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VOLUME TEN (2017): ARTEFACTS
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You can go to cart and save for later there. She is author of Between Spenser and Swift: English Writing in Seventeenthcentury Ireland Cambridge, as well as a number of articles on drama, history-writing, republicanism and Irish writing in the early modern period. Matthew Treherne is a lecturer in Italian at the University of Leeds. In their error I would not have you fall, least you incurre their censure.
This much I hope will serve to justifie my Poeme, and make you understand it, to teach you more for nothing, I do not know that I am in conscience bound. Its theatrical audience had not been won over by its version of the latest trends in Italian pastoral drama, so this is an attempt to answer their objections.
As a brief rejoinder to some basic incomprehensions about what a tragicomedy might have in it, it serves its function, but as the most famous contemporary statement explicitly about this emerging genre on the English stage, it is partial and misleading. This mismatch between theory and practice lies behind this book: it is part of a persistent problem relating to tragicomedy, which is that its characteristics have indeed proved difficult to anatomise, especially in relation to examples in practice.
In the chapters that follow many perspectives are explored, but the material often remains elusive — as if a counter-example, or a shift of emphasis, even a minute decision on the part of an actor, could unravel the best-laid critical plans. Accordingly, this book aims to be systematic in some ways, and to reflect expanding diversity in others.
Cyrus Hoy, in Fredson Bowers gen. It is hoped, however, that the essays that have resulted from this initial brief prove to be useful to far more readers than these. This volume includes, for example, a rare chance to compare and contrast key ideas from England, France, Italy, Spain, and the classical world. The first group of chapters, which covers these various literatures, aims to explore crucial European contexts for the development of tragicomedy. They impinge on Shakespeare and his contemporaries to varying degrees, and they feed into one another, but they also offer up a series of related, connected problems and opportunities offered by tragicomedies in rather different theatrical environments at different times within the period covered by this volume.
Its main topic is the work of Giambattista Guarini, whose play Il Pastor Fido written , first printed sparks new interest in tragicomedy, not least because of the theoretical debate which follows its first performances and publication. The chapter also makes a larger contribution to the collection by recognising the various forms and social levels in which aspects of tragicomedy, as it came to thrive in England, circulated in Europe.
The other two chapters in this first section move away from the more established paths of tragicomedy between Italy and England, and fill in two closely 2 Introduction related but in some ways parallel manifestations of tragicomedy. Geraint Evans looks at the place of tragicomedy within the popular dramatic tradition of sixteenth-century Spain, and especially at the work of Lope de Vega. Although it is not possible to trace much direct influence between Lope and Shakespeare or Fletcher, Spanish theatrical culture shares some key characteristics with that of early modern England, namely, a mixed audience with a highly varied repertoire to match.
The same cannot quite be said of the French scene described by Nicholas Hammond. In France theoretical condemnation could govern practice and popular acclaim. French uses of the genre and the generic label are shown to be symptomatic of the fluidity of the genre itself; a fluidity that was both the strength and the weakness of the form, a quality that enabled experiment and dynamic adaptation as well as its easy transposition into other forms, leading, in a sense, to a formal extinction. What is the connection between this distinctive content and the tragicomic genre?
Perhaps same-sex desire is a kind of transgression that can most easily, and needs must, be contained by a form that brings things right at the end while allowing for complication in the middle — so that cross-dressing becomes the dramatically unreal, yet affectively real, vehicle for a desire that is aroused but then dissolved with the desired man or woman turning out to be of the opposite sex after all.
This is a phenomenon that Evans calls a deceitful solution. Despite crucial differences in the different national and cultural contexts, the formal propensities of tragicomedy seem to straddle France, Spain and England, producing distinct alchemies with the specific circumstances of production and reception. The second set of essays centres on, or radiates outwards from, the tragicomic drama of Shakespeare and his theatrical successors. It does not, however, spend an inordinate amount of time explicitly outlining the generic problems caused by the range of plays from the period that could be called tragicomic.
