Literature and Theatre

Susan Bruce argues that in Francis Bacon's utopia of Bensalem, St Thomas More's male gaze of desire is replaced by a scientific elaboration of the value of male potency and procreation as a kind of state enterprise. In the New Atlantis, the voyage allows Bacon to incorporate his scientific ideal within the society of Bensalem. The plain style of the travel narrative accorded well with Bacon's own ideal prose. As a travel narrative, the New Atlantis is full of allusions to the significance of colonial endeavours by England and its competing European powers in the quest for possession, as well as knowledge. Pedro Fernandez de Quiros' Terra Australis Incognita is his account of a Portuguese voyage which reached Vanuatu, but Quiros was convinced that he had reached the Great South Land and campaigned constantly for a colonising expedition.

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
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This chapter explores the relationship between fragmentation, repression and writing, focusing on some of the less-obvious contributing factors for Ford Madox Ford's first volume of autobiography, Ancient Lights. It describes Sigmund Freud as ‘at least emblematic’ of modernism, and pursues the idea of a relationship between psychoanalysis and modernist literary subject matter and techniques. The attempt to recognise gaps between parts of the self is powerfully resonant in the early modernist era: ‘For both Henry James and Fyodor Dostoevsky, reality lay in human consciousness and the fathomless workings of the mind’. We know from James's ‘Chamber of Consciousness’, in which suspends the spider-web of experience ‘catching every air-borne particle’, that consciousness alone manifests multiple and distinct strands. Psychoanalysis emerged as simply ‘a psychology that emphasised the unconscious mind’, rather than its conscious counterpart. Freud writes on the experience of the closeness of death in war as a unification of the civilised man with the primitive urge to kill – now he can, and with impunity.

in Fragmenting modernism

J. Peter Zetterberg emphasises the ways in which Francis Bacon's New Atlantis picks up on a large literature and a substantial body of practice about ways of making art imitate nature. Scholars in the past have been a little 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'. Bacon was well acquainted with late Renaissance works on natural magic, and in particular with one of the most important of these, the Natural Magic of the Neapolitan magus Giovan Battista della Porta. The area of medicine that Bacon develops most thoroughly in the New Atlantis is the realm of hygiene. The New Atlantans are superior to their European visitors in terms of material wealth, medicine, technology, and learning generally; they are also chaster and religiously much more peaceable.

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
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D. H. Lawrence's essay ‘Why the Novel Matters’ focuses on issues of communication and plurality as displayed by the effective novel. The relationship between Lawrence and Ford Madox Ford was sometimes close, and at times was difficult. It began when Ford first published Lawrence in the English Review and ‘introduced him to literary London’. What is communicated in Ford's novels, and how? This chapter examines the resultant dramatic thrust of the contemporary Fifth Queen trilogy, the eye for colour, for detail, for patterns. The psycho-political geography of Ford's writing is thus confirmed in its period of relative certainty, especially when compared with the suicides of Edward and Florence in The Good Soldier and the suicide of Christopher Tietjens's father in Parade's End. These later novels are distinguishable from the Fifth Queen trilogy primarily due to their more complex interweaving of levels. As another manifestation of modernist fragmentation, one fomented by psychoanalysis and sexology, the four main characters are read partly as four parts of the same psyche, individually and oppositionally gaining (at times violent) expression.

in Fragmenting modernism

Will the anti-war reactions of further obscurer individuals still be linked by the familiar and recurring themes experienced among the more celebrated? A particular expression of personal disquiet with the Great War ‘in its operation’ and involving a contrasted appreciation of nature and landscape was exhibited by Captain Arthur Innes Adams of the Cambridgeshire Regiment, one of the first individuals included in critic Laurence Housman's edited collection of war letters. This chapter examines the personal narratives, diaries and memoirs of various obscure individuals expressing their views about the Great War and how it affected morality and individuality, including W. Beach Thomas, Stephen Graham, Sergeant James Duncan, Corporal H. L. Currall, 2nd Lieutenant J. B. Herbert, W. B. Kitching, Norman Cliff, Charles Douie, Patrick MacGill, 2nd Lieutenant William Ratcliffe, Guy Chapman, Captain J. E. Crombie and Arthur Osburn.

