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.
reading of this episode, in which characters exploit a woman’s illness in a power struggle, we argue that Harlots decentres early modern medicine by portraying how syphilis and its potential outcome in death formed a regular part of life for Londoners. Fusing disease and medicine into a period drama without breaking the show’s rhythm, this perspective educates the audience about eighteenth-century prostitution and sexually
While Shakespeare’s plays are the focus of almost all of the research devoted to early modern drama on screen, significant elements of scholarship have been published in recent years that consider film and television engagements with plays by other early modern writers. In 2011, 2014 and 2015, Shakespeare Bulletin produced special issues focused on non
twentieth century. Discussing Elizabeth I as an early modern political media diva may seem preposterous, and yet our claim is that she anticipates the very enmeshment between celebrity culture and political power that is so particular to the charisma of celebrities in the public arena in the twentieth and early twenty-first century. What is at stake in our discussion is, therefore, a self-consciously ahistorical reading
surviving pieces … unearthed, catalogued, authenticated, re-sequenced, and put together in a single magic box’ (G. Taylor 2007 : 58). The image might equally be applied to Middleton’s tragedies on television. Neil Taylor’s statistical overview of stage plays on BBC Television concludes that television has not served early modern drama well, with only seven playwrights’ work having
affluence. War and commerce From the early modern period of mercantilism there has always been a connection between war and commerce in the West, articulated but never totally determined by the emergent European states. Since its ostensible intention was to find gold in order to fund armies, ‘mercantilism was an economic phenomenon, but its purposes were strictly political, indeed strategic’ (Luttwak, 1999: 140). But whatever its ostensible purpose, mercantilism gave rise to great quasimartial global corporations like the East India Company that operated, partly because
Serial Shakespeare explores the dissemination and reassemblage of Shakespeare’s plays in contemporary media culture, regarding the way this taps into but also transforms his preferred themes, concerns and constellations of characters. The appropriations discussed include isolated citations in Westworld and The Wire, a typology of the first female president modelled on figures of female sovereignty, as well as a discussion of what one might call a specifically Shakespearean dramaturgy in Deadwood and The Americans. By proposing a reciprocal exchange between the early modern plays and contemporary serial TV drama, the book focusses on the transhistoric and transmedial dialogue a revisitation of the Bard entails. The readings consider the Shakespeare text again, from a different perspective, but also address the fact that his text comes back to us again, from the past. The book claims that serial TV drama keeps appropriating Shakespeare to give voice to unfinished cultural business regarding the state of the American nation because both share the sense of writing in and for a period of interim. Given that the Bard continues to write and read America, what the book draws into focus is how both scriptwriters and cultural critics can, by repurposing him, come up with narratives that are appropriate to our times.
mythologised pre-modern monarch: Henry V (Kenneth Branagh) in the Shakespeare adaptation directed by Branagh in 1989. Films released between 1989 and 2013 about the British monarchy can be assigned to three historical periods: the pre-modern monarchy; the early modern monarchy of the Tudors and the Stuarts; and the late modern monarchy from
‘the law as it is and law as it should be,’ is one of the functions of popular culture.14 One such cultural tradition that has been productively read as indicating the anxieties expressed in a contemporaneous legal system is Early Modern theatre. Numerous commentators have identified ways in which Elizabethan and Jacobean revenge drama bears witness to anxieties over the shifting power relations caused by the emergent market economy, religious reformations, and the re-stratification of gender roles and changes in the English legal system that are concomitant with
political and medical authorities, and especially the larger population, tried to escape or overcome the consequences of the epidemic. La Peste ’s release coincided with the centennial of the epidemic, commonly known as the Spanish flu, that killed twenty to fifty million people around the globe ( Spinney, 2018 ). Like its twentieth-century counterpart, the early modern plague inflicted significant damage on Spanish society