Modern editors and critics of these plays have already illuminated many specific problems. The essays in this collection aim to illuminate the chronological fringes of the period, and also to consider from fresh angles certain key issues of taxonomy. In doing so they naturally build on critical works in which other paths through the theory and practice of tragicomedy have been taken. Marvin T. Frank H. Peter Hall, she claims, in erasing such organically mixed moments in his production of Cymbeline, committed theatrical suicide and generic escapism.
This argument suggests the inclusiveness and paradoxical realism of tragicomedy, an idea that we shall observe emerging from several strands of argument in this volume. She does so by emphasising what Beaumont and Fletcher learned from the innovative work of George Wilkins, author of the first two acts of Pericles and quite possibly the initiator of more of it.
Two essays look even more directly at the late Shakespearean tragic canon. The essays by Jonathan Hope and Michael Witmore, and Gordon McMullan, aim to address the issues of taxonomy head on, but by strikingly different means. Hope and Witmore bring the analytical characteristics of discourseanalysis software to bear on generic classification in Shakespeare.
To readers new to this approach to literary texts, the technique involved — statistical analysis of numerous basic features of language — may seem counter-intuitive. This offers the possibility, perhaps in future developments of discourse-analysis software, of more concrete and refined stylistic distinctions between genres. It also brings a recognition of how quantitative analysis of linguistic features can be a tool of literary interpretation; how reading Shakespeare by the numbers can speak to such objects of conventionally literary enquiry as asides and reported action, tone and atmosphere.
Indeed, it illuminates the whole question of what — in terms of dramatic strategy — constitutes generic groups. The idea of lateness in literary careers turns out to be a narrow imposition with repeating characteristics. It also reveals that there is a telling affinity between tragicomedy and lateness. Tragicomedies can be seen as, and can indeed represent themselves as, sophisticated and urbane innovations. They are late in the sense that they acknowledge that tragedy and comedy preceded them, but they also open and inaugurate possibilities, rather than closing them off.
The final group of essays in the collection does not attempt to account for the whole of the post-Shakespearean tradition any more than the previous essays attempted to account for all tragicomic possibilities within Shakespeare. The idea emerges that one aspect of this and other tragicomedies of the period may be their affinity with Protestantism, wherein salvation follows suffering but in an inscrutable way. This essay recognises the importance of providence in all tragicomedy, whether Protestant or not, and introduces the possibility that it is a particularly pointed form in which to explore what providence is and how it works.
The final two essays — by Lucy Munro and Deana Rankin — relate to tragicomedy in Ireland and exchanges between the theatres of Dublin and London. In addition to offering new insights into how certain tragicomedies of the period were incorporated into theatrical repertoires and received by different audiences, these essays both consider how tragicomedies change when they change contexts — how this form crosses borders.
Both Rankin and Munro recognise how the complex tone of tragicomedy, and experimentation with that tone, enable political comment of a subtle and elusive kind. This is the least celebrated, but by no means the least suggestive, of four iconic statements about tragicomedy that pertain to or arise from these early modern works, and which are all discussed more than once in this book. Although they are all quoted elsewhere in the volume, they are worth quoting here too. The Sermons of John Donne, ed. Simpson and G.
Potter, 10 vols Berkeley, —62 , IX, To the rest of bablers, I despise any answer. It is difficult to argue for a simple spectrum between comedy and tragedy, so the placing of tragicomedy at some mid-point begs more questions than it answers. Of course, the relationship with comedy and tragedy is very often at issue in the works discussed in this book, both theoretical and literary.
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The great challenge is to set up a definition of tragicomedy that can efficiently accommodate two very different phenomena: plays where tragedy and comedy combine in the form of one thing followed by the other as in Pericles , or a hybrid, deliberately indeterminate form which gives us both things at the same time Measure for Measure.
