marvell’s Dialogic Print Voices
In the 1640s, George Wither conducted extensive experiments with political and poetic representation. Employing the form of print oratory and a metaphorics of space, Wither challenged the reigning model of political communication in seventeenth-century England. In the Speech Without Doore (1644), Wither defined the space outside of Parliament as a new subject position to address Parliament and the nation. In Vox Pacifica (1645) he charted the space inside the print orator that was necessary for the development of democratic print practices. I argue that during the Restoration Milton and Marvell’s dialogic print voices filled the space inside the print orator that Wither had opened.
While Wither and Milton both had the opportunity to publicly participate in the culture of political debate in the early 1640s, the immediacies of this culture were unavailable to Marvell during the Restoration and were forced into what Wither calls the ‘world within.’ In Marvell’s The Rehearsal Transpros’d (1672) and An Account of Popery (1677), we do not hear Marvell’s voice alone, but the voices of many others condensed and layered into a single prose voice. This quality was so pronounced in The Rehearsal Transpros’d, that Marvell’s adversary claims that there are “many Milton’s inside of this one man.” While this phrase was leveled as a critique of Milton and Marvell, it also has a potent exploratory power: both Milton and Marvell were threatening because of their capacity to act as public representatives in print. In this paper, I argue that Marvell represented public debate itself. In An Account of Popery he weaves together published works of dissent with manuscript parliamentary speeches and ephemera to provide the public with access to closed debates that occurred inside the houses of Parliament, thus carrying the values of 1640s print culture forward to the Restoration. I argue that Marvell’s characteristic multivocality was a response to the print culture in which he participated and to the spaces that Wither had defined, both outside the doors of Parliament and inside the print orator.
Sara Mansutti (University College Cork)
Li avisi ci son cari: The Medici’s Attitude towards the Handwritten Newsletters
In early modernity, before the advent and diffusion of printed newspapers, news circulated in Europe in the form of handwritten newsletters, sent by agents, ambassadors, informers, to courts, noblemen, merchants and to anyone who could afford this service. The Medici Archive in Florence, which is the paper monument of the famous family that ruled Tuscany as Grand Dukes for two centuries, contains an invaluable collection of these documents, also called avvisi in Italian.
The proposed paper aims to focus on the letters sent by the Medici to their ambassadors or informers to request news or in response to the newsletters received from all over Italy and Europe. The minutes of these letters, also preserved in the Archive, allows to study the document typology of the avvisi from the point of view of the commissioners, the Grand Dukes, in order to detect what the Medici wanted to know through the avvisi and why the manuscript newsletters played a so important role in early modern diplomacy. Moreover, this analysis helps to reveal the Medici’s attitude towards the newsletters and to answer crucial questions concerning the reception of the information and how the news conveyed by the avvisi were read and taken into account in the court.
In particular, the paper dwells on the period of Cosimo I de’ Medici, also with the aim of reconstructing the information network that the Duke, known from 1569 as the Grand Duke of Tuscany, was able to build.
Leonardo’s Saint Jerome: A New Perspective
Historians universally accept Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Saint Jerome in the Wilderness (Vatican Museum, Rome) to be of his own hand and one of his earliest panel paintings. The painting’s provenance begins with Cardinal Joseph Fesch (1763-1839), the uncle of Napoleon Bonaparte, who later sold the work to Pope Pius IX, who placed the painting in the Vatican collections. The Saint Jerome has traditionally been dated 1480-81 and chronologically linked to the Adoration of the Magi largely based on their unfinished status and similarities in underpainting and preparation. Yet, Leonardo’s use of sfumato, the intricate modeling of shadows, and sophisticated anatomical details, supports a later date. Indeed, Syson and Billinge have more recently discovered underdrawings in the Virgin of Rocks (London version) that they assert are stylistically linked to the Saint Jerome, and therefore they have suggested a date of 1483, which would place the work in Leonardo’s first Milan period.
In this paper, I assert that Leonardo’s compositional approach, tonal relativity, and curvilinear perspective are the most distinctive aspects of his Saint Jerome and reflect his study of optics in Milan, which would confirm the later date for the painting. Moreover, the Saint Jerome shows a complete break from Leonardo’s early use of the Albertian compositional grid, and further underscores the primacy of optics in his later approach to painting. Through an exploration of relevant folios and notes from his manuscripts, I seek to align Leonardo’s Saint Jerome with his optical discoveries to support the notion that this painting traveled with him over the course of several years, during which time he laid in additional edits as he developed his mature pictorial ideas and optical observations. Through this, Leonardo’s painting style began to develop towards the more naturalistic, three-dimensional visual experience characteristic of his later Milanese works, for which his painting of Saint Jerome was likely a reference.
Fernando Martinez-Periset (University of Cambridge)
Shakespeare vs. Milton: The ethics of Christianity and Stoicism
The growing popularity of the turn to religion in Early Modern scholarship has posed a decisive challenge to the ‘secularisation thesis’ as a plausible description of the period and new critical attention has been devoted to investigating the influence of religious thought in literary culture. By illuminating the implicit philosophical issues in Renaissance writing, this methodological development contributes to a line of work defended by scholars such as David Armitage and Jo Guldi, who have made the case for the need of longue durée approaches in historical research.
The central thesis of this paper is that Shakespeare and Milton respond to classical philosophy in two diametrically opposed ways. As a result, their works capture two antagonistic ethical visions. Although Shakespearean drama has long been seen as indifferent to Christianity, the moral position that runs through Shakespeare’s corpus takes the form of a clear critique to Senecan philosophy which embraces a distinctively Christian discourse. Conversely, although Milton’s poetry has been frequently examined in line with the Christian tradition—especially as a way of contesting the Satanic reading—the ethical position that is repeatedly praised in his works from beginning to end is characteristically classical rather than Christian. Milton’s moral sympathies are indebted to Stoicism and Senecan thought, which leads to an eradication of prototypically Christian sentiments. Consequently, it is important to reassert the hypothesis that Milton is an artist divided against himself, caught between competing sets of ethical ideals.
This paper will start by surveying the uneasy relationship between Christianity, classical heroism and Stoicism and how these notions were in circulation in Renaissance culture. The argument will then compare and contrast Shakespeare’s Roman works “Coriolanus”, “Titus Andronicus” and “The Rape of Lucrece” with Milton’s poems “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity”, “Comus” and “Paradise Lost”.
Form and Function in Gioseffo Zarlino’s Musico-Theoretical Diagrams of the Senario
One of the cornerstones upon which Gioseffo Zarlino built the influential music theory presented in his treatise Le istitutioni harmoniche of 1558 was his revision of the ancient Pythagorean definition of musical consonance. The paper examines two floral or circular diagrams Zarlino constructs to illustrate this revamping and assesses the interplay between aesthetic and didactic considerations that shaped them. The Pythagoreans defined the consonant musical intervals as those that could be represented by superparticular ratios among the tetrad formed by the first four integers: the perfect octave 2:1, the perfect fifth 3:2, and the perfect fourth 4:3. Zarlino expanded this definition of consonance in order to provide a theoretical rationale for the imperfect consonances used in the musical practice of his day. He thus added the numbers 5 and 6, resulting in what he called the “senario.” He asserts that all of the consonant intervals can be formed among the six members of the senario, as his floral diagram purports to show, and that certain necessary dissonant intervals can be obtained by multiplication of its members, as his circular diagram shows. Zarlino has to stretch things to derive all of the imperfect consonances from the senario, yet he is willing to do so in pursuit of finding a theoretical justification for musical practice. Thus, while Zarlino relies extensively on math to support his theorizing, the math is a means rather than the end, which is to unite music theory and practice in pursuit of the aesthetic goals of defining good and proper music and explaining music’s expressive power. Similarly, his diagrams are not drawn to scale from a mathematical or musico-theoretical perspective. While we should note that it was not Zarlino’s purpose in his diagrams to represent actual interval sizes, and while we should recognize the brilliance of the diagrams for illustrating his theoretical concepts in such a clear-cut and attractive way, at the same time we should recognize the significance of the disconnect between the musical and mathematical relationships the diagrams represent and his purpose in designing them as he did, which was for visual appeal and aesthetic value.
