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Ritual, Routine, and Regime

Ritual, Routine, and Regime: Repetition in Early Modern British and European Cultures

Edited by Lorna Clymer
  • Book Info
    Ritual, Routine, and Regime
    Book Description:

    Repetition dynamically shaped important modes of thought and action in early modern British and European cultures. The centrality and often problematic ambiguity of repetition as they converge in ritual, routine, and regime, however, are rarely assessed accurately because repetition is often dismissed as quaintly primitive or embarrassingly visceral.

    Ritual, Routine, and Regimeis a collection of essays that reveals varied meanings given to and created by repetition from a range of disciplinary perspectives. The contributors reveal repetition at work in evolving definitions of the self and of the emotions, in political rhetoric used to assert a nation's history, in values ascribed to musical styles, in religious verse grounded in practices of prayer, in the aesthetics created by the poetry of work and by rhyme in general, in the recreation of British classics through French translations, and in the repeated but significantly varied sculpture of the portrait bust.

    Edited by Lorna Clymer,Ritual, Routine, and Regimejuxtaposes early modern practices with twentieth- and twenty-first century theoretical accounts of the institutions of repetition. Providing a stimulating, new perspective on early modern culture, the collection describes repetition's often peculiar demands, its surprising gratifications, and its contested interpretations.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7940-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    What does repetition - at once the act and instance of repeating - indicate about British and European cultures of the early modern period? Significant competing or even incongruous perspectives on repetition’s value emerged during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The centrality and often problematic ambiguity of ritual, routine, and regime are rarely assessed accurately because repetition has often been considered indicative of practices quaintly primitive or embarrassingly visceral, something to be transcended as early modern becomes modern. Yet, to think so is to overlook how instances of repetition consistently structured important modes of thought and behaviour.¹

    Both an imperative...


    • chapter one Cycles Of Repetition: Chacona, Ciaccona, Chaconne, and the Chaconne
      (pp. 21-46)

      Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, repetitive procedures in music acquired a singularly bad reputation. Frankfurt School critic Theodor W. Adorno - who based his aesthetic principles on the resistance to reiteration in the music of Beethoven and Schoenberg - fulminated against the moral dangers of such procedures, especially as they lured unwary listeners into mindless dances such as the jitterbug, into Stravinsky’s primitivism, or into the herd mentality encouraged by bourgeois affirmative culture and later exploited by the rise of European fascism.¹ The ethical imperative of Schoenberg’s serialism grounded itself in this horror of repetition and...


    • chapter two Repetition and Narration: Tracking the Enlightenment Self
      (pp. 49-62)

      The concept of repetition was central to the Enlightenment project of achieving a modern empiricist psychology, freed from all the old models: the physiology of the humours, the determinism of astrology, the teleology of original sin. I have entitled this chapter ‘Tracking the Enlightenment Self’ because the idea was to follow one’s own footsteps into the past and then, by assembling a sufficient number of remembered perceptions, to construct a connect-the-dots picture of the sequential moments of the self.

      Of course, this procedure might produce surprises: Locke thought memory was adequate to sustain the integrity of the self, but Hume...

    • chapter three Escape from Repetition: Blake versus Locke and Wordsworth
      (pp. 63-79)

      In his treatise ‘There Is No Natural Religion,’ Blake contemns Lockean empiricism for providing a reductive account of subjective experience. Empiricism slights, or even represses, the imaginative component of perception - what Blake calls ‘the Poetic or Prophetic character’ or, more plainly, ‘Inspiration and Revelation.’ According to empiricism, we have for our originary stimulus only the elements of material reality: the pitiful circle of things, the routines of clock time and nature. If we truly are confined to natural reality, then our subjective experience must be increasingly homogeneous. Blake concludes, ‘If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic character...

    • chapter four Emerging Emotion Theory: Forgiveness and Repetition
      (pp. 80-100)

      These lines by Moll Flanders, the fictional heroine of Daniel Defoe’s 1722 novel, suggest a way of forgiving quite at odds with what most of us today would expect. While we might readily agree with Flanders that revenge is not consistent with forgiveness, I doubt that many of us would consider the mere checking of revenge as sufficient for forgiveness. Isn’t it also of great importance to us that whoever forgives us is no longer angry?