But there is scope to identify tragedy and comedy being in dialogue within a single artefact, pointing to the integral relation between the law of genre and the structures of experience. Another highly influential definition of tragicomedy proves similarly elusive despite its simplicity. Did you pull a face, because I said it was going to be a tragedy? I shall make a comedy out of this tragedy, with all the same verses. Is that want you want or not?
What do you think? This is even more reductive than Fletcher in its emphasis on plot as the source of defining characteristics of dramatic modes. Mercury bases his distinction purely on what sort of characters a play contains — not even on what happens to them. Nevetheless, the presence of the term in a classical work was a source of controversy, which extended even to the ways in which it was quoted.
What is striking about all these three statements about tragicomedy is that, despite their prominence, they are far too simple to contain even a few of the possibilities of the mode. Although these are only scraps of evidence, they suggest crucially how tragicomedy, though much discussed, is not easily contained by theory. Before the introduction of some of the key themes that run across the essays in this collection, it is worth mentioning one more iconic representation of tragedy that is addressed in more than one essay below. Tragedy and Comedy are there too, the two main supporting pillars of the page.
This book presents completely different interpretations of this image. Paul Nixon, 5 vols Cambridge, Mass. The translation is our own. On the side of McMullan, there is no sign in the figure of Tragicomedy that we should view it satirically. Perhaps some middle ground lies in the observation that Jonson may well have taken a practical view of monuments, recognising that the more important parts of the monument are those that do the supporting, rather than the thing supported.
For the purpose of this volume, it remains suggestive that two scholars, with justification, take opposite views on another significant attempt to represent tragicomedy. Tragicomedies are among the most effective works of the period in any number of spheres — how they engage with political events, how they move their audiences, how they consider the nature of theatre, and so on — but tragicomedy, an extracted set of uniform characteristics, is remarkably hard to pin down.
As has been said, there has been no attempt at exhaustively covering the range of significant plays in between — rather the point has been to illuminate the European context, and to suggest new ways of dealing with more familiar material. The issues that arise from a comparison between Sidney and Dryden are, to a large extent, those that emerge from the essays in this book.
Sidney takes a negative view of this emerging kind of drama, as he seeks to regulate, in an Aristotelian manner, as well as to praise and defend his chosen art: But besides these grosse absurdities, howe all their Playes bee neither right Tragedies, nor right Comedies, mingling Kinges and Clownes, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the Clowne by head and shoulders to play a part in majesticall matters, with neither decencie nor discretion: so as neither the admiration and Commiseration, nor the the right sportfulnesse is by their mongrell Tragicomedie obtained.
I know Apuleius did somewhat so, but that is a thing recounted with space of time, not represented in one moment: and I knowe the Auncients have one or two examples of Tragicomedies, as Plautus hath Amphitrio. But if we marke them well, wee shall finde that they never or verie daintily matche horne Pipes and Funeralls. So falleth it out, that having indeed no right Comedie in that Comicall part of our Tragidie, wee have nothing but scurrilitie unwoorthie of anie chaste eares, or some extreame shewe of doltishnesse, indeede fit to lift up a loude laughter and nothing else: where the whole tract of a Comedie should bee full of delight, as the Tragidie should bee still maintained in a well raised admiration.
This suggests that while tragicomedy is in many respects indecorous, it also associates with sophistication: the enigma is that under certain circumstances it might seem like the height of delicacy, but without the right talent and context it can only be boorish. For Sidney this is a poignant reflection: he presents English writing as only capable of limited achievements. Dryden returns to the same themes in his Essay of Dramatick Poesie. He also is concerned with the examples set by classical and other precedents, and with the possible positive qualities of tragicomedy.
His use of different voices in conversation enables some more adventurous opinions to be voiced. As Neander tackles Lisideius, the proponent of Racine and Corneille, he defends tragicomedy: As for their new way of mingling mirth with serious Plot I do not with Lisideius condemn the thing, though I cannot approve their manner of doing it.
