Byron’s ethnographic eye:
the poet among the Italians
‘It is from experience, not from Books, we ought to judge of mankind.
There is nothing like inspection, and trusting to our own senses.’1 This
aphorism appears in a letter that Byron wrote to his mother as early
as 1808, but the empiricist principle that informs it persisted as one
of the central epistemological tenets of his whole career as a writer.
Indeed, five years later, in 1813, in a letter to Annabella Milbanke,
Byron expounded on the same concept, stating that the ‘great object
Ralegh, Harriot, and
Alden T. Vaughan
If Sir Walter Ralegh can legitimately be called ‘the father of the British
Empire’, he is with comparable accuracy ‘the father of Anglo-American
Ethnography’. (‘Ethnography’ here means extensive, informed descriptions of a people and their culture; ‘Anglo-American’ encompasses
English writings about America, whether composed on the scene or in
Europe.) A case can be made that Thomas Harriot was the first major
English ethnographer because his Briefe and True Report of the New
Found Land of
The diabetic body can be mapped as a profoundly Gothic landscape, referencing theories of the monstrous, the uncanny and the abject. Diabetes is revealed under what Foucault has termed the medical gaze, where the body becomes a contested site, its ownership questioned by the repeated invasion of medical procedures. As an invisible chronic illness, diabetic lifestyle is positioned in relation to issues of control, transformation, and the abnormal normal. Translating the Gothic trope of the outsider into medical and social realms, the diabetic body is seen as the Othered body ceaselessly striving to attain perfection through blood purification rituals. This essay examines how diabetes is portrayed in film and fine art practice from the filmic approach to diabetes as dramatic trope to fine art techniques that parallel ethnographic and sociological approaches to chronic illness.
This book provides a combination of critical argument about those central debates within African literary studies, alongside a focus on individual texts and writers that are central to the study of African literatures. It investigates how certain versions of the past get to be remembered, which memories are privileged and what the loci are for memory within the context of African literatures. The book establishes the main debates about African writing in relation to modernism and traditionalism, history and the present, trauma and the ethics of historical representation, and theories of memory as a challenge to the discourses of historiography and ethnography. In these respects, the book first focuses upon memory as a discourse in African writing, emerging as a product of discourse in the ways it operates in private and public life. It then explores how memory is socially and historically constituted within differing African contexts. The book also interrogates the invocation of memory within a number of other discourses (political, historical, ethical, autobiographical, gender, ethnic), enquiring how memory is called upon to legitimate identity, construct or reconstruct it. It further explores how memory is narratively organized, and the ways in which narrative is related to other cultural forms of remembering.
‘The Platonic differential’ and ‘Zarathustra’s laughter’
– within a
phantasmaphysical ethnography of ‘the moderns’? How do
colonial phantasms appear in the neo-colonial metropolis, screened
(literally) by the image of others; when, unlike the 1960s (the
decade of Independence), the post – as in the post-colonial
(or even the post-modern) – is no longer a promise of the
future? Here we return to the question as to which century we might
Byron’s connection with Italy is one of the most familiar facts about British Romanticism. A considerable portion of his legend is linked to his many pronouncements about the country (where he lived between 1816 and 1823), its history, culture and people, as well as about his own experiences in Italy and among Italians. Offering new insights into Byron’s relation to Italy, this volume is concerned with the real, historical ‘Anglo-Italian’ Byron, and his ‘almost Italianness’ as a poet. Its essays bring together different critical perspectives to take the pulse of current debates and open up new lines of enquiry into this crucial theme in Byron Studies and Romantic-era Studies more widely. In doing so, they explore how Byron’s being in Italy affected his sense of his own individual identity and of the labile nature of the self. It affected his politics – both in theory and in practice – and, of course, his whole development as a writer of lyrics, dramas, narratives, satires and letters. Moreover, the essays show how Italy affected, changed and informed Byron’s thinking about matters far beyond Italy itself. As the book shows, the poet’s relation to the country and its culture was complicated by a pervasive dialectic between familiarity and distance, and thus neither stable nor consistent. For this reason, among many others, the topic of ‘Byron and Italy’ remains an endless source of intellectual, literary, historical and existential fascination.
Sir Walter Raleigh's literary legacy consists of a highly fragmented oeuvre including many unprinted or pirated poems and works of disputed authorship. No collection of Raleigh's poetry produced under his own direction or that of a contemporary, either in print or in manuscript, exists. This book is a collection of essays by scholars from Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Taiwan that covers a wide range of topics about Raleigh's diversified career and achievements. Some essays shed light on less familiar facets such as Raleigh as a father and as he is represented in paintings, statues, and in movies. Others re-examine him as poet, historian, as a controversial figure in Ireland during Elizabeth's reign, and looks at his complex relationship with and patronage of Edmund Spenser. The theme of Raleigh's poem is a mutability that is political: i.e., the precariousness of the ageing courtier's estate, as revealed by his fall from eminence and the loss of his privileged position in court. The Cynthia holograph engages in complex ways with idealistic pastoral, a genre predicated upon the pursuit of otium (a longing for the ideal and an escape from the actual). The Nymph's reply offers a reminder of the power of time and death to ensure the failure of that attempt. There were patrilineal imperatives that might have shaped Raleigh's views of sovereignty. Raleigh's story is an actor's story, one crafted by its own maker for the world-as-stage.
literary vampire; one of
these, the Byronic, though born in that Romanticism, is still very much
a presence in contemporary vampire texts. In this chapter I will show
the evolution of the Byronic vampire as it mutated from its folkloric
roots, as documented in the ethnography of the likes of Tournefort, into
a powerful literary figure. I will also show that, as this archetype
evolved, it did so through an
Christian and Jewish eudaimonism in The Merchant of Venice
virtues – mercy, forgiveness, etc. – to
flourish. I propose a very different reading of Merchant , one
that foregrounds the ethnographic identity of Shakespeare’s
characters, but reads the language of ethnography and the scriptural
exegesis that is its primary vehicle as part of a larger discussion
of eudaimonistic flourishing and ‘way[s] to
thrive’, as Shylock refers to it (1
Perhaps more than any other discipline it has contributed to
the translation of the metaphysic of modernity into an ideological formation that justified colonialism and continues to justify
Eurocentrism. It does this by writing cultural descriptions of
Other peoples and then organising the distribution of human
cultures in space and time according to an ideological hierarchy
which positions modern Western society as the cultural norm.
All other cultures are arranged in relation to this reference
point, both spatially and temporally: the modern west