This book is a study of the English Reformation as a poetic and political event. It examines the political, religious and poetic writings of the period 1520-1580, in relation to the effects of confessionalization on Tudor writing. The central argument of the book is that it is a mistake to understand this literature simply on the basis of the conflict between Protestantism and Catholicism. Instead one needs to see Tudor culture as fractured between emerging confessional identities, Protestant and Catholic, and marked by a conflict between those who embraced the process of confessionalization and those who rejected it. Sir Richard Morrison's A Remedy for Sedition was part of the Henrician government's propaganda response to the Pilgrimage of Grace. Edwardian politicians and intellectuals theorized and lauded the idea of counsel in both practice and theory. The book discusses three themes reflected in Gardiner's 1554 sermon: the self, the social effects of Reformation, and the Marian approaches to the interpretation of texts. The Marian Reformation produced its own cultural poetics - which continued to have an influence on Tudor literature long after 1558. The decade following the successful suppression of the Northern Rebellion in 1570 was a difficult one for the Elizabethan regime and its supporters. An overview of Elizabethan poetics and politics explains the extent to which the culture of the period was a product of the political and poetic debates of the early years of the Queen's reign.
The interest in aesthetics in philosophy, literary and cultural studies is growing rapidly. This book contains exemplary essays by key practitioners in these fields which demonstrate the importance of this area of enquiry. New aestheticism remains a troubled term and in current parlance it already comes loaded with the baggage of the 'philistine controversy' which first emerged in an exchange that originally that took place in the New Left Review during the mid-1990s. A serious aesthetic education is necessary for resisting the advance of 'philistinism'. Contemporary aesthetic production may be decentred and belonging to the past, but that is not a reason to underestimate what great works do that nothing else can. Despite well-established feminist work in literary criticism, film theory and art history, feminist aesthetics 'is a relatively young discipline, dating from the early 1990s'. The book focuses on the critical interrogation of the historical status of mimesis in the context of a gendered and racial politics of modernity. Throughout the history of literary and art criticism the focus has fallen on the creation or reception of works and texts. The book also identifies a fragmentary Romantic residue in contemporary aesthetics. The Alexandrian aesthetic underlies the experience of the 'allegorical'. 'Cultural poetics' makes clear the expansion of 'poetics' into a domain that is no longer strictly associated with 'poetry'. The book also presents an account of a Kantian aesthetic criticism, discussing Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Aesthetic Judgement and Critique of Judgement.
through the twin historicisms of cultural materialism and culturalpoetics (or ‘new historicism’).2 The periodising title early modern is part of a movement
away from notions such as ‘the English Renaissance’ or from ‘the Tudor period’,
although such names are retained by some of historicism’s adherents.3 That the emergence of the phrase ‘early modern’ seems to mark a strategic attempt to delineate what
otherwise appears to be a depressingly familiar ramification of what I suppose we must
now term ‘old’ historicism doesn’t diminish its institutional eﬀectivity.4
this reforming agenda the Marian Reformation produced its own
culturalpoetics – which continued to have an influence on Tudor literature
long after 1558.
The Marian Church pursued a clericalist agenda of social and religious
reform in the context of tensions over the relationship between clerical and
temporal power. A key aspect of its clericalism was its commitment to the
pastoral labour of ensuring religious orthodoxy and the pursuit of heresy.13 It
is the treatment of heretics / Protestants during Mary’s reign that has been
central to its historical reputation
poetry, in literary genre, in the problems of the long poem, as well as
in culturalpoetics, as Michael Davidson uses the term. It is not read,
as a work of foundational theory might be, by philosophers, historians,
political theorists, or ethnographers.26 Olson attempted to found a
new field – cultural morphology? – in which his work has significant
value. However, a new field is generally not propelled by the will of one
singular figure but by social, cultural, political and intellectual forces in
a multi-community upsurge motivated by various interests and
Reflections on new historicism and cultural materialism
concepts of transaction, circulation and exchange, when mooted in
conjunction with notions of dynamic ‘social energy’,
come to reflect a culturalpoetics of the market that prevailed in
1980s America. 15
Indeed, the inability to break out of this kind of language within a
form of analysis that presents itself, however tentatively, as
progressive or politically ‘different’ relates
language’ (p. 503) serving to legitimise new historicist
culturalpoetics is itself undermined by the problem of ungrounded
representation which, those poetics argue, is inextricable with the
operations and effects of economy in the early modern period.
Conceptual difficulties in deciding the place of
economics within contemporary critical practice, giving rise to
about the presence of the aesthetic necessary in the
Formulation of the idea of the early modern can be
taken as an exemplary moment in the permeation of a
‘new’ historicism through literary studies since the
early 1980s, most obviously through the twin historicisms of
cultural materialism and culturalpoetics. 1 The periodising title early modern
Daniel Boyarin (ed.), Purim and the CulturalPoetics of Judaism , special issue, Poetics Today 5.1 (1994).
Shemaryahu Talmon, ‘“Wisdom” in the Book of Esther’, Vetus Testamentum 13.4 (1963), pp. 419–55, at pp. 426, 440–1.
Moshe David Herr, ‘Midrash’, in Encyclopedia Judaica , ed. Michael
and Irishness. It upsets poetic canons in two
countries at once. (1988: 18)
Longley’s call for a transgressive culturalpoetics is salutary: ‘In
tandem with the inter-disciplinary and the inter-national, we need the
inter-sectarian, and the cross-border’ (1988: 22). Comparing Scottish and
(Northern) Irish poetry should prove productive, though the differences
may turn out to be as significant as the similarities.
Provincialism persists in Ireland, not least of all in the so-called
‘Province’. In 1998 I asked Seamus Deane why he had not chosen to
write his novel