Margaret Mendenhall (University of Texas at Austin)
Revenge, Racialization, and the Signifying Body: Titus Andronicus’s “Unrecuring Wound”
This paper uses Titus Andronicus to explore the role of racialization in the early modern community-forming rituals of remorse and forgiveness, particularly through the play’s conceptualization of wounds and wounding. I argue that, as the mutilation of Lavinia throws the body’s signifying potential into crisis, Aaron’s particular brand of villainy realizes the communicative potential of wounds themselves. This language of symbolic mutilation serves his commitment to sustaining the Romans’ collective memory of transgression. Aaron ensures what Marcus Andronicus calls the “unrecuring wound”—the unforgivable harm that fuels revenge tragedy—as well as what Roland Barthes, in a surprisingly similar vein, calls “the wound of affirmation”: the inevitable assertion of the self into the world through language, an act which can neither be diminished nor reversed. Insofar as Aaron’s project is considered a result of his “hue,” it points up the incurable nature of racial violence. As such, Aaron continually enacts an absolute impasse not only between pardon and racial violence, but also between forgiveness and language-making itself.
Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me (Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me) Kate
Petruchio’s three famous demands, “Kiss me, Kate,” offer modern actors and directors a range of interpretations, from the borderline assault of Act 2 to the quieter coercion of the penultimate street scene to the apparent mutuality of the final scene. A metatheatrical approach to Shakespeare’s Shrew, however, suggests that the sequence of kisses provided a much richer range of interpretations for the Chamberlain’s/King’s Men, making a correspondingly wide array of responses available to original audiences.
Essentially, the early modern Shrew featured six kisses, not three. To the extent that the period audience could follow the play’s metatheatrical identity as “The Training of the Boy,” each kiss onstage would correspond to a fictionalized backstage moment in the apprenticeship of the boy actor cast in the part of Katherine. When Petruchio demands a kiss from Kate in the street, for example, she performs it to his satisfaction, but only after expressing anxiety over such a public display of affection, corresponding to that doubtless uncomfortable moment in every boy actor’s training when his adult master required him to rehearse kissing. In metadramatic terms, Katherine’s fear of becoming a spectacle “in the midst of the street” has already been rehearsed backstage, when the boy first expressed trepidation at the prospect of kissing a man in the midst of the theater, packed with spectators eager to hoot or whistle or applaud at the comedy’s eroticized climax.
The kisses of The Taming of the Shrew are thus doubly playful and doubly painful. During each kiss, the Petruchio actor portrays both the onstage husband and the backstage master, while the Kate actor portrays both the onstage wife and the backstage apprentice. In each instance, provided the stage-illusion is successful and the audience gains access to the metadrama, a man kisses a woman and a man kisses a boy. Each kiss moreover takes place simultaneously in the fictional, onstage present of the play and in the metafictional, backstage past of rehearsal, hence at two different times and in two different conceptual locations.
“A Storm of Recent Violence and Injury”: Roger Ascham and Elizabeth I
In 1568 Roger Ascham, one time tutor of the young Princess Elizabeth (1558-1550) and her occasional “study-buddy” (1555 onward) died. As an indicator of Elizabeth’s regard for him, she is reputed to have remarked on his passing that “I would rather have cast £10,000 in the sea than parted with my Ascham.” A forward and gifted student, particularly in languages, Elizabeth appears to have thrived under Ascham’s tutelage, something he references with evident pride in The Scholemaster and in his correspondence. He notes that she profited from the educational strategy of “double translation,” which involved translating works from Latin or Greek into English and then back again, as well as from her own diligence in daily study. She no doubt appreciated his commitment to affirmation rather than punishment as a motivational device. Something occurred in 1550, however, to upset this comfortable and successful relationship, and Ascham left the court. No clear explanation of the cause of this separation appears in the general interest biographical accounts of Ascham. He, for his part, simply characterizes it as “a storm of recent violence and injury.” This paper examines the extant evidence for what precipitated his sudden departure and what facilitated his later return to Elizabeth’s service.
Un-horsed; Le Désarçonnement as an Inter-species Imagining in the Baroque
To fall from one’s horse, known in French by the nominalized désarçonnement, is an historical, artistic, and literary trope of which there is myriad example in baroque aesthetic sensibility. Often made parallel with an experience of death, and in turn rebirth, the unseating of the individual from his perch atop beast is not only a disruption to a singular life, but in a larger sense, of the theorized and naturalized hierarchy of the animal kingdom. Early Modern documentation, imagining, and recounting of this specific phenomenon may hold important information concerning the construction of humanity, animality, and the spaces in between. Rich in humanist metaphor, in this paper I ask what could be discovered if we were to consider 1600s representations of le désarçonnement from a philosophical point of view?
This project aims to apply the theories of the emergent field of Critical Animal Studies to existing understandings of le désarçonnement as an aesthetic theme. I will argue that the presence of the nonhuman, in this case the horse, is not inconsequential, but rather essential to the construction of a critical moment. In this moment, the conditions are set for the human to think-through their metaphysical composition, their place in the natural world, and ultimately engage in imaginative ways of knowing that contrast with the emergent episteme of the cult of reason. Drawing on examples from Franco-centric art, literature, and scientific writings, I will highlight the legacies of this type of event; namely, the effect it has on literary and artistic production, and in turn the consequences seen by way of the evolving categories of human and animal. The interspecies moment that is le désarçonnement may furnish new insights into the complexity and fluidity of the human animal, which cannot be captured in static definitions, but caught only in glimpses, gallops, and gleanings.
Embodied and Disembodied Appropriations of Echo on the Early Modern Stage
Though sentenced to merely repeat and rework meaning from the words of others, the mythical figure of Echo has remained a prevailing figure in our imaginations ever since Ovid’s Metamorphosis, and it is no wonder there were recurrences of this character in early modern drama. Before dying in the final moments of The Duchess of Malfi, Bosola regrets that his life and heinous actions will “yield no echo” after death (5.5.96). This line, along with other instances of echoes in John Webster’s play, serves to emphasize the importance of a power “beyond death” (5.5.119). Critics, such as Gayatri Spivak, have long grappled with whether the Greco-Roman figure of Echo has any power or agency, and this essay considers two contemporaneous recastings of the mythical nymph in early modern theater—the Duchess’s ghostly Echo in Webster’s Malfi (1614) as well as the more classical Echo in Ben Jonson’s Cynthia’s Revels (1600)—to extend and reevaluate this critical heritage. By juxtaposing these plays, I investigate how their disparate appropriations of Echo—embodied in Jonson’s play and disembodied in Webster’s—demarginalize and remarginalize women. Ultimately, I argue that while both plays have different perspectives on whether the feminine echoes reverberate more positively or negatively, both serve to showcase the power of female voices that even death cannot contain.
Martha Oberle (Retired)
First Person Plural
The use of first person plural, pluralis majestatis , dates from the 12C and is the expected form of address from ruler to subject. Yet, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, frequently uses first person singular in what seem matters of state, and so do several other of Shakespeare’s ruling personages.
This study wishes to examine Richard III, Hamlet, King Lear, Pericles, and The Tempest for the use of first person singular and plural. The care Shakespeare gave to his pronouns speaks to his awareness not only of the temper of the times in an era when a slip of the tongue might mean a trip to the block but also to his ability to reach across time and class.
Spenser’s Ovidian Malbecco
Scholars have often read Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene as a poem exemplifying or critiquing Tudor patriarchalism during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. This paper, rather than situating the poem in Spenser’s immediate socio-historical context, reads Spenser alongside Ovid to descry Spenser’s debt to Ovidian “metamorphic” thinking and to explore the limits of that debt, focusing on one episode from each work. The Malbecco episode, Faerie Queene 3.9-10, and the narrative of Pomona and Vertumnus (Metamorphoses XIV), both contrast metamorphosis with its ostensible opposite, chastity. The similarities and differences between the poets’ treatments of metamorphosis and chastity manifest along lines of genre-marking, structure, and theme. First, both stories reveal their authors’ concerns with genre-formation and the characters’ generic awareness or ignorance; second, the stories are situated as minor or peripheral ones within much larger arcs; third, these stories delineate good and bad models of chastity, which molds reader and poem for the triumph of the good chastity. Contrasting the Spenser excerpt with the Ovid, Spenser has his knight-characters enforce the stability of the poem’s genre with violence, emphasizes ethical closure over metamorphic openness, and expels bad or sterile Chastity from the story (by allegorizing Malbecco into Jealousy). These differences help to construe the Spenser narrative as a “return from exile,” with its greater emphasis on virtue and emphasis on courtierly acculturation. Thus, Spenser adds to the Ovid here an interest in courtly love, humanist diplomacy, a yoking of intellectual to ethical virtue and of ethical to poetic distinction, which implicates the attentive reader as a moral and ratiocinating actor in what he has read.
