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Literature in the Light of the Emblem

Literature in the Light of the Emblem

Copyright Date: 1979
Pages: 312
  • Book Info
    Literature in the Light of the Emblem
    Book Description:

    The literature of the 16th and 17th centuries was informed by the symbolic thought embodied in the mixed art form of emblems. This study explores the relationship between the emblem and the literature of England and Germany during the period.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7673-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. 1 The Emblem
    (pp. 3-72)

    In a stimulating article on emblem literature published in 1946 Henri Stegemeier expressed the hope ′that the term Emblem need not be again and again defined by everyone who today discusses the subject ...′¹ With the wealth of new insights into the nature and history of the emblem we are nearer to a definitive account which would obviate the need to define the term,² but that account has yet to be written. In the meantime it remains advisable to define the term in order to avoid misunderstanding. By ′emblematic literature′ I do not mean the emblem-books proper, but rather the...

  7. 2 The Word-Emblem
    (pp. 73-121)

    The sceptic may ask whether there is such a thing as emblematic literature at all. Dieter Mehl ′raises the general question whether an emblem that is merely quoted in the text can be called an emblem in the true sense any more, a question that applies to many of the ″emblems″ in Elizabethan drama that have been listed by scholars.′¹ Mehl does not answer the question he quite properly raises; instead he is content to assert that it is important ′to train one′s ear to discover emblematic associations′ and recognize the ′function′ of emblematic imagery (p 44). Dieter Sulzer gives...

  8. 3 Emblematic Poetry
    (pp. 122-152)

    The most easily recognizable examples of emblematic structures in poetry may be found in those poems in which the writer appears to copy emblems, or at least produces exact verbal equivalents which he names emblems. Rosemary Freeman draws attention to the following ′unmistakable emblems′ in Henry Vaughan′s poem ′Les Amours′:

    ... And on each leafe by Heavens command,

    These Emblemes to the life shall stand:

    Two Hearts, the first a shaft withstood;

    ... The second, shot, and washt in bloud;

    And on this heart a dew shall stay,

    Which no heate can court away;

    But fixt for ever witnesse beares,...

  9. 4 Emblematic Drama
    (pp. 153-186)

    During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries drama in its various forms was the most emblematic of all the literary arts, combining as it does a visual experience of character and gesture, silenttableauand active scene, with a verbal experience of the spoken and occasionally the written word.

    The emblematic quality of Shakespeare′s plays was early noted by Henry Green,¹ today more maligned than read; however, it is true that he concentrated almost exclusively on imagery. More recently Glynne Wickham² has commented upon the emblematic quality of the Elizabethan stage and contrasted it with the attempt of the modern stage...

  10. 5 Emblematic Narrative Prose
    (pp. 187-203)

    It would be surprising if the great narrative prose works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries did not reveal something of the emblematic world-view of their authors. This emblematic world-view is, of course, based on the emblematic mode of thought, which sees inherent meaning in the objects of nature and human history.¹ The attitude of Bunyan,² Grimmelshausen,³ and Defoe⁴ – to name but three novelists – is fundamentally emblematic in that they regard the world and nature as ′a gigantic canvas upon which God has stroken in a wealth of moral meaning.′⁵ In a variety of waysThe Pilgrim′s Progress,...

  11. 6 Conclusion
    (pp. 204-208)

    In light of the fact that Europe saw the printing of at least 5,300 emblem-books during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it is evident that the emblem is more than a ′fad′¹ or a ′strange fashion′² or a ′secondary cultural phenomenon.′³ The emblem in art and literature does, however, present certain aesthetic problems for the post-Shaftesbury and post-Herder reader, which can only be resolved by a historical and flexible aesthetic. T.S. Eliot observed that we need to enjoy for the right reasons. Reversing that coin, it seems to me equally important not to criticize for the wrong reasons. One is...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 209-254)
  13. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 255-272)
  14. Index of Names
    (pp. 273-278)
  15. Index of Emblem Motifs
    (pp. 279-283)