He tells us we cannot so speedily recollect ourselves after a scene of great passion and concernment as to pass to another of mirth and humour, and to enjoy it with any relish. But why should he imagine the soul of man more heavy than his senses? Does not the eye pass from an unpleasant object to a pleasant in a much shorter time then is required to this?
And does not the unpleasantness of the first commend the beauty of the latter? The old Rule of logic might have convinced him, that contraries when placed near, set off each other. A continued gravity keeps the spirit too much bent. We must refresh it sometimes, as we bait upon a journey, that we may go on with greater ease. A scene of mirth mixed with Tragedy has the same effect upon us which our music has betwixt the acts, and that we find a relief to us from the best plots and language of the stage, if the discourses have been long.
I must therefore have stronger arguments ere I am convinced, that compassion and mirth in the same subject destroy each other, and in the meantime cannot but conclude, to the honour of our nation, that we have invented, increased, and perfected a more pleasant way of writing for the stage then was ever known to the Ancients or Moderns of any Nation, which is tragicomedy. The dialogic structure of the Essay means that this position, however 12 Keith Walker, ed. So between Sidney and Dryden there is a large change in tone around the subject: the works of Shakespeare, Fletcher, and others are crucial in making the change possible.
But the anxiety of Sidney is not completely assuaged in the Essay of Dramatick Poesie, and the same tensions are still simmering. One central tension is between the classical inheritance and the independent vernacular. Several of the essays in this collection encounter it.
It lies behind the essays of Hammond in France the burden of classical example was felt even more keenly and Dewar-Watson who looks at how some of this burden resulted from misunderstanding, or at least creative interpretation. The Spanish environment described by Evans, as has been said, bears the closest resemblance to the English.
Despite its closeness at times to rarefied discussions of the nature of dramatic representation, tragicomedy, as described in the essays that follow, emerges as a form in which adventurous thoughts can be fostered. We have noted Hammond demonstrating how comic conventions such as crossdressing can be transformed into sharper reflections on same-sex desire.
Munro also explores the unorthodox forms of love that can result from cross-dressing, and how in different plays the frissons of sexual danger, and the revelations of true identities, can occur at very different times. These variations and inflections, too, contribute to the experimental potential of the genre.
The same applies to the idea of providence. But it does not reign unquestioned. Despite these there is a persistent emphasis on verisimilitude — a key Guarinian term — as a keynote characteristic of tragicomedy across disparate, even in some ways contrasting, contexts. It is a fertile paradox that the image of the hermaphrodite should be used by Turia to capture his idea of a true mixture, an embrace that is never followed by separation and reversion to individual selves. The use of mimesis — the representation of reality — as a principle to justify tragicomedy is of central importance.
Not only is it addressed here, as for example by Ros King in the context of Cymbeline, but earlier Shakespeare criticism has also recognised the link between generic mixedness realism. But it also overlaps with W. In fact, tragicomedy can very often be associated with a more realistic turn.
Thus the affinity between tragicomedy and realism is considerable. This idea must, of course, contend with the manifest fact that tragicomedies are often the most contrived and ironic of plays. But this is typical of the form: the bodies of theory and criticism about tragedy and comedy are not simple, of course, but they are not so fundamentally paradoxical as that about tragicomedy.
There are very few discussions of tragedy, even today, which do not register some debt to Aristotelian theory, and the Poetics has provided us with a set of terms and concepts which have become something of a fixture in our critical vocabulary. In the sixteenth century the reception of the Poetics entered into a particularly active phase. Of course, this reading of the Poetics did not develop in isolation.
Crane Chicago, , pp. As an important corollary of this theoretical shift, epic itself came to appear a more heterogeneous form than had previously been thought to be the case. Tragicomedy was, of course, enormously popular with sixteenth-century audiences, but even some of the most successful playwrights and theorists are quite sheepish about their association with the genre. I have composed some [plays] with happy conclusions.
