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My Commonplace Book
Transcript of My Commonplace Book
Week One Battle of Wills KEY IDEAS:
PROVENANCE (the place of origin or earliest known history of something)
- Uncertain provenance is the complicating factor in proving the portrait as a true likeness of Shakespeare
OBJECTIVE: To trace the Sanders portrait, through genealogy, back to where Shakespeare lived
Religion: Significant religious persecution in the 16th and 17th centuries in England; Shakespeare was likely a Catholic and therefore tried to leave behind little personal information, information that would make this search much easier THOUGHT:
Religion plays a significant role in the politics of the Elizabethan era. How significant is the role of religion in today’s politics?
It is pretty apparent to me that Canadian politics and education systems are still significantly influenced by Christian principles. Week Two Transcendental
Signifiers - A key tool in the formation of Western thinking (conceptual schemes)
- Refers to any principle that you rely on to advocate a master narrative: it creates a hierarchy between the concept and the subject
- It’s a way to creating a hierarchical relationship between a text and an individual
- They serve the person using them and thus destabilizes notions of absolute truth (both evolutionists and creationists can use them)
- Transcendental Signifiers parade as part of the natural order; in the Elizabethan era, such a belief was that everything in the cosmos was interconnected and movement stemmed from God’s hand, which pushed first and set the cosmos into motion
Examples: God, truth, reason, logic, freedom, law THOUGHT:
Transcendental Signifiers have real implications in the world by influencing ways of thinking (Ex. voting against capital punishment based on the Bible) Différance
(Jacques Derrida) It is constructed as a counterbalance to Transcendental Signifiers; it undermines the hierarchies that Transcendental Signifiers are based upon
1. The meaning of what is said or written is not absolute or fixed, but deferred; this removes the stability of Transcendental Signifiers
2. Meaning is a function of the relationship between one thing and another so that meaning is created out of difference; again, meaning is destabilized Aporia - Aporia is a contradiction of profound ambiguity, a paradox
- This occurs because of différence, as the meaning of the text is not fixed but deferred so that it can mean something that James did not intend
Example: James argues his divine right to kingship, yet uses doubting language for God’s existence THOUGHT:
I am not sure if I agree that James’ “hoping at God” is an unintentional expression of doubt or a profound paradox in the text but rather, due to his religious point of view, it simply demonstrates his (perhaps attempted) attitude of humility before God.
The True Law of Free Monarchies SIGNIFICANCE:
This is the first known instance of an author in England compiling his work into one work (an anthology)
• It was published in 1616; Shakespeare’s folio was not published until 1623
- Dedicated to his son, Charles I who was executed before becoming king
- James uses CICERONIAN mode of representation in the text (as opposed to Senecan)
• Cicero wrote in a verbose style with long sentences and foreshadowing, while Seneca wrote tersely
• James uses this mode to create affect (to make the reader feel something); the overblown language beats the readers into submission
Full of Transcendental Signifiers, including true, law, free, monarchy, natural subject
• This is a rhetorical device to immediately subject the reader
• The title backfires, however, because the overuse of T.S.’s demonstrates James’ anxiety to the reader- he overstates his power in trying to assert authority A passage that interests me: James' reference to Samuel: pages 58-60
In class, we discussed the strangeness of James’ reference to 1 Samuel 8:9-20 in The True Law of Free Monarchies. After some consideration of the passage, however, I would like to defend how it is, in fact, a logical inclusion in the text and a passage that functions to establish the subservience of the English people, as well as the authority of the king.
In the quoted passage from first Samuel, the prophet Samuel speaks to the Israelites regarding their request for a king. The people desired a king because Samuel’s sons, who were appointed as judges over the nation, were corrupt and “accepted bribes and perverted justice” (1 Samuel 8:3). The Israelites desired to be free from this tyrannical rule and thought that freedom would come through kingship, a mode of governance that they observed in surrounding nations. God, however, in His understanding of the innate corruption of mankind, recognized that the Israelites’ plight would only increase under the absolute rule of a king. In verse nine, therefore, God asks to Samuel to “warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do” (1 Samuel 8:9). This is the historical background to the passage that James quotes in Free Laws. I believe that an understanding of the context demonstrates James’ use of the passage not as a threat towards his subjects, but rather a reminder that it was the general population who desired a king, despite God’s warnings and therefore, his exercise of power over them is a fair and just result of their ancestor’s disobedience.
James supports this interpretation of the passage in the paragraphs that follow, as he speaks of God’s divine election of king Saul (59). James defends God’s sovereign role in Israel’s kingship by placing the blame for Saul’s tyranny on Saul himself: “his defection sprung afterhand from the corruption of his own nature and not through any default in God” (59). In this portion of True Laws, therefore, it is evident that James uses the transcendental signifier of God, and God’s divine election of kings, as an argument of support for his own place as king. James uses the passage from first Samuel to blame his subjects for their present situation of subservience to the monarch, thus further elevating himself. For these reasons, I believe that this portion of text is congruent with the general theme of the book, that is, arguing for the divine right of kings. Power of
Image Portraits were commissioned by royalty and rendered in flattering ways (often untruthful likenesses)
Example: Queen Elizabeth’s Rainbow Portrait
- Imagery was deeply linked to power therefore REPRESENTATION was incredibly important
- She is represented as embodying both genders: feminine on the left side and masculine on the right side
- She is represented as nearly omniscient through the ears and eyes on her garments
- This representation would have been controlled and encouraged by Elizabeth herself (the portrait acts as a method of self-fashioning) ELIZABETHAN TEXTUALITY
- “Reading” went far beyond the printed or written page: clothing was governed by sumptuary laws and your clothing was interpreted or “read” to place you amongst a certain class
- Texts act as a form of representation; they are linked to power because literature in this period deals primarily with issues of power, including kingship Elizabethan
Law Three Forms of Law in the Elizabethan Era
1. Common Law (case law): law based on precedent
2. Equity Law: mitigates precedent law so that a judge may modify a judgment in order to ensure justice in all circumstances
3. Natural Law: universally applied law that is based on reason and a general understanding of human nature (Ex. Do unto other as you would have them do unto you) Week Three John Dowland - Lute virtuoso; published solo lute music- His music was called “semper pare”, a Latin pun for “Dowland always depressed” because of the somber nature of his music- This style was just as popular in the Elizabethan period as our pop music today- In 2006, Sting piggybacked Dowland’s music in his album “Song of the Labyrinth” THOUGHT:
Dowland’s music seems like an incredibly random interest for Sting and comparable, in my mind, to Hollywood celebrities who decide to enroll in University or College education later in life. I tend to be skeptical of people doing these things because it seems as though it is all a show, an attempt to look “cultured” to the public. Perhaps that was not the case for Sting, but it does seem fishy. Basilikon Doron BASILIKON DORON
“The king’s gift”
- In the first book, James’ writing looks frenetic, which highlights the urgency of his argument, and suggests that he was fuelled by paranoia
• In this portion, he demonstrates his “middle way” politics
- James outlines the three purposes of the book:
1. To outline a king’s duty towards God in religion
2. Teaching his son “how to use his office in the administration of justice and politic government” (93)
3. To outline how the king ought to act publicly in various matters- In the third book, James focuses on the performativity of kingship: “it is a true old saying ‘that a king is as one set on a stage, whose smallest actions and gestures all the people gazingly do behold” (155)
• This shows James’ awareness of his subjects reading his actions, a reality which contributes to his paranoia
• This notion of “reading” extending beyond the printed page is an essential reality of the Early Modern period and in many ways, it places power in the hands of the kings’ subjects, as he is subjected to their gaze and scrutiny The Basilikon Doron is informed by two literary traditions. The first is:
RENAISSANCE COURTESY BOOK
- These are books of manners that deal with ethics, etiquette, how to conduct oneself in public and private, etc.
