New PDF release: Archaeologies of English Renaissance Literature

By Philip Schwyzer

ISBN-10: 0199206600

ISBN-13: 9780199206605

ISBN-10: 142949283X

ISBN-13: 9781429492836

This research attracts at the concept and perform of archaeology to enhance a brand new viewpoint at the literature of the Renaissance. Philip Schwyzer explores the fascination with photographs of excavation, exhumation, and destroy that runs via literary texts together with Spenser's Faerie Queene, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, Donne's sermons and lyrics, and Thomas Browne's Hydriotaphia, or Urne-Buriall. Miraculously preserved corpses, ruined monasteries, Egyptian mummies, and Yorick's cranium all determine during this examine of the early glossy archaeological mind's eye. The pessimism of the interval is summed up within the haunting motif of the attractive corpse that, as soon as touched, crumbles to airborne dirt and dust. Archaeology and literary reports are themselves items of the Renaissance. even though the 2 disciplines have occasionally seen each other as competitors, they percentage a distinct and unsettling intimacy with the strains of earlier life--with the phrases the lifeless wrote, sang, or heard, with the items they made, held, or lived inside of. Schwyzer argues that on the root of either types of scholarship lies the forbidden wish to wake up (and communicate with) the useless. notwithstanding most unlikely or absurd this hope should be, it continues to be a basic resource of either moral accountability and aesthetic excitement.

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For those who suspect that the dead are simply not there, the idea of conversing with or awakening them even in a metaphorical sense becomes far more problematic. Yet far from abandoning the old trope as an embarrassment, literary and archaeological theorists have continued to revisit and revise it with subtlety and determination. As Greenblatt concludes in his meditation on speaking with the dead, It was true that I could hear only my own voice, but my own voice was the voice of the dead, for the dead had contrived to leave textual traces of themselves, and those traces make themselves heard in the voices of the living.

1967), 120. See also Ian Hodder and Scott Hutson, Reading the Past: Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology, 3rd edn. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 7. ²¹ In a revealing anecdote, Lewis R. Binford, a founder of the New Archaeology, recalled watching a like-minded colleague grind beneath his heel a ‘unique’ (and hence evidentially insignificant) sherd. An Archaeological Perspective (New York: Seminar Press, 1972), 130–1. ²² A comparable impulse to vault beyond the trace is also evident in some, though not all, contemporary species of ‘historicism’ as practised by literary critics.

Pieters, Speaking with the Dead. ¹³ Machiavelli’s letter to Francesco Vettori is quoted ibid. 21. ¹⁴ Quoted ibid. 57. ¹⁵ Francesco Petrarch, Letter to Nicholas Sygeros (Rerum Familiarum, XVIII. 2), in Letters on Familiar Matters/Rerum Familiarum libri XVII–XXIV, trans. and ed. Aldo S. Bernardo (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), 46. Intimate Disciplines 23 correspondence has evaporated. The modern scholar is quite capable of reading the words of the dead, yet he is beset with doubts as to the possibility of genuine communication.

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Archaeologies of English Renaissance Literature by Philip Schwyzer


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