Virtual Scholarship: Navigating Early Modern Studies
on the World Wide Web
Kevin Curran, McGill University.
This article surveys a large number of freely accessible WWW resources for scholars of early modern literature. It comments on some of the specific ways in which WWW resources are proving valuable to early modern studies and considers what new directions Web-based scholarship might move in next. The article also discusses some of the practical, intellectual, and theoretical issues raised by the Internet in early modern studies and considers what kinds of challenges these issues might pose for Humanities computing as it moves into its next phase.
From the ridiculous to the sublime: Ovidian and Neoplatonic
registers in A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595) is a play about love and the codification of desire. Intertextual influences are discernible from multitudinous systems of thought. Though these include the prominent philosophical consideration of love of the Renaissance Neoplatonists, the presence of Ovidian registers, widely considered to be 'counter-Plato', establishes a conflict of ideals within the text. This essay explores the relationship between divine, Platonic love and Ovidian bestial love in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Titania and Bottom are focal points for both the Ovidian and Neoplatonic registers of the text as 'love' between the mortal and immortal is both common to Ovidian myth and central to the Neoplatonic communion with Divine Beauty as the zenith of humanity's spiritual potentiality. The love, or lust, conjured upon Titania for Bottom, the mortal transformed into animal shape rather than the god, reduces the consideration to this: is Bottom communicating with the divine, or is the divine humiliated? The essay will consider the philosophical intention and early modern reinterpretation of inspirational material, as well as the reappearance of common mythological signifiers in the less ambiguous text of Thomas Heywood's Love's Mistress (1636). Such myths are responsive to the forms and pressures of the time of their reproduction and therefore A Midsummer Night's Dream is potentially interesting in how the heterosexual love-relationship is represented, interrogated, and aligned with disparate constructs of the nature of love.
"'With Honour Quit the Fort': Ambivalent Colonialism
in Dryden's Amboyna
Candy B. K. Schille
The essay argues that Amboyna, its subject and occasion the Dutch Wars, is not simple-mindedly propagandistic, but shows Dryden's ambivalence about the English colonial project. I discuss Dryden's manipulation of his historical sources, the relevance of the religious and political context of the 1670's, and link the play to Dryden's attitudes and utterances during the period, including Annus Mirabilis, The Hind and the Panther, and Absalom and Achitophel. Characteristically, Dryden shows the complexity of mind required to negotiate between the immediate political pressures on a playwright and an evolving, flexible metaphysical and historical consciousness.
Love, Death and Resurrection in Tragicomedies by Seventeenth-Century
English Women Dramatists
Marguérite Corporaal, University of Leiden, the Netherlands
In tragicomedies by seventeenth-century English women, such as Lady Mary Wroth's Loves Victory (c.1620), Frances Boothby's Marcelia (1669) and Aphra Behn's The Forced Marriage (1670), the generic aspects of tragicomedy are interrelated to gender subversive elements. The impending tragedy in the three plays is shown to be bound up with women's powerless social position, while the transition from tragedy to happy resolution is marked by a reversal of conventional gender ideas concerning agency, sexuality and autonomy. Moreover, in Marcelia and The Forced Marriage the tragicomic mode is used to express criticism on women playwrights' lack of autonomy in the London theatrical world.
© 2006-, Matthew Steggle (Editor, EMLS).