Aristotle makes a similar claim about audience predilection for happy endings in a key passage which will be considered shortly Poetics, a30— Indeed, he avoids the term tragicommedia and prefers to use instead the variants tragedia di lieto fin happy-ending tragedy or tragedia mista mixed tragedy , perhaps as a way of distinguishing his own plays from other dramatists working in a genre which enjoyed such mass appeal. But, as Cinthio recognises, in spite of this popularity — or perhaps partly because of it — tragicomedy lacked status. One of the central problems here was the absence of any recognised classical authority for the genre, and, without this, there was no context in which tragicomedy could be theorised.
At a time when literary genres were undergoing a process of close critical scrutiny, the absence of an 3 4 5 6 7 For further discussion of Pigna, see Weinberg , I, p. Burrow goes further than both Aristotle and Renaissance critics in identifying both the Odyssey and the Iliad as generically mixed and as precursors of romance. Translated in Allan H. All translations from Cinthio are taken from this edition. Other translations are my own except where stated. Giraldi Cinthio, Scritti Critici, ed. Camillo Guerrieri Crocetti Milan, , p. Rudolph Kassel Oxford, In fact, the term tragicomoedia is not a neoclassical invention but originates in antiquity.
It is first coined by Plautus in the Prologue to the Amphitryo 59—61 : I will make it a mixture: let it be a tragicomedy. Jonson deftly acknowledges this on the frontispiece of his First Folio The engraving by William Hole shows the parvenu form of Tragicomoedia standing triumphant over the demoted figures of tragedy and comedy — a striking iconographical gesture, given that the volume does not include a single tragicomedy. And since the values which the title page declares are hardly congruous with the contents of the volume as a whole, we must suspect a note of irony.
To some extent, Jonson is right: the idea that tragicomedy had its origins in classical antiquity — at least as a dramatic form in its own right — is a Renaissance critical concoction. Barbara K. Lewalski Berkeley and London, The quotation is taken from the Loeb edition of the play, Plautus with an English translation, ed.
Some time after the publication of the Folio, Jonson experimented with pastoral tragicomedy with The Sad Shepherd, but the play was left unfinished at his death. Here we need to remind ourselves of the theoretical territory which the Poetics entered following its rediscovery. But in tragedy, everything is the opposite: great people, immense terrors, and deathly endings.
Furthermore, in comedy what is stormy at first becomes smooth at the end; in tragedy the action has the opposite pattern. Then too tragedy presents the kind of life that is to be avoided, whereas the life of comedy is one which we are drawn towards. Finally, in comedy, everything comes from fictional plots whereas in tragedy, we often look to the facts of history.
As is well known, there was considerable resistance from critics including Sidney 12 13 14 Aristotelis Rhetoricum ad Theodecten; ejusdem Rhetorica ad Alexandrum; ejusdem Ars poetica, ed. Demetrius Ducas Venice, Wessner, 3 vols Stuttgart, , I. Thomas Heywood, Apology for Actors, ed. Richard H. Perkinson New York, , f. Instead of establishing a new orthodoxy, the Poetics promoted the diversification of different theoretical strands; these jostled alongside and often assimilated one another with surprising ease. There is, then, a strong genealogical relationship between Donatus-Evanthius and Aristotle, although the two theoretical schools diverge from one another very considerably at an early stage of transmission.
This led to centuries of critics second-guessing what Aristotle might have said in the Poetics as well as in the supposed lost second book of the Poetics on comedy , and also speculating what Greek drama — particularly Greek tragedy — might have been like. This, in turn, did nothing to counter the false assumption that a hard, impermeable antithesis between tragedy and comedy was inherited from antiquity. As a consequence, there remained a steady commitment to the notion of turbulenta ultima, the unhappy ending, as one of the defining features of tragedy.
In the first recorded reference to the Poetics in England, Roger Bacon attests to his reading of the Latin commentary on the text by Hermannus Alemannus, based on the work of the Arabic scholar Averroes. He had little or no access to Greek dramatic texts, and therefore had barely any conception of what Greek tragedy might have been like.