Daniel Bennett Page (Independent Scholar)
Aurality of Magnificence, Order, and Orthodoxy: Music of Tallis and Sheppard under Mary I
The public reconstruction of Catholicism under Mary I challenged her Chapel Royal to create sung rituals that embodied a return to civil order, Catholic orthodoxy, and Tudor courtly magnificence. Accounts from the 1550s illuminate the central importance of principal liturgical days in projecting Mary’s royal image; unfortunately, they report nothing about specific works sung then by the Chapel, England’s most exalted musical ensemble. Yet, we have a sizeable collection of large-scale polyphony that meets these demands through both musical style and compositional structure. This cycle of music for the Divine Office by Thomas Tallis and John Sheppard uses matching vocal scorings and corresponds exactly with the calendar of major feasts in Queen Mary’s Chapel Royal, where both musicians worked. But while recent scholarship has accepted this cycle as Marian, these works have not been closely examined either musically or as cultural artefacts.
The luxuriant Office cycle’s scoring for six voices—including two treble parts only possible in the Chapel—would have created a massive ‘wall of sound’ in the high profile but relatively small chapels of the principal Tudor royal residences. While stylistically up-to-date, these Responsories and Office Hymns also hearken back to the magnificent festal music of the early Henrician court.
Even more evocatively, the structure of these works exemplifies both order and orthodoxy. Each part of the cycle is built around its proper Gregorian chant melody, with a highly audible contrast between the long, equal notes of the chant and the other, faster moving voices. This sets up the chant as a rhetorical dispositio, a sound- emblem of Catholic orthodoxy, and a symbol of a fundamental order. The creation of complex aural forms parallels both Mary’s particular enthusiasm for ‘good’ orthodox preaching that would counter ‘evil’ evangelical preaching as well as the continued centrality of aural culture in the acoustic world of Renaissance Britain.
Thus, from a time of religious upheaval when sacred oratory assumed enlarged importance, we can see how Tallis and Sheppard created a proto-Counter Reformation repertory in parallel with the ecclesiastical and administrative achievements of Mary’s reign detailed by scholars such as Eamon Duffy.
Cristin Paravano (University of Milan)
Italy in Philip Massinger’s The Maid of Honour
The depiction of Anglo-Italian relations on the Renaissance stage has received ample and varied scholarly attention. Nevertheless, Philip Massinger’s engagement with the Anglo-Italian discourse, and his portrayal of Italy and its culture have been neglected if compared to the amount of critical works devoted to Shakespeare and other contemporary dramatists. In the corpus of Massinger’s fifteen solo plays, one third are set in Renaissance Italy. The present essay discusses The Maid of Honour, one of Massinger’s first plays set in Italy, which offers an intriguing portrayal of the country. I will not take into account textual parallels, which is beyond the scope of the essay, but rather investigate some possible reasons why Massinger deliberately used an Italian ambience as a vehicle to discuss his contemporary situation, and generate political and moral meaning. What I focus on are the cultural forces, and the moral and ideological motivations behind the playwright’s changes concerning plot, setting and characters’ names in the original Italian text on which the tragicomedy is based.
Samantha Perez (Southeastern Louisiana University)
“Of Such Incalculable Richness”: Japan in the Early Modern European Imagination
Before the Portuguese arrival in Tanegashima opened the Nanban trade period of European-Japanese contact (1543-1633), Marco Polo’s Il Milione offered European audiences a description of Japan, known as Cipangu, as a land of incredible riches in gold and silver. This association of Japan and precious metals, especially silver, permeated the European imagination in the following centuries, both before and after direct European engagement. In his 1474 map for Afonso V of Portugal, Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli marked Japan with sketches of golden temples and palaces, images of wealth that inspired Christopher Columbus’ trek across the Atlantic. In his description of the lost Diagram map of Elizabeth I, John Dee asserted that Japan was actually Pliny’s mythical islands of gold and silver, Chryse and Argyre, and as early as 1561, maps of Japan by cartographers such as Bartolomeu Velho labeled sites of “minas da prata.” During the Nanban trade period, silver mine Iwami Ginzan near Yunotsu port supplied a third of the world’s silver production and was one of the first specific locations in Japan to appear on European maps. In this window of European activity before the Tokugawa shogunate closed Japan’s borders, Portuguese, Italian, English, and Dutch travelers confronted long-standing myths with their first-hand experiences and responded to these popular assumptions of Japan’s riches.
Building on scholarship by Cooper, Moran, and Massarella, this paper examines the West’s direct and indirect knowledge of Japan and identifies an association between Japan and precious metals that informed European expectations for their interactions in the region. Part of ongoing research in Mediterranean-Japanese exchanges in the early modern period, I rely primarily on Italian and Portuguese sources, including travel accounts, Jesuit missionary records, and contemporary cartography to locate Japan’s place within the broader European imagination. Although the Sakoku edicts of the 1630s soon strictly limited foreign access, the brief period of European encounters in Japan offers the opportunity to explore the relationship between expectations and reality within the framework of Europe’s rapidly expanding worldview of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
Apostrophe and Vitality in Baroque Lyric
This paper will explore the use of apostrophe in a range of seventeenth-century lyric poems. In authors from Carew and Herrick to Milton, Marvell and Crashaw, this age-old rhetorical figure assumes a new valence: no longer directed to people or places, it is instead addressed to seemingly inanimate objects, which it temporarily endows with life and even consciousness. More than a figure of mere pathos or anthropomorphism, apostrophe becomes a way of interrogating, at once playfully and curiously, the lines between life and death and between soul and matter in physical objects. Indeed if, as Jonathan Culler has written, “the function of apostrophe would be to posit a potentially responsive or at least attentive universe,” then it is perhaps not surprising that this function should take on particular salience at a time when philosophers and scientists from Telesio to Bacon are exploring the possibility that matter itself might be sentient. Charting a course between natural magic on the one hand and an emergent materialism on the other, baroque apostrophe displaces the lyric subject and turns our attention to a world of potentially animate things.
Precious Things and Seasonal Change in Robert Herrick’s Hesperides
Religious and political literature of the 1640s voiced the rhetoric of seasonal change.
For instance,, in its 1642 order to close the theaters, Parliament bewails that England is “threatened with a Cloud of Blood” and that these are “Seasons of Humiliation” that require “seasonable considerations of Repentance, Reconciliation, and Peace with God.”
Robert Herrick frames *Hesperides* as a book of poems about a lost springtime: “I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers, / Of April, May, of June and July-flowers …” His book is a garden that is destined at once to fall, to be restored, and to stay the same,
This paper reads Herrick’s representation of aesthetic objects — those that represent nature commodified — as interventions in the “times-trans-shifting” of his historical (religious, political, cultural). Herrick’s objects violate temporal continuity: they are contradictory, impossible, pointing always at once backward and forward while resisting the flux of the present. A lily in a crystal, a pomander bracelet, a strawberry dipped in cream: if Ecclesiastean time insists upon the ceaseless recursion of seasons, Herrick seizes nature into his poetics by making it dead and by making it art.
In resisting the logic of seasonal change, Herrick’s aesthetics of nature adheres to the Caroline agenda of hereditary royalty, appeals to Counterreformation aesthetics, and historicizes the commodity-form’s allure and dominion.
Remigius Recchia (Oklahoma State University)
Blood and Devilry: How Christopher Marlowe’s Imagistic Language Informs the Tone of The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus
This paper explores images and symbolism pertaining to blood and Christ in the B text version of Marlowe’s play. It performs its analysis on the B text version of the play, written in the late sixteenth century and performed in the seventeenth century. The time period in which it was performed pertains to the paper because the analysis examines original audience perception in addition to current (twenty-first century) perception. The major difference between audiences lies in the fact that a European audience in the seventeenth century was more homogenous in terms of religion—the crowd was presumably almost entirely Christian and therefore more understanding of the risks of embarking on a deal with the devil; the concern over one’s soul was very real to that particular public. A modern audience, however, cannot be assumed to be predominantly Christian, as freedom of religion encourages faiths that are not Christian, and, indeed, allows for atheism.