- “The Book of the Courtier” by Baldassare Castiglione was the first one
• One of the most widely discussed texts in its moment (1528)
• The book consists of a dialogue between the duchess, Elisabetta Gonzaga and the men of the court
• Gonzaga presides over a debate regarding the desirable traits of a courtier, some of which are proficiency in poetry, music, dancing, sketching, and fighting
• These are internalized values that should be demonstrated publicly
• Moral and spiritual elegance are valued: they are methods of self- fashioning that are achieved through books and learning (which is not unlike our conceptions today)
• SPREZZATURA= a key term referring to a performed air of nonchalance or effortless grace, which is enacted despite inner tension or effort; the value of a courtier depends on this self-performativity; the duplicity in this act is an example of aporia
Ex. a musician makes performing look easy THOUGHT:
Renaissance Courtesy Books share similarities with "self-help" books of today in that they claim to lead the reader to personal and social success. The second literary tradition that informs James' "Basilikon Doron":
Machiavelli’s “The Prince”
- Written by a courtier about how to be an effective ruler
- Published 1532
- It is a Demotic text, meaning it is written in an everyday language (in this case, Italian); Basilikon Doron is also in this mode
• Latin and Greek were starting to be considered passé
- It is a cynical text that encourages the young courtier to use any means (even immoral) in order to survive; evil is justifiable
- Key quotation in chapter XVII: “Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved”
- It is a book used as a defence for tyranny The True Law: Revisited True Law of Free Monarchies (revisited: NOTES AND MY OWN THOUGHTS)
- P. 57 Metaphor of the king as the “natural father to all his lieges at his coronation”; uses the transcendental signifier of claiming this transformation as “natural”
• This rhetoric of the government as an extension of family normalizes discipline (even extreme subjugation) within the paradigm of parental guidance and instruction
- P. 73 Repeats the metaphor of the king as father and “head of a body”
* Pater patriae: Latin for “father of the fatherland”; this is connected to the notion of the king’s two bodies, his own physical body and the body of his subjects
• James describes the king as the “head of a body composed of divers members”
Is this natural?
It’s Biblical and that is likely James’ source for this pattern of authority.
The Bible presents distinct hierarchies of authority: first, God as the head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23),
second, man as the head of the wife (1 Corinthians 11:3 ),
and third, parents are the head of their children (Exodus 20:12).
- P. 69 Claims that the king was “before any estates or ranks of men… before any Parliaments were holden or laws made”
Dr. Fischlin said that this claim is not backed up BUT I think that it is because in the previous paragraph,
James uses the law of precedent to say that the first king of Ireland, Fergus, established this pattern of rule
- P. 70 Repeats “the king is overlord over the whole lands”, even riches buried within in the earth, according to “law” (this seems like a weak argument; it appeals to the transcendental signifier of law)
- P. 73 Argues that “except by inverting the order of all law and reason”, a king’s people cannot overthrow his rule
This argument is arbitrary and depends upon interpretation:
law requires subjects to obey the king, but does human reason require it?
Some people may think that it is natural and essential to obey authority, but to claim that as a universal truth is bold.
Personally, I think that authority figures deserve respect and obedience
as long as they do not treat their inferiors poorly or require them to act immorally Week Four Autopsy/Anatomy - A literary way of understanding the body in the 16th c.
- The autopsy of a king undermines his power: physicians are given the last word on the king’s body
• James’ body was described as “putrid” and “foul”, which may be true or may reveal the physicians’ desire to exert power over the king’s body My Own Tangent: The connection of anatomy betwee the past and present (Elizabethan era- 1800's- today)
- Gray’s Anatomy “Anatomy Descriptive and Social” by Henry Gray
- Published in 1858 - Gray to create an affordable and understandable anatomy textbook for medical students
- He and Henry Vandyke Carter dissected unclaimed bodies from mortuaries (under the Anatomy Act of 1832)
• In the Elizabethan Era, doctors studied executed bodies
- There are 40 editions today (the 40th was published in 2008)
*The study of anatomy clearly links the Elizabethan period to today because LIFE, DEATH, and the HUMAN BODY are universal human interests*
“And the truth as I see it is this: it’s always a matter of life and death. Every day. Even if you’re not a doctor. Even if you’re not saving lives or risking them. Because the thing is we all die eventually and sometimes without much warning." –
Quote from Krista Vernoff in Grey Matter, the blog for the writers of the Grey’s Anatomy television show Dissimulative Self - Self-fashioning is about presenting a brave front, while facing interior struggle or fear
- This writing demonstrates that self is a shifting, uncontrollable entity
- It is demonstrated in Elizabeth’s writing, particularly in her poem “Monsieur’s Departure”
“I grieve, and dare not show my discontent,
I love, and yet am forced to seem to hate” (303 Broadview Anthology) This expectation is still prevalent today for both ordinary people, and for people in authority. To a certain extent, I think that the dissimulative self is necessary in order to be able to put emotion in check and to engage in work and social interactions with some amount of stability and professionality. I recognize, however, that people in positions of authority perhaps face unhealthy expectations. Elizabeth’s poem implies he need to outright refute her interior inclinations. This would undoubtedly create either significant emotional turmoil, or an unfeeling individual, neither or which is healthy. I wonder if the pressure that would come from the need to self-fashion oneself perfectly would drive a person to insanity? James’ writing also conveys this tension between his true, inner self and the front that he must construct as king. Areopagitica KEY QUOTATION/ MAIN IDEA
“Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason? And this is the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read.” (818)
- Milton argues that the State should not require printers to be licensed, and thus monitor what is available for public consumption, because shielding the public from evil does not help in developing morality. Instead, he calls for “books promiscuously read” MY RESPONSE TO THE TEXT:
Censorship is still a prevalent issue today. Libraries tend to have strict policies against censorship, as I learned while working in my small-town library. I worked primarily in the children’s sections and was appalled at the nature of many “teen fiction” books that I would have to process and place on shelves for incredibly young adolescents to read. I often felt that the graphic, overly-sexual content of some of these novels was inappropriate for the ages of the girls and guys who checked them out.
