Renaissance Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts

Renaissance Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts

MURRAY ROSTON
Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 394
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zv97q
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Renaissance Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts
    Book Description:

    Roston demonstrates that what emerges is not a fixed or monolithic pattern for each generation but a dynamic series of responses to shared challenges. The book relates leading English writers and literary modes to contemporary developments in architecture, painting, and sculpture, exploring by a close reading of the texts and the artistic works the insights such comparison offers.

    Originally published in 1990.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5846-0
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-10)

    The appearance in recent years of such impressive inter-disciplinary studies as Roland M. Frye’sMilton’s Imagery and the Visual Artsand Ronald Paulson’sBook and Paintinghas bestowed legitimacy upon that originally suspect area of scholarship, the relating of literature to the visual arts. It has done so in no small part because of their authors’ rigorous insistence upon the established criteria of orthodox scholarship.¹ The methodology of Frye’s work needs no defence, for it rests upon the accepted norms of chronological sequence. It examines the iconographic traditions which had accumulated in the generations preceding Milton’s writings and which were...

  6. EARLY RENAISSANCE
    • 1 THE PILGRIMAGE TO CANTERBURY
      (pp. 13-62)

      The ancient greeks, it has been remarked, laboured under a peculiar misapprehension—a failure to realize that they were ancient. Those categories and periods to which we assign past writers are for our own convenience, an indulgence of the historian’s proclivity for schematic tidiness for the most part imposed retrospectively and only rarely acknowledged by the authors themselves. Chaucer, we may suspect, would have viewed with wry amusement (“Men may divine and glosen up and down”) the modern dispute among scholars concerning his historical affinities, the problem whether he should be classified as culturally indigenous to the Middle Ages or...

    • 2 HIERARCHY IN THE MYSTERY PLAYS
      (pp. 63-98)

      To reconstruct with any degree of authenticity the medieval performance of a mystery play, whether in imagination or in practice, can be a frustrating experience, despite the excellent work that has been invested by F. M. Salter, Richard Southern, Glynne Wickham, and others in revealing the physical format of the “stations,” of the moving pageant-waggons, and of the fixed stages being developed at the time.¹ In drama, among the most evanescent of the arts, the bare text of such a play may lie open before us, but the style of acting, the method of presentation, the degree of interaction with...

  7. HIGH RENAISSANCE
    • 3 THE IDEAL AND THE REAL
      (pp. 101-142)

      The process of action and reaction in critical history, the tendency of each generation to question established opinions (sometimes more vigorously than is warranted in order to resist the authority which they have attained) has held conspicuously true for interpretations of the Renaissance. Jacob Burckhardt’s admiring view of it as an essentially new age of self-reliant individualism, which he saw as nurtured by the rise of the Italian city-states, appeared at an auspicious time. It encouraged John Addington Symonds and other late nineteenth-century writers to regard that earlier period as an exemplary time of artistic vigour and personal creativity, a...

    • 4 SPENSER AND THE PAGAN GODS
      (pp. 143-192)

      The indebtedness of renaissance writers and artists to the models of ancient Greece and Rome has never required scholarly confirmation. It was acknowleged on every side by the humanists themselves. Petrarch, moved “beyond words” by his visit to the ruins of Rome, boldly reversed the traditional conception of Christianity as the enlightener of the world and, despite his continued faith as a Christian, in his poemAfricabegan the movement to regard the medieval period, however unjustly, as the “Dark Ages” before which the classical era had shone as a glorious radiance. In the words of his disciple Boccaccio, he...

    • 5 A KINGDOM FOR A STAGE
      (pp. 193-238)

      The invention of printing, it has been argued, did more than accelerate the dissemination of ideas in the Renaissance. If we are to accept Marshall McLuhan’s provocative thesis, the communications media have served in all eras not only as vehicles of expression but as moulders and re-creators of the messages they transmit.¹ The introduction of letter-type, together with the increase in literacy in the fifteenth century, had inculcated the new habit of reading a book consecutively through from beginning to end and thereby generated, he suggests, linear modes of thought. One result was to encourage among writers the development of...

    • 6 SHAKESPEARE’S ARTISTIC ALLEGIANCE
      (pp. 239-276)

      That shakespeare resists neat classification into any single artistic mode should be no cause for surprise. His parody of the fixed genre divisions (“tragical-comical-historical-pastoral”) as solemnly recited by Polonius, his own use of hybrid forms, as well as (to the despair of Ben Jonson) his refusal to be bound by the unities attributed to classical precedent,¹ suggest an independence of judgment in him which would seem to militate against any attempt to place his work within the framework of a specific style. On the other hand, his very rejection of classical rules itself marked a desire to create for the...

  8. MANNERISM AND CLASSICISM
    • 7 VARIETIES OF SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY PROSE
      (pp. 279-300)

      Since the appearance of morris croll’s magisterial essays in the 1920s, the distinction between the Ciceronian and what he termed the “Attic” prose stylists of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries has become fully established. In Montaigne’s complaint against the emphasis upon an ornate style in prose—“Fie upon the eloquence that makes us in love with itself and not with the content”¹—he discerned a break-away from those classical authors so long advocated by the humanists as models for rhetoric and the advocacy of a more personal idiom for which Seneca and Tacitus could serve as more effective...

    • 8 THE WORLD AS ANAGRAM: THE POETRY OF GEORGE HERBERT
      (pp. 301-342)

      The rehabilitation of george herbert in this century after so long a period of neglect and his eventual readmission into the anthologies as a poet worthy of regard did not generate, as did the rediscovery of Donne, a sense of excitement in the critical world, a conviction that here were forgotten tones, themes, and experimental patterns of writing which might reshape our understanding of the very nature of poetry. Until recently, even the warmest admirers of his art had drawn attention primarily to the serenity of his faith, the gentle lyricism of his Christian teaching, and the quiet charm of...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 343-368)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 369-379)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 380-380)