Thomas Heywood was unusual in the diversity and sheer quantity of his output, and fascinatingly individual in his classicism. This volume offers a ground-breaking investigation of his engagement with the classics across a writing career that spanned more than 40 years. It is the first in-depth study of his classicism, and it features a variety of perspectives. The introduction and twelve essays trace how the classics shaped Heywood’s writing in a wide variety of genres – translation, drama, epyllic and epic verse, compendia, epigrams, panegyrics and pamphlets – and informed both his many pageants and the warship he helped design for Charles I. Close readings demonstrate the depth and breadth of his classicism, establishing the rich influence of continental editions and translations of Latin and Greek texts, early modern mythographies, chronicles and the medieval tradition of Troy as revived by the Tudors. The essays probe Heywood’s habit of juxtaposing different and often disjunctive layers of a capaciously conceived ‘classical tradition’ in thought-provoking ways, attend to his use of the multiplicitous logic of myth to interrogate gender and heroism, and consider the way he turns to antiquity not only to celebrate but also to defamiliarise the theatrical or political present. Different contributions focus on A Woman Killed with Kindness, Oenone and Paris, Loves School, The Rape of Lucrece, Troia Britanica, the Ages plays, Gynaikeion, Pleasant Dialogues and Dramma’s, Apology for Actors and Sovereign of the Seas. Classical reception thus provides an illuminating, productively cross-generic angle for approaching Heywood’s prolific output and idiosyncratic aesthetic.
that the audience of the Red Bull Theatre, where the Ages were played, was not as homogeneously uninstructed as may have been thought: 16 as Charlotte Coffin has contended, Heywood’s mythological plays, which ‘make demands on the spectators, on a variety of levels’, also required intellectual agility from at least part of their public. 17 Heywood’s dramaturgy does not line up disconnected scenes that amount to no more than a spectacular ‘gallimaufry’: rather, from his peculiar combination of Caxton and the classics, myth and mythography, he meant to draw a
(which, precisely, he dwells upon in his description of the Sovereign ), the indoor adornments (precious woods inlaid with ivory and gold) and the combination of Greek and Egyptian styles in the design.
21 John Mulryan (ed.), Vincenzo Cartari’s ‘Images of the Gods and the Ancients’: The First Italian Mythography (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2012), p. 145. The translation is Mulryan’s.
22 Andrea Alciato, ‘Spes proxima’, Livret des emblemes (Paris: Chrestian Wechel, 1536), sigs E7v-E8r, available at www
The Western quest for origins received an initial formulation in the recognition of a philological relationship between Sanskrit, Latin, Greek and other languages of Europe in the sixteenth century. Already in the Enlightenment, there was much speculation regarding India, its culture, language and peoples. Many of the uninformed assessments of this time would resurface in subsequent Orientalist scholarship, Romantic mythography, nineteenth-century linguistic science and race theory. Excited by the linguistic affinity between Sanskrit and other
The Gothic is haunted by the ghost of William Blake. Scholars of the Gothic have long recognised Blake’s affinity with the genre, often invoking his name, characters, and images in passing. Yet, to date, no major scholarly study focused on Blake’s intersection with the Gothic exists. William Blake’s gothic imagination seeks to redress this disconnect and, in the words of another ghost, to lend a serious hearing to a dimension of Blake’s work we all somehow know to be vital and yet remains understudied. The essays here collected do not simply identify Blake’s Gothic conventions but, thanks to recent scholarship on affect, psychology, and embodiment in Gothic studies, reach deeper into the tissue of anxieties that take confused form through this notoriously nebulous historical, aesthetic, and narrative mode. The collection opens with papers touching on literary form, history, lineation, and narrative in Blake’s work, establishing contact with major topics in Gothic studies. The volume, however, eventually narrows its focus to Blake’s bloody, nervous bodies, through which he explores various kinds of Gothic horror related to reproduction, anatomy, sexuality, affect, and materiality. Rather than his transcendent images, this collection attends to Blake’s ‘dark visions of torment’. Drawing on the recent interest in Gothic studies on visual arts, this volume also highlights Blake’s engravings and paintings, productions that in both style and content suggest a rich, underexplored archive of Gothic invention. This collection will appeal to students of Romanticism, the Gothic, art history, media/mediation studies, popular mythography, and adaptation studies.
Ralph Knevet's Supplement of the Faery Queene (1635) is a narrative and allegorical work, which weaves together a complex collection of tales and episodes, featuring knights, ladies, sorcerers, monsters, vertiginous fortresses and deadly battles – a chivalric romp in Spenser's cod medieval style. The poem shadows recent English history, and the major military and political events of the Thirty Years War. But the Supplement is also an ambitiously intertextual poem, weaving together materials from mythic, literary, historical, scientific, theological, and many other kinds of written sources. Its encyclopaedic ambitions combine with Knevet's historical focus to produce an allegorical epic poem of considerable interest and power. This new edition of Knevet's Supplement, the first scholarly text of the poem ever published, situates it in its literary, historical, biographical, and intellectual contexts. An extensive introduction and copious critical commentary, positioned at the back of the book, will enable students and scholars alike to access Knevet's complicated and enigmatic meanings, structures, and allusions.
specific example of such comprehensiveness and mobility is to be found in Heywood’s use of mythography, an early modern body of knowledge which itself indiscriminately draws on ethics, aesthetics, science and philosophy, thus offering a system of thought based on plurality and plasticity and a variety of discourses capable of adapting to different, sometimes conflicting contexts.
After Troia , Heywood did not forget the mythographic learning that he had paraded in his marginalia and endnotes to the cantos. 3 He used it again in his London pageants, which draw on
and in the remote corners of states;
consequently, ethnographers often witnessed the arrival of highway
networks in those communities. Almost every ethnologist who has
studied highways2 reports that roads trigger people’s imaginations and
are frequently incorporated into the tales and stories of those who travel
on or live close to them. For instance, Luise White (1993) discusses
the introduction of vehicles and vehicular roads in central Africa; this
inspired local mythography, so that there are stories about vampires
who drive fire engines or other vehicles and
Venus and Adonis in Spenser’s Garden, Shakespeare’s Epyllion, and Richard III’s England
Anne Lake Prescott
texts, Shakespeare’s Richard
III , and the boar of winter.
I am assuming for the moment that nobody in the 1590s
writing for an educated reader—or for an audience that included
the educated— could use the names ‘Venus’ and
‘Adonis’ without evoking memories of one widespread view,
found in any number of commentaries, dictionaries, and mythographies, of
what their story
Perseus over Comes’s subverts the queen’s interests, it
fully supports the king’s. We might observe, to begin with,
that for James the defeat and decapitation of the primary sensual
and beautiful woman in his life was the crucial act of empowerment.
But Jonson’s mythography also points to an essential aspect of
the poet’s sense of himself. For Comes, the story is about the