Environment and Embodiment in Early Modern England 1403997748, 9781403997746, 9780230593022

Focusing on selfhood, embodiment and environment in the early modern world, this volume approaches a range of literary a

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Environment and Embodiment in Early Modern England 
 1403997748, 9781403997746, 9780230593022

Table of contents :
Cover......Page 1
Contents......Page 8
List of Illustrations......Page 10
Acknowledgments......Page 11
Notes on Contributors......Page 12
Introduction: Inhabiting the Body, Inhabiting the World......Page 14
1 Spongy Brains and Material Memories......Page 27
2 Marvell's Amazing Garden......Page 48
3 The Souls of Animals: John Donne's Metempsychosis and Early Modern Natural History......Page 68
4 Affective Technologies: Toward an Emotional Logic of the Elizabethan Stage......Page 84
5 Inconstancy: Changeable Affections in Stuart Dramas of Contract......Page 103
6 The East in British-American Writing: English Identity, John Smith's True Travels, and Severed Heads......Page 116
7 "My Liquid Journey": The Frontispiece to Coryat's Crudities 1611......Page 131
8 Becoming the Landscape: The Ecology of the Passions in the Legend of Temperance......Page 150
9 "The Material Point of Poesy": Reading, Writing and Sensation in Puttenham's The Arte of English Poesie......Page 166
10 Spelling the Body......Page 184
11 Humanist Habitats; Or, "Eating Well" with Thomas More's Utopia......Page 200
C......Page 223
H......Page 224
R......Page 225
Y......Page 226

Citation preview

Environment and Embodiment in Early Modern England Edited by

Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan

Early Modern Literature in History General Editors: Cedric C. Brown, Professor of English and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Reading; Andrew Hadfield, Professor of English, University of Sussex, Brighton Advisory Board: Donna Hamilton, University of Maryland; Jean Howard, University of Columbia; John Kerrigan, University of Cambridge; Richard McCoy, CUNY; Sharon Achinstein, University of Oxford Within the period 1520–1740 this series discusses many kinds of writing, both within and outside the established canon. The volumes may employ different theoretical perspectives, but they share an historical awareness and an interest in seeing their texts in lively negotiation with their own and successive cultures.



The series Early Modern Literature in History is published in association with the Renaissance Texts Research Centre at the University of Reading.

Early Modern Literature in History Series Standing Order ISBN 0–333–71472–5 (outside North America only) You can receive future titles in this series as they are published by placing a standing order. Please contact your bookseller or, in case of difficulty, write to us at the address below with your name and address, the title of the series and the ISBN quoted above. Customer Services Department, Macmillan Distribution Ltd, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, England

Environment and Embodiment in Early Modern England Edited by

Mary Floyd-Wilson and

Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr

Introduction, editorial matter and selection © Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr. 2007 Individual Chapters © contributors 2007 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 4LP. Any person who does any unauthorised act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The authors have asserted their rights to be identified as the authors of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. First published 2007 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010 Companies and representatives throughout the world PALGRAVE MACMILLAN is the global academic imprint of the Palgrave Macmillan division of St. Martin’s Press, LLC and of Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. Macmillan is a registered trademark in the United States, United Kingdom and other countries. Palgrave is a registered trademark in the European Union and other countries. ISBN-13: 9781403997746 hardback ISBN-10: 1403997748 hardback This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 Printed and bound in Great Britain by Antony Rowe Ltd, Chippenham and Eastbourne

This book is dedicated to the memory of Cynthia Marshall.

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List of Illustrations



x xi

Notes on Contributors Introduction: Inhabiting the Body, Inhabiting the World Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr


1 Spongy Brains and Material Memories John Sutton


2 Marvell’s Amazing Garden Mary Thomas Crane


3 The Souls of Animals: John Donne’s Metempsychosis and Early Modern Natural History Elizabeth D. Harvey


4 Affective Technologies: Toward an Emotional Logic of the Elizabethan Stage Steven Mullaney


5 Inconstancy: Changeable Affections in Stuart Dramas of Contract Katherine Rowe


6 The East in British-American Writing: English Identity, John Smith’s True Travels, and Severed Heads Jim Egan


7 “My Liquid Journey”: The Frontispiece to Coryat’s Crudities (1611) David J. Baker



viii Contents



Becoming the Landscape: The Ecology of the Passions in the Legend of Temperance Gail Kern Paster


“The Material Point of Poesy”: Reading, Writing and Sensation in Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie Katharine A. Craik



Spelling the Body Tanya Pollard


Humanist Habitats; Or, “Eating Well” with Thomas More’s Utopia Julian Yates





List of Illustrations 1 2


Engraving from John Smith’s True Travels. The John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. Engraving from Thomas Coryate, Coryat’s Crudities, 1611. This item is reproduced by permission of the Huntington Library. San Marino, California. Hans Holbein, Hortus Conclusus. From Thomas More, Utopia (Basel, 1518). By permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library.





Acknowledgments We would like to thank all the participants of the “Inhabiting the Body/Inhabiting the World” conference (March 2004) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, especially Lorraine Daston, Steven Mullaney, Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, and John Sutton. We are grateful to Darryl Gless and the College of Arts and Sciences (UNC-CH) for funding the event. We would also like to acknowledge the members of the “Ecologies of the Early Modern Body” seminar at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference (2004), with special thanks to Carla Mazzio and Katherine Rowe for their generative contributions. We owe much to Melissa Caldwell for her accurate fact-checking and to Evan Gurney for his assistance with editorial matters. We would also like to acknowledge the Department of English and the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-CH for their help with publishing expenses. We are grateful for the support of the “Early Modern Literature in History” series editors, Cedric Brown and Andrew Hadfield, and for the professionalism and hard work of those at Palgrave Macmillan who so ably ushered this volume into print. Finally, Mary would like to thank Lanis, Claude, and Maddie Wilson and Garrett would like to thank Marie Hojnacki for their love, forbearance, and support.