The key elements in the paper are a discussion of animals, food, and religious symbolism, all relating to blood. The paper engages with notable scholars Travis DeCook, Matthew Greenfield, and Barbara L. Parker. The paper also performs a close reading of passages from the B text that explicitly invoke the image of blood. Historical context is also considered, such as Marlowe’s references to the magician Cornelius Agrippa. The paper presents Faustus as a flawed yet sympathetic character and intends to demonstrate Marlowe’s masterful use of imagery. Regardless of epoch, Marlowe’s audiences are led to understand Doctor Faustus as a serious warning against reckless ambition.
Imperial Meddler/Marian Mentor: Eustace Chapuys and Mary Tudor in Fiction and Film
Mary Tudor’s relationship with Eustace Chapuys (c.1490-1556) was important. During his embassy she was successively heir apparent, statutory bastard, and second in line to the throne, her father Henry VIII divorced her mother Catherine of Aragon and dismantled the Catholic Church, she suffered internal exile, poor health, and emotional distress, and remained unmarried until age thirty-eight. Chapuys, a Savoyard cleric, became Charles V’s ambassador to England in 1529, offered Mary comfort while persuading her to submit to Henry, covertly encouraged dissent on her behalf, and remained her mentor until his departure in 1545. Despite all this drama, until recently neither has figured prominently in plays, novels, and filmic adaptations that have shaped popular perceptions of Henry, Elizabeth I, and Mary, Queen of Scots, and often they do not appear together. Chapuys (Capucius) is in William Shakespeare’s The Famous Life of King Henry the Eighth and Robert Bolt’s radio play A Man for All Seasons (1950) but not Robert Zinnemann’s film (1966) or Charlton Heston’s teleplay (1988), none of which include Mary. Most works featuring Mary are set after 1545, neither individual is in Maxwell Anderson’s play Anne of the Thousand Days (1948) though Mary is in the film (1969), the two figure sparingly in the miniseries The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970) and film Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972), only Mary is in the miniseries Henry VIII (2004) and Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl (novel 2001, TV 2004, film 2008) and few novels involve both. But they are major characters and receive more sympathetic treatment in Showtime’s The Tudors (2007-10), Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012), and the mini-series Wolf Hall (2015). This essay will examine changes in historiography and political, social, and cultural attitudes to explain why.
Lina Maria Rodriguez Perico (Columbia University)
Felicitas in Italian Renaissance Visual Culture: The Role of Sixteenth-Century Printed Sources in the Re-appropriation of Classical Motifs
The image of Felicitas, the Roman goddess of Happiness, originally circulated on the reverse of Imperial coinage from the time of Galba up to the late Empire. Commonly represented as a woman holding a cornucopia and a caduceus, symbols of abundance and peace, Felicitas ceased to be represented after the fall of the Empire, resurging only almost eleven centuries later in the work of sixteenth-century Italian artists, such as Agnolo Bronzino’s Allegory of Happiness (1564) and Annibale Carracci’s Allegory of Truth and Time (1584). Remarkably, with very few exceptions, the majority of these works were produced in the second half of the sixteenth century.
These particularities in the reappearance of Felicitas in Italian art, and in Western art in general, raise an interesting question about the way in which this classical motif re-entered the visual repertoire of Italian artists. Although it would be plausible to state that the resurgence of Felicitas resulted directly from the circulation of Imperial coins bearing her image, a mystery remains unsolved: if coinage started to be collected and circulated in Italy from the fourteenth-century on, why did it take two centuries for this personification to reappear in Italian art?
In order to approach this question, it is pertinent to consider the primary role that sixteenth-century printed sources had in the diffusion of classical motifs. Accordingly, this paper studies the presence, and absence, of Felicitas in sources that served as vehicles for the diffusion of images from Antiquity: illustrated numismatic works (Vico, Erizzo, Agustin, etc), books of hieroglyphics (Valeriano), and mythographic compendia (Giraldi, Cartari). The analysis of this material reveals the journey undergone by Felicitas from the realm of private numismatic collections to printed sources that were accessible to a wider audience and which were often used by artists.
Finally, this study concludes with a review of the presence of Felicitas in Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia, which draws from many of the sources mentioned before. Given the importance and influence of the Iconologia in the artistic production of the following centuries, the inclusion of Felicitas in this compendium represents the survival of this motif further from its numismatic source and later specialized literature, as well as a definitive step in the re-introduction of this iconography in Early Modern visual culture.
Letter and Spirit in Augustine, Shakespeare, and Herbert
In this paper I hope to shed new light on some old texts by William Shakespeare and George Herbert, and to do so by applying an even older conceptual and hermeneutic distinction. The differentiation between letter and spirit saturates our thinking about law, but it originates with Paul, who wrote in 2 Cor. 3:1-6 that “the letter (γράμμα, gramma) killeth, but the spirit (πνεῦμα, pneuma) giveth life.” Origen understood this distinction hermeneutically, as a mandate for biblical allegoresis, and his reading prevailed through the medieval era. But Augustine construed letter and spirit primarily as law and grace, and his reading has been dominant since the Reformation: in De spiritu et littera, he expanded Paul’s distinction into a robust theological account of soteriology, agency, motive, and desire. The Augustinian movement from gramma to pneuma, letter to spirit, law to grace, fear to love, is also a movement from external prohibition to internal affirmation, from hard stone to soft hearts.
The second half of my paper will briefly examine works by William Shakespeare and George Herbert in light of these early modern (and mainly Augustinian) problematics of letter and spirit. Measure for Measure probes its characters’ relations to law, and the different valences of fear and love in those relations; such an analysis offers a useful way of understanding this notoriously problematic play, and clarifying what makes it so troubling. Herbert’s situation is different: as a Christian relatively assured of his salvation, he meditates repeatedly on letter and spirit in terms of the two forms (and media) of writing highlighted by Paul and Augustine. Both writers, along with Augustine and many others, wrestle with the profound implications of Paul’s seminal distinction between letter and spirit, and its corollary hierarchical tensions between body and soul, earth and heaven, human and divine, justice and mercy, law and love.
Places as signifiers: the spatial organization of Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso
This research aims to examine the spatial organization and the role of places in Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso. One of the central themes of the Orlando Furioso is the inquiry, the uninterrupted search by the characters of the poem, for what their heart most eagerly craves. Furthermore, because of this incessant movement, the spatial component assumes an essential function within the narrative structure of the work. In fact, “now right, now left, […], far and wide” Ariosto leads his characters, and the pages of the poem now become a dense, intricate forest that hides enchanted castles, now a deep sea that is home to exotic islands and fairytales, now a dark sky furrowed by the silver of the moon. Thus, Ariosto’s space appears to be an imaginary environment that exists beyond geographical reality and creates new horizons and evanescent landscapes. However, this paper proposes a closer look, which reveals that the poet did not merely intend to create a pleasant game of escape. Rather, he composes a cosmos closely related to the real, complementary, and symmetrical, and, in doing so, he is able to highlight and analyze, albeit always in an implicit and veiled way, vices and virtues. Moreover, a peculiar characteristic of Ariosto’s space is its ability to create contemporaneity. Within the pages of the labyrinthine poem, Ariosto succeeds to make the different and innumerable narrative threads proceed together, thanks to the presence of places, fixed reference points in the incessant flow of the story. Furthermore, through the analysis of several passages, this study shows how the places reveal the psychology of the characters that act and move in them. The poet dresses the landscape with a further value, creating a harmony between environment and character’s feelings. The objective of this research is to show that Ariosto literally builds a figurative space and he places it within the events, in the temporal succession of the story, not only as contextualization, but as signifier that gives meaning to the whole narrative structure.
