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Renaissance Papers 2012

Renaissance Papers 2012

Andrew Shifflett
Edward Gieskes
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 134
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  • Book Info
    Renaissance Papers 2012
    Book Description:

    Renaissance Papers collects the best scholarly essays submitted each year to the Southeastern Renaissance Conference. The 2012 volume opens with two essays on sexuality in Elizabethan narrative poetry: on homoeroticism in Spenser's Faerie Queene and on Shakespeare's "swerve" into Lucretian imagery in Venus and Adonis. The volume then turns to Renaissance drama and its links to the wider culture: the commodification of spirit in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, Shakespeare's evocation of the Acts of the Apostles in The Comedy of Errors, "summoning" in Hamlet and King Lear, discourses of procreation and generation in Antony and Cleopatra/, trade and gender in John Webster's Devil's Law-Case, and an examination of street scenes in Romeo and Juliet in relation to Paul's Cross Churchyard, the hub of the London bookselling market in the early modern period. The volume closes with essays on seventeenth-century literature and literary culture: on the "puritan logic" of the elder Andrew Marvell in his famous son's poem "To His Coy Mistress," on the "sociable lexicography" of a Royalist polymath attempting to reconcile with the English Commonwealth, and on the underestimated roles of Urania in Milton's Paradise Lost. Contributors: David Ainsworth, Thomas W. Dabbs, Sonya Freeman Loftis, Russell Hugh McConnell, Robert L. Reid, Amrita Sen, Susan C. Staub, Emily Stockard, Nathan Stogdill, Christina A. Taormina, Emma Annette Wilson. Andrew Shifflett and Edward Gieskes are Associate Professors of English at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-885-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[viii])
  3. Reconstructing the Bower of Bliss: Homoerotic Myth-Making in The Faerie Queene
    (pp. 1-12)
    Sonya Freeman Loftis

    Erotic encounters between women appear with surprising frequency in the middle books of The Faerie Queene. Both Guyon’s adventure in the Bower of Bliss and Britomart’s encounters with Malecasta and Amoret reflect Renaissance beliefs about female–female desire. Spenser consistently associates heterosexual intercourse with sexual maturity: his treatment of homoerotic desire as an “adolescent” stage of development adheres to early modern myths regarding same-sex attraction. Indeed, one of Spenser’s goals in the middle books of The Faerie Queene seems to be discouraging women’s non-teleological, non-reproductive eroticism, and encouraging them to “move forward” into a reproductive sexual marriage. The homoeroticism that...

  4. Ovid, Lucretius, and the Grounded Goddess in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis
    (pp. 13-20)
    Christina A. Taormina

    In the sticky, sweet, and sweaty world in which Shakespeare situates his Venus and Adonis, something has gone awry. According to Venus, “Nature” is “at strife” with herself for having made Adonis.¹ By “Nature” Venus is, of course, referring to herself. Compared to the Venus of book 10 of Ovid’s Metamorphoses—a goddess who makes men and women fall in love, who brings stone to life, and whose magical doves transport her anywhere she wishes to go—Shakespeare’s Venus is, by comparison, a much more natural being. A creature of the senses, most especially smell, Shakespeare’s Venus does not so...

  5. The Soul as Commodity: Materialism in Doctor Faustus
    (pp. 21-30)
    Emily Stockard

    The well-known premise of Doctor Faustus is that Faustus trades his soul in return for twenty-four years of pleasure served up by Mephostophilis. To judge from the state of scholarly discussion, the fact that this premise is essentially economic in nature goes without saying. But because it has gone without saying, the implications of the play’s economic underpinning have likewise gone unexamined.¹ For obvious reasons, critical analysis has focused largely on the play’s relation to religious orthodoxy of its time. I propose to look instead at Marlowe’s portrayal, in the person of Faustus, of a perspective that, void of any...

  6. Antipholus and the Exorcists: The Acts of the Apostles in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors
    (pp. 31-40)
    Russell Hugh McConnell

    In act 4 of The Comedy of Errors, Adriana, in response to her husband’s wildly erratic behaviour, recruits one Doctor Pinch to cure his apparent madness. Antipholus of Ephesus is of course not really mad at all, but understandably frustrated and confused with the events of the day, which have seen him locked out of his own house and accused of failing to pay for valuables that he actually never received, thanks to a series of misunderstandings involving his identical twin, Antipholus of Syracuse. When Antipholus of Ephesus refuses to cooperate with his wife’s well-intentioned intervention, Doctor Pinch attempts an...

