In early modern England, the psalms were understood as the Bible in miniature, offering concise versions of biblical teachings and teaching individuals how to converse with God. The psalms had a very long history of translation into the vernacular, and this chapter charts some of the varied ways in which the psalms were appropriated not only as devotional aids but as modes of poetic and musical expression. The musicality of the psalms was understood to create pleasing harmony, between the soul of the individual believer and God, and amongst the body of the congregation. Nonetheless, debates around the genre of the psalms, the propriety of singing, and the politics of reproduction introduced notes of dissonance into post-Reformation discussions of liturgical practice and godly living. This chapter explores these controversial subjects, paying particular attention to the bodily and social forms of psalm reading and singing.
This article examines sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century dialogue. It considers why so many writers chose to convey opinions or explore ideas in works laid out as conversations. The pervasiveness of the form is apparent in the sheer gamut of topics discussed ‘dialogue-wise’: subjects range from worshipping saints to the proper behaviour of women; from music to the art of warfare. Dialogue comes in many guises: descriptors on printed title-pages range from the neutral ‘colloquy’ or ‘discourse’ to the more formal ‘debate’ and ‘dispute’. In choosing to convey their ideas and opinions in a dialogue, early modern writers selected a form that had ideological resonances; it was a form which gestured towards the debate and verbal interaction that they believed should lie at the heart of successful governance and a healthy society — for many dialogues, the very solution lies in talking.
Teaching Native American literature to the uninformed student is not an easy task, especially when compared to teaching mainstream literature, African-American literature, Chicano literature, or Asian literature. The teacher of Native literature can help in correcting misconceptions about American Indians by teaching the reality of the American Indian experience in both historic and contemporary times. In this article, the author examines the stakes of being a Native person teaching Native American literature based on her personal experience as a teacher. She also stresses the importance of using novels and short stories to engage students.
This essay reinterprets the social, sexual, and gendered meanings of Helena’s climactic moment of healing in All’s Well That Ends Well by situating the play within the early modern recipe world of letters. Just as importantly, it positions All’s Well so as to illuminate the intellectual and cultural stakes of recipe writing in the period. Shakespeare’s story of a woman’s powerful recipe, I argue, emerges within the discourse of seasoning, an intellectual matrix that entailed reflection on the human management of organic matter in and through time. In its articulation of seasoning, the recipe archive allows us to explore domestic determinations in the play’s critically noted features: its probing of eroticism and gender ideology, its construction of proof, and its concern with the conundrums of temporality.
How did writers in Maoist China assume their role as authors, torn between self-expression and the political demands of the Party? How should we read the literary creations produced at a time in which literary works were not always candid expressions of the authors, but were manifestations of complex negotiations and self-censorship? This chapter provides a case study to illustrate these quandaries, focusing specifically on Tian Han’s historical dramas produced during the late 1950s. It illustrate how Tian Han tried to use historical and intercultural allegories to come to terms with contemporary happenings and offers an analysis of a rarely studied but extremely representative work, Princess Wencheng, that embodies the struggles of the Party and the Han intellectuals with the Tibetan problems during that time.
This article focuses on Spenserian allegory. Comparable to Dante in his importance for allegory, Spenser creatively expanded its potential throughout his literary life. But the experimental vigor of his endeavor is too little acknowledged. While assimilating and building on medieval precedents, the poet's engagement with allegory subsumed diverse influences from the ancients to his own contemporaries in a unique new formulation. The consummate expression of Spenser's allegorical poetic, The Faerie Queene samples and redevelops myriad literary and other texts, forms, and discourses to manifest its own poetic world. Few books read like no others, and this poem's profound allegorism ensures it is one of them.
Beginning with an examination of some of the ways in which allusion was conceptualized in the eighteenth century, this chapter focuses on verbal literary allusion, which exists on the allusive spectrum between frank plagiarism at the one extreme and echo at the other. Close reading of poems by Alexander Pope (the different versions of the Dunciad), William Collins (“Ode on the Poetical Character”), and Thomas Gray (“Ode on the Spring” and “The Progress of Poesy”) demonstrates some ways in which eighteenth-century poets used the figure of allusion to articulate meaning, and to negotiate the writer’s relation with poetic contemporaries and forebears. Allusion tests the reader’s powers of recognition and invites the reader’s participation; this chapter explores some opportunities for poetic obfuscation or clarification that the trope offered to both satiric and lyric authors, and some possibilities and implications of the poet’s, or editor’s, or poet-editor’s explanatory and interpretative commentary.
Tsai Ming-liang’s 1997 film The River features one of the most challenging scenes in contemporary Chinese cinema: a graphically sexual encounter in a dark bathhouse between two men who belatedly recognize each other as father and son. This chapter uses an analysis of the dialectics of desire and alienation that drives this scene to reexamine some of the implications of cinematic suture—both as it is deployed in this particular film, and also more broadly as a metaphor for the relationship between viewers and a general field of cinematic production.
This essay considers a reconfiguring of the sublime in British poetry of the 1970s and 1980s that coincides with theoretical activity around the ways in which the concept of the sublime is renewed and diversified. While Fredric Jameson calls for ‘cognitive mapping’ in cultural practice, to induce in the reader a sense of her or his place in what is nothing less than a global system, Jean-François Lyotard supplies a counter-argument to Jameson’s emphasis on the cognitive, proposing an aesthetic experience in which the activity of the imagination necessarily exceeds that of the understanding, so that the ‘mapping’ which occurs extends the territory of the mind beyond that of individual cognition. Tom Raworth’s poem ‘West Wind’ takes as its reference points those two pejorative instances of the sublime proposed by postmodernist theory—global communications networks and the threat of the nuclear bomb—but links these to a mentality capable only of producing a concept of the imagination while remaining incapable of activating and exercising the imagination. Andrew Crozier’s ‘The Veil Poem’ focuses on architectural terminology, and on the conditions of ‘dwelling’ that articulate its spatial and temporal dimensions, moving towards an exploration of the altered sublime that is carried further in J. H. Prynne’s ‘The Oval Window’.
This essay pursues the multiple and contradictory meanings of the signifier ‘Tartar’ in Elizabethan drama by parsing how its classical and historical referents were mapped onto the ‘trouble’ associated with gendered and racialized embodiment in the period, which was further mapped onto the early Anglo–Islamic encounter. It focuses on the imbricated series of cultural performances that constituted the 1594–5 Christmas revels at Gray’s Inn, subsequently published as the Gesta Grayorum: the semi-parodic allegory of the Prince of Purpoole and ‘an Ambassador from the mighty Emperor of Russia and Moscovy’; the madcap premier of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors; and the Masque of Proteus, with Queen Elizabeth in the audience. In assessing the patriarchal web of empire indexed by the Gesta Grayorum, this essay foregrounds the fraught historical embodiment of subaltern women from the Islamic world in Elizabethan England and their neglected, albeit constitutive role in its literature, including Shakespeare’s plays.