While reading Milton’s Areopagitica, I wholeheartedly agreed with what he said against censorship. I guess that is the power of his rhetoric. When I apply it to my personal experience of working in the library, however, my confidence breaks down. I have no issue with all sorts of books being published, so I suppose that I agree with Milton in that regard and simply disagree with having all sorts of books readily available at the library, a place where parents feel safe leaving children unattended. As Milton states, books are powerful, and I do no think that we should underestimate the influence that they have on our lives. Milton’s argument that books are the basis for culture and for binding people together marks an important moment in English literary culture. He claims that censoring writing limits the common good of the people, an idea that others have expounded upon in the centuries following Areopagitica.
This claim also posits education as the bond/ligament of the Commonwealth, which is a secular lens through which to understand society (and thus challenging the history of religion as the crux of society). Discovery - Bernal Diaz’s expedition to Tenochtitlan in Mexcio reminded Europe that it was not an advanced civilization (Diaz and his troop wrote with wonder at the “waste stations” they found on the way to the city)- The wonder and awe that discovery and the writings produced by discoverers (Diaz published a book called “The Conquest of New Spain”) inspired UTOPIAN fiction Renaissance
Humanism RENAISSANCE HUMANISM
- A massive educational reform based on the belief that education makes all the difference (it’s an attack models of education based on Scripture only- Scholasticism)
- It is a two step system: trivium/quadrivium
- More’s “Utopia” from 1515 deals with this notion:
“Above all, Utopians value pleasure of the mind
(they hold them to be the founts and heads of all)”
(52 Broadview Anthology)
- Milton’s “Areopagitica” acts as a sustained argument for Renaissance Humanism, which shows the continuity of this belief from 1515- 1644 Utopia - It’s a satire of English/European governance, hidden within a satirical mode
- More demonstrates the importance of books over goods to the Utopians
“When I was about to set out on my fourth voyage to Utopia, instead of putting on board goods to sell, I took a fairly large bundle of books…” (53 Broadview Anthology)
- He references Plato, Aristotle, and Theophrastus, all writers who were reclaimed through the educational reform of Renaissance Humanism
- He argues against treaties, saying that the Utopians avoid them because they act as structures of deception (this is particularly interesting to More because he worked as a lawyer, interpreting “treaties”)
- In the end, More was executed for being a social critic, even though he opened the book with an air of SPREZZATURA (nonchalance):
“I am almost ashamed…” (rhetorical device) “…to send you this little book” (again, a rhetorical device to reduce the weightiness of the text) RESPONSE TO UTOPIA:
In reading this text, I was quite amazed at the number of arguments presented in it that are still widely relevant today. I am in an English seminar where I have been studying South African literature pre- and post- apartheid and I see a strong correlation between More’s argument against power that depends on oppression to maintain hierarchy, and the central doctrine of the apartheid regime in South Africa. The passage in Utopia that engages with this idea goes as follows:“If one man lives a life of pleasure and self-indulgence amidst the groans and lamentations of all around him, he is the keeper of a prison, not of a kingdom. Just as a doctor who cannot cure one disease except by creating another must admit he is incompetent, so a monarch who cannot correct the lives of citizens except by depriving them of the good things of life must admit that he does not know how to govern free men” (33).
More’s fearless critique of the abuse of power through governing structures is mirrored in some of the anti-apartheid rhetoric of figures like Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo and their political organization The African National Congress (ANC). The apartheid regime in South Africa did render the nation a prison for blacks, who were enforced to carry passes in order to leave or enter villages and cities for work and who faced unjust trials and jail sentences. The “groans and lamentations” of black South Africans developed into violent anti-apartheid demonstrations, often through the ANC’s military wing, “The Spear of the Nation”. With regards to the reactive violence of this organization, Mandela said: “The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices: submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means within our power in defence of our people, our future and our freedom. The government has interpreted the peacefulness of the movement as weakness; the people`s non-violent policies have been taken as a green light for government violence. Refusal to resort to force has been interpreted by the government as an invitation to use armed force against the people without any fear of reprisals. The methods of Umkhonto we Sizwe mark a break with that past.” It seems that More’s warning against oppressive power is an anticipation of this sort of people’s uprising. SOCIAL CRITIQUE
Utopian fiction demonstrates the history of using art forms such as creative literature to provide a “safe” forum for social critique. Through his Utopian text, More is able to disguise his criticism of England’s government and creatively explore his opinions without fearing immediate consequences. Ultimately, however, even though he used literature to disguise his views, More was still killed for his “subversive” beliefs.
Throughout history, other art forms have also been used as social critique, such as the visual arts. In the early 20th century, painter Edward Hopper envisioned modern America much differently than the prominent group of Ashcan artists that were working at the same time: instead of praising the hustle and bustle of New York City as the Ashcan school did, Hopper painted the loneliness and isolation that was a part of modern life in the city. This vision of America ran counter to the propagandistic art that Roosevelt’s government was financially supporting through the new Deal program. ECONOMIC INFLUENCES ON LITERATURE
- The Globe was one of the earliest corporate entities in England
- The notion behind corporations was strength in numbers/ bonding together to create something great
- It was an economic reality that came with England growing in power and influence: it includes the practice of LIMITED LIABILITY
- An economic theory predicated on the notion that the health of the state is directly linked to the amount of capital that a state has and controls
- The impetus for discovery stems from this notion and therefore, Utopia is impacted by this economic reality
*Literary culture does not happen in a vacuum Edward Hopper's Painting
"Automat" ? How is this shown in today’s literature ?
