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Susan M. Johns

The way that Nest was remembered in the early modern period has much to tell us about the way that Welsh writers conceptualised the past, and this chapter will therefore explore a relatively little examined set of themes in the historiography. It will consider how the critical early years of Norman incursions into Wales were portrayed by later writers and thus discuss the way that later writers conceptualised the Norman past. It will cast reflections on the role of ideas about women, gender and conquest and the place of Nest in a

in Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages
A brief survey
Éamonn Ó Ciardha

8 Irish-language sources for Irish Catholic identity since the early modern period: a brief survey Éamonn Ó Ciardha The five decades after the ‘Flight of the Earls’ (1607) witnessed a marked decline in the fortunes of the professional learned classes of poets, scribes, brehons, genealogists and chroniclers. Although the wholesale destruction of manuscripts and the carelessness of subsequent generations have deprived us of much of their œuvre, nearly six thousand manuscripts (many of which remain unedited and untranslated) have survived the ravages of time to

in Irish Catholic identities
Brian Jackson

6 Henry Fitzsimon, the Irish Jesuits and Catholic identity in the early modern period Brian Jackson In a short biographical sketch of the distinguished Irish Jesuit Henry Fitzsimon published in Studies in 1943, James Corboy concluded his essay with a bleak assessment of life on the Jesuit mission to Ireland in 1630. Corboy asserted that after a long literary career on the continent, Fitzsimon returned from exile to Dublin where he was so harassed by persecution that he had no opportunity to write.1 Corboy was following in distinguished footsteps down a well

in Irish Catholic identities
A cultural history
Author: Indira Ghose

This book examines laughter in the Shakespearean theatre, in the context of a cultural history of early modern laughter, and looks at various strands of the early modern discourse on laughter, ranging from medical treatises and courtesy manuals to Puritan tracts and jestbook literature. It argues that few cultural phenomena have undergone as radical a change in meaning as laughter, a paradigm shift that can be traced back to the early modern period, which saw some remarkable changes in the culture of laughter. Hitherto, laughter had been mainly regarded as a social corrective that mocked those who transgressed societal norms. The evolving cult of courtly manners that spread throughout Renaissance Europe stigmatised derisive laughter as a sign of vulgarity. Laughter became bound up with questions of taste and class identity. At the same time, humanist thinkers revalorised the status of recreation and pleasure. These developments left their trace on the early modern theatre, where laughter was retailed as a commodity in an emerging entertainment industry. William Shakespeare's plays both reflect and shape these changes, particularly in his adaptation of the Erasmian wise fool as a stage figure and in the sceptical strain of thought that is encapsulated in the laughter evoked in the plays.

Open Access (free)
A cultural history of the early modern Lord Mayor’s Show, 1585-1639
Author: Tracey Hill

The London Lord Mayors' Shows were high-profile and lavish entertainments that were at the centre of the cultural life of the City of London in the early modern period. The Show was staged annually to celebrate the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor. The London mayoralty was not simply an entity of civic power, but always had its ritual and ceremonial dimensions. Pageantry was a feature of the day's entertainment. This book focuses on the social, cultural and economic contexts, in which the Shows were designed, presented and experienced, and explores the Shows in textual, historical, bibliographical, and archival and other contexts. It highlights the often-overlooked roles of the artificer and those other craftsmen who contributed so valuably to the day's entertainment. The Show was the concern of the Great Twelve livery companies from the ranks of one of which the Lord Mayor was elected. The book discusses, inter alia, the actors' roles, the props, music and costumes used during the Show and looks at how important emblems and imagery were to these productions. Pageant writers and artificers took advantage of the space available to them just as dramatists did on the professional stage. From 1585 onwards the Lord Mayor's Show was with increasing frequency transmitted from event to text in the form of short pamphlets produced in print runs ranging from 200 to 800 copies. The book also demonstrates the ways in which the Shows engaged with the changing socio-economic scene of London and with court and city politics.

