The forgery of nobility in literary textsLiterarytexts that were destined for elite audiences in sixteenth- and
seventeenth-century Spain often involve scenarios in which hidalgos are threatened by low-born passers determined to do them harm, and ultimately arrive
to the felicitous conclusion that the established nobility prevails. The fictional
narratives and dramas of low-born passers allow the target reader or audience
member to peek into the otherwise mysterious lives of these imagined impostors and proffer the false sense that he or she has an insight
Desirable Moors and Moriscos in
The notion that the foreign Moor, a patently different individual in the context
of Old Christian society, was less threatening than the Morisco, an ambiguous
member of the Spanish body politic who embodied both Moorish and Old
Christian cultural marks, is represented in a number of literary works of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For the most part, early modern Spanish
prose and poetry depicts the Moor as a depraved, unscrupulous, and fundamentally unredeemable figure. There are a number of notable
The unmasking of Conversos in popular
and literary texts
Socially insecure Old Christians were inclined to utilise passive methods of
‘outing’ hidden Conversos. Evident from the unknown authorship of El libro
verde de Aragón is that anonymity may have allowed more vulnerable Spaniards
to vilify and condemn enviable Conversos without exposing themselves to the
possibility of being targets of lawsuits or personal revenge. The author of El
libro verde, for instance, warns his reader that Old Christians who allow their
children to marry Conversos over Old
This book argues that ignorance is part of the narrative and poetic force of literature, as well as an important aspect of its thematic focus: ignorance is what literary texts are about. The author argues that the dominant conception of literature since the Romantic period has involved an often unacknowledged engagement with the experience of not knowing. From Wordsworth and Keats to George Eliot and Charles Dickens, from Henry James to Joseph Conrad, from Elizabeth Bowen to Philip Roth and Seamus Heaney, writers have been fascinated and compelled by the question of ignorance, including their own. The book argues that there is a politics and ethics, as well as a poetics, of ignorance: literature's agnoiology, its acknowledgement of the limits of what we know both of ourselves and of others, engages with the possibility of democracy and the ethical, and allows us to begin to conceive of what it might mean to be human.
This book generates a critical framework through which to interrogate the way in which religious feminists have employed women's literature in their texts. This is in order that both the way we read literature and the literature we read might be subject to scrutiny, and that new reading practices be developed. Having both the critical and constructive agenda, this is a book in two parts. The first part locates the study of the use of women's writing by religious feminists in a much wider frame than has previously been attempted. In the past individual religious feminists have been criticised, often publicly and loudly, for the use they have made of particular literary texts. Having critically surveyed previously unacknowledged constraints under which religious feminists read women's literature, the second part of the book explores how the work of women poststructuralist thinkers and theorists can enrich the reading practices. It offers alternative models for an engagement between literature and theology. Julia Kristeva is best known within the academy for her unorthodox application of Lacanian theory to contemporary culture. Her work challenges religious feminists to reassess the utilitarian approaches to literary texts and enquire into whether these might have a more powerful political role when their status as literature is recognised and affirmed. The book elucidates Luce Irigaray's thinking on sexual difference and also demonstrates its significance for feminist religious readers.
The Gothic, Medical Collections and Victorian Popular Culture
As soon as the corpse became central to medical education, and as a growing number of private medical schools opened throughout Great Britain, involving the rise of the demand for dead bodies, the literary field played a significant part in the popularisation of medical knowledge, offering insights into the debates around medical practice and education. As this paper will show, the literary field dealt with medical practitioners treatment of the corpse through playing upon a Gothic rhetoric, dramatizing the tension between the cutting up, preservation and exhibition of human remains in medical collections and the objectification of the patient on the one hand, and the central part played by anatomy in medical knowledge and the therapeutic applications of dissection, on the other. Through exploring how literary texts capitalizing on the Gothic paraphernalia recorded cultural responses to medical practice in the long nineteenth century, this paper will ultimately underline the role that nineteenth-century literature played, not merely in the dissemination of medical knowledge but also in the public engagement of medicine.
This book is an anthology of selections from works dealing with same-sex love, desire, sexual acts, and relationships during the period 1550-1735 in early modern England. It presents religious and moral writings, pseudo-medical writings, criminal pamphlets, travel writings, and letters on same-sex desire. The condemnation of male and female same-sex sexual acts is embedded in the earliest Christian theology. The early modern medical, pseudo-medical, and anatomical texts in Latin are surprisingly reticent about the physiological and anatomical aspects of homoerotic sexuality and desire. Canon law had long condemned male same-sex sexual acts. The 1533-34 statute in England forbade male same-sex sexual acts but ignored female same-sex intercourse. English travel narratives dealing with the sexual customs of other cultures often present sexual licentiousness as endemic, sometimes touching specifically on sodomy and tribadism. The most detailed presentations of same-sex erotic relationships in non-European cultures are those relating to Turkey and the Turkish seraglio. Familiar letters, such as between James I and VI, could reveal personal secrets and be radically transgressive in their emphasis on fostering love and desire. The book discusses homo-sexual subculture during 1700-1730, translation of Latin and Greek texts, and numerous literature representing male and female same-sex erotic relationships. The largely 'socially diffused homosexuality' of the seventeenth century changed profoundly with 'clothes, gestures, language' connoting 'homosexuality'. The book shows how literary genres of male same-sex and female-sex desires such as Shakespeare's Sonnets, and Catherine Trotter's Agnes de Castro allow the modern reader to chart changes in their representation.
about Jacobean theatre, and linked the plays much more closely with the political events of their era than previous critics had done.
A simple definition of the new historicism is that it is a method based on the parallel reading of literary and non-literarytexts, usually of the same historical period. That is to say, new historicism refuses (at least ostensibly) to ‘privilege’ the literarytext: instead of a literary ‘foreground’ and a historical ‘background’, it envisages and practises a mode of study in which literary and non-literarytexts are given equal
ignorance than knowledge’; it requires ‘knowledge endowed with an immense ignorance’, he suggests, knowledge which has ‘each time to be received and acquired in forgetfulness of it’. 9
In his own way, Paul de Man has also called for a theory – and a practice – of reading that acknowledges, at the same time, the impossibility of reading, or the impossibility of a theory of reading. For de Man, the ‘grammatical decoding’ of a literarytext necessarily leaves ‘a residue of indetermination’ since no such reading could ‘claim to reach the determining
Counterfactual Romanticism and the aesthetics of contingency
Damian Walford Davies
influence of the Higher Criticism
went beyond religious circles to ask new questions about the stability of
the historical past. Emerging from the crucible of a late-eighteenth- and
nineteenth-century culture, a counterfactual Romanticism provokes a fundamental inquiry into the relationship between identity and contingency.
At what point does an object – personal and collective history, a literarytext, ‘Romanticism’ itself – cease to be what it is? Beginning at the point
where ‘the rest is history’, Counterfactual Romanticism asks how we can
be so sure that the past is