Renaissance corpus. Their poor fit recalls
Greenblatt’s description of the application of psychoanalysis
to Renaissanceliterature: a mingling of ‘invitation and
denial’, he called it, in which texts seem ‘to invite
a psychoanalytical approach and yet turn out to baffle or
elude’ it. 94
What is important about Renaissance jokes is in part that they do
Lyly, euphuism and a history of non-reading (1632–1905)
Rowe’s Shakespeare edition and may have capitalised on the
suddenly lucrative market for English Renaissanceliterature, though
its updated, contemporary title meant that it was not likely to
appeal to professional antiquarians. A 1718 reprint, retitled The
False Friend and the Inconstant Mistress, an Instructive Novel,
to Which is Added ‘Love’s Diversion’,
a gift from serious and
principled people to those whose leisure might, they feared, ‘be
limited to the reading of penny, three penny or even sixpenny
newspapers’. 12 Their sense that culture resided in texts and was
inherently connected to the cultural capabilities of those who engaged
with it made them insist that education in Shakespeare and Renaissanceliterature must address the ‘full
and empire: the Scottish politics of civilization 1519–1609’, Past and
Present, 150 (1996), 46–83 (esp. pp. 47–52).
20 Raphael Holinshed, The Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande (London, 1587),
vol. 2, p. 72 (online edition p. 71).
21 Andrew Hadfield, ‘Bruited abroad: John White and Thomas Harriot’s colonial representations of ancient Britain’, in David J. Baker and Willy Maley (eds), British Identities
and English RenaissanceLiterature (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 159–77 (esp. pp.166–73). See
also Lucas de Heere’s drawings (1575) of Scottish Highlanders
. Wymer (eds),
Neo-Historicism: Studies in RenaissanceLiterature, History and
Politics (Studies in renaissanceliterature, 5, 2000), ch. 9.
Zwicker, ‘Politics of affectivity’, p. 212.
Matthew McCormack, ‘Rethinking “loyalty” in
eighteenth-century Britain’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century
Studies , 35 (2012), 409–11. See also F. O’Gorman and A. Bradstock,
‘Loyalism and the British world: overviews, themes and linkages’, in
Bradstock and O’Gorman (eds
and Spenser were at least partly inspired by medieval traditions of parody. 103 Subversive recontextualisations of romance formulae in Renaissanceliterature may announce a break with the past, but they can equally testify to a keen responsiveness to ironies embedded within the medieval romance tradition.
Christianity and humour
Despite the attractive idea of a ‘Merry England’ unburdened by post-Reformation notions of propriety, it was during the Middle Ages that ‘Christ never laughed’ was proverbial. As a late-fourteenth-century Wycliffite sermon reminds us
post-Thatcherite) state. Thus censorship and criticism become
self-identical terms that can be juxtaposed in a stable opposition;
the critic is “opposed” to censorship.’6
14/10/02, 9:50 am
Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
Of course, cultural materialists must oppose and expose, too,
reactionary standpoints on Renaissanceliterature and culture by
showing them to be politically motivated, thus revealing their
ostensible apoliticism as an ideological smokescreen. As the foreword to Political Shakespeare puts it, cultural materialism ‘does
10/15/2013 12:52:54 PM
34 Fowler, verse miscellany, folios 185v–6r; Aldrich-Watson, Verse Miscellany, p. 141.
Fanshawe’s poem perhaps also alludes to the praise of the swans of Trent in ‘The
sheapherd’s sirena’ by Michael Drayton, former client of Lord Aston.
35 Spenser, ‘Prothalamion’, line 6.
36 Clifford, Tixall Poetry, p. 215.
37 See H. Hackett, ‘The Aston–Thimelby circle at home and abroad: localism, national
identity and internationalism in the English Catholic community’, in D. Coleman
(ed.), Region, Religion and English Renaissance
Exemplarity, female complaint and early modern women’s poetry
Exemplarity in RenaissanceLiterature, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1990, p. 5.
11 Ibid., p. 23.
12 Munday, A View of Sundry Examples, folio B2r.
13 Craik, ‘Shakespeare’s A Lover’s Complaint’, p. 449.
14 Ibid., p. 457.
15 See J. Wiltenburg, Disorderly Women and Female Power in the Street Literature of Early
Modern England and Germany, University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, 1992, pp.
215–16; S. Clark, Women and Crime in the Street Literature of Early Modern England,
Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2004, pp. 91–2; S. A. Kane, ‘Wives with knives:
Ekphrastic encounters in Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy
‘Fabulously counterfeit’: ekphrastic
encounters in Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy
One of the more explicit references to the paragone in Renaissanceliterature
appears in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 16. Like several of the poems in the sequence,
Sonnet 16 self-consciously reflects upon the speaker’s attempts to represent the
friend in verse, or what the poet playfully refers to as his ‘barren rhyme’.1 But
this particular sonnet also sets up a further comparison between poetry and the
visual arts. The speaker proposes that the friend’s living offspring will