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Christian and Jewish eudaimonism in The Merchant of Venice
Sara Coodin

something other than a decision-making moral agent. Well before the current vogue for cultural materialism took root in Shakespeare studies, criticism dating back to the nineteenth century focused on Merchant ’s theological implications, and reduced Shylock’s character to an allegory for another kind of materialism: economic acquisitiveness and greed, which were thought to

in The Renaissance of emotion
Mark Robson

about the presence of the aesthetic necessary in the first place. Formulation of the idea of the early modern can be taken as an exemplary moment in the permeation of a ‘new’ historicism through literary studies since the early 1980s, most obviously through the twin historicisms of cultural materialism and cultural poetics. 1 The periodising title early modern

in The sense of early modern writing
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Then with Scotland first begin
Willy Maley
Andrew Murphy

, Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materialism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985), pp. 48–71, and David J. Baker, ‘Where is Ireland in The Tempest? ’ in Burnett and Wray eds, Shakespeare and Ireland , pp. 68–88. 29 Cited in Michael Quinn ed., Henry V: A

in Shakespeare and Scotland
Revealing the unconscious in chiastic symmetry
Robert Lanier Reid

Shakespearean dramaturgy highlights apprehending a wondrous other: intense epiphanic encounters are fulcrums of passional cycles. Each play forms a chiastic symmetry, beginning with a two-act cycle (act 2 reversing/completing act 1) and ending with a two-act cycle (act 5 reversing/completing act 4); between them an intense one-act cycle (with no known source). These encounters recall biblical epiphanies: nativity, baptism, transfiguration, resurrection, crucifixion. Meaningful epiphany evolves gradually: in early plays it is sensational farce or horror; in mature plays the epiphanies systematically illuminate the soul’s powers. Macbeth’s chiastic sequence neatly divides into three murders – progressively blinding anti-epiphanies: killing a king centers the opening two-act cycle, killing a best friend centers act 3, killing a mother and children centers the final two-act cycle. The three murders suggest a Freudian ‘repetition compulsion’, but the regicide is not just Oedipal, nor the only important slaying. The murders are psychically conjoined, diminishing the Macbeths by travestying each psychic cathexis – sublimation, projection, introjection – annihilating all bonding. King Lear’s complementary sequence of three shamings again forms a chiastic 2-1-2 cycle of acts, but Lear’s strippings paradoxically bring psychic recovery through his epiphanal encounters with Goneril, Poor Tom, and Cordelia at the center of each cycle.

in Renaissance psychologies
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A context for The Faerie Queene
Margaret Christian

can illuminate many of the episodes and characters of the poem. Spenserians have always produced biographical, textual, prosodic, and other historically-based works. In the past decades, many studies that emphasize deconstructive, gender, and psychoanalytic approaches have also appeared. Valuable and insightful as they are, such studies employ categories that were not part of the mental equipment available to original readers of The Faerie Queene and cannot bring us closer to the original readers’ experience. The New Historicism and Cultural Materialism 1 “A Letter

in Spenserian allegory and Elizabethan biblical exegesis