Literature and Theatre

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Charitable though passionate creature

The portrait of Man in late seventeenth-century sermons

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Regina Maria Dal Santo

This chapter examines the idea of self-love and its development in the published seventeenth-century sermons of Isaac Barrow (1630–77) and John Tillotson (1630–94). The approach is twofold. First, by briefly presenting the idea of passion and self-love in the seventeenth century, the position of both clergymen on this issue is clarified and defined. Second, Barrow’s and Tillotson’s sermons are analysed to show how self-love can be reconciled with religion and obedience to divine law. Finally, by examining Barrow’s and Tillotson’s charity sermons, the way in which both clergymen encouraged ‘mild self-love’ to increase the benefit and happiness of society is illustrated and explored.

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‘Chaos dark and deep’

Grotesque selves and self-fashioning in Pope’s Dunciad

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Clark Lawlor

This chapter examines the notion of the eighteenth-century male self, at least in its Augustan formulation and constructed by Alexander Pope in his various Dunciads, as a conflicted entity riven by the discourses of gender, physical norms based on classical precedent, the ever-rising middling orders and consumer mercantile capitalism. It takes its cue both from the theory of Bakhtin’s grotesque and classical bodies, subsequently revised by Stallybrass and White’s now seminal Politics and Poetics of Transgression, and more recent critical notions of the historical specificity of the (medical) body in Pope’s own time, when a shift was occurring from the idea of mechanical body to one more centred around the nervous system. Helen Deutsch has productively discussed Pope’s construction of his own body in terms of deformity - one that Pope self-fashioned to his advantage as far as was possible (Resemblance and Disgrace). Here it is argued that Pope displaces his anxieties (consciously or not) about his own masculinity, poetic productivity and physical legitimacy onto a series of alternative selves, either grotesquely monstrous women, or chaotically effeminate men, most notably his poetic alter ego, the poet laureate Colley Cibber.

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Laura Quinney

William Wordsworth and William Blake are both inheritors of the newly demystified Enlightenment anatomies of the self (Locke, Hume, Hartley), and each of them writes about divisions within the self, and yet each is also partial to older concepts of the soul, less Christian than Gnostic and Neoplatonic. These rival legacies do not simply contradict one another nor exist in tension in the works of these poets, but each of them in his own way draws on both, complementarily, in his exploration of selfhood and of the self's relation to itself. Both are concerned with a certain bewilderment in the self’s relation to the world and to itself. The two different legacies come together particularly for these poets (and this is original to the Romantic concept of self) in the connection they find between a psychology of self-alienation (the self's experience of itself as fragmented) and ‘existential alienation’ (the self's feeling of being homeless in the world or what the Gnostic and Neoplatonic tradition calls ‘the exile of the soul’).

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Anne Killigrew

A spiritual wit

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Laura Alexander

The Restoration court painter and poet Anne Killigrew features several written works in her Poems (posthumously published in 1686) explaining her visual artistry in relation to her Christian beliefs, and these poems helped Killigrew to re-define her poetic wit in relation to her spirituality rather than to secularism. Her poems, ‘St. John the Baptist Painted by herself in the Wilderness, with Angels appearing to him, and with a Lamb by him’ and ‘Herodias’s Daughter presenting to her Mother St. John’s Head in a Charger, also Painted by herself,’ accompany the John the Baptist paintings and show Killigrew’s interest in engaging religious ideas in her artistic process. Critics have rightly read Killigrew’s poems in relation to the proto-feminist texts that began to emerge in the period and acknowledge that Killigrew has a distinct and often angry voice in her works about women’s oppression. Anxious to separate her writings from courtly libertine texts, Killigrew looked to religious narratives for inspiration in articulating a self that was both witty and sacred, a unique artistic position in an age where wit was often collapsed with irreligious expressions and outrageous libertinism. This chapter examines that ‘self’ – a spiritual wit – in Killigrew’s verse and the larger implications for the gendered boundaries that women writing in the period negotiated.

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Edited by: Ladan Niayesh

This section contains the text of The tragedy of Soliman and Perseda by Thomas Kyd, as collated and edited by Ladan Niayesh, Professor of English Studies at the University of Paris Diderot – Paris 7.

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Edited by: Ladan Niayesh

This volume brings together three little-known works by key playwrights from the late sixteenth-century golden age of English drama. All three convey the public theatre’s fascination with travel and adventure through the popular genre of heroic romance, while reflecting the contemporaries’ wide range of responses to cross-cultural contacts with the Muslim East and the Mediterranean challenges posed by the Ottoman empire.

The volume presents the first modern-spelling editions of the three plays, with extensive annotations catering for specialised scholars while also making the texts accessible to students and theatregoers. A detailed introduction discusses issues of authorship, dates and sources, and sets the plays in their historical and cultural contexts, offering exciting insights on Elizabethan performance strategies, printing practices, and the circulation of knowledge and stereotypes related to ethnic and religious difference.

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Edited by: Ladan Niayesh

Romance is a twilight zone in studies of late sixteenth-century literary genres in England. Half-way between the nostalgia of medieval chivalry and the enterprising spirit of early modern exploration, piracy and commerce as preludes to a future empire, it is both very old-fashioned and innovatively modern. Appearing in narrative as well as in dramatic forms, romance lays simultaneous claims to history and imagination, which were not necessarily in opposition in the period, and caters for a readership of servants and citizens while equally finding its way into Spenserian epic, Sidneyan pastoral or even late Shakespearian tragicomedy and Miltonian poetry. The three plays grouped in this volume are early modern attempts at conquering that twilight zone in a context of expanding contacts with Muslim lands around the Mediterranean.

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Edited by: Ladan Niayesh

This section contains the text of The Four Prentices of London by Thomas Heywood, as collated and edited by Ladan Niayesh, Professor of English Studies at the University of Paris Diderot – Paris 7.

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Edited by: Ladan Niayesh

This section contains the text of The comical history of Alphonsus, King of Aragon by Robert Greene, as collated and edited by Ladan Niayesh, Professor of English Studies at the University of Paris Diderot – Paris 7.

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Svitlana Krys

This article discusses the manner in which the vampire fiction of contemporary Ukrainian author Halyna Pahutiak enters into a dialogue with the global vampire discourse whose core or ‘cultural capital’ finds its origins largely in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula (1897). Through discussion of thematic, stylistic, and structural similarities and differences between Pahutiak and Stoker’s portrayals of the vampire myth, my paper sheds light on the conscious mythmaking strategies that Pahutiak employs to return the vampire symbolically from the West to Eastern Europe where it originated, and reassess the core characteristics of the Dracula myth.