Notes on Contributors David J. Baker is Professor of English at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. He has written Between Nations: Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell, and the Question of Britain and has co-edited British Identities and English Renaissance Literature. He is currently working on a study of literature and consumption in early modern England. Katharine A. Craik completed her doctoral research at King’s College, Cambridge, and is a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. Her book Reading Sensations in Early Modern England will be published in 2007. Mary Thomas Crane is Professor of English at Boston College. She is the author of Framing Authority: Sayings, Self, and Society in SixteenthCentury England (1993) and Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory (2000). Jim Egan is Associate Professor of English at Brown University. His research focuses on colonial British-American writing and culture. Mary Floyd-Wilson is Associate Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (2003). She has co-edited with Gail Kern Paster and Katherine Rowe Reading the Early Modern Passions (2004). She and Garrett Sullivan have also co-edited a special edition of Renaissance Drama. Elizabeth D. Harvey is Professor of English at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Ventriloquized Voices: Feminist Theory and Renaissance Texts, co-editor of Luce Irigaray and Premodern Culture and, most recently, editor of Sensible Flesh: On Touch in Early Modern Culture. She is currently completing a book on early modern medicine and literature entitled Inscrutable Organs. Steven Mullaney teaches early modern literature at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His chapter in this book is drawn from a work in progress, titled The Reformation of Emotions in the Age of Shakespeare. xi

xii Notes on Contributors

Gail Kern Paster is Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library and editor of Shakespeare Quarterly. Recent work includes her book Humoring the Body: Emotions on the Shakespearean Stage (2004) and the anthology Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotions, co-edited with Katherine Rowe and Mary Floyd-Wilson. Tanya Pollard is Associate Professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. Her publications include Shakespeare’s Theater: A Sourcebook (2004) and Drugs and Theater in Early Modern England (2005). She is currently writing on early modern literary genres and their debts to ancient Greece. Katherine Rowe, Professor of English at Bryn Mawr, is the author of Dead Hands: Fictions of Agency, Renaissance to Modern (1999) and coeditor of Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion with Gail Kern Paster and Mary Floyd-Wilson (2004). She is co-author, with Thomas Cartelli, of New Wave Shakespeare on Screen (2006). Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr, Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, is author of The Drama of Landscape: Land, Property and Social Relations on the Early Modern Stage and Memory and Forgetting in English Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster. Along with Mary Floyd-Wilson, he recently co-edited a special issue of Renaissance Drama focused on body and environment. John Sutton teaches philosophy at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. His research is on the interdisciplinary study of memory, the philosophy of cognitive science, and the history of science. Julian Yates is Associate Professor of English and Material Culture Studies at University of Delaware. He is the author of Error, Misuse, Failure: Object Lessons from the English Renaissance (2003).

Introduction: Inhabiting the Body, Inhabiting the World Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr

Renaissance anxiety about relations between body and environment is powerfully expressed in the Bower of Bliss episode at the end of Book II of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. The Bower is a site of tremendous physical beauty, marked by the creation of a fundamentally false sense of harmony: “all that pleasing is to liuing eare, / Was there consorted in one harmonee, / Birdes, voices, instruments, windes, waters, all agree.” 1 In the Bower, both nature (birds, winds) and artifice (“instruments”) dominate an environment conducive to Acrasia’s efforts to emasculate unwary knights such as Verdant. Verdant has been seduced not only by Acrasia but also by the very landscape of the Bower, which helps to lull him asleep “in secret shade, after long wanton ioyes” ( Spenser provides us with an image of the environment exercising a malign influence on the body of a knightly hero. We should not see this episode as a simple example of environmental determinism, however. Verdant’s emasculation is also the expression of his bodily habitus. That is, the environment of the Bower has two, partly contradictory, functions: it seduces knights into an intemperate state and it serves as the environmental manifestation of their own incontinence. Similarly, as Harry Berger, Jr, has argued, Acrasia is both a Circean temptress and the projection of masculine immoderation: “ ‘Akrasia’ conflates two Greek words, one denoting humoral imbalance and the other impotence    Book II represents temperance as fear of akrasia, a fear that creeps from the common noun toward the proper name, that is, from a-krasia toward Acrasia, from attributes of self toward the personification of the other, from incontinence and impotence toward their putative cause in Acrasia.” 2 The intemperate subject both succumbs to 1

2 Introduction

the Bower’s pleasures and finds his own intemperance manifested in them. In the Bower, body and environment do not merely mirror one another, however; they also interpenetrate. For instance, the liquidity of this scene—“waters” are referenced not only in the above quotation, but also two more times in the subsequent stanza (71.6, 7)—is echoed both in Verdant’s “bedewd” lips and “humid eyes” and in Acrasia’s sucking of his “spright” (73.6, 7). Moreover, insofar as Verdant sleeps, his body is marked by the cold moistness associated with both slumber and his humoral complexion as phlegmatic. (As Gail Kern Paster has shown, the cold moistness of phlegm is gendered female, a fact that provides further evidence of Verdant’s emasculation.) 3 Verdant’s moist sleep expresses his porousness, as moisture passes not only between Acrasia and himself, but also between his body and the environment. In depicting the relationship between body and environment, then, Spenser seems to have it both ways. On the one hand, the environment alters Verdant; this is the literary equivalent of the Galenic notion that the six non-naturals, which include both climate and sleep and waