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Strangers in Blood

Strangers in Blood: Relocating Race in the Renaissance

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Strangers in Blood
    Book Description:

    Strangers in Bloodexplores, in a range of early modern literature, the association between migration to foreign lands and the moral and physical degeneration of individuals.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8694-6
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction: Bloodwork
    (pp. 3-24)

    In the last two decades, critical studies of race, as brought to bear on the English literatures and cultures of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, have proliferated amid considerable debate about what it means to posit a modern taxonomy of difference in a period that many would characterize not just as ‘early modern’ but as ‘pre-modern.’ Such criticism has questioned ifracesignified as a category for this period, seeking further to name the distinctions of identity it described. If one of the landmark collections of essays on the topic expressed this tentativeness explicitly in its title by marking the...

  6. 1 Blemished Bloodlines and The Faerie Queene, Book 2
    (pp. 25-54)

    In the crucial last years of the Nine Years War in Ireland, the Queen sent Essex to Ireland, charging him with the task of putting the axe ‘to the root of that tree which hath been the treasonable stock from which so many poisoned plants and grafts have been derived.’² The ‘root’ to which she referred was, of course, the arch-traitor, Hugh O’Neill, whom the Queen herself had propped up a decade earlier in an attempt to counter his kinsman and then powerful Irish chief, Turlough Luineach O’Neill.³ To her chagrin, the sapling Hugh had taken all too well to...

  7. 2 Uncouth Milk and the Irish Wet Nurse
    (pp. 55-77)

    In the account of ancient Briton resistance to Rome’s occupation that appears in Holinshed’sChronicles, William Harrison highlights the revolt of Boadicea, the famed British queen of the Iceni tribe who led an army predominantly composed of women against the invaders. Though nearly successful in driving the Romans from Britain, Boadicea and her followers receive scant recognition for what are arguably a heroic display of nationalist sentiment and an ideal embodiment of ancient British vigour. Instead, Harrison chooses to emphasize the savage effects of Boadicea’s leadership, describing in gruesome details the physical mutilations performed by her warriors on the bodies...

  8. 3 Cymbeline and Virginia’s British Climate
    (pp. 78-112)

    Spenser’s associations with Ireland – his lifelong devotion to a career abroad in the colony – invariably shaped his poetic representations and may have motivated the recoding of race that I have argued lies at the heart of his interest in bodily comportment, lineal integrity, and temperate blood. But such recodings were hardly limited to those living abroad, and this next chapter of the book will consider how a set of writers who never settled beyond England or ventured far from her shores contributed to the massive cultural transitions occasioned by transplantation. I turn to drama of the early seventeenth century – particularly...

  9. 4 Passion and Degeneracy in Tragicomic Island Plays
    (pp. 113-136)

    In the account of his voyage to Barbados in 1631, Sir Henry Colt provides a detailed survey of the status of English planters abroad. In summarizing the quality of life available to them in the recently planted island – the foods the island can provide, the sustaining power of the soil, the qualities of the climate – Colt also observes how the island has affected the collective complexions, that is the tempers, of Englishmen. The already hot tempers of the island’s young English planters, he notes at the start of his account, have grown dangerously fiery. Searching for explanations of this near-universal...

  10. 5 High Spirits, Nature’s Ranks, and Ligon’s Indies
    (pp. 137-172)

    In an entry in hisDiarydated 19 August 1668, John Evelyn records his first experience of seeing and tasting the Barbadian fruit ‘called the king-pine,’ a fruit whose exceptional powers he had read about in Richard Ligon’sTrue & Exact History of the Island of Barbados, which first appeared in print in 1657.¹ Evelyn’s recollection of the event places the royal fruit among a host of other regal emblems: a banqueting house, a richly ornate coach, and an arriving figure of state. Moreover, at the centre of the representation, the axis around which all these signs converge, Evelyn recalls...

  11. Coda: Beyond the Renaissance
    (pp. 173-178)

    Ligon was a royalist writing at a time of massive social upheaval. During the decade after his trip to Barbados, the system of labour used on the island would transform rapidly, moving from a mixed labour force of indentured servants and slaves to one dominantly driven by slave labour. His text powerfully captures the ideological unevenness of this moment, demonstrating perhaps most forcefully of the texts treated in this book the complex relations that existed between blood and colour as competing and overlapping systems of difference throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in England.

    I have argued that Ligon’s emphasis...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 179-234)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 235-258)
  14. Index
    (pp. 259-272)