Previous Issue Article Abstracts

Summer 2019, Vol. 19.3


Knowing Mary Wroth's Pamphilia
Whitney Sperrazza

This essay uses Mary Wroth's poetic representation of the female body to explore the material intersections of early modern literature and science. Reading Wroth's poetry (Folger manuscript V.a.104) alongside representational practices employed by Renaissance anatomists, this essay argues that Wroth uses the materiality of her poetic pages to critique and respond to violent treatment of the female body in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English lyric conventions. Wroth's poetry is centrally concerned with how to represent, and thereby know, the female body on the poetic page. Consequently, readings of Wroth's manuscript need to account for how poetry and page work together to facilitate the reader's knowledge of Pamphilia. By drawing on early anatomical methods for translating fleshly body to flat page, this essay shows how Wroth's innovative use of the poetic page results in a new kind of encounter among writing, reading, and textual bodies. More broadly, this essay raises questions about how the material practices of Renaissance anatomical culture transformed relations between body and page.

"That no man sit idle": Labor and the Problem of Play in More's Utopia
Robert Tinkle

This essay notes a discrepancy between the literary form of Thomas More's Utopia (1516), characterized by sophisticated, ironic play, and the quite restrictive rubrics of mandatory labor that govern life in the book's utopian polity. The discrepancy suggests two things: one, that in the nascent decades of the historic transition to a capitalistic economy in England, it has become possible to conceive of play as a form of productivity; and two, that More has a class investment in demonstrating his own value to the post-feudal economy by defending his authorial play as productive or useful labor. In spite of its communistic rejection of private property and searing critique of enclosure, Utopia is invested in the ambiguities of what it means to play or labor so that it can better construct the idealized, hyperproductive bodies of colonialist expansion, consonant with the New World environment that is the site of the text's political fantasy. What this affirms is that the colonialist imaginary cannot be disentangled from capitalist accumulation, owing in large part to emerging affective discourses around the body as a site of ever-present contestation between industry and idleness

Diamond in the Rough: Nobility and Spanish Naples in Lope de Vega's El perro del hortelano
Mackenzie Cooley

This essay explores real and imagined upward mobility in Spanish Naples through a comparison of the Kingdom of Naples's archival record and Lope de Vega's El perro del hortelano (The Dog in the Manger), which was composed from 1613–1617. It contends that the study of the Siglo de Oro has casually marginalized Naples, the largest city of the Spanish Empire, treating it as an exotic background and emblematic site for commedia palatina—the theater of love in no place. The rapidly growing viceregal capital, in fact, provided an ideal setting for a play about social alchemy. Re-centering Naples sheds new light on long-forgotten ties, illuminating an imagined geography that runs counter to modern notions of political boundaries.


Blanching the Corporate Blush: Corporate Language in the Seventeenth-Century Public Sphere
Liam D. Haydon, William A. Pettigrew

This article examines English publications relating to the international trading corporations active during the seventeenth century. It includes those directly authored by the corporations, alongside those supporting or attacking them. It considers the way in which these corporations engaged in the public sphere: How did companies speak? Why did they speak? What personas did they establish? And how did companies, and their opponents, conceive of the public sphere in which they were engaged? Combining quantitative data analysis with qualitative reading of the 177 corporate pamphlets written during the seventeenth century affords insight into the benefits and disadvantages of corporate public speech, and deepens our understanding of the development of the public sphere. Corporate writing enabled companies to construct a separate public personality. Such a personality—coupled with the anonymity inherent in their legal form—allowed corporations and their supporters to utilize the mechanisms of public opinion for private pleading.


Abraham Ortelius's Pulmonary Cordiform Map
Stephanie Shiflett

Maps have often served as tools of political propaganda, particularly in the reign of Francis I (1515–1547). Cartography, as a highly flexible mode of representation, could encode any number of spiritual or political messages. Abraham Ortelius exploited this possibility by giving his world map of 1564 the distinct shape of a lung, which evoked both a 1541 map by Gemma Frisius and, indirectly, the philosophy of the heretical anatomist and cartographer Michael Servetus. This article describes the context in which Ortelius lived and worked: in Antwerp during the turbulent reign of Philip II of Spain, where he witnessed the Catholic king's repressive policies in the Low Countries. This article draws on the scholarship that connects the cartographer to the Family of Love in order to argue that Ortelius's spiritual beliefs were expressed through his world maps. Rather than attempting a definitive investigation of Ortelius's theology, this essay shows how Ortelius's work as a cartographer participated in the religious and political discourses of post-Reformation Europe.

Fables of Conquest: Moral Regression in the Early Modern English State and Empire
William Palmer

This article examines in comparative terms the transformation in the thinking of early modern Englishmen toward the Irish, Amerindians, and Africans between roughly 1560 and 1680. During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, English rulers and officials decided to exert more authority over regions within their own kingdom and also became participants in the quest to expand and acquire colonies in Ireland and the New World. These ventures were intended to provide more security and wealth for the English state but sometimes required actions that exceeded conventional legal and moral boundaries—including seizing land and possessions in Ireland and North America on the basis of conquest and necessity rather than law, slaughtering many in Ireland and North America who resisted, and enslaving Africans.



The Johannine Renaissance in Early Modern Literature and Theology by Paul Cefalu (review)
James A. Knapp

Courage and Grief: Women and Sweden's Thirty Years' War by Mary Elizabeth Ailes (review)
Britt Mitchell