      Certainly, this is the view of most current philosophers who theorize about the definition of forgiveness, or what forgiveness is. In order to forgive,...


    • chapter five Acts of Remembrance, Acts of Oblivion: Rhetoric, Law, and National Memory in Early Restoration England
      (pp. 103-131)

      The fear that history would repeat itself, and that the country would be torn apart by another civil war, haunted post-1660 England until (and beyond) the relatively bloodless revolution of 1688-9. Parallels between the recent past and the present were being obsessively drawn: during the Popish Plot and Exclusion Crisis the Whigs were accused of aping the seditious politics of the Puritan rebels; Charles II and in due course James II were denounced by their opponents as popish tyrants in the mould of Charles I. The rallying cry of the loyalists was ‘1641 is come again’; the opposition appropriated and...

    • chapter six Christopher Smart’s Late Religious Lyrics: Building Churches in the Air
      (pp. 132-150)

      One of the commonest elements of the Anglican religious service today, the hymn, was looked upon with horror by eighteenth-century sticklers for orthodoxy. Orthodox Anglicans saw the hymn as the uncontrolled outburst of enthusiasm: the work of Nonconformists, their religious opponents, who were always marked with the stain of the political insurrection that blighted the previous century, and who had killed the king and nearly upset the divine order. Nevertheless, some of the most orthodox Anglicans of the century, such as Christopher Smart, wrote hymns. Modern debate about the function of the hymn in eighteenth-century Anglican life has been scarce;...


    • chapter seven ‘The Year Runs Round’: The Poetry of Work in Eighteenth-Century England
      (pp. 153-171)

      Rarely have the pulse of poetry and the pulse of physical work coincided so oppressively as they do in Thomas Hood’s ‘Song of the Shirt’ (1843). Most people are familiar with work as a mode of repetition, but its immediate demands are not usually so palpable - unless we spend the day prodding sizzling hamburgers or gluing the soles on trainers. Those who sit in strategy meetings discussing output, work patterns, restructuring, and time management may impose rhythms on others, but they in turn are subject to repetitions that are broader but no less rigorous: the accounting period, the business...

    • chapter eight Seven Reasons for Rhyme
      (pp. 172-198)

      Despite centuries of prestige and pleasure-giving in many languages and cultures, rhyme seldom gives satisfaction now, not to poets, not to readers. Poets have, for most of a century, preferred to do without it, often mocking the earlier hunger for it,¹ and readers - conditioned perhaps by contemporary writing practice - have more and more found rhymed poetry disappointing, puzzling, and difficult. That kind of hearing loss, which sometimes afflicts historical and even scholarly readers, contributed, during the second half of the twentieth century, to a larger slippage in the taste for poetry generally. School and university classrooms then came...


    • chapter nine Translation as Original Composition: Reading the Work of Pierre Le Tourneur
      (pp. 201-223)

      Literature is an institution of repetition.

      In a discussion of the phenomenology of literary experience, philosopher Edward Casey once argued that literary imagining, being ineluctably deprived of the sensory plenitude of the world, compensates for the absence of the world by ‘making present’ throughform, which can only be apprehended through repetition. And inasmuch as literature’s ‘peculiar present’ cannot persist beyond the act of reading save by further imaginative rehearsal, it must be ‘re-imagined by means of repetition both within the work and within the mind.’¹ This constitutive imbrication of imagination and repetition has been explicitly foregrounded at different historical...

    • chapter ten Multiple Heads: Pope, the Portrait Bust, and Patterns of Repetition
      (pp. 224-246)

      When Voltaire remarked that the ‘Picture of the prime Minister hangs above the Chimney of his own Closet, but I have seen that of Mr. Pope in twenty Noblemens Houses,’ he was not only remarking admiringly on the significance that the English accorded the arts but also assuming a familiar linkage between portraiture and repetition.¹ But the example he chooses is telling. Despite his own deformity - or perhaps because of it - no eighteenth-century author had more of an interest in portraiture than Pope himself, and Voltaire’s remarks about the ubiquity of his image are borne out by the...

  11. Index
    (pp. 247-258)