Doppelganger Dilemmas

Doppelganger Dilemmas: Anglo-Dutch Relations in Early Modern English Literature and Culture

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Doppelganger Dilemmas
    Book Description:

    The Dutch were culturally ubiquitous in England during the early modern period and constituted London's largest alien population in the second half of the sixteenth century. While many sought temporary refuge from Spanish oppression in the Low Countries, others became part of a Dutch diaspora, developing their commercial, spiritual, and domestic lives in England. The category "Dutch" catalyzed questions about English self-definition that were engendered less by large-scale cultural distinctions than by uncanny similarities.Doppelgänger Dilemmasuncovers the ways England's real and imagined proximities with the Dutch played a crucial role in the making of English ethnicity.

    Marjorie Rubright explores the tensions of Anglo-Dutch relations that emerged in the form of puns, double entendres, cognates, homophones, copies, palimpsests, doppelgängers, and other doublings of character and kind. Through readings of London's stage plays and civic pageantry, English and Continental polyglot and bilingual dictionaries and grammars, and travel accounts of Anglo-Dutch rivalries and friendships in the Spice Islands, Rubright reveals how representations of Dutchness played a vital role in shaping Englishness in virtually every aspect of early modern social life. Her innovative book sheds new light on the literary and historical forces of similitude in an era that was so often preoccupied with ethnic and cultural difference.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-9006-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Introduction: Double Dutch
    (pp. 1-37)

    In early modern England, the category “Dutch’’ worked like a pun on the English imagination. Nowhere is this more vividly displayed than when the real and imagined cultural proximities between England and the Low Countries emerge in the form of a double entendre. In Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton’s theatrical comedyThe Roaring Girl(1611), for instance, the extramarital promiscuity of the play’s citizen sempster is figured through a series of double entendres that render the Low Countries and London’s suburbs as overlapping sites of illicit sexual commerce:

    Mistress Openwork:Have I found out one of your haunts? I send...

  4. CHAPTER 1 Going Dutch in London City Comedy
    (pp. 38-55)

    To be Dutch on the early Jacobean stage was to be a jumbler of kinds. More than butter-loving, slop-adorned, herring eaters whose gibble-gabble speech and penchant for drink induced laughter, the Dutch of London city comedy were actively producing and revealing English anxieties about potential interchangeability with their nearest European neighbors. At the turn of the seventeenth century, city comedies, whose events transpire in London, were offering audiences ways to reflect on the proximate relations that shaped their daily lives.¹ From the mid-sixteenth century through the early seventeenth century, Dutch immigrants constituted London’s largest alien population. While many sought temporary...

  5. CHAPTER 2 “By Common Language Resembled”: Anglo-Dutch Kinship in the Language Debates
    (pp. 56-88)

    Writing from Holland, the Englishman Thomas Scott begins his polemic in support of the resumption of the United Provinces’ war for independence against Spain with a curious remark: “Let us now [go to] . . . the United Provinces, and considering her wayes, learn to be wise. Neither need wee be ashamed of such Tutors, who come of the same race originally that wee do, as our speech witnesseth.”¹ Scott’sThe Belgicke Pismire(1622) positions the United Provinces as a tutor to the English people, their state, and its seafaring corporations.² As the text’s titular pismires, the Hollanders’ diligent management...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Double Dutch Tongues: Language Lessons of the Stage
    (pp. 89-109)

    The broken English of aliens on the English stage has been the focus of significant scholarly attention, much of which contends that broken English enacts the alien’s marginalization.¹ In his studyLanguages and Communities in Early Modern Europe,Peter Burke argues that the “evidence of plays” as representational records of human speech “especially in comedies . . . was probably stylized and stereotyped” and therefore is not a reliable window onto the spoken word during the period.² “In the cases of Shakespeare, Jonson, and Molière,” Burke continues, “playwrights exploited sociolects for comic effect, representing marginal communities as funny foreigners who...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Dutch Impressions: The Narcissism of Minor Difference in Print
    (pp. 110-161)

    Ben Jonson imagines the revelation of identity in speech as a visual rather than solely auditory process. “Speak, that I may see thee” is a catachrestic construction that reveals why language was so central to debates regarding cultural identity in early modern England. Language, Jonson believes, lays the epistemological foundation upon which man’s identity comes into view. Literary critics have largely echoed Jonson, arguing that the imprint of accent on the early modern stage was an indelible sign of one’s foreign origins and the mark of difference against which notions of a linguistically rooted English nationalism emerged. As I have...

  8. CHAPTER 5 London as Palimpsest: The Anglo-Dutch Royal Exchange
    (pp. 162-188)

    The skyline of London was transformed in March 2000 as the world’s largest observation wheel was set in motion on the south bank of the river Thames. From atop, viewers survey London twenty–five miles in each direction. The objective of the architects of the London Eye was to offer “an exciting new way to see and understand one of the greatest cities on earth.” The official website of the London Eye boasts, “London Eye has become, quite literally, the way the world sees London.”¹ While the architects, designers, and corporate financiers extolled the innovation of the project, they could...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Doppelgänger Dilemmas: The Crisis of Anglo-Dutch Interchangeability in the East Indies and the Imperfect Redress of Performance
    (pp. 189-234)

    Before the “horrid Ills” of Anglo-Dutch rivalry are played out on the body of Ysabinda in John Dryden’sAmboyna(1673), the play’s native Amboyner makes a promise that the changing conditions of her world will refuse to let her keep. The intended wife of the English East India Company captain, Gabriel Towerson, Ysabinda has waited three years for his return to Amboyna, a clove-producing “Spice Island.”¹ Their anticipated nuptials are tragically marred when Harmon Junior, son of the island’s Dutch East India Company governor, sets his sights on Ysabinda and declares his competition for her in marriage. In terms that...

  10. Coda: A View from Antwerp
    (pp. 235-240)

    Two decades before the first English East India Company ship set sail for Asia, the crisis of Anglo-Dutch interchangeability that plagued the English in the Indonesian archipelago was writ large across a landscape much closer to home. From atop the tower of the English House at Antwerp, the Elizabethan courtier and dramatist George Gascoigne watched in horror as smoke engulfed the city’s gable-roofed skyline. On a crisp November evening, the Spanish army was sacking the city below in what Geoffrey Parker, historian of the Dutch Revolt, characterizes as “one of the worst [intra-European] atrocities of the sixteenth century,” the Spanish...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 241-300)
    (pp. 301-326)
  13. Index
    (pp. 327-338)
    (pp. 339-342)