In my fourth year post-colonial seminar class, we were discussing that post-colonialism is “fashionable” today, and therefore pursuing a career within this field is an economically shrewd choice. This, of course, is an unsettling reality for faculty dedicated to post-colonial studies because it poses the danger that future faculty members may only be there for the sake of a steady paycheck. This, of course, is the reality of the business world and if it did become reality, it would demonstrate a perfect correlation between economics and literary production.
It is interesting to consider, however, that when it comes to literature, we expect high levels of personal dedication and passion to one’s craft. Why is this? It is because within each one of us, there is something that recognizes the value of personal investment and vulnerability that writing requires? Or is it something else? Does the knowledge that a book or an article was inspired by money change our reaction to it? Economics DO affect the arts
I am working on a final paper for an Art History class in which I am exploring the artwork produced in Depression-era America, with particular attention paid towards artists who were financially supported within President Roosevelt’s New Deal program. Despite the bleak economy of the 1930’s, the production of art flourished due to incredible generous government grants. The art that was produced, however, had to cater to government taste and as a result, highly propagandistic artwork was created. In particular, artists explored the image of America, and painted it (both literally and figuratively speaking) in an idealized way. Grant Wood, a Regionalist artist from Iowa, painted “Spring Turning”, a painting that depicts verdant, rolling, fertile fields as far as the eye can see and not a trace of poverty, which was affecting nearly all Americans at the time.
Week Five Utopia
continued Economics Sir Walter Raleigh & Pastoral Poetry
- Pastoral Poetry is a genre of poetry that predominantly deals with rural life and shepherds (away from the courts), at least this is what appears at the surface level of the writing. In deeper meaning, however, these poems functioned as safe ways to explore dangerous ideas, including challenges to the monarch and other systems of authority.
- It occurs in a “locus amoenus”, a safe and free place away from the surveillance of the court. Ultimately, the writer and reader know that this is an imagined space and thus, what is discussed within in the poem is also divorced from reality.
** Sir Walter Raleigh’s poem “The Lie” is a particularly pointed piece of writing in which he brutally attacks the monarch, court, and church, using rhetorical repetition to give power to his exclamation: “give them the lie!” **
- It is interesting to see that the arts (literature, visual art, theatre) have always been a method through which members of society can critique their society. In a similar way, many of Shakespeare’s plays explore the fallibility of courts and monarchs (such as King Lear).
Interesting modern examples of political critique mediated through the arts are satirical shows like “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” and “Royal Canadian Air Farce”. Just as the pastoral poetry provided a “safe” mode of critique, so do these shows enable the people in them to say things about government that would never be spoken on the nightly news. Pastoral Poetry Week 6 Inexpressibility Complex/Topos Petrarchan
Poetry INEXPRESSIBILITY COMPLEX/TOPOS
The inexpressibility complex is a concept that claims that words will fail us and that they are removed from the actual meaning or intent of what we try to say, particularly in relation to communication emotions such as love. Since there is a separation between what we mean and what we say using words, the truth of what we mean to say exists beyond the words that we use, and thus beyond language’s ability to articulate. In these cases, we may need to invoke the inexpressibility concept and say, as Cordelia does in King Lear (in response to the King’s question of her love for him), “nothing my Lord… I cannot heave/My heart into my mouth” (I.i.91;94-95). In this instance, Cordelia refuses to try to articulate her love for her father, claiming that words would falsify her love for him: "What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be/ silent" (I.i.64). ***RESPONSE***
Since learning about the inexpressibility concept in class, I have noticed it popping up in commercials, television scripts, greeting cards, and many other unexpected places; evidently, we still doubt the ability of language to articulate our deepest feelings and ideas. This is an interesting idea to explore, since people typically use journaling (writing) as a way TO express their inner thoughts; if language is unable to communicate accurately, however, why do people (including myself) still do this? Does journaling simply function as a Freudian “talking cure” for people? “YOU DON’T KNOW ME” –
sung by Michael Buble
* This song reflects Petrarchan cathecting towards a beloved and the unrequited love of this endeavour*
You give your hand to me
Then you say hello
I can hardly speak
My heart is beating so
And anyone can tell
You think you know me well
But you don't know me
No, you don't know the one
Who dreams of you at night
And longs to kiss your lips
And longs to hold you tight
Oh I'm just a friend
That's all I've ever been
'Cause you don't know me...
You give your hand to me
And then you say good-bye
I watch you walk away
Beside the lucky guy
You'll never never know
The one who loves you so
Well, you don't know me PETRARCHAN POETRY
“Draw from the deer: but, as she fleeth afore,/Fainting I follow”
- A form of poetry initiated by the Italian poet Petrarch in the early 14th century
- Petrarchan poetry massively influenced English poetry for many reasons, including the fact that it was written in Italian, not Latin
- In this form of poetry, the poet cathects towards Laura, an idealized female character
- The poet uses language to try to map out the human exploration of love with language, which is problemmatized by the inexpressibility complex
- Ultimately, Laura is unreachable and the poems simply act as an articulation of desire, a TEXTUAL encounter
- The poetry immortalizes the poet’s desires as well as himself ANTI-PETRARCHAN
- Poetry written in reaction to the massively influential Petrarchan poetry; it demonstrates “anxiety of influence”, writers’ necessary engagement with and challenge to that which came before
- Shakespeare wrote Anti-Petrarchan poems, including Sonnet 130, which begins with the line “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”, a clear attack on the idealized love present in Petrarchan poetry ENDURING REALITY OF LITERATURE
Last summer, I worked in a museum called “Castle Kilbride” in Baden, Ontario. As I worked to archive historical materials, I was struck by the massive importance of writing (in journals, bankbooks, letters, and newspapers) in constructing public knowledge of the Livingstone family who lived there over the past two hundred years. Without these sources, the building would not be appreciated for its historical value and the family’s history and importance in the development of the township would be unknown. Due to recovered journals, bankbooks, letters, and newspapers clippings, however, the legacy of the Livingstone family lives on. Museum staff have been able to understand the financial impetus that the Livingstone’s had in the area, as well as the character of many of the family members. I was amazed at how much I could glean about different family members simply from reading letters written between them: recalling this, I realize how writing does function as a way of immortalizing people, just as Petrarch’s poetry was intended to.