He resorts to offering analogies with Arabic literature in place of Greek, resulting in a highly distorted account of Aristotle, and of Attic tragedy itself. Meanwhile, Hermannus openly acknowledges his own limitations as a translator and admits that he was capable of translating only the commentary, leaving the text itself untouched. According to Bacon, texts such 15 16 17 18 On critical syncretism in the period, see Marvin T. See A. For a full reception history of the text in England, see Marvin T.
There is of course a paradox here in that, on one level, Greek theatre sustained a very formal separation of genres: tragic and comic dramatists were involved in separate competitions, and we might expect that this would militate against any blurring of generic boundaries.
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Greek tragedy entertains its share of comic moments, as we see for example in the humorous depiction of the elderly Cadmus and Teiresias preparing to join in the Bacchic dance. Brewer London, , p. It should be added that Senecan drama, also coming into vogue at this time, conformed more straightforwardly to the turbulenta ultima model. On the reception of Senecan tragedy, see Bruce R.
Other plays which fall into this category include the Iphigeneia in Tauris, the Helen and the Ion. Plato, Symposium, ed. Kenneth Dover Cambridge, , d3—6. Euripides, Bacchae, ed. Dodds Oxford, , — Evidence concerning the structure and content of satyr plays is more fragmentary, and we still do not fully understand how these might have fitted into the emotional and aesthetic experience of ancient theatre.
The rediscovery of the Poetics helped to expose the presence of some of this middle ground. In a crucial passage, Aristotle suggests that the Odyssey is a model for happy-ending tragedy: Second is the kind of composition which is said by some to be the best, that is, one that has a double composition like the Odyssey, and which ends with opposite fortunes for good and bad characters.
It is held to be the best, because of the weakness of the audience, since poets follow the audience, and write according to what pleases them. But this is not the pleasure proper to tragedy, but rather to comedy; for in comedy those who are complete enemies throughout the story, such as Orestes and Aegisthus, become friends at the end and leave the stage, and nobody is killed by anybody.
It should be noted that, in the Poetics, Aristotle does not explicitly recognise any particular connection between Euripides and Homer, as did later critics who elided the two separate passages, perhaps assuming that the Cyclops was evidence of strong common ground. It is here, in the notion of tragic pleasure, that the point of collision between Aristotle and Donatus-Evanthius occurs. From this idea, commentators could identify a conflict between the structural goal of tragedy — the unhappy ending — and its teleological goal, identified by Aristotle as pleasure.
This new emphasis on pleasure gradually assumed a greater priority in the way that tragedy was theorised, and one effect of this was to draw tragedy and tragicomedy into a much closer relationship than had previously been recognised. Cinthio is one of several critics who pick up on the idea that the Odyssey exemplifies some of the features typically ascribed to romance or tragicomedy.
He writes:. Oxford, ; rev. Critics fell into this error because they were of the opinion that there cannot be a tragedy which ends happily. And here Shakespeare registers an important if indirect debt to Aristotelian theory and Renaissance critical accounts of the Odyssey. In spite of this interest in the Odyssey as a tragicomic model, attention to the poem itself seems to have remained fairly modest. This is partly because the majority of critics — like Cinthio — who concerned themselves with these questions were primarily interested in drama, rather than epic.
Furthermore, attitudes to Homer remained quite ambivalent throughout the period, especially in England. Although Homer was revered by reputation, this was not matched by any real fondness for the poems themselves, an attitude which may have had something to do with the perceived harshness of Homeric Greek.
Instead, some of the most innovative work focused on the Euripidean satyr play, the Cyclops. The action of the play 26 27 28 29 30 Gilbert, p. Crocetti, p. For individual source studies, see E. Sergio Rossi and Dianella Savoia Milan, , pp. Chapman refers to this prejudice in a commentary passage on Iliad I Allardyce Nicoll Princeton, ; repr.