  7. Paul’s Cross Churchyard and Shakespeare’s Verona Youth
    (pp. 41-52)
    Thomas W. Dabbs

    The more we learn about the physical environments and associated print culture of Paul’s Cross Churchyard and the St. Paul’s precinct of the City of London, the more we can understand how Shakespeare’s plays were popularly received.¹ It may seem that Shakespeare avoids direct reference to contemporary London—at least in comparison to Jonson, Middleton, and Marston, who satirize actual persons in their city comedies—but his references are more stealthy and intricate than theirs, and they are quite important in what they can tell us about the connections between drama and urban contexts during the Elizabethan period. Here I...

  8. The Summoning of Hamlet and Lear
    (pp. 53-66)
    Robert L. Reid

    Summoning provokes the psyche’s most momentous unfoldings. The mental and visceral impact of a legal summons is obvious to all who receive one, unleashing a flood of piteous self-justification and sharp questioning of the Rule of Law. No one likes being called to judgment. To the discomfort of social courts Shakespeare’s summonings add a spiritual burden. Because King Hamlet was killed as he slept, when his sinful soul was unready, his anxious ghost vanishes at cock-crow “like a guilty thing / Upon a fearful summons” (1.1.154–55).¹ King Lear, distraught at lost power and public humiliation, allies his voice with...

  9. “Bred Now of Your Mud”: Land, Generation, and Maternity in Antony and Cleopatra
    (pp. 67-82)
    Susan C. Staub

    Analyses of Antony and Cleopatra have long noted the dialectical opposition between Rome and Egypt, an opposition that sets up a concomitant correspondence between geography and gender. Although recent scholarship has destabilized the categories, Rome has traditionally represented the masculine—solid, controlled, bounded—while Egypt is feminine—fluid, unchecked, limitless, and thus constantly generating.¹ Egypt in the play evokes an elemental fecundity that is spontaneous and natural at the same time that it is corrupting and degenerate, “dungy,” in Antony’s words.² Further, the connection between Cleopatra and Egypt is inextricable in the play; she exists in metonymic relation to her...

  10. Cosmetic Blackness: East Indies Trade, Gender, and The Devil’s Law-Case
    (pp. 83-96)
    Amrita Sen

    With the recent shift in literary studies towards what is often described as a “global Renaissance,” it is hardly surprising that figures of merchants and travelers both in early modern travelogues and plays have come under greater scrutiny as sites for understanding the formation of a fluid English identity, transnational commerce, emergent colonialism, and nation building.¹ What still remains largely unexplored, however, particularly in the context of the East Indies trade, is the impact of this emergent globalization on the bodies of the European women who were closely related to the merchants or factors. While scholarship on plays such as...

  11. From One Marvell to Another: Puritan Logic in “To His Coy Mistress”
    (pp. 97-104)
    Emma Annette Wilson

    The image of a dog returning to his vomit might not be one that we would immediately associate with a sermon whose declared subject matter is Jerome 4:3, “And sow not among thornes,” but on this point we differ from a famous poet’s father, Andrew Marvell Sr. This Marvell was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (1601–8), and became lecturer at Holy Trinity Church in Hull in 1624.² The excerpt above is my transcription from his manuscript sermonbook, which is housed in the Hull History Centre. Here I will present this material both for its own merit and as a...

  12. “An Heap Is Form’d into an Alphabet”: Thomas Blount’s Sociable Lexicography
    (pp. 105-116)
    Nathan Stogdill

    In the criticism of the last thirty years, the consensus has been that the English Civil War was fought on the battlefield and on the page. Titles such as Writing the English Republic, Literature and Revolution, Literature and Dissent, Literature and Politics, and Poetry and Allegiance urge that politics and literature were inextricable in mid-century England.¹ And, when talking about the English Civil War, when we say “political” we mean “partisan.” Lucasta, we have learned, is a royalist rallying cry and Paradise Lost a “Republican epic.” In these contentious times, the act of taking up the pen was a partisan...

  13. Getting Past the Ellipsis: The Spirit and Urania in Paradise Lost
    (pp. 117-126)
    David Ainsworth

    In John Shawcross’s book The Development of Milton’s Thought: Law, Religion, and Government, he quotes that famous phrase from Milton, “fit audience, though few.”¹ I was brought up short while reading because this quotation does not include an ellipsis. Can even Shawcross nod? I was reassured when I realized that he had not cited book and line numbers for the quotation; he was simply quoting an oft-used phrase rather than Paradise Lost itself. I thus felt better about John, but continued to be troubled by the broader implications of “fit audience . . . though few,” with or without the...

  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 127-127)