Considering the digital era of the 21st century, I am concerned that future generations will have a much more difficult time reconstructing the past and understanding us because of the lack of physical written material. Bank statements are online, Internet blogs have largely replaced journals, and even this presentation is on an online site and will likely be wiped away in a few years’ time. This is just some food for thought. Do with it what you like. Week 7 Shakespearean
Fool - The Shakespearean fool is a character who is physically located within the court but is an outsider, set apart by his bright clothing and subservient position, resembling the criminalized “undeserving poor” of the Elizabethan era
- Shakepeare did not imagine the fool, Queen Elizabeth and other dignitaries had them as entertainers in their courts
- Fools were expected to be critical, funny, and INOFFENSIVE for sophisticated, courtly audiences MY RESPONSE
In King Lear, the Fool gets away with blatantly criticizing the King’s decision to split his kingdom among his daughters, saying “If thou wert my fool, Nuncle, I’d have thee/ beaten for being old before they time” (I.v.38-39), and “Though shouldst not have been old, till thou had’st been wise” (I.v.41). This is a significant moment in the play because when Kent tries to point out the King’s folly in Act I scene i, Lear banishes him, saying “turn thy hated back”, and warns him that if found in the country in the future, “the moment is they death” (I.i.186;188). Now, if this is the King’s response to the same criticism that the Fool gives him just a few scenes later, why are his responses so different? I think it is because the Fool’s role of criticism was understood, expected, and mixed with jest; Lear did not expect the same level of respect and deference from him as he did from others in the court.
In a similar way, shows like Royal Canadian Air Farce and This Hour Has 22 Minutes are humorous social critiques in which the actors are able to say things about and to our political leaders that would not be accepted from average citizens; the criticism is understood, expected, and mixed with jest just as the Fool’s criticism is in King Lear. Tragedy - A genre of plays that addresses suffering and creates affect
- They are often didactic in that they teach empathy
- Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a melding of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy in “Poetics” with social context and questions about religion, monarchy, family relations, and vagrancy; this melding of influences is what makes Shakespeare’s tragedies unique
- Aristotle’s understanding of tragedy included four essential elements:
1. PERIPETEIA- the shift of fortune
2. CATHARSIS- the audience experiences catharsis from viewing a character’s peripeteia (cleansing from one’s suffering by watching another’s suffering)
3. HAMARTIA- a mistake that causes the peripeteia (not a “fatal flaw”)
4. ANAGNORISIS- moment of epiphany when the tragic character learns something from the mistake he/she made (often at the point of death)
* Overall, tragedy demonstrates that knowledge is attained through chaos
This trope of epiphany at the point of death, or near-death, is perpetuated in modes of entertainment today. Countless television shows and Hollywood films include a scene where the central character lays sprawled out on the ground, suffering from a life-threatening wound, muttering his/her regrets in life as blood splutters forth from his/her mouth. The character is brought low in this moment from a series of events and for a moment, everything but the knowledge of life itself is stripped away and there is a moment of perceptual clarity. In King Lear, Cordelia’s death is what leads to this point of anagnorisis: at this point in the play, Lear is homeless and stripped of all power and wealth and when Cordelia’s death is added to the mix of horrific events, Lear can finally “see” clearly and understand his folly (the hamartia). This trope has evidently had a lasting effect on audiences, as it is still incredibly prevalent today. Perhaps it is because it speaks to the universal experience of life: each person has many distractions that keep him/her from contemplating life, or the possibility of an after-life, and it often takes a life-threatening encounter to scare people into contemplation of these questions. Orson Welles'
King Lear ORSON WELLES' KING LEAR
- Significant because it presented television as high art
- It was a sustained performance start to finish without stage breaks or commercials
- The punchline for the play is “speak what we feel, not what we ought to say”; Cordelia demonstrates a failure of this in that she refuses to speak her mind- in some ways, this seems to be Cordelia’s act of hamartia
- The play is meant to make us FEEL; the actors perform, and then hand off the responsibility of responding to us MY RESPONSE:
Orson Welles’ King Lear was so significant because of it was a continuous, live television broadcast. Its success lies, I believe, in the reality that most people find greater appeal in live performance and while this was broadcasted, it is closer to live performance than pre-filmed and edited television. I think that people’s appreciation of live performance lies in the assumption that it is more genuine and truthful than pre-filmed and edited performance. I think that this belief holds even greater truth today, as we are aware that digital effects can significantly alter musicians’ musical abilities, stage effects, and the appearance of actors, among other things.
This form of performing a script live on television resembles situation comedies; unlike Welles’ KING LEAR, however, situation comedies do have scene breaks and commercial breaks. Not all situation comedies are filmed live either, but shows like “Home Improvement” and “Friends” are- this is evident because audience laughter can be heard in the background. People pay significant money to fly to the city where the show is filmed, and large ticket prices to get in an view the show live; the question is why would people do this if the show is broadcasted live on television? The answer must be that there is a perceived greater value in live performance. I think that this appeal of “truthful”, live acting may also be part of the reason why reality television has been so successful. In these shows, the element of “acting” has even been removed, so as to posit the actions in the show entirely genuine, although the truthfulness of that is debatable. Week Eight Thanatos Eros My Response Nothing THANATOS:
the recognition of mortality
* Thanatos is also the name of the Greek god of non-violent death. In Greek art, he is often depicted with wings and alongside his brother,Hypnos, the god of Sleep.
*The use of these terms thanatos and eros in the Elizabethan era demonstrates the far-reaching reality ofthe recovery of Greek texts and ideas in the period of Renaissance Humanism EROS:
a term for erotic energy
*It is the name for the Greek god of love who is subordinate to Aphrodite Eros Thanatos The thanatos/eros dichotomy emerges from Elizabethans’ awareness of the creative act of love-making that generates new human life, as well as the ultimate moment of death that each newly generated life will one day end in. Because of this dual awareness, Elizabethans saw sexual encounters as both creative and destructive acts, moments that “expend spirit” and decrease one’s life energy. This consciousness of death existed, in part, because of the public nature of deaths: executions were carried out in public and the heads of beheaded victims were displayed on pikes.
*This consciousness of human mortality forms the core of tragedy: mortality is the inter-connecting link between all audience members* RESPONSE:
Today, I can see many different moments of “universal” connection in our forms of entertainment, all of which seem to involve emotion, which was undoubtedly the underlying connecting factor of mortality in the Elizabethan period.
Sporting Events: I think that people flock to these in order to feel part of something bigger, to celebrate human physical achievement, and to feel the thrill that comes from both of these aspects.
