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Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Spencer J. Weinreich

Drawing on Maggie Kilgour’s dictum that the Gothic activates a dormant past with the power to harm the present, this article explores the early modern histories invoked by the Regnum Congo, a sixteenth-century account of Africa featured in H. P. Lovecraft’s cannibal story ‘The Picture in the House’. The Regnum Congo taps into Lovecraft’s racism, instantiating, within and beyond the story, the racial and cultural convergence he dreaded. The tale’s cannibal resembles the Africans depicted in the Regnum Congo to a striking degree, even as his reverence for the book colours his putative status as a puritan. Integrating the book itself into the analysis enables a reading of the tale’s controversial cataclysmic ending as oneof several exemplars of Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock’s ‘Gothic thing-power’, which disrupts subject/object boundaries. The multifarious histories summoned by ‘Picture’ reflect Lovecraft’s own ambivalence about the past, as well as the possibilities of attention to Gothic pasts.

Gothic Studies
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Gaspard Bouttats’s Collage Portraits for Prudencio de Sandoval’s Historia de la vida y hechos del Emperador Carlos V in the Whitworth Collection
Margit Thøfner

This article is about how one approaches images that are both disjunctive and disjointed. It studies a set of nineteen images by the Flemish printmaker Gaspard Bouttats, focusing on four specific examples. The nineteen prints are now in the Whitworth Gallery but come without any provenance beyond the signature of their maker. Hitherto, they have not been studied in detail, but were in fact made for a book, Prudencio de Sandoval’s Historia de la vida y hechos del Emperador Carlos V, published in Antwerp in 1681 by Hieronymus Verdussen III. However, the prints now take the form of a set of loose sheets. Accordingly, the core argument rests on the fact that it is not helpful to study Bouttats’s prints in the context of de Sandoval’s book because this fails to account properly for their composite nature, their current state and their virtually limitless potential for circulation. The main contention is that such prints are best understood as collages. Therefore, they are viewed here through the lens of emerging scholarly literature on medieval and early modern texts and images that also fall into this category.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Art, literature and antiquarianism in Europe, c. 1400–1700

This book brings together essays on the burgeoning array of local antiquarian practices that developed across Europe in the early modern era (c. 1400–1700). Adopting an interdisciplinary and comparative method it investigates how individuals, communities and regions invented their own ancient pasts according to the concerns they faced in the present. A wide range of ‘antiquities’ – real or fictive, Roman or pre-Roman, unintentionally confused or deliberately forged – emerged through archaeological investigations, new works of art and architecture, collections, history-writing and literature. This book is the first to explore the concept of local concepts of antiquity across Europe in a period that has been defined as a uniform ‘Renaissance’. Contributions take a new novel approach to the revival of the antique in different parts of Italy and also extend to other, less widely studied antiquarian traditions in France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Britain and Poland. They examine how ruins, inscriptions and literary works were used to provide evidence of a particular idea of local origins, rewrite history or vaunt civic pride. They consider municipal antiquities collections in southern Italy and southern France, the antiquarian response to the pagan, Christian and Islamic past on the Iberian peninsula, and Netherlandish interest in megalithic ruins thought to be traces of a prehistoric race of giants. This interdisciplinary book is of interest for students and scholars of early modern art history, architectural history, literary studies and history, as well as classics and the reception of antiquity.

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Gender, state formation and commercialisation in urban Sweden, 1650– 1780
Author: Maria Ågren

Service to others was integral to medieval and early modern European culture. It played a prominent role in the Christian world view. People tend to think of state service as the typical male form of work. However, this notion does not do justice to the early history of states and their servants, and it obscures the role of women and gender entirely. Teasing out these entanglements, this book shows how early modern state formation was subsidized by ordinary people's work and how, the then changing relationship between state authorities and families shaped the understanding of work and gender. It introduces the people, the period, the urban environments and the state administration under consideration. The book then analyses the role of violence and hostility in state servants' working lives and the expectations of servants to behave in certain ways. It demonstrates the vital role of small-scale market relations and of cooperation and mutual help among women. The book also analyses the relationship among lower state servants' families, discussing how social control and contact were parts of daily life and how society was knit together through these many practices. It discusses why early modern state formation created more opportunities for men than for women, when another outcome seems equally possible. The history of state formation throws new light on how different forms of service for others were understood and gendered over time, while people's everyday activities elucidate the mechanisms by which states were formed.