“I Wished Myself a Man”: The Vulnerability of Cressida and the Elizabethan Boy Actor
When Shakespeare adapts the story of Criseyde for the stage in Troilus and Cressida, he not only retains the essential vulnerability of her Chaucerian precursor, but he also draws attention to the boy actor playing her. He does so, I suggest, in order to expresses the victimization of boy actors on both public and private stages during the so-called “War of the Theaters” at the turn of the seventeenth-century. By observing how Shakespeare encourages a metatheatrical double-vision, inviting audiences to engage with his play in both the fictional world of his characters as well as the contemporary world of his theater, I argue that Shakespeare represents the complex economic, social, and gendered status of boy actors within the patriarchal guild system of early modern London. Composed around 1601–2, Troilus and Cressida intervenes in the “throwing about of brains,” as Shakespeare’s Guildenstern puts it, between the public theaters and adult companies, on the one hand, and the indoor theaters and the children’s companies, on the other. I propose that Troilus and Cressida microcosmically stages this War of the Theaters, pitting the professional players in Shakespeare’s company against their apprenticed boys. But whereas in Hamlet Rosencrantz confirms that “the boys carry it away,” emerging as victors over the professional players, in Troilus and Cressida boy actors are instead almost invariably abused by their wards in the company. Ultimately this presentation seeks to demonstrate Shakespeare’s deeper, more explicit intervention in the War of the Theaters, and that, in Chaucer’s Criseyde, Shakespeare found not an emblem of falsehood, but a character by which he could dramatize issues of his own cultural moment.
Jesse Russell (Georgia Southwestern State University)
Scholastic Contemplatio in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene
Eamon Duffy’s magisterial 1992 work, The Stripping of the Altars, is a watershed scholarly tome that represented a sea change in thinking about the English Reformation.1 Duffy’s central thesis is that, despite significant and often brutal efforts by the Henrican and Edwardian regimes to destroy Catholic Christianity in England, a strong Catholic piety persisted among both the laity and clergy of England well into the Elizabethan period. While scholars have ferreted out Catholic sympathy among a number of Elizabethan authors, upon first glance, Edmund Spenser seems largely immune to sympathy to the “old faith.”2 Indeed, while some critics have emphasized Spenser’s awareness in Patristic theology and thus have argued that Spenser was, in fact, interested in pre-Reformation Christianity3, the bulk of Spenser critics have fought over the degree to which the English poet was influenced by Puritanism4 or the “via media” way of what would later be called “Anglicanism.”5
However, a close reading of Spenser’s texts reveals strong elements of Catholic thought, and one of the most pronounced is Spenser’s use of the idea scholastic notion of contemplatio or the union of the soul with God at the highest state of prayer. In his Faerie Queene, Spenser utilizes the scholastic notion of contemplatio; however, the great English poet adds a twist to the scholastic understanding of the heights of prayer, which reflects his own Reformation and Elizabethan milieu. For most, but not all, of The Faerie Queene, contemplation of God is yoked to and mediated by contemplation of the “divine” Elizabeth. Moreover, Spenser instrumentalizes contemplation of God and places it as a mechanism in the process of service to the Elizabeth and the Tudor state. However, in the “Two Cantos of Mutabilitie” appended to the 1609 edition of the poem, Spenser appears to renounce his novel fashioning of contemplation and returns to a more traditional or scholastic understanding of contemplation as the soul’s union with God via grace received via humble supplication.
A Closer Look at the Measure of Pathos in Carved Passion Retables from the 15th and 16th centuries in France
The altars of parish churches throughout France were ornamented with large altarpieces representing the Passion and post-Passion of Christ. Carved of wood or stone, polychromed and gilded, and often concealed behind painted wings whose opening and closing constituted part of the worshipper’s epiphanic experience, these works embodied the spectacle of the holy. This paper will consider the effect of both the small scale of the figures and the pictorial strategies employed to enhance the devotional impact of these objects.
Carlo Scapecchi (The University of Edinburgh)
The Importation of Tapestry-Weaving and the Primacy of Disegno in Ducal Florence (1545-1569)
“I am saying that the masters [weavers] will rather improve the designs than diminishing in quality because they are so excellent that we can not have any doubts about it”. Thus, Bernardo Saliti, a prominent silk merchant and agent of the Flemish weavers, Jan Rost and Nicolas Karcher, in April 1545 answered to the inquiries of the Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici (1537-1574) about the qualities of the Flemish weavers. A few months later, Jan Rost and Nicolas Karcher came in Florence and established two tapestry workshops, the Arazzeria Medicea, funded by Cosimo. Significantly, Saliti defined here in this quote the Florentine primacy of designs over weaving in tapestry-making.
Tapestry-making has always been an interaction between different media and collaborative effort. On the opposite, in Ducal Florence, the design, which coincided with the sketch of the composition by a painter, became dominant in tapestry-making, affecting the production and the perception of authorship of tapestries.
Benedetto Varchi, Giorgio Vasari, Anton Francesco Doni and others in the same period (1540-1570) disputed the theoretical value of Disegno in artistic production. Disegno (design) recreated the idea contained in the exterior world and meditated through the intellect and perceived as an intellectual endeavour gaining a special status over manual labours, such as weaving. This theoretical speculation deeply affected tapestry-making and contributed to establishing an internal hierarchy between preparatory designs and weaving. However, as emerges from the documents and first tests woven in Florence, this dominance of design clashed with the perception of tapestry-making of the Flemish weavers, who privileged weaving over design.
By investigating these aspects, the paper seeks to offer a new perspective on the Renaissance art theory, the foundation of the Medicean tapestry workshop (1545) and a new methodological approach to the study of tapestry-making in Early Modern Europe and especially Ducal Florence.
Valerie Schutte (Independent Scholar)
Publishing Princess Elizabeth
Princess Elizabeth dedicated her translation of Marguerite de Navarre’s The Glass of the Sinful Soul to Katherine Parr as a New Year’s gift for 1545, with the expressed intention that Katherine keep the translation private. In an unexplained course of events, it was obtained by John Bale and printed in April 1548 and again in four more editions over the course of the second half of the sixteenth century. With the five printed editions of Elizabeth’s translation came three new dedications to Elizabeth and the complete removal of Katherine Parr from the text.
This paper explicates Bale’s dedication to Elizabeth and the circumstances under which it was created and follows the textual transmission of Elizabeth’s translation as well as examines the dedications and paratextual material added by its other two sixteenth-century editors, James Cancellar and Thomas Bentley. These editors added their own dedications to show their loyalty and desire for patronage, but for each of them the text held a particular meaning. Bentley contributed to Elizabeth’s image as perpetual Virgin. Bale used Elizabeth’s translation to support furthering reform in England. Cancellar presumably gave his dedication and a reissue of Elizabeth’s book to Elizabeth to show her loyalty, as he had a rocky past with Bale, someone who did have Elizabeth’s patronage. Yet, Cancellar uses language that was previously used to describe Mary and a translation that she completed at the same time in which Elizabeth completed her translation of The Glass. When read alongside Nicholas Udall’s dedication to Katherine Parr, from which Cancellar repeated near verbatim Udall’s praise of Mary, it becomes clear that Elizabeth was not so singular as praises that were steeped on her were first used for Mary, both implicitly and explicitly linking the sisters and their translations in perpetuity.
Sachini Seneviratne (Open University of Sri Lanka)
“Negative spaces” in All’s Well That Ends Well
Writing in the 1980s about the French critique of the evidence-seeking epistemologies of the West, Ann Rosalind Jones writes of ‘the basic structures of culture that are invisible to the empirical eye’. I will use this tension between the ‘empirical eye’ and the invisible structures of culture as a starting point in this paper on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well. Focusing, as the play does, on nascent empirical science, All’s Well appears to privilege an evidence-based mode of reasoning. However, the protagonist Helena’s relationship with bodies (hers and others) and texts is a critique of and challenge to the inchoate empirically informed scientific methods of the day.
I suggest that this relationship challenges empirical epistemologies because Helena’s use of her texts (the ‘good receipt’ and Bertram’s rewritten letter) and her body engage with what I will tentatively call the play’s ‘negative spaces’. All’s Well features a number of key absences (like the receipt itself), and I will examine how the relationship between texts and bodies in the play is structured by absence. Helena’s rewriting, or literal ‘re-presentation’ of her texts elaborates L. Rabine’s argument that there are ‘connotations of writing… that make silence and absence speak’. It is this precarious intersection between absent and present which Helena exploits most in her texts. This buttresses her agency, and she uses her texts to rescript her body without the interference of paternal mandate.
