This article focuses on the famous American explorer Captain John Smith. Decisive leader, prolific writer, and astute American visionary, Captain John Smith was the crucial founder of the 1607 Jamestown colony in Virginia and an inspired promoter of English colonization in North America. Controversial in his own day, Smith's posthumous reputation has fluctuated considerably owing partly to his unabashed self-promotion and his role in America's violent colonial history. Yet Smith's prominence as an American literary and historical figure has increased steadily over the decades and promises to keep growing. Smith was first among early colonial writers to recognize the opportunities presented by North America for post-Renaissance social reform. Besides helping to establish the first successful European colony here, Smith was the first to project the secular vision of human rights and political liberty that would shape American identity and sustain this vision's ongoing struggle for human progress. Smith's prominence as a historical and literary figure has traditionally rested.
The essence of this article is captivity literature. In a few pages, the article captures the fascinating genre. Captivity narratives present examples of several literary genres familiar to early American readers. This intriguing canon serves as a capacious window into early American life. This article traces incidents, which led to the emergence of captivity literature. As the processes of colonization, settlement, and displacement continued in early America, captivities became more common. Although never a routine experience, enough colonists were taken captive and enough of their stories were published that captivity texts emerged as a recognizable genre. They have become key documents in studies of early American history and culture. Captivity texts reveal some of the complex negotiations between the dominant discourses of powerful European forces, such as the colonial governments and religious institutions. A True History of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson is a seminal text in this genre.
Walter L. Reed
The eighteenth-century English novel was influenced by earlier prose fiction from the Continent; the English improved what others had invented. Individual novels from the Continent were imitated by British novelists; particular genres first developed abroad were adapted by them as well. Spanish novels like Don Quixote and the picaresque preceded and influenced novels of Defoe, Fielding, Smollett, and Sterne. Seventeenth-century French romances influenced novels of amorous intrigue by Behn, Manley, and Haywood. These in turn provoked the novel of women’s virtuous resistance created by Richardson. Earlier prose fiction from the Continent was translated into English and widely read throughout the eighteenth century. The transnational traffic in fiction flowed in the other direction as well. Rousseau’s enthusiastic embrace of Richardson popularized the transnational genre of the sentimental novel. From the 1770s onwards German fiction became influential in England, and German-derived tales of terror came to dominate the popular British market.
John Aubrey constructed an intimate and nonthreatening biographical persona, which allowed him to collect sensitive material about people in a politically turbulent period. He preserved documents and facts, but also anecdotes and “sayings,” as records of the human voice and the reputations of biographical subjects. He developed an expectation that comprehensive and factual biographical reference works were necessary, and that biography could be an aspect of social or historical knowledge. He wrote the lives of women and of those who were not privileged, rejecting the exemplary tradition and writing sympathetically about ordinary people. When writing the life of Hobbes, he disagreed with his collaborator, Dryden, about the nature of biography, which Dryden saw as a neoclassical rhetorical art, requiring the suppression of ignominious or inelegant facts and creation of a pantheon of eminence. Aubrey created a new form, fame for disillusioned times, with modern values and a respect for fact.
This essay offers a critical overview of recent and current debates on the cultural significance of erotic, obscene, and pornographic writing from the long eighteenth century. The period 1660-1800 saw a new emphasis on interiority and the individual, a restructuring of sexual and gender categories, and an increasing division between public and private. Narratives of sexual education and danger were a vehicle through which authors and readers could engage with these broad cultural changes; they also contributed to a view of sexuality as the inmost truth of the self. This essay’s first part addresses theoretical debates over the nature of pornography and its relation to such categories as the erotic and obscene, while the second offers a history of the making of a pornographic canon, overlapping with the canons of amatory fiction and the novel. It reads this history in light of censorial anxieties over the dangers of private reading, especially for women; the threat of foreign contamination of English culture; and the use of voyeurism to penetrate the boundary separating private from public.