Cathy Shrank

Cathy Shrank’s essay considers the impact of citing scripture in fifteenth-century English morality drama. She studies its evolution from a genre that focuses on the psychomachia of the individual human soul to one that maps a struggle for the soul of the nation. Shrank explores what happens to biblical quotations – and the language in which they are cited – and how they are used to establish the ethos of characters in performance after the Reformation.

in Enacting the Bible in medieval and early modern drama
Political communication in early modern England

This collection of essays is set up to explore the dynamics of local/national political culture in seventeenth-century Britain, with particular reference to political communication. It examines the degree to which connections were forged between politics in London, Whitehall and Westminster, and politics in the localities, and the patterns and processes that can be recovered. The fundamental goal is to foster a dialogue between two prominent strands within recent historiography, and between the work of social and political historians of the early modern period. Chapters by leading historians of Stuart Britain examine how the state worked to communicate with its people and how local communities, often far from the metropole, opened their own lines of communication with the centre. The volume then is not meant to be an exhaustive study of all forms of political communication but it nevertheless highlights a variety of ways this agenda can be addressed. At present there is ongoing work on subscriptional culture across the nation from petitioning to Protestation, loyal addresses, lobbying and litigation to name but a few. It is hoped that this volume will provide a reminder of the gains to be made by placing political communication at the heart of both social and political history and to provide an impetus for further scholarship.

Living spirituality

Between 1598 and 1800, an estimated 3, 271 Catholic women left England to enter convents on the Continent. This study focuses more particularly upon those who became Benedictines in the seventeenth century, choosing exile in order to pursue their vocation for an enclosed life. Through the study of a wide variety of original manuscripts, including chronicles, death notices, clerical instructions, texts of spiritual guidance, but also the nuns’ own collections of notes, this book highlights the tensions between the contemplative ideal and the nuns’ personal experiences. Its first four chapters adopt a traditional historical approach to illustrate the tensions between theory and practice in the ideal of being dead to the world. They offer a prosopographical study of Benedictine convents in exile, and show how those houses were both cut-off and enclosed yet very much in touch with the religious and political developments at home. The next fur chapters propose a different point of entry into the history of nuns, with a study of emotions and the senses in the cloister, delving into the textual analysis of the nuns’ personal and communal documents to explore aspect of a lived spirituality, when the body, which so often hindered the spirit, at times enabled spiritual experience.

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Mandeville and Mandevillian Lore in Early Modern England
Editor: Ladan Niayesh

It is surprising, at this point in the story of the rich and strange rediscovery of a text so important to French and English literary and social history, that no collection of scholarly essays related to Mandeville's Travels yet exists in English or French. This book is a collection of essays by scholars in England and France, who produce a complex and sometimes contradictory view of Mandeville's book as an important object of early modern attention, as well as a feature of early modern literary context. The chapters range in emphasis from textual and bibliographic studies of Mandeville's late medieval and early modern Nachleben to studies of 'Mandevillian ideologies', to readings of romances and especially theatrical productions, illuminated by understandings of the new life in print of the Travels and its excerpted account of the Levant. Part I of the book makes clear that there were profound changes in motives for publication, anthologisation and readerly reception of the text(s) from the time of the incunabula, through its use by explorers Columbus, Frobisher and Ralegh, to its appearance as a children's book in the Enlightenment. These changes underscore alterations of economies and geographical experience in the mostly post-medieval 'Age of Discovery'. Part II is on Mandevillian ideologies and examines the Nachleben of the Travels through a historical discourse on the Turks and Islam in early modern England, development and geography of scripture. Part III is on Mandevillian and focuses on the drama of the newly invented medium of the commercial theatre.

Health, medicine and care in Wales, 1600-1750
Author: Alun Withey

This book provides a complete reappraisal of Welsh medical history in the early modern period. It investigates some of the factors affecting the types and spread of disease in Wales. Studies of disease and the body in popular cultural sources, such as poetry and vernacular verse, contribute to a wider assessment of a 'Welsh' bodily concept. The book explores the importance of geography and regional variation in affecting the sickness experience. It then examines the pathways through which medical information travelled in Wales, through detailed analyses of both oral and literate cultures in early modern Wales. The book also investigates medical material culture within the home in early modern Wales. It further analyses the 'sick role' and the ways in which sufferers both experienced and described their symptoms, foregrounding the growing impact of literacy and letters in sickness self-fashioning. The book looks at the availability of medical care in the early modern community, arguing that sickness served to create a temporary medical family, who provided a comprehensive structure of support from visiting to the provision of physical care. Finally, it argues that Welsh practitioner's desire to adopt English medical nomenclature points to a growing wish to be seen as 'legitimate' practitioners, a view backed up by the increasing numbers of medical licences granted to Welsh physicians.