Yafit Shachar (Tel Aviv University)
A Queen Beyond Words: Elizabeth I’s Neoplatonic Political Rhetoric
Queen Elizabeth I’s impressive corpus of writing proves her to have been an astute political thinker and a remarkable writer worthy of literary and rhetorical analysis. My proposed paper will claim that the queen’s greatest rhetorical achievement is the creation of political space for a legitimate unmarried female monarch, through carefully chosen words and rhetorical structures. Elizabeth I managed to operate within the conservative political discourse of her day while also endeavoring to reshape it by appropriating and subverting traditional rhetorical conventions.
Elizabeth I was highly confident in her ability to solve any potential problem with words. Yet, nothing prepared her for the incessant litanies she received from her parliament regarding marriage and succession. Five of Elizabeth’s speeches in the first decade of her reign were written as responses to petitions urging her to marry and produce an heir. The more her all-male parliament tried to exceed their authority on issues such as her female-human body, the more Elizabeth advocated for a Neoplatonic perception of herself as an ungendered divine entity, who continuously aspires to elevate into a higher sphere, and leave the evil world of matter behind. When Elizabeth refers to her body (as opposed to her soul), she rhetorically conflates it with her metaphysical and political speculative bodies, thereby creating a meta-body trope, employed to accommodate her changing political needs. Elizabeth develops writing techniques that give her a sense of control over her audience via the frequent use of synecdoche, of body parts or human senses, wherein she appears to accommodate herself (rhetorically and theologically) to her subjects’ earthly senses and limited human perspective. In this sense, her soul also functions as an accommodation trope, through which Elizabeth is able to communicate with the divine, and then convey her message to her subjects via earthly senses. When she conflates God’s word with her own words, Elizabeth essentially compels her audience to perceive her words as quasi-divine and therefore indisputable facts that should not be questioned or criticized.
Katherine Sheldon (California State University, Stanislaus)
Counterfeit Riches in a Counterfeit World – Deconstructing Truth in The Jew of Malta
The world of counterfeit currency and faith is central to The Jew of Malta. Machevil’s claim to “count religion but a childish toy/And hold there is no sin but ignorance” shrouds the play in a veil of deception. Scholars have noted that Jewish conversion to Christianity is at the very heart of The Jew of Malta. James Shapiro, in his comprehensive study of Jews in Elizabethan England, skeptically notes the sense of the impossibility of sincere Jewish conversion in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries noting many Jewish converts repudiated the Christianity they had once willingly embraced. Likewise, currency can be construed as counterfeit in the play. In the world of Barabas, there is a price on every object and every person, starting with his own daughter. He deals in a currency that fails to bring him perceived value. Despite his preoccupation with consolidating riches, money affords him nothing of true wealth. This paper will explore the milieu of counterfeit illusion that surrounds Abigail and the veracity of her second and final conversion entreaty from a new historicist perspective.
In Marlowe’s era, the changing roles of the Catholic and Protestant churches were fluid, as was the proscribed hierarchical role structure for young women. Misconceptions of Jews abounded. Given the tumultuous fluidity and ambiguity of the era, especially regarding religious practices and subversive discourse, it was an illusionary, and oft-confusing, time. As of today, culture and the arts provide a mirror that is interpreted by personal belief structures. What is “truth” is malleable and subject to interpretation. Marlowe is holding up a mirror that at any given time will be an illusion based on individual perception “for religion/Hides many mischiefs from suspicion.”
Stephen Spencer (Yeshiva University)
Joy’s Mastery in Marvell’s “Mourning”
In stanza VI of “Mourning,” the speaker delineates a “bolder” group of onlookers who, observing Chlora’s tears, believe that “Joy” has become her “master” (21–22). Focusing on stanza VI, this short paper will suggest that Marvell’s “Mourning” is more interested in critiquing the (male) onlookers, for presuming to discover joy’s mastery of Chlora, than it is in critiquing Chlora, for allowing herself to be controlled by an erotic, sensual type of joy. To substantiate such a reading, I will utilize the Francis Villiers elegy as an intertext for “Mourning,” both of which likely share the composition year of 1648. In the Villiers elegy, Marvell invokes joy not to comfort the fallen soldier’s grieving readers, but rather, to subtly critique Villers’s royalist masculinity, which conflates erotic love with glorified violence: “Nor in his mistress’ eyes that joy he took,” the speaker claims, “As in an enemy’s himself to look” (53-54). Meanwhile, the Chlora of the elegy—almost certainly a stand-in for Villiers’s (married) mistress Mary Kirke—futilely attempts to keep her lover from battle, not by wiling him with feminine charms, but by compulsively weeping out of genuine affection. If Marvell means to refract the Chlora of “Mourning” through the Chlora-Mary Kirke of the elegy, then the sensual joy that seems to master Chlora was a much bigger issue for cavalier royalist men in the Civil War context of 1648, who, like Villiers, idolized erotic love as a function of a deeper problem: insensitivity to the kind of genuine affect that can be communicated through tears. This, of course, is a meaning that is only implicit in “Mourning,” which lacks the occasional context allowing the Villiers elegy to surreptitiously critique royalist masculinity while lamenting a fallen royalist. Nevertheless, “Mourning” demonstrates the evolution of Marvell’s politically charged tear poetry, which increasingly renders the pious weeping of private women as a foundation for the English Commonwealth’s reimagined culture of public devotion through an image of concordia discors: tears of joy.
Sonakshi Srivastava (Indraprastha University)
Renaissance Gone Wilde
P. Simons in her seminal work ‘Portraiture, portrayal, and idealization….’ Reads portraits as, ‘a medium of exchange between art and society, object and viewer, sitter and artist… in a rich conversation of overlaid, even competing and conflicting voices, rather than as singular objects with one universalized and static, authoritative interpreter.’ Cultural exploits were a necessity in a Burckhardtian interpretation of the Renaissance, one that necessarily placed ‘image’ and ‘reality’ as congruent.
Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli had mastered the art of portraitures, and his works have occupied popular attention till recent times, from ‘Salome’, being the ‘icon of the ideology of the Decadents’ to women fashioning their hair after his effeminate angels. A cultural icon, his life and works influenced Walter Pater, who carried out an extensive study on the Renaissance art, thereby catalysing the ‘Decadent and the Aesthetic Movement’ in Victorian England–its chief plank being Oscar Wilde.
This paper seeks to study and understand the influence of Renaissance art with special emphasis on Botticelli upon Wilde, positing the former’s paintings and portraitures in conversation with the latter’s textual works, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, and ‘Salome’, negotiating and understanding the ‘fashioning of human identity as a manipulable, artful process’ (Greenblatt).
The Neuroticism of the Queen: Elizabeth I and Spenser’s Britomart
In my recent book Spenser’s Heavenly Elizabeth, I argue that the portraits of the English queen woven into Spenser’s Faerie Queene amount to an unexpectedly detailed account of her as she negotiated the major crises of her life and reign. So detailed are these portraits that they call to mind the highly realistic art that English court painters of the period were just learning from Dutch and Italian masters. Spenser’s “mirrours” of Elizabeth reflect–with fascinating distortions–not only Elizabeth’s political circumstances and actions but her personality. Ranging over a surprising array of traits, Spenser seeks to delineate the dispositions that governed her behavior.
Although English literary depictions of personality did not reach full complexity until the rise of the novel, they appeared as early as Chaucer and reached astonishing sophistication in the early works of Shakespeare. They are surprisingly well developed in Spenser’s imitation of Virgilian epic and Ariostan romance, which was written at about the same time. In centering the poem on what we might call proto-novelistic allegorical renderings of Elizabeth, the poem was as innovative as it was psychologically astute.
Since there is no time in a brief conference paper to analyze the extraordinary complexity of Spenser’s representations of the queen, I will focus on just one figure for her, Britomart, the Knight of Chastity, and just one predominant personality trait. As defined by modern psychologists, neuroticism encompasses ingrained tendencies to feel self-conscious and defensive, sensitive and anxious, moody and irritable, sometimes to the point of ferocity and even violence. To anyone who knows much about Elizabeth, the list is familiar. It marks her tendencies to one extreme on a scale from the neurotic to the socially well adjusted. That scale constitutes one of the Five Factors that make up the model of personality currently dominant among psychologists.
