Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance

University of Pennsylvania Press
Free sample

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

Sweeping across scholarly disciplines, Back to Nature shows that, from the moment of their conception, modern ecological and epistemological anxieties were conjoined twins. Urbanization, capitalism, Protestantism, colonialism, revived Skepticism, empirical science, and optical technologies conspired to alienate people from both the earth and reality itself in the seventeenth century. Literary and visual arts explored the resulting cultural wounds, expressing the pain and proposing some ingenious cures. The stakes, Robert N. Watson demonstrates, were huge.

Shakespeare's comedies, Marvell's pastoral lyrics, Traherne's visionary Centuries, and Dutch painting all illuminate a fierce submerged debate about what love of nature has to do with perception of reality.
Read more
Collapse

About the author

Robert N. Watson is Professor of English and Associate Vice-Provost for Educational Innovation at the University of California, Los Angeles. His previous books include The Rest Is Silence: Death as Annihilation in the English Renaissance, Ben Jonson's Parodic Strategy: Literary Imperialism in the Comedies, and Shakespeare and the Hazards of Ambition.
Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Jan 1, 2011
Read more
Collapse
Pages
448
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780812204254
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Best For
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
History / Europe / Great Britain
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / General
Literary Criticism / Renaissance
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Poison's Dark Works in Renaissance England considers the ways sixteenth- and seventeenth-century fears of poisoning prompt new models for understanding the world even as the fictive qualities of poisoning frustrate attempts at certainty. Whether English writers invoke literal poisons, as they do in so many revenge dramas, homicide cases, and medical documents, or whether poisoning appears more metaphorically, as it does in a host of theological, legal, philosophical, popular, and literary works, this particular, “invisible” weapon easily comes to embody the darkest elements of a more general English appetite for imagining the hidden correlations between the seen and the unseen.
This book is an inherently interdisciplinary project. This book works from the premise that accounts of poisons and their operations in Renaissance texts are neither incidental nor purely sensational; rather, they do moral, political, and religious work which can best be assessed when we consider poisoning as part of the texture of Renaissance culture. Placing little known or less-studied texts (medical reports, legal accounts, or anonymous pamphlets) alongside those most familiar to scholars and the larger public (such as poetry by Edmund Spenser and plays by William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton) allows us to appreciate the almost gravitational pull exerted by the notion of poison in the Renaissance. Considering a variety of texts, written for disparate audiences, and with diverse purposes, makes apparent the ways this crime functions as both a local problem to be solved and as an apt metaphor for the complications of epistemology.
Cervantes in Seventeenth-century England garners well over a thousand English references to Cervantes and his works, thus providing the fullest and most intriguing early English picture ever made of the writings of Spain's greatest writer. Besides references to the nineteen books of Cervantes's prose available to seventeenth-century English readers (including four little-known abridgments), this new volume includes entries by such notable writers as Ben Jonson, John Fletcher, William Wycherley, Aphra Behn, Thomas Hobbes, John Dryden, and John Locke, as well as many lesser-known and anonymous writers. A reader will find, among others, a counterfeiter, a midwife, an astrologer, a princess, a diarist, and a Harvard graduate. Altogether this broad range of writers, famed and forgotten alike, brings to light not only sectarian and political tensions of the day, but also glimpses of the arts-of weaving, singing, acting, engraving, and painting. Even dancing, for there was a dance called the "Sancho Panzo". The volume opens with a wide-ranging Introduction that among other things traces the English reception of both Cervantes's Don Quixote and his Novelas ejemplares, including the part they played in English drama. In the main body of the work, individual items are arranged chronologically by year and, within that framework, alphabetically by author, thus providing little-known seventeenth-century evidence regarding the nature and breadth of British interest in Cervantes in various decades. Thorough annotation helps readers to place individual entries in their historical, social, political, and in some instances religious contexts. The volume includes twenty-nine germane seventeenth-century pictures, an index of references to chapters in Don Quixote, and a full bibliography and index.
People worry that computers, robots, interstellar aliens, or Satan himself – brilliant, stealthy, ruthless creatures – may seize control of our world and destroy what’s uniquely valuable about the human race. Cultural Evolution and its Discontents shows that our cultural systems – especially those whose last names are "ism" – are already doing that, and doing it so adeptly that we seldom even notice. Like other parasites, they’ve blindly evolved to exploit us for their own survival. Creative arts and humanistic scholarship are our best tools for diagnosis and cure.

The assemblages of ideas that have survived, like the assemblages of biological cells that have survived, are the ones good at protecting and reproducing themselves. They aren’t necessarily the ones that guide us toward our most admirable selves or our healthiest future. Relying so heavily on culture to protect our uniquely open minds from cognitive overload makes us vulnerable to hijacking by the systems that co-evolve with us.

Recognizing the selfish Darwinian functions of these systems makes sense of many aspects of history, politics, economics, and popular culture. What drove the Protestant Reformation? Why have the Beatles, The Hunger Games, and paranoid science-fiction thrived, and how was hip-hop co-opted? What alliances helped neoliberalism out-compete Communism, and what alliances might enable environmentalism to overcome consumerism? Why are multiculturalism and university-trained elites provoking working-class nationalist backlash? In a digital age, how can we use numbers without having them use us instead?

Anyone who has wondered how our species can be so brilliant and so stupid at the same time may find an answer here: human mentalities are so complex that we crave the simplifications provided by our cultures, but the cultures that thrive are the ones that blind us to any interests that don’t correspond to their own.

Pastoral was one of the most popular literary forms of early modern England. Inspired by classical and Italian Renaissance antecedents, writers from Ben Jonson to John Beaumont and Abraham Cowley wrote in idealized terms about the English countryside. It is often argued that the Renaissance pastoral was a highly figurative mode of writing that had more to do with culture and politics than with the actual countryside of England. For decades now literary criticism has had it that in pastoral verse, hills and crags and moors were extolled for their metaphoric worth, rather than for their own qualities. In What Else Is Pastoral?, Ken Hiltner takes a fresh look at pastoral, offering an environmentally minded reading that reconnects the poems with literal landscapes, not just figurative ones.

Considering the pastoral in literature from Virgil and Petrarch to Jonson and Milton, Hiltner proposes a new ecocritical approach to these texts. We only become truly aware of our environment, he explains, when its survival is threatened. As London expanded rapidly during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the city and surrounding rural landscapes began to look markedly different. Hiltner finds that Renaissance writers were acutely aware that the countryside they had known was being lost to air pollution, deforestation, and changing patterns of land use; their works suggest this new absence of nature through their appreciation for the scraps that remained in memory or in fact. A much-needed corrective to the prevailing interpretation of pastoral poetry, What Else Is Pastoral? shows the value of reading literature with an ecological eye.

©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.