Romantic Movies: I think that people flock to these (ok, mostly women) to experience, vicariously through the characters in the movie, perfect (while unrealistic) romance. Viewers of these movies are interconnected by their common desire for love, affection, attention, and intimacy.
Concerts: I think that people flock to these because the emotions that music stirs up are somehow intensified in these loud, mass-attended events. There is a charged atmosphere of either excitement or sentimentality at concerts, depending on the genre of music.
These are just three examples of modern public events that have (I think) similar interconnecting, emotional elements today as tragedy had in the Elizabethan era. ZERO, NOTHING, NOUGHT, NAUGHT
- King Lear is full of “O” sounds and references to “nothing”
- This is seen at the beginning of the play when Cordelia answer’s Lear’s question with the response “nothing” (I.i.90)
- Prior to Cordelia’s response, however, Lear explains his desire to reduce himself to nothing: “’tis our fast intent,/ To shake all cares and business from our age,/ Conferring them on younger strengths, while we/ Unburdened crawl toward death” (I.i.40-43)
• This moment is Lear’s moment of hamartia, his unnatural desire to retire from kingship and reduce his responsibilities to “nothing”
• While this is a poor decision, which leads to his abandonment and mistreatment at the hands of Reagan and Goneril, it is also the decision that leads to Lear’s moment of anagnorisis- when he is finally able to make sense of life
- Throughout the play, Shakespeare emphasizes this need to strip away all of the comforts of life in order to “see” clearly:
1. Lear is turned away from his daughters’ homes so that he is homeless on the heath and without all comforts of his former life; only at this point is he able to recognize the treachery of his daughters
LEAR: ‘They flattered/ me like a dog” (IV.vi.111-112), “they are not men o’their words;/they told me I was everything. ‘Tis a lie! I am not ague-/ proof” (IV.vi.118-120)
2. Gloucester’s eyes are torn out before he is able to truly understand the world:
LEAR: “Your eyes are in a/ heavy case, your purse in a light; yet you see how this/ world goes”
GLOUCESTER: “I see it feelingly”
(IV.vi.158-161) *** The understanding and knowledge that comes in both Lear's and Gloucester's states of poverty acts as a critique of the opulent wealth of the monarchy: Shakespeare seems to argue that riches distract and detract individuals from true wisdom and understanding. Instead, Shakespeare credits wisdom to the poor, a trend that is evident throughout Shakespeare's plays in that his Fools always offer some of the most insightful comments in the plays. *** Week 9 Rhetoric George
Puttenham Sir Francis
Bacon Silos RHETORIC
- A structure of learning that helps to explain how language works and how it can be used in a convincing manner
- Rhetoric involves complex language and space to work out the ideas artfully; it goes against the quick, “Fox News” style of communication
- In the Renaissance era, there was a six-part system of rhetorical argument- building:
1. EXORDIUM- a technique to grab the audience
2. NARRATION- set out the facts to develop a thesis
3. DIVISION- a playful development of arguments and counter-arguments, often in a non-linear fashion and more resembling a spiderweb
4. PROOF- a position out of the DIVISION is chosen
5. REFUTATION- the counter-arguments are engaged and refuted
6. PERORATION- return and appeal to readers’ affect, the argument is handed off, often with a moment of prolepsis to suggest what may come next (no repetition of argument) * This form of argumentation demonstrates a deep engagement with ideas: both the writer’s arguments, and counter-arguments, which shows how no literary work holds the final word, but simply offers a continuation of arguments. Blogs are great modern examples of this sustained engagement with ideas over long periods of time. * GEORGE PUTTENHAM & “The Art of English Poesie”
- This is one of the first extended pieces of writing that deles into how writing represents knowledge (rhetoric)
- Puttenham explores fears of representations and says that using figures of speech is a crime “because they pass the ordinary limits of common utterance”, meaning that rhetoric promotes doubleness/lies (this was a significant fear in his time)
- Puttenham engages with this fear of rhetoric in the beginning of his text and then proceeds to demonstrate how to use rhetoric well (he uses the Renaissance form of argument- building) SIR FRANCIS BACON & HIS ESSAY “Of Truth”
- Deals with the problem of truth, opening the text with the question, “what is truth?”
- Ironically, the essay explores lying in more depth than truth itself: “A mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure” (384); this admission of delight in lies was confirmed in Bacon’s life in that he occupied a place at the centre of political and economic power in Jacobean England, but was fired for accepting bribes in court
• This knowledge causes us to consider the trustworthiness of what he has to say about “truth”: is he a reliable authority in this matter?
- His engagement with truth is significant because he links truthfulness to notions of dissimulation, which was an incredibly important aspect of self-fashioning and thus public life in the Elizabethan era
BACON’S USE OF RHETORIC:
TWO KEY EXAMPLES
Ex.1 The Title of his text “The Essays of Sir Francis Bacon…His Religious Meditations, Places of Persuasion and Disswasion” is an example of the rhetorical device of enjambment.
Ex.2 The text begins with the question “What is truth?”, which functions as a compelling exordium to draw the reader in and pique his or her interest and engagement with the text. This rhetorical device is called the “interrogative mode”. Silos of Knowledge LOSE THOSE SILOS
Several times throughout the course, Professor Fischlin has demonstrated that there are a plethora of cross-overs between science and the arts in the Elizabethan period. He has discussed that at that point in history, there were no “silos” that separated the knowledge systems of science and arts, as there are today: figures like Sir Francis Bacon both wrote and also sought out scientific discoveries, as was evident in his death that came as a result of seeking out how to freeze chicken.
This recurring discussion got me thinking about the ways that I reinforce the separation of arts and science in my own life. Firmly planted within in the Arts faculty at the University of Guelph, I do not have much interaction with science in my classes. I do, however, have intimate connections with scientists: my fiancé is a Biochemist, one of my close friends is studying Biomedical Sciences, and even more interesting, another one of my close friends is in the Arts and Science program. This program provides students with the opportunity to obtain a minor in one area of science and in one area of arts, an education that does truly encourage the destruction of those dreaded silos of knowledge. The University of Guelph is one of the only universities with this particular program, however, a fact that is first encouraging in that we have evidently begun to seek the interrelation of knowledge, but discouraging in that there are few opportunities for Canadian students to pursue both interests simultaneously.