I begin the paper with a brief summary of that model, which first gained wide acceptance in the 1990s and seems to me to hold great promise for literary and historical studies. I then compare Elizabeth with Britomart, showing Spenser’s bold Humanist candor in holding up a such a frank mirror to reveal the human shortcomings of his otherwise much loved and honored queen.
Aural and Visual Modes in Marvellian Lyric
In this paper, I offer readings of “The Fair Singer” and “The Definition of Love” as case studies to explore the interaction of self-reflexive moves in Marvell’s poetry with the suspended status of the lyric in between aural and visual modes. These two concerns are intimately linked; at moments when the poem becomes self-aware and the breakdown of the line between the diegetic and extradiegetic seems imminent, the text forces readers to consider the potential fracturing of the poem itself into its aural and visual dimensions. In “The Fair Singer,” the structure of the poem imitates its content in presenting a lethal interweaving of the aural and the visual. I argue that the word “trammel,” which appears in the middle of the poem, provides the key to understanding its tripartite structure. More radically, Marvell’s play on the literal and metaphorical meanings of “trammel” ultimately enacts the combined visibility and invisibility of the lyric form itself. While “The Fair Singer” charts this confluence of sound and sight, “The Definition of Love” charts the impossibility of their complete convergence. Through a move that is more broadly metaliterary than simply self-reflexive, Marvell’s meditation on parallel geometrical “lines” maps suggestively onto a theory of lyric composition and reading, as the concretizing force of definition becomes a metaphor for thinking through the fixing of aurally apprehended lyric in writing. At the same time, the fixed poem is susceptible to dissemination through aural recitation, taking on the status of score as embodied readers can replicate it through voicing the lines aloud. I place this complex interplay in the context of Marvell’s status in between scribal and print cultures, suggesting that his self-conscious engagement with the two modes of lyric cues into the concerns of the early modern media revolution even as it creates a forward-looking poetics obsessed with the status of its own replication and integration.
“Edgar I nothing am”: Emptiness, Compassion, and Enlightenment in King Lear
Renowned voice teacher Patsy Rodenburg tells a story in her book Speaking Shakespeare about a conversation she had with actors while teaching in southern India. They “were discussing their favourite characters in Shakespeare. To my surprise, many of them named Edgar. When I asked why, they said that his journey was the journey of Buddha. He gains enlightenment and strength through suffering. And perhaps the end of the play is, in this light, hopeful: the kingdom is to be ruled by a wise man who, through suffering, has found truth and enlightenment.” The startling clarity of this insight, which joins Eastern spirituality with Western tragedy, suggests a way to understand King Lear through a culturally different lens. Western critics of King Lear have been fascinated and repulsed for centuries by the pessimism, even nihilism, of the play. They share Kent’s perspective: “All’s cheerless, dark, and deadly” (5.3.265). In this essay, I would like to pursue the insight of those Indian actors who read King Lear in light of the Buddha’s journey. I would like to revisit Shakespeare’s play not necessarily to deny its dark, apocalyptic, or existentially bleak characteristics, but to see how the play is designed as well to lead readers and audiences to the path of enlightenment. I would like to ask what happens when we view Edgar as our surrogate and his lines (“Edgar I nothing am”; “O, thou side-splitting sight”) as resonant with Buddhist concepts of emptiness and compassion, the touchstones of enlightenment? How might “nothing” be heard as the “turning word” of a koan, to borrow from Zen, which bypasses reason to strike open the heart and mind? How does the drama lend itself to a deeply human, spiritual involvement in the journey of the dispossessed Edgar?
Matthew Turnbull (Baylor University)
Martin Luther’s Anfechtungen and George Herbert’s “Conscience”
In 1519, Martin Luther called the human conscience a “devil,” a “monster,” and a “terror” (Commentary 26:26, 5). Why would the Reformation theologian so disparage this critical moral faculty? Luther believed that when the conscience fixes its gaze on the righteous demands embodied in the Old Testament (OT) Mosaic Law, it not only assimilates those demands, but becomes “troubled, confounded, and frightened” by them (26:5). Through fear, it is enslaved. A conscience thus manacled to the OT Law menaces the soul of which it is a part; the element intended as a corrective becomes a tyrannizing accuser (26:26). In well-chronicled anguish (Preface 336-337), Luther questioned how a Christian could respond to the tyranny of the Law-informed conscience. Like the soul, so Luther ultimately asserted the conscience, too, must be reborn.
George Herbert knew well the torments of conscience. Sometime between 1620 and 1633, Herbert penned “Conscience,” a poem expressive of the spiritual strife experienced by a Christian who seeks and cannot find peace with God. This is not his only poem turning on this theme. Much of Herbert’s work (“Assurance,” “Complaining,” “Dullness,” “The Collar”) can be viewed as a frank account of a travailing soul in spiritual distress (“The Collar” lines 17-23; “Affliction I” lines 8-36). Herbert’s speaker is often torn between his unquenchable longing for confident closeness with his God, on one hand, and his constant dissatisfaction, his duplicitous motives, and especially his conscience-driven fear, on the other. As Herbert lamented, a soul thus exposed to inner terror plunges into “cold despairs and gnawing pensiveness” (“Assurance” 16).
Herbert’s poem, “Conscience,” confronts directly such terror and despair and, in so doing, clearly exhibits the influence of Martin Luther’s theology. As an expansion of Richard Strier’s thesis (in Love Known) that Luther influenced Herbert’s ideas, based on the content of his poem, “Conscience,” I assert that George Herbert not only read Luther’s Lectures on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, not only embraced Luther’s teaching on the subject of the conscience, but also promoted—even extended—Luther’s theological and psychological insight on the human conscience.
C. S. Lewis’s Rewriting of Milton’s Satan’s Temptation of Eve: The Unman’s Rhetoric of Temptation of the Green Lady in Perelandra
This paper examines Lewis’s rewriting, in the middle chapters of Perelandra (1943) of Eve’s temptation in Paradise Lost. This topic has been investigated by only a handful of scholars, but remarkably, none of them has examined in significant detail the manner in which the rhetoric of Weston, or the Unman, toward Lewis’s Green Lady amounts to a rewriting of the rhetoric of Milton’s Satan. Most specifically, the Unman’s rhetoric rewrites Satan’s in its depiction of Perelandra’s God, Maleldil, as one who wishes to liberate the Green Lady from her narrow understanding of obedience and disobedience. This presentation of Maleldil is quite the opposite of Milton’s Satan’s claim that God wishes to keep humanity low and ignorant while Satan himself, incarnating the serpent, presents himself as the one who seeks to liberate humanity from its ignorant and limiting obedience to God. Amid this analysis of Parelandra and Paradise Lost, I will also make use of Lewis’s A Preface to “Paradise Lost” (1942)—published the year before Parelandra—specifically its chapter on “Satan,” which will be used to elucidate the ultimate “absurdity” (p. 93) of the Unman’s argument; and its chapter on “The Fall,” which will be used to demonstrate the Unman’s attempt to make the Green Lady fall “through Pride” (p. 121), as Satan did Eve. One significant difference between Satan’s and the Unman’s attempts to seduce their listeners through Pride is that, whereas Satan lauded Eve for her unmatched, superlative beauty, the Unman’s “temptation to fatuous pride, to megalomania” (ch. 11, p. 141) includes his attempt to first draw the Green Lady into envy by telling her that the “wisdom” and “beauty” of the women of the Earth are “much greater than” hers (ch. 8, p. 106)
Sir Francis Drake in the Spanish Literature of the Armada
This paper is about Sir Francis Drake, Elizabeth I’s most famous pirate, and his role in Spanish texts composed throughout the Armada campaign. Arrogant and ambitious as he was, Drake was the key-man in the Anglo-Spanish war in 1588. A well-known seaman both in the New World and in Europe, Drake had imposed himself in the Anglo-Spanish relations as a violent and ambitious man determined to serve his country to death.
The fight against him was disputed not only at sea or on the boats in the Channel, but also in literature where El Draque, as he was scornfully called by Philip II’s subjects, turned out to be a character of many a pun and text. Beside the role he played in poems written by less known authors, like Juan de Castellanos, Drake was mentioned in works by Góngora, Cervantes and Lope de Vega. In all of them, Drake is the “Pirata mayor del Occidente”, the scourge of God and the worst enemy Spain had ever faced since the beginning of its history.
Of all the poems written and published on him, however, the most important one was composed after his death, occurred in mysterious circumstances in 1596. Lope de Vega’s ‘La Dragontea’ is in fact a long poem on Drake’s last voyage: his fearless and arrogant nature, scornful of danger, had not been enough for him to avoid death and to prevent Spaniards from ridiculing him and his fate. Whether the circumstances of Drake’s death as described in Spanish literature are true or not, his death was the great news all Spaniards had been waiting for since the defeat of the Armada.
“Foreshortened Time” and Marvell’s “Geometrick yeer”
This paper has the object of making good Elsie Duncan-Jones’ suggestion, many years ago and not much developed since, that Marvell’s reference to the “Geometrick yeer” – the non-linear time-reckoning relied upon in Heaven – derives not from a refracted or hazy Platonism (and is not simply a synonym for the “Platonic year” of the First Anniversary) but from Marvell’s prolific contemporary, John Wilkins, whose 1648 Mathematical Magick proposed the possibility of contriving “Geometrically,” an “artifical motion” swifter than those of the actual heavenly bodies. The attraction of such an artificially hastened pseudo-year for a poet who seems to have heard the “hurrying” of Time behind the back of every subject he took up, amorous or otherwise, justifies pursuing Duncan-Jones suggestion of the intertext. Doing so, as I try to demonstrate in the latter part of this paper, throws Marvell’s career-long fascination with the possibilities of providential, millenarian, or “foreshortened Time” into new relief, against the background of an alleged transformation of temporal experience in the seventeenth century.
Zhishu Wang (University of British Columbia)
“Degenerate King(s)”: Homosexuality and Deposition in Richard II
Shakespeare’s Richard II has long been noted for its elegant poetic language and especially for Richard’s eloquent soliloquies. Scholars typically analyze this play through a metaphorical lens, paying attention to the garden scene and the deposition scene, from which they extract a political allegory that spotlights political corruption and kingly incompetence in England. In this essay, I likewise center my analysis on these two famous scenes to discuss the king’s “body-natural” and “body-politic.” What I add to the conversation is a third monarchical body to the mix, what I call the king’s “body-shared.” I theorize this idea in two contexts: first, there is the sexual one, in which Richard “shares” his anointed body sexually with his minions; and second, there is the generic one, in which all monarchs share the experience of rising and falling. In exploring these contexts, I eschew the recurring metaphorical perspective and instead implement a metonymic one, as proposed by Madhavi Menon. Metonymy, as Menon argues, has implications for our understanding nonheteronormative sexuality in early modern England and so enables us to links politics to sexuality. I conclude that a “body-shared,” in Richard’s case, is a body that is corrupted and adopted: on the one hand, it is corruptively-shared among Richard and his minions due to the taint of unnatural male intimacy; on the other hand, it is adoptively-shared among kings as Richard prophesies their collective grief and communal “shadows” in their “sunshine days.”
Michael Winkelman (St. Trinian’s School)
Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell, and Cognitive Narratology: Savoring Hilary Mantel’s “Richly Textured Scenes”
The Wolf Hall trilogy, an epic historical series of three novels about Thomas Cromwell, Master Secretary to King Henry VIII, has recently been completed by English author Hilary Mantel. The first, Wolf Hall, won the Man Booker Prize in 2009, as did its sequel about the downfall of Queen Anne Boleyn, Bring Up the Bodies, in 2012. The third installment about Cromwell’s final rise and fall, The Mirror and the Light, was published in 2020.
In this article, fresh insights into humans’ universal interest in stories, which have given rise to the field of cognitive narratology, are deployed to explicate what makes Wolf Hall such a richly resonant, deeply textured work. It explores how the author uses free indirect discourse and her considerable linguistic dexterity to create a poetic yet precise voice in the saga. Her characterization of Cromwell and Henrician England is extraordinarily vivid, copious, and resonant, and the essay considers the elements that make her shady protagonist seem like such “a person,” as his rivals ruefully put it. Despite or because of his keen Machiavellian intelligence, his murky motivations, and his Promethean ambitions, Mantel’s Cromwell emerges as a fully imagined, beguiling, and sympathetic antihero. Given recent scientific interest in non-verbal communication and Theory of Mind among intelligent social primates, Cromwell’s recurring directive to himself to “arrange your face,” and the novels’ minute attention to how hands indicate mental states are also treated. The conclusion suggests some of the benefits of immersion in such well-wrought fictional worlds.
Graceful Tears (“Mourning,” stanza 2)
I propose a short paper on stanza 2 for the round-table discussion of Marvell’s “Mourning.” I read these lines as enacting a hydrology of grace and will examine them in relation to Marvell’s other teary, dewy, and fluctuant verse.
I Hate the Moor: Internalized Racism in Two Contemporary Othello Adaptations
Racial politics make Othello one of the Bard’s most difficult characters. However, Othello opens substantial spaces for contemporary dramatists to write back to the Bard. This presentation examines two contemporary Canadian reworkings of Othello—Djanet Sears’ Harlem Duet (1997) and Joseph Jomo Pierre’s Shakespeare’s Nigga (2013)—that expose the danger Othello’s internalized racism poses to Black solidarity and legitimacy.
In Sears’ multi-temporal play, Othello’s love for the white Mona destroys his marriage to Billie. Played out over three different eras, Othello is forever abandoning his African American wife to pursue a white lover, and that abandonment eventually lands Billie in a mental hospital. Before her breakdown, she cuts Othello’s throat in the 1928 timeline and attempts to poison him in the modern plot. Othello’s rejection of his African American community is contrasted by Amah (his sister) and Canada (Billie’s father), who attempt to support Billie.
Similarly, in Pierre’s play Othello’s love for a white woman—Judith, Shakespeare’s daughter—destroys him, Judith, and Shakespeare, while bloodying the hands of Aaron (from Titus Andronicus). Both Othello and Aaron are Shakespeare’s slaves. Slavery sets the compliant house slave Othello against the rebellious runaway Aaron, beginning from scene two in which Othello whips Aaron. Their feud over Judith (who eventually has Aaron’s baby) culminates when Othello forces Aaron to stab him to death, precipitating a slave revolt.
Both Sears and Pierre use Othello’s internalized racism to imagine liberatory possibilities (however limited and unsuccessful) in contrast to Shakespeare’s tragic Moor. Sears’ play ends with Amah and Canada visiting Billie in the hospital, enacting communal support networks. Pierre’s play ends with the slave revolt against Shakespeare and with Aaron claiming the right to his own story. In each case, Othello’s love of white women—and implicit desire to be white—destroys Black solidarities, and it is only without his internalized racism that liberated and supportive communities can emerge.
Zeyi Zhang (Baylor University)
The Two-Way Mockery in Harapha’s Visit: A Biblical Tradition of Laughter in Samson Agonistes
Though many critics recognize a certain transformation in Samson’s character in his encounter with Harapha, the penultimate “agon” of Milton’s tragedy, they cannot agree on how to interpret Samson’s response to Harapha’s humiliating taunts. William G. Madsen considers Samson’s “eagerness to engage Harapha in single combat” a flawed response, while some view Harapha as a miles gloriosus figure of the Renaissance comedy. These interpretations have not fully expounded the religious significance of mockery in this episode. Though Harapha is the only figure whose name does not appear in the Book of Judges, in the creation of this character, Milton has drawn extensively upon Old Testament narratives and contemporary Biblical commentaries. He relates the mocking of Samson to a tradition of two-way Christian laughter that Michael A. Screech has expounded in his monograph, Laughter at the Foot of the Cross. On the one hand, Harapha’s humiliation of Samson foreshadows the mockery of Samson at Dagonalia that is correspondent to the humiliation of Christ at Crucifixion. On the other hand, as a response, Samson’s challenge of the cowardly Harapha resembles Elijah’s mortification of Baalim priests that justifies a kind of legitimate mockery of the wicked and ungodly ones. Therefore, as is already implied in the rich and controversial meaning of Harapha’s name in Hebrew, the two-way mockery in this episode results in the strengthening of Samson’s faith in addition to his physical strength, which prepares him for the final vanquishing of the Philistines.