This article explores how changing ideas about time and time-telling had a powerful and lasting impact upon the literature of the long eighteenth century (i.e., c. 1660–c. 1830). After a brief overview of the dominant technological, scientific, and philosophical preoccupations, the discussion concentrates on influential recent critical studies of topics such as the relationship between clock time and narrative structure in the novels of Samuel Richardson and Laurence Sterne, the appearance of poetical subgenres directly inspired by mechanical timepieces, and the characteristic skepticism of certain Romantic authors toward the alleged merits of temporal rationalization. Although most of these studies have focused on how the (quasi-)isochronicity of pocket watches and pendulum clocks directly influenced particular literary forms, structures, and themes, this article concludes by arguing that the relationship between literature and time was (in fact) partially reciprocal, and that the former therefore sometimes profoundly altered contemporaneous attitudes toward the practical business of time-telling.
This article examines a number of the key political and philosophical questions in the poetry, drama, and philosophical treatises of Fulke Greville, first Lord Brooke (1554–1628), arguing that the philosophical complexity and linguistic obscurity for which Greville’s style is known offer an appropriate tool for the examination of some of his enduring intellectual preoccupations: the paradoxes of political power and the rise and fall of empires, examined in the choruses of his Ottoman closet drama Mustapha; and the examination of the mechanisms of idolatry and spiritual servitude that link the erotic poetry of the lyric sequence Caelica to the treatises on monarchy and religion. A Dedication to Sir Philip Sidney, Greville’s biography of his long-deceased friend, by contrast, offers a different perspective on political life and freedom, one that is constructed on Sidney’s exemplarity and modeled on the ethics of friendship.
Fiction before Defoe had little or no place in the histories and anthologies that defined the novel genre in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In twentieth-century scholarship, it proved hard to accommodate in accounts of generic development emphasizing formal realism as the sine qua non of the modern novel. Yet a large and lively body of prose fiction was produced between the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the lapse of the Licensing Act in 1695, of interest not only for its anticipation of later developments but also for characteristics impossible to assimilate in linear stories of generic evolution. Fiction of the period (by authors and translators including Aphra Behn, Walter Charleton, William Congreve, John Dunton, Roger L’Estrange, and Henry Neville) was eclectic, experimental, and heterogeneous, and it displays modes and procedures in the process of formation, not any settled consensus about narrative practice.
Enrique García Santo-Tomás
Don Quixote’s immediate success in Spain and abroad provides us with many tools to analyze the development of the novel in early modern culture not only from aesthetic and political perspectives, but from social and financial ones as well. This novel is also a pioneer for other reasons: the publication of its first part in 1605 coincides with what traditional historiography has considered the “Spanish Baroque,” a period covering a century of unparalleled artistic achievements but also of relentless historical decay. In masterpiece after masterpiece, through genres like the picaresque and the novela cortesana and formats like the short story and the comedia novelada, authors from Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) to Francisco Santos (1623–1698) elevate the novel where their Renaissance fathers had taken poetry a century earlier, to a veritable “Golden Age.” Framing the analysis in the wider European tradition, this chapter examines some of the greatest achievements of this era in Spain, taking into account those same parameters cited above that made Cervantes’s creation such a successful one.
Travel literature emerges in letters, diaries, journals, biographies, travel narratives, country house guides, ship’s logs, poems, plays—and the novel feeds on them all. From London as a source of topographical mystery to be penetrated even by its inhabitants, to the newly tourable country estates; from the recently domesticated wilds of Scotland and Ireland, to the paths of the Grand Tour in Europe; and from the exotic lands across the seas to life on the sea itself, the rhetorics of travel supplied hosts of models for narrative and imagery in the early novel. The novel every bit as much as travel-writing is an exercise in ethnographic observation, sharing an interest in closely observed and analysed detail, in the similarities and differences of other cultures, in the remarkableness of the ordinary and the sometimes surprising familiarity of the unknown, and with journey at the centre of both.
The rich and expanding rhetorical universe of the English Renaissance annexed the expressive possibilities of painting and the plastic arts using a variety of figures and tropes. These—ekphrasis (intense description), blason (anatomizing description), paragone (the contest between the arts), and emblems and imprese (formal verbal-visual symbols)—allowed English writers to press the visual into the service of the verbal, creating powerful rhetorical tools and distinctive literary expression. This article describes the development of these verbal-visual tools from the late medieval period through the early seventeenth century by Italian art theorists and in the exemplary works of Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare.