Scepticism in the Renaissance
Scepticism has long been acknowledged to be a vital feature of
Renaissance thought, and one which has been said to distinguish
the period from the Middle Ages. Conventionally, Renaissance
scepticism has been seen as part of what puts the ‘modern’ into
‘early modern’: the questioning of old certainties which ultimately
helped to usher in the Enlightenment. This view understates the
importance of sceptical attitudes within the medieval period; as
early as the fifth or sixth century, Pseudo-Dionysius was emphasising
This is a companion to Pastoral poetry of the English Renaissance: An anthology (2016), the largest ever collection of its kind. The monograph-length Introduction traces the course of pastoral from antiquity to the present day. The historical account is woven into a thematic map of the richly varied pastoral mode, and it is linked to the social context, not only by local allegory and allusion but by its deeper origins and affinities. English Renaissance pastoral is set within the context of this total perspective. Besides the formal eclogue, the study covers many genres: lyric, epode, georgic, country-house poem, ballad, romantic epic, drama and prose romance. Major practitioners like Theocritus, Virgil, Sidney, Spenser, Drayton and Milton are discussed individually. The Introduction also charts the many means by which pastoral texts circulated during the Renaissance, with implications for the history and reception of all Early Modern poetry. The poems in the Anthology have been edited from the original manuscripts and early printed texts, and the Textual Notes comprehensively document the sources and variant readings. There are also notes on the poets and analytical indices of themes, genres, and various categories of proper names. Seldom, if ever, has a cross-section of English Renaissance poetry been textually annotated in such detail.
Pastoral Poetry of the English Renaissance
1 Theocritus Idyll viii
Translated anonymously from the Greek
From Sixe Idillia ... chosen out of ... Theocritus (1588). This idyll is part of the core Theocritus canon,
though scholars have doubted his authorship; some have suggested that the poem amalgamates what
were originally separate pieces.
The viii. Idillion.
Menalcas a Shephearde, and Daphnis a Netehearde, two Sicilian lads, contending who
should sing best, pawne their whistles, and choose a Gotehearde, to be their Iudge. Who
giueth sentence on Daphnis
As this essay notes, James Baldwin, his words and metaphors, pervade public space at
countless numbers of intersections. Lines from his plays, novels, and essays have always
been an easy and handy reference for writers and artists seeking ways to ground their
intentions with deeper meaning and magic. Even in a minority opinion on 22 June 2016
written by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, she cited several authors, including
Baldwin, to underscore her point on the Court’s abrogation of the Fourth Amendment.
Recounting a celebration at ASA 2018, reflecting on the twenty-year anniversary
of the publication of the edited collection James Baldwin Now,
celebrating the early success of this journal, and canvassing the renaissance in
interest in James Baldwin, Dwight A. McBride introduces the fifth volume of
James Baldwin Review.
Readers and critics alike, for the past sixty years, generally agree that Baldwin is a
major African-American writer. What they do not agree on is why. Because of his artistic
and intellectual complexity, Baldwin’s work resists easy categorization and Baldwin
scholarship, consequently, spans the critical horizon. This essay provides an overview of
the three major periods of Baldwin scholarship. 1963–73 is a period that begins with the
publication of The Fire Next Time and sees Baldwin grace the cover of Time magazine. This
period ends with Time declaring Baldwin too passé to publish an interview with him and
with critics questioning his relevance. The second period, 1974–87, finds critics
attempting to rehabilitate Baldwin’s reputation and work, especially as scholars begin to
codify the African-American literary canon in anthologies and American universities.
Finally, scholarship in the period after Baldwin’s death takes the opportunity to
challenge common assumptions and silences surrounding Baldwin’s work. Armed with the
methodologies of cultural studies and the critical insights of queer theory, critics set
the stage for the current Baldwin renaissance.
This book attempts to interrogate the literary, artistic and cultural output of early modern England. Following Constance Classen's view that understandings of the senses, and sensory experience itself, are culturally and historically contingent; it explores the culturally specific role of the senses in textual and aesthetic encounters in England. The book follows Joachim-Ernst Berendt's call for 'a democracy of the senses' in preference to the various sensory hierarchies that have often shaped theory and criticism. It argues that the playhouse itself challenged its audiences' reliance on the evidence of their own eyes, teaching early modern playgoers how to see and how to interpret the validity of the visual. The book offers an essay on each of the five senses, beginning and ending with two senses, taste and smell, that are often overlooked in studies of early modern culture. It investigates Robert Herrick's accounts in Hesperides of how the senses function during sexual pleasure and contact. The book also explores sensory experiences, interrogating textual accounts of the senses at night in writings from the English Renaissance. It offers a picture of early modern thought in which sensory encounters are unstable, suggesting ways in which the senses are influenced by the contexts in which they are experienced: at night, in states of sexual excitement, or even when melancholic. The book looks at the works of art themselves and considers the significance of the senses for early modern subjects attending a play, regarding a painting, and reading a printed volume.
Francis Bacon produced his final draft of the New Atlantis around the years 1624-1625. Standing at the threshold of early modern thought, Bacon's text operates at the interstices of its contemporary culture and does indeed signal a desire to 'illuminate all the border-regions that confine upon the circle of our present knowledge'. This book presents a collection of essays that show how the New Atlantis negotiates a variety of contexts, namely literary, philosophical, political, religious and social, in order to achieve this. The narrative begins with a standard literary device. When Bacon wrote the New Atlantis, he clearly had More's Utopia in mind as a model. For all his strictures on the use of language for rhetorical effect, Francis Bacon was thoroughly grounded in the Renaissance art of rhetoric. He consciously drew on his rhetorical skill in his writings, adapting his style as occasion demanded. The New Atlantis is a text about natural philosophy which seems to offer connections at almost every point with moral and political philosophy. The book discusses two forms of natural knowledge that Bacon takes up and develops in the New Atlantis: natural magic, and medicine. The modern project is crucially dependent on two fundamental miracles: the miracle of creation and the miracle of divine revelation. The book also analyses Bacon's representations of colonialism and Jewishness in the New Atlantis has revealed. The New Atlantis raises questions concerning the relationship between censorship and knowledge.
of the nineteenth, not of the seventeenth
century.3 Scholars in the past (even the recent past) have perhaps
been a little too quick to see Bacon as a ‘modern scientist’, and
indeed even to see the New Atlantis as a key text in ‘the emergence of modern scientific practices from within late Renaissance
culture’.4 In order to avoid the problems with thinking of Bacon
as someone who was writing about ‘science’, I prefer to talk in
this essay about ‘natural knowledge’. This, as it happens, is a fair
enough translation of the Renaissance Latin term scientia naturalis
: the Angelic Mission, the Angelic Salutation and
the Angelic Colloquy, and others have followed him in discussing
the five successive ‘laudable conditions of the virgin’, stages of the
event depicted in pre-Renaissance and Renaissance art. According
to Michael Baxandall, the first two stages – disquiet (conturbio) and
reflection (cogitatio) – are the most frequently depicted, in which
Mary is shown at first alarmed by the appearance of Gabriel and then
considering his greeting and announcement.
The fourth stage, humility or submission (humiliatio) is also common; the