The Cyclops interested critics because of its juxtaposition of an heroic protagonist, of the kind normally identified with tragedy, with comic grotesques. The discovery that this practice had been adopted by Euripides, the playwright so highly commended by Aristotle, seemed to confer new licence. As this shows, the Poetics and the Cyclops appeared in a similar sort of intellectual and creative frame of reference in terms of their critical reception, although once again it would be wrong to infer that there is any inevitable or necessary connection between the two texts.
Aristotle does not mention the Cyclops in the Poetics, and there is no evidence that he especially approved of it. In spite of this, in some circles, the Cyclops came to be to tragicomedy what the Oedipus Tyrannus was to tragedy. The Cyclops was known in England, although its reception outside Italy was more modest. But this is not how Gager saw the play. Townspeople regularly attended such performances, and Gager claims that it is this section of the audience whom he had uppermost in his mind during its composition: Equidem ego hanc sive tragaediam, sive fabulam, sive narrationem historicam, sive quicquid eam dici ius fasque est, non ad exquisitam artis poeticae tanquam aurificis stateram, sed as popularis iudicii trutinam exigendam proposui, et effudi potius quam scripsi.
Yet the play is studiously observant of the contemporary theoretical concerns about which he professes to be so casual. It is a striking inversion of the usual tactic: as we have seen, critics such as Cinthio were at pains to demonstrate that tragicomedy was not a species of popular entertainment but a genre which could lay claim to its own place in high classical tradition. What, then, were the wider implications of these theoretical shifts for dramatists working for the popular stage?
The readership of Greek texts in England was confined to a social and intellectual elite, and, in some ways, the Odyssey remained at the very rearguard of the English literary Renaissance. The first English translation of the Odyssey, by Chapman, was not published until —15, and on the face of it, the poem seems to have had very little impact on the literature of the period.
Yet the presence of numerous themes which are common to the Odyssey and English tragicomedy — sea voyages, kidnapping, piracy — invite us to think again. Above all, we might think of the importance of recognition scenes in the Odyssey especially Books 19 and 23 , a device which is exploited to such great effect in Renaissance tragicomedy. See, for example, Carol Gesner, Shakespeare and the Greek Romance: A Study of Origins 25 Sarah Dewar-Watson identified a close relationship between the Odyssey and the emerging form of tragicomedy, and we need to look further back into the literary genealogy of these narratives, which derive ultimately from Homer.
This is not to suggest that the poems figure prominently as a direct source for English tragicomedy. But the influence of Homer in translation has surely been understated. Moreover, Homer was widely anthologised in commonplace books and florilegia, perhaps attesting to a greater willingness — or ability — to engage with the poetry in excerpted form than in the context of an entire epic.
And given the centrality of the poem in the Renaissance project of theorising tragicomedy, there is a need for further work on the relationship between the Odyssey and the motifs which it shares with the drama of the period.
Returning, then, to Aristotle, this essay has set out to show two things. First, the importance in the period of intertextual approaches to the Poetics, which we have seen in relation to the Odyssey, and Euripidean drama; and second, that the Poetics had the surprising effect of destabilising, rather than consolidating, orthodox conceptions of genre.
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It is easy now to think of the Poetics as a text which has generated some rather immoveable ideas about drama, and 36 37 38 Lexington, For a bibliographical summary, see R. I am grateful to Tania Demetriou for drawing my attention to the prevalence of Homer in texts of this kind. But we should remind ourselves that the text is more flexible — indeed, more slippery — than that, and that what many Renaissance critics found when they read the Poetics differs in no small measure from what we find today.
It was not only new works which presented problems. This tended to lead either to strained readings of the text, which insisted that it fitted into Aristotelian categories, and ascribed beginning, middle and end to its plot; or to the rejection of the text at least as poetry: some insisted that the Commedia was no poem at all, but a work of moral philosophy because it did not fit those categories. By the end of the sixteenth century, when Guarini composed his Il pastor fido, his conception of the new genre of tragicomedy needed to be articulated against the backdrop of this Aristotelianism — which, as the range of responses to Dante shows, was manifested in criticism in myriad ways.