Through my interactions with these friends, particularly my friend in the Arts and Sciences program, I am exposed to scientific theories, methods, and discoveries, and the potential ways that these interact with my own interests and knowledge; I have found interactions with these friends incredibly enriching and much-appreciated mental diversions from my everyday focus on and study of literature. I see the importance of connecting what they know to what I know because I have seen the potent social influence of individuals like Sir Francis Bacon who used his general knowledge to creatively imagine literary forms of expression, as well as scientific possibilities. Week Ten Test II Sir Philip Sidney The Defence of Poesy A Tangled Web... SIR PHILIP SIDNEY
- Sidney was an elite courtier, one of Elizabeth’s favourites- He was well-travelled, well-educated, and well-connected (Edmund Spenser, author of the Faerie Queene- an extremely influential text- dedicated a book to Sidney)
- He was involved in the military; this lead to his death
- He was also involved in religious debates of the time: he was a radical Protestant who vehemently attacked Catholicism
* Sidney was evidently not a literary elite, nor separated from political and religious action: he was integrated into his culture
* He was the first writer to create a critical text about poetry THE DEFENCE OF POESY
- This was an extraordinarily significant text because within it, Sidney argues for English as a language that deserves to be used by poets and writers and this was one of the first times that this argument was made!
- Sidney makes THREE bold claims about the value of the English language:
1. With regards to the “fitness” of English in both ancient and modern poetry, Sidney states: “Truly the English, before any vulgar language I know, is fit for both sorts” (295)
2. He proceeds to demonstrate the failures of both French and Spanish, then claims: “English is subject to none of these defects” (297)
3. Finally, Sidney asserts that “Our tongue is most fir to honor poesy, and to be honored by poesy” (296) * These claims, while definitely tainted with nationalist pride, are at least partially credible because Sidney was well-versed in the foreign languages that he debases- it is not just blind criticism * * The text is so significant because it was written on the cusp of the explosion of English literary culture: theatre, poetry, song lyrics, and texts were written and performed in English following the publishing of this text in the last half of the 16th century * MY RESPONSE: A TANGLE OF CONNECTIONS
Sidney’s anticipation of the explosion of English literary culture is a significant “discovery” not unlike Sir Francis Bacon’s early idea of freezing chickens in order to preserve them better. Both Sidney and Bacon demonstrated a sort of prolepsis of thought, imagining new possibilities that had not yet come to fruition. In a similar way, James wrote an eerie prolepsis of his own son’s execution when he wrote about the necessity of cutting off “some rotten member…to keep the rest of the body in integrity” in his text, “The True Law of Free Monarchies”. All three instances demonstrate a near-prophetic ability to articulate a future reality, which demonstrates the intellectual, creative potential of Elizabethan-era writers. Week Ten Psychomachia Hermeticism Calvinism Faustus Necromancy John Dee PSYCHOMACHIA
- A medieval concept for the internal struggle to determine/ arrive at choices and to recognize the consequences of those choices (a conflict of the soul)
- It was first imagined by the Laint poet Prudentius
- It was an allegory for life and a brutal way of envisioning the world HERMETICISM
- Hermeticism was an influential philosophical area of study in the 16th- 17th centuries
- It incorporated mystical thinking, the idea of the interconnectedness of all things, alchemy, and how to arrive at an understanding of all of this
- It is a belief system that acknowledges that reality is very complex; it also posits, however, that numbers are the basis of all things and the keys to knowledge
- Hermeticists viewed God’s creation of the universe as a mathematical act
- Alchemy, astrology, and theurgy are the three aspects of hermeticism CALVINISM
- It is a theological doctrine named after John Calvin, one of the great Protestant Reformers in the early 16th century
- The doctrine includes teaching on the “elect” and the “un-elect”, in combination with predestination, which means that God chooses people to be saved and, by extension, “chooses” people for destruction in Hell
- There are five main points to the doctrine of Calvinism, which make up the acnroym T.U.L.I.P.: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistable Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints
* Marlowe engages with this doctrine in his play through Faustus' seemingly determined fate of destruction; the play was written during the Reformation, so Marlowe was engaging with a relatively new and extremely prominent knowledge system
* Whether Marlowe agrees with Calvinism or not is ambiguous, like so many other apects of the play NECROMANCY
- It is a form of magic (often understood as a form of black magic) in which an individual can commune with the dead
* Literature is like necromancy in that it memorializes thoughts and people so that writers can engage with those who came before them (in an act of “summoning” up the dead for conversation)
*Faustus is accused of being involved in necromany in the Chorus' introduction: "He surfeits upon cursed necromancy" (25) JOHN DEE
- A tutor for Queen Elizabeth and Sir Philip Sidney (highly influential thinker and teacher at the time!)
- Dee was interested in both science and magic; he saw them as the same and thought that magic could be proven mathematically
- He was a hermetic philosopher, an astronomer (physical study and understanding of the universe), and astrologer (spiritual study and understanding of the universe)
* Once again, the “silos” of knowledge that separate science from art and science from spirituality today did not exist in Dee’s time: he was able to blend the knowledge systems of science and spirituality DEE’S BEETLE
- John Dee invented a flying wooden beetle for a drama production at Cambridge
- He was accused of being a devil worshipper and was prosecuted for it with the charge of sorcery
* This was about forty years prior to the publication and performance of Marlowe’s “Faustus”, but people were similarly distressed by the dark spiritual influence that they perceived from the play *Marlowe’s “Faustus” engages with all of these concepts/
ideas/belief systems* FAUSTUS
- The play was published over a decade after Marlowe’s death; the play was performed for many years prior to this
- It is written in blank verse and prose
- It is a text about technology and magic; it also claims that literature is its own form of technology and magic (literature allows us to creatively imagine the world)
- The play is full of ambiguity:
• Within the first few lines, the Chorus says: “we must perform/ The form of Faustus’ fortunes, good or bad./ To patient judgments we appeal our plaud” (7-9)—the Chorus does not offer a moral interpretation, it simply states the existence of both good and bad forces
• The Chorus does not clearly explain what Faustus’ great faults were: they ambiguously state that he fell “to a devilish exercise” (23), and only allude to his involvement with “necromancy” and “magic” (25, 26)--—his actions are compared to Icarus’ act of hubris in Greek mythology
- Faustus begins the first scene asking existential questions: “It to dispute well logic’s chiefest end?/ Affords this art no greater miracle?” (8-9)
• These questions demonstrate that the study, knowledge, and the cunning deployment of rhetoric are not sufficient for Faustus, he desires a “miracle”—-- he has curiosity and creativity
* This is a bold statement, as the system of Renaissance Humanism in England so highly valorized education and knowledge; Faustus’ statement challenges this influential epistemology and suggests that life is not just about knowledge, but that a spiritual dimension is required* IS THIS ALL THAT THERE IS?