Sermons, poems, letters and Devotions
Author: Margret Fetzer

Ever since their rediscovery in the 1920s, John Donne's writings have been praised for their energy, vigour and drama – yet so far, no attempt has been made to approach and systematically define these major characteristics of his work. Drawing on J. L. Austin's speech act theory, this comparative reading of Donne's poetry and prose eschews questions of personal or religious sincerity, and instead recreates an image of Donne as a man of many performances. No matter if engaged in the writing of a sermon or a piece of erotic poetry, Donne placed enormous trust in what words could do. Questions as to how saying something may actually bring about that very thing, or how playing the part of someone else affects an actor's identity, are central to his oeuvre – and moreover, highly relevant in the cultural and theological contexts of the early modern period in general. Rather than his particular political or religious allegiances, Donne's preoccupation with linguistic performativity and theatrical efficaciousness is responsible for the dialogical involvedness of his sermons, the provocations of his worldly and divine poems, the aggressive patronage seeking of his letters, and the interpersonal engagement of his Devotions. In treating both canonical and lesser-known Donne texts, this book hopes to make a significant contribution not only to Donne criticism and research into early modern culture, but, by using concepts of performance and performativity as its major theoretical backdrop, it aims to establish an interdisciplinary link with the field of performance studies.

In the Renaissance, the archetype for history was the classical muse Clio, a much-painted figure in an era when the 'history painting' was one of the predominant genres in European visual art. One Renaissance dramatist and poet who never made reference to Clio was William Shakespeare. This book is about official and unofficial versions of the past, histories and counter-histories, in Shakespeare's works and their subsequent appropriations. It builds on a long period in which those of us working in literary and theatre studies have developed an awareness of the extent to which conventional recreations of the past are mediated through the fictionalising structures of narrative. The book explores how the history plays construct counter-historical representations of the dead. It argues that the 'dislocutionary' threat of grief and the performance of the suffering body is a version of the kind of spectator/spectre relationship drawn in any ritualised encounter with the cult of the ancestor. The book combines four historicist readings which explore counter-histories in the early modern period. It examines the relationship between Shakespeare's history plays and alternative dynastic histories. The book also explores questions of history and identity, particularly as they can be configured through performance. It challenges the view that women become progressively marginalised across the histories by arguing that Shakespeare's warlike women enact a power onstage which forces us to rethink official, patriarchal history.

Health, medicine and care in Wales, 1600-1750
Author: Alun Withey

This book provides a complete reappraisal of Welsh medical history in the early modern period. It investigates some of the factors affecting the types and spread of disease in Wales. Studies of disease and the body in popular cultural sources, such as poetry and vernacular verse, contribute to a wider assessment of a 'Welsh' bodily concept. The book explores the importance of geography and regional variation in affecting the sickness experience. It then examines the pathways through which medical information travelled in Wales, through detailed analyses of both oral and literate cultures in early modern Wales. The book also investigates medical material culture within the home in early modern Wales. It further analyses the 'sick role' and the ways in which sufferers both experienced and described their symptoms, foregrounding the growing impact of literacy and letters in sickness self-fashioning. The book looks at the availability of medical care in the early modern community, arguing that sickness served to create a temporary medical family, who provided a comprehensive structure of support from visiting to the provision of physical care. Finally, it argues that Welsh practitioner's desire to adopt English medical nomenclature points to a growing wish to be seen as 'legitimate' practitioners, a view backed up by the increasing numbers of medical licences granted to Welsh physicians.

Andrew Holmes

This article examines Presbyterian interpretations in Scotland and Ireland of the Scottish Reformations of 1560 and 1638–43. It begins with a discussion of the work of two important Presbyterian historians of the early nineteenth century, the Scotsman, Thomas McCrie, and the Irishman, James Seaton Reid. In their various publications, both laid the template for the nineteenth-century Presbyterian understanding of the Scottish Reformations by emphasizing the historical links between the Scottish and Irish churches in the early-modern period and their common theology and commitment to civil and religious liberty against the ecclesiastical and political tyranny of the Stuarts. The article also examines the commemorations of the National Covenant in 1838, the Solemn League and Covenant in 1843, and the Scottish Reformation in 1860. By doing so, it uncovers important religious and ideological linkages across the North Channel, including Presbyterian evangelicalism, missionary activity, church–state relationships, religious reform and revival, and anti-Catholicism.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Jane Maxwell

The poor survival rate of primary sources for the history of Irish women in the early modern period is mitigated by the sophistication with which extant sources are now being analysed. When re-examined without reference to the demands of the traditional historical grand narrative, when each text itself is permitted to guide its own interrogation, previously undervalued texts are revealed to be insightful of individual existential experience. The memoir of eighteenth-century Dorothea Herbert, hitherto much ignored due to the authors mental illness, is becoming increasingly respected not just for its historic evidential value but for the revelations it contains of a distressed individuals use of literature to manage her circumstances. The interpretive tools deployed on such a text by different research specialisms necessarily lead to divergent conclusions; this in turn may lead to creative re-imagining of history although they cannot all equally reflect what was likely to have been the lived reality of the original author.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library