How was it received in the context of the literary theory of the late Cinquecento? And how did Guarini defend his own text against the charges brought by its more hostile critics? Minnis and I. Johnson, 8 vols Cambridge, , II, pp. Nichols London, , p. Arcadia was written for, and makes frequent reference to, the Neapolitan court; but it was in Ferrara that pastoral developed as a dramatic form.
Although the characters are not human shepherds, the play establishes the theme of a central female character who wishes to avoid the love of a male suitor in favour of the pleasures of hunting. The hedonism of Aminta is tempered in Il pastor fido by a tension between moral authority and sensual desire in the play. Crucially, as the following summary shows, the plot is considerably more complex, drawing on both tragic and comic elements.
Montano, the chief priest of Arcadia, plans to marry his son Silvio to Amarilli, with a view to fulfilling a prophecy and ending the sufferings of Arcadia which had followed the betrayal of Aminta years before. Quotations from Aminta are taken from Torquato Tasso, Aminta. Il re Torrismondo. Il mondo creato, ed. Bruno Basile Rome, Throughout this essay, translations from Italian are my own. To complicate matters further, Dorinda loves Silvio. At the same time, the wicked Corisca wishes to seduce Mirtillo, and rejects Satiro, an old man who has been in love with her; Satiro plots revenge.
Corisca gains the trust of Amarilli, and suggests that she free her from the obligation to marry Silvio. Johnson explores how Catholic and Protestant writers' view of acceptable and unacceptable religious doctrine and practice evolved in light of the religious ructions of the Reformation.
This transnational perspective reveals the more complex polarities overlooked by doctrinaire uses of Said's theory. By drawing on transnational approaches that significantly complicate the Foucaultian binaries between East and West found in Said's epistemology, Johnson, Akbari and others have advanced our understanding ofhow European perceptions offoreign religious difference evolved in relation to hotly contested Christian doctrines.
All ofthe scholarship discussed here has deviated in some way from the untenably monolithic conception of East and West found in Orientalism. As a result, this growing body of work has unquestionably reinvigorated travel writing studies, not least by focussing our attention on the domestic discourses that travellers drew upon when they described or denigrated other societies.
In the decades since Orientalism was published, the historiographical emphasis has shifted from the overarching relationship between imperial and representational power to more particular instances of intercultural exchange and encounter. Recent studies have provided nuanced analysis of the specific factors - including status and religious identity - that affected individual travellers' depictions of other societies. Said's model remains influential: as we have seen, postcolonial history continues to define itself in reference to his founding insights.
That said, the transnational turn in recent historiography has moved recent research beyond Said's initial frame of reference. I would like to thank the Arts and Humanities Research Council for generously funding my doctoral project from which many of the ideas in this article emerged. Additionally, I would like to thank Dr Garthine Walker for her helpful and insightful comments on earlier versions of this paper. I am also grateful to Dr Mark Williams for stimulating discussions of the position of Said in relation to current trends in historical writing. Finally, I would like to thank the reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments and guidance.
Hector Roddan's research focuses on how early modern travel writers' religious beliefs informed their depictions of other societies' beliefs and practices. This wideranging study considers the relationship between English Protestant beliefs and practices and travel literature by diplomats, traders, missionaries, slaves and antiquarians who travelled in the Near East, North Africa, Russia, India and the Pacific. E-mail: roddanH cardiff. This Marxian element of Said's thought parallels Marx' observations that political representatives of a particular class's socioeconomic interests necessarily represent them without sharing direct experience oftheir material conditions or interests.
Emphases in original. This bibliography surveys works relating to early modern travellers, travel writing, and intercultural encounters over a broad geographical area, including the Middle East, Russia, the Far East, India, Asia, Oceania and the New World. Given the range of travel undertaken in the period and the breadth of contemporary scholarship, it should not be taken to be a comprehensive catalogue of recent historiography on the subject, or of early modern intercultural encounters.
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