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Increase and Multiply: Governing Cultural Reproduction in Early Modern England

David Glimp
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    Increase and Multiply
    Book Description:

    Across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a growing notion of the value of a large populace created a sense of urgency about reproduction; accordingly, a wide array of English writers of the time voiced the need not merely to add more people but also to ensure that England had an abundance of the right kinds of people. This need, in turn, called for a variety of institutions to train-and thus make, through a kind of nonbiological procreation—pious, enterprising, and dutiful subjects. In Increase and Multiply, David Glimp examines previously unexplored links between this emergent demographic mentality and Renaissance literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9391-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxviii)

    In his 1798Essay on the Principle of Population, Thomas Malthus asserts the by now familiar thesis that history is driven by the mismatch between resources and population. Offering an example of how these imbalances determine humanity’s progress through various stages of social organization, Malthus describes the unsettling changes brought about by the relative “ease,” mobility, and safety of shepherd societies. The very abundance that allowed these people to flourish removed obstacles to reproduction, yielding the “natural and invariable effect” of population growth and then misery. “Want pinched the less fortunate members of society,” Malthus explains,

    and, at length, the...

  5. CHAPTER ONE “Making Up People”: The English Commonwealth and the Writing of Populations
    (pp. 1-36)

    In his study of statistical inquiry and the methods of social science, Ian Hacking argues that acts of description effectively “make up people.” This unusual phrase foregrounds Hacking’s point that forms of knowledge condition our ways of thinking about and acting upon others and ourselves. When “bureaucrats” or “students of human nature” set out to enumerate or to describe people, he contends, they do not provide an empirically neutral account of a somehow transparently accessible reality. Rather than simply being “recognized,” categories of personhood are fabricated, and subsequently come to feel like a natural way to think of oneself or...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Defending Poetic Generation: Sir Philip Sidney and the Aesthetics of Educational Reproduction
    (pp. 37-62)

    Although Renaissance England would come to be defined by the efflorescence of poetic activity it witnessed, to many contemporaries this poetic abundance was nothing to celebrate. Indeed, for some, the sheer number of people writing was cause for alarm. To take a prominent example, Sir Philip Sidney asserted that England faced what amounted to a poetic population crisis. Echoing Richard Mulcaster’s concerns (broached in the last chapter) about the impact of too many graduates, Sidney implied that the unanticipated successes of England’s grammar schools and universities had the secondary effect of saturating the literary field.¹ When, in theDefence of...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Staging Government: Shakespearean Theater and the Government of Cultural Reproduction
    (pp. 63-114)

    From the very earliest moments of their emergence in the late 1570s, England’s popular stages prompted fears that they were multiplying out of control. This was the case not only insofar as some—including at one point Queen Elizabeth and her privy councilors—worried that the structures were growing too numerous and consequently that most should be torn down;¹ it was also the case that the theater’s most vocal opponents understood the institution capable of producing unruly hordes of dissolute persons. The anti-theatricalists argued that the theater did more than simply provide a venue for (ominous) multitudes to gather and...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Educational Genesis of Men: Puritan Reform and John Milton’s Of Education
    (pp. 115-145)

    Surveying the state of American education in 1962, the well-known Milton scholar William Riley Parker found it in profound disarray. Inefficient, ineffective, and disordered, schooling took place without any clear purpose; whatever motives or objectives informed the activities of educators, contemporary institutional structures and practices promoted an ungoverned generation of what Parker considered useless persons. Especially riling to Parker was the use of electives in university education, a practice that had gained prominence with the increase in scale of American schools over the previous decades. With respect to the “proliferation of new subjects and courses,” which either caused or was...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Paradisal Arithmetic: Paradise Lost and the Genesis of Populations
    (pp. 146-180)

    Do numbers matter to Milton’s God? While one might expect the divine monarch not to be concerned with how many faithful subjects he has—he is, after all, omnipotent—in his post-rebellion survey of heaven he evaluates the effects of Satan’s revolt specifically with an eye to numbers. God asserts that although Satan took many angels with him,

    Yet far the greater part have kept, I see,

    Thir station, Heav’n yet populous retains

    Number sufficient to possess her Realms

    Though wide, and this high Temple to frequent

    With Ministeries due and solemn Rites.¹

    Despite God’s sanguine insistence that enough functionaries...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 181-222)
  11. Index
    (pp. 223-230)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 231-231)