Through the character of Faustus, Marlowe explores the question that all humans ponder at some point in their lives: can we know everything about the universe through science and our knowledge systems? Or is there something else- perhaps a spiritual element to the world? Today, this question is just as relevant as it was in the 16th and 17th centuries: there have been extraordinary scientific and technological advances in the centuries since then, and people who lived in that time would probably see us and think that we MUST have the universe figured out, based on all of the knowledge that we have acquired. Truthfully, however, even though we have Darwin’s theory of evolution, scientists have failed to prove it and in recent years, more and more academics are refuting the credibility of the theory, saying that there should be millions of transitional fossils on the planet to show how species slowly evolved and yet, there are extraordinarily few. It seems the humanity takes one step forward and several steps backwards when it comes to our understanding of the universe. Even when true discoveries have been made and thoroughly proven through extensive study (such as various biochemical processes inside of the body), these often lead people to question who or what created these infinitely complicated and creative bodies of ours? Many professors within the science faculty at the University of Guelph entered their profession thinking that science would help them to understand the world, only to discover years into their work that science will always fail us; it cannot offer answers to the existential questions that we all have. My involvement with Campus for Christ over the past four years has allowed me to interact with professors and students on campus from a wide range of backgrounds during Orientation Week and at our various events. Through conversations that I have had at these events, I have found that every single person has questions about spirituality, even atheists. Furthermore, more people than I ever imagined believe that there is a creative being who made the universe. Personally, I think that this phenomenon speaks to a great, human reality that we were wired to conceive of more than human wisdom can attain, much as Faustus does when he asks if there is “no greater miracle?” (9). The universality of this phenomenon is supported by the fact that tribes in the farthest corners of the globe practice spirituality demonstrate to me that faith in a creator is not the result of institutionalized religion, but rather a part of the human spirit. Faustus’ question, then, becomes a wonderful point of access to the play for readers in any age. I think that it is an especially potent question for readers in North America to encounter today, as society has generally moved away from faith in God and instead, developed its own faith system, based on human knowledge. From speaking to hundreds of people over the last four years about their spiritual beliefs, I see that our culture demands repression of spiritual questions and beliefs and that people do not feel free to seek out God’s existence, the credibility of the Bible, or a personal relationship with God, because all of this has been deemed “foolishness”. Due to this reality in our society, I think that Faustus’ question is extremely applicable and healthy for us to ask: is this (my present understanding and knowledge of the world) all that there is to my existence? Week Twelve Faustus
continued Discovery FAUSTUS CONTINUED
- Through Faustus, Marlowe explores the failure of the human spirit
- It acts as a kind of exploration narrative: through the play, Marlowe imagines the reaches of human possibility and attempts to chart new territory, mirroring the work of exploration narratives
- In the play, Marlowe engages with some of the most influential philosophical (hermeticism), theological (Calvinism) and magical (necromancy) systems of knowledge of his time – he was heavily engaged with and up-to-date on the current debates of his time, which once again demonstrates that literary culture does not happen within a vacuum! DISCOVERY
- It was a period of slavery, new technology, and wealth (in Europe)- New lands were conquered by Europeans, who often used religion to assert authority over indigenous people:
• The Spanish conquistadores were obligated, by law, to read a document called “The Requirement” at the point of contact
• The document threatened war on indigenous peoples if they did not accept the authority of the Catholic Church: “I shall make war on you”- this was the model for encountering difference (a complete refusal to listen to or value difference) * This is one of the sad failures of the Renaissance era: despite innovative scientific discoveries and creative literary developments, Europeans failed to consider of the value of other cultures, or at least attempt to expand into new territories without fear-mongering and war * * The document was informed by the Transcendental Signifier of God, as the Europeans interpreted that it was God’s will for them to imperially expand and conquer indigenous people’s groups- we are still feeling the effects of this worldview today (we are still trying to make amends for the social, cultural, and psychological damage that native residential schools had on Canadian indigenous groups) * Final Response MY RESPONSE
Not only was discovery a failure of European culture (in that they failed to imagine the creative possibilities of peacefully encountering other people groups and what these exchanges could offer them), but it was also an abominable failure of the church.
I cannot know for sure whether Europeans in the age of discovery really did think that it was God’s calling for them to conquer the New World, but I am highly skeptical that any such claims were founded in truth. Europeans seemed to fashion their method of imperial expansion after the story of the Israelites in the Old Testament; the problem with this is that this Old Testament narrative cannot be applied and used as justification for the destruction of indigenous people’s groups at the whim of the monarchy. In terms of the Israelites, God appeared to the leaders and made direct commands to conquer Canaan, for very particular reasons. From what I know about colonial expansion, the monarchy simply recognized the wealth that other lands possessed, and this desire fuelled exploration; they then pulled the Biblical narrative of conquering foreign lands and people in order to conveniently justify their actions.
Because the root desire for colonialism was based in economics and self-interest, the Church, the Bible, and the name of God were shamed and these effects are still felt today (in that so many people take issue with the notion of God and the Bible precisely because of the ways that they have been used to wreak global terror). Europeans misused and misinterpreted the Bible to create compelling documents like “The Requirement” (using God as a handy transcendental signifier), but in this, they compromised their own beliefs (if they knew that what they were doing was wrong) and cheapened people’s perceptions of God. Final Thoughts FINAL THOUGHTS
I have really appreciated this course and the way that you exposed us to so many different texts, writers, and ideas. The course was different from any other class that I have taken on this time period (particularly because you did not valorize Shakespeare and have us read copious works of his) and I feel that I have a much greater understanding of, and appreciation for this period of history, including but not exclusively to literary works.
This Commonplace book has been an excellent way for me to engage with texts outside of class time, ponder and re-work the interpretations that you provided in class, and draw connections between course content and what I have learned in other classes, and even my own personal interests.
I hope that you have been encouraged by the thinking that is expressed in this Commonplace book and I hope that you have an excellent summer break.
Thanks for taking the time to read all of this!
0594867 This Commonplace book has been compiled retrospectively from notes taken in class. I have made omissions of information that seemed less significant than what is presented here. I have worked to highlight key concerns, terms, and ideas and expand upon those which interest me most. I have incorporated YouTube clips, cartoons, and artworks in order to demonstrate or embellish some of my arguments. Enjoy! By: Courtney Good