in A war of individuals

In the first three of the four novels Agnès Desarthe has published at the time of writing, the binary opposition understanding-misunderstanding stands out as a central issue, particularly with regard to identity. The four novels are Quelques minutes de bonheur absolu, Un secret sans importance, Cinq photos de ma femme and Les Bonnes Intentions. In these novels, the tension between subjectivity and objectivity is central to the construction of identity. The recontextualisation of this problem in each text has a twofold effect. First, it creates a schematic effect which serves to emphasise that it is a commonplace, not confined to one universe. Second, it unites the three texts in a tryptych, each panel of which foregrounds the understanding-misunderstanding issue.

in Women’s writing in contemporary France

Francis Bacon's New Atlantis depicts the world to be produced by his famous project for modern science and technology and the consequent mastery of nature and 'relief of man's estate'. As depicted in the New Atlantis, the modern project is crucially dependent on two fundamental miracles: the miracle of creation and the miracle of divine revelation. Divine providence assumes that the good for man is a selfish good and that even self-sacrifice is ultimately selfish. In Bensalem, what could well be a noble lie told by scientists lends scientific credence to a miracle that could have been fabricated by the scientists themselves. As Bacon says, 'God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it.' In The Advancement of Learning, Bacon says that natural theology is the 'knowledge of God that can be had by contemplating God's creatures'.

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis
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The ‘outside’ in poetry in the 1980s and 1990s

Poetry emanating from what a few decades ago would have been deemed 'the margins' has become the major focus of publishing houses, journals and criticism. This chapter discusses the trends in poetry and poetry criticism in the 1980s and 1990s. The poetry scene has changed since the publication of British Poetry Since 1970, in which Blake Morrison stereotyped the published poet as writing from a 'nostalgic liberal humanism' with 'strong respect for "traditional" forms, even strict metre and rhyme'. The most overlooked feature of the Scottish poet Robert Crawford's work is that he is not simply investigating Scottish history from a variety of perspectives but exploring how modern forms of power produce discourses and knowledge. The importance of resisting received notions of nationality, as well as unified concepts of gender, have become increasingly recognised in poetry criticism.

in Across the margins
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This chapter analyses fragmentation in Ford Madox Ford's Edwardian novel, A Call: The Tale of Two Passions (1910), in what is essentially an exploration of the changing nature of sexual behaviour and sex roles. Sexual radicalism pre-dated the war. The new twentieth century had been named the ‘vaginal century’ before war began. The relationship between the sexes is cited by Samuel Hynes, Peter Gay and George Dangerfield, amongst others, as one of the extreme indicators of cultural upheaval in the Edwardian era. A Call investigates the repression of instincts, mental breakdown and the new threat of the ‘New Woman’. The codes of behaviour and the personal perspectives (of sex and society) which Ford takes as his subject matter in this novel were further and more conclusively fragmented by the sustained bombardment that was World War I.

in Fragmenting modernism
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Baconian rhetoric and the New Atlantis

The New Atlantis is hardly a hieroglyph of the new learning, but it can be described as 'parabolical wisdom' that gives us a glimpse of the Baconian scientific method in action. This chapter argues that the New Atlantis is less an epitome of Francis Bacon's ideas than a means of persuading others to support his projected reform of scientific endeavour. The rhetoric of the New Atlantis bespeaks the political circumstances of its creation. In The Advancement of Learning Bacon himself notes the importance of amassing 'stuff and variety', or 'that which Cicero calleth sylva and supellex', which logic and rhetoric will 'set forth and dispose'. It was William Rawley who set the mould for regarding the New Atlantis as a blueprint for his scientific programme. In contrast to the haphazard 'unmethodzed' appearance of Sylva Sylvarum, the New Atlantis gives the impression of being a highly controlled piece of writing.

in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis