Aesthetics of contingency provides an important reconsideration of seventeenth-century literature in light of new understandings of the English past. Emphasising the contingency of the political in revolutionary England and its extended aftermath, Matthew Augustine challenges prevailing literary histories plotted according to structural conflicts and teleological narrative. In their place, he offers an innovative account of imaginative and polemical writing, in an effort to view later seventeenth-century literature on its own terms: without certainty about the future, or indeed the recent past. In hewing to this premise, the familiar outline of the period – with red lines drawn at 1642, 1660, or 1688 – becomes suggestively blurred. For all of Milton’s prophetic gestures, for all of Dryden’s presumption to speak for, to epitomise his Age, writing from the later decades of the seventeenth century remained supremely responsive to uncertainty, to the tremors of civil conflict and to the enduring crises and contradictions of Stuart governance. A study of major writings from the Personal Rule to the Glorious Revolution and beyond, this book also re-examines the material conditions of literature in this age. By carefully deciphering the multi-layered forces at work in acts of writing and reception, and with due consideration for the forms in which texts were cast, this book explores the complex nature of making meaning in and making meaning out of later Stuart England.
This book draws together three areas from which sense is made: rhetoric, poetics and aesthetics. Coming to terms with rhetoric, poetics and aesthetics is essential for understanding not only early modern writing but also a certain influential narrative of modernity. This notion of modernity is not a purely literary one, and the author's discussion has nothing to say about artistic ideas of modernism. The book demonstrates the necessity of reading, but of a reading that is always local, located, limited - always aware, that is, of its limitations. To claim to have read a few texts is not as small a claim as it might at first appear. In the current historicist climate, reading has, like rhetoric, become somehow unfashionable except as a topic for excavation. The first part of the book elaborates the connections between rhetoric, aesthetics and literature. Frequent recourse is made to rhetorical treatises, but equally frequently there are discussions of material that comes from periods other than the early modern, both earlier and later. The second part of the book focuses on either an aspect of the body related to the sense of reading or on the deliberate disavowal of the body and its senses.
Sources , vol. 8, p.
See Benedetto Croce, ‘History’, in A Croce Reader: Aesthetics, Philosophy, History, Literary Criticism , trans. and
ed. Massimo Verdicchio (Toronto and London, 2017), p. 53: ‘any serious historiography
and any serious philosophy must be a historiography-philosophy “of occasion”
just as Goethe used to say about genuine poetry: one passionately and
the other practically and morally motivated’.
Cf. R.G. Collingwood, The Idea of
, 1977 ), p. 30.
Ibid ., p. 31.
David Quint, Origin and Originality in
Renaissance Literature (New Haven, 1983 ), pp.
Ibid. , p. 5.
Benedetto Croce, ‘The concept of history as absolute
historicism’, A Croce Reader: Aesthetics, Philosophy, History,
Literary Criticism , trans. and ed. Massimo Verdicchio. (Toronto and London, 2017),
pp. 54, 56.
exactly the same way
psychological aesthetics projects the same social relations into the individual psyche of
the perceiver. This projection distorts the integrity of these interrelationships and gives
a false structure of both the material and the psyche. 5
Post-Althusserian Marxism and Foucauldian discourse
analysis have revised considerably the relationship between the classic Marxist categories of
the economic base and the superstructure, but what has remained is the clear sense that the
This book offers a new approach to engaging with the representation and aesthetics of provisional knowledge in Edmund Spenser’s writing via a focus on his use of spatial images. The study takes advantage of recent interdisciplinary interests in the spatial qualities of early modern thought and culture, and considers literature concerning the art of cosmography and navigation alongside imaginative literature in order to identify shared modes and preoccupations. The book looks to the work of cultural and historical geographers in order to gauge the roles that aesthetic subjectivity and the imagination play in the development of geographical knowledge – contexts ultimately employed by the study to achieve a better understanding of the place of Ireland in Spenser’s writing. The study also engages with recent ecocritical approaches to literary environments, such as coastlines, wetlands, and islands, in order to frame fresh readings of Spenser’s handling of mixed genres.
This book is the first ever concordance to the rhymes of Spenser’s epic. It gives the reader unparalleled access to the formal nuts and bolts of this massive poem: the rhymes which he used to structure its intricate stanzas. As well as the main concordance to the rhymes, the volume features a wealth of ancillary materials, which will be of value to both professional Spenserians and students, including distribution lists and an alphabetical listing of all the words in The Faerie Queene. The volume breaks new ground by including two studies by Richard Danson Brown and J. B. Lethbridge, so that the reader is given provocative analyses alongside the raw data about Spenser as a rhymer. Brown considers the reception of rhyme, theoretical models and how Spenser’s rhymes may be reading for meaning. Lethbridge in contrast discusses the formulaic and rhetorical character of the rhymes.
, to ask:
What does one call the space currently occupied
by aesthetics before aesthetics emerges?
In shifting the emphasis from
the temporal dimension to the spatial one, this reformulation of my
initial question conjures up a division of intellectual categories
that already implies the existence of the aesthetic. In other words,
it assumes the
This chapter explores the interactions between text, performance and venue to
develop a typology of the aesthetics of the supernatural in Shakespearean
productions in the Honour Court of the Avignon Popes' Palace between
1947 and 2015. A locus of conflicts, whether it actualises the hero's
inner turmoil or the opposition between characters – generally between the
murderer and his victim(s) thirsting for revenge – the ghost also
crystallises the challenging confrontation between performance and venue,
theatrical event and spectacular monument, the transient and the permanent.
As a metatheatrical motif, the ghost questions not only the theatrical
medium but also the theatricality of the venue and their compatibility.
Shakespearean ghosts thus challenge the Avignon Festival while paradoxically
confirming its vocation as a platform for experimentation, a laboratory for
the performing arts and a showcase of contemporary theatre.
grain’ in order to
open up fissures, fracture and faultlines in the text. 4 Indeed, Harris’s discussion of
‘untimely matter’ in early modern England in part aims to
situate work on ‘objects’ within Marxist and
post-structuralist frameworks. 5 Harris’s work arguably reflects what has been
identified as a new aesthetics of disunity that is specific to the
historical contexts of the twenty-first century