Literature and Theatre

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Michael C. Schoenfeldt

Michael C. Schoenfeldt offers final reflections on each of the twelve essays foregrounding the interrelationship between positive and negative emotions during the early modern period. In particular, he highlights the anachronism of the term emotion by emphasizing the idea of early modern passions as disturbances or perturbations that impact the body as well as the soul. Offering concise readings of Milton’s Abdiel who is unmoved among the faithless and George Herbert’s ‘Constancie,’ Schoenfeldt reminds readers of the pleasure often obtained through the control of emotional fluctuations.

in Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture
Happiness, ambivalence, and story genre
Patrick Colm Hogan

In ‘All’s Well that Ends Well: Happiness, ambivalence, and story genre’, Patrick Colm Hogan investigates the narrative and generic workings of ambivalence in Shakespeare’s so-called ‘problem comedies’: works infamous for containing sequences of both comic mirth and complex psychological darkness. Drawing on the affective sciences, Hogan argues that the features of All’s Well That Ends Wellsuggest that our view of some emotions as purely positive may be overly optimistic, and that even feelings of attachment are not wholly or necessarily positive—hedonically, prudentially, or morally.

in Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture
Violence, masculinity, and the colonial project in Derricke’s Image of Irelande
John Soderberg

A central project of colonial encounters is establishing and maintaining clear boundaries between intrusive and indigenous populations. While delineating boundaries is, in part, a means of securing a superior identity for colonizers, these boundaries also attempt to mask the violence of colonialism. This chapter uses animals as a point of entry into the contradictions that creep into the imaginative space created by the text and illustrations of John Derricke’s Image. It begins with a review of the effort to create a clear boundary between English and Irish populations by showing their different engagements with animals. But, implicit in this animals-make-the-man strategy is the threat of disorder. Interacting with the wrong species in the wrong way can make the man wrong. Illustrating the violence of conquest blurs boundaries. In these moments, the metaphorical associations with animals grow recalcitrant. Artfully constructed boundaries give way to a violent and confusing muddle.

in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne
Derricke’s Image of Irelande and the Mirror for Magistrates tradition
Scott Lucas

John Derricke, this chapter argues, employed the influential collection of historical verse tragedies A Mirror for Magistrates (first published 1559) as a model for various parts of his Image of Irelande. In doing so, however, Derricke found himself forced to acknowledge and to seek to overturn the often uncomfortable messages of that source. Thus, in the opening poem of his collection, Derricke uses a selective celebratory presentation of English monarchs to contest the view in the Mirror of English leaders as often undeserving of rule. Similarly, while he adopts the form and meter of the Mirror for his poems in the voice of Irish rebel Rory Oge O’More, Derricke suppresses the complexity of rebellion’s treatment in the Mirror, including the claims that political resistance is sometimes justified and that erring English officers bring rebellion on themselves. The Image thus reveals the anxious inspiration its author derived from A Mirror for Magistrates.

in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne
Aesthetico-political misprision in Derricke’s A Discoverie of Woodkarne
Thomas Cartelli

In Drama, Performance, and Polity in Pre-Cromwellian Ireland (2000), Alan Fletcher offers the possibility of variant readings of a provocative section of one of John Derricke’s more notorious woodcuts. Though Fletcher does not expressly claim that the behavior of the two bare-bummed kerns in the lower right corner of the third plate of Derricke’s Discoverie is designedly flatulent rather than excremental, his exhaustive knowledge of the varied ensemble of entertainments on offer in early modern Irish banquet settings leads him to qualify the grosser form of negative ethnic stereotyping in which Derricke may be engaging. In the process of rebalancing the bias of uncivil defecators in favor of slightly more civil braigetori, this chapter explores more broadly Derricke’s strategic acts of misrepresentation which operate both on the level of idealization (of Sir Henry Sidney and his fellow Englishmen) and of demonization (of the Irish): aesthetic determinations that appeal to already ethnocentrically established English values of religious and cultural superiority, on the one hand, while promoting or intensifying the application of those values to the English reader’s understanding of Ireland and the native Irish, on the other.

in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne
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Silvia Granata

Through the analysis of James Shirley Hibberd’s The Book of the Aquarium, Chapter 3 explores the ornamental functions that Victorian tanks were meant to perform: on the one hand, the aquarium was conceptualised as a mirror of its owner, situating the hobby within a cluster of social, moral, and economic discourses that did much to foster the vogue, endowing it with further resonance and meaning; on the other hand, though, such density of expectations might have contributed to the demise of tank keeping. The second part of the chapter considers the beauty of marine creatures in the tank and the ways in which it was framed, both conceptually and stylistically, through an array of literary strategies, which included emphasis on detail, creative analogies, and the extensive use of poetic language and poetic quotations. Many of these features were common in popular science writing, but aquarium texts strove to adjust their approach to the specificities of tank keeping, while participating in wider debates about the appropriate way to discuss natural phenomena for a broad and non-specialist public.

in The Victorian aquarium
Martial identities and the subject of conquest in Derricke’s Image of Irelande
Maryclaire Moroney

Whether captain, kern or knight, martial identities in Elizabethan England and Ireland are as multiple, class-inflected, and contested as the military contexts through which they are experienced and expressed. This chapter argues that John Derricke’s (mis)representations of Gaelic Irish forces and their English others is critical to our understanding of the work’s political and polemical concerns. The woodcuts, in particular, have long been mined for their accurate depiction of weaponry and dress, but the extent to which the work as a whole seeks to obscure how far the Irish kerne and his English counterpart were indistinguishable comrades in arms has gone unremarked.

in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne
Discovering the formal and figurative texture of Derricke’s Image of Irelande
Matthew Woodcock

John Derricke’s Image of Irelande is regularly mined by historians and critics interested in its ethnographic observations, propagandistic pro-Sidney agenda and the informative detail of its woodcut illustrations. Little has been written, however, about the formal, stylistic and rhetorical aspects of the text itself, and of the confection of verse modes Derricke brings together. This chapter addresses this situation by examining Derricke’s employment of an elaborate vatic compositional fiction, multiple metrical forms and narratorial standpoints, and a distinct set of rhetorical devices (in particular analogy and antithesis). It poses questions about Derricke’s fundamental decision to anatomise his subject using poetry rather than prose, and about the place of allegory or figura in the text, and it considers some of the different generic models he may have had in mind when exploring the role and interplay of words, images and action in both the maintenance and representation of order in Tudor Ireland.

in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne
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Silvia Granata

Starting from ‘Black Tarn’, a novella published in All the Year Round, the conclusion briefly retraces the fortunes of Victorian tank keeping from a widespread craze to a half-forgotten pastime. The reasons for the temporary success of the marine aquarium, as well as those behind its demise a few years later, offer valuable insights into the complexity of Victorian culture, especially as they involved expectations concerning efficiency, control, and durability, or the capacity of humans to recreate, and then manage, miniaturised ecosystems. Moreover, Victorian discussion of the aquarium testify to an important moment in the development of what we would now call environmental awareness.

in The Victorian aquarium
Stuart Kinsella

How can the maker and deviser of The Image of Irelande, containing six designs which are described as ‘probably the finest woodcuts made in a sixteenth-century English book’ be so little known? Where did this artistry come from and where could one hone such woodcutting skills? What was the influence of the publisher, John Day, England’s ‘most important publisher of illustrated books in the second half of the sixteenth century’, and how did the artist(s) become part of the entourage of Sir Henry Sidney coming to Ireland and recording the events of his lord deputyship during the mid-1570s? This chapter addresses these questions to argue for Derricke’s connection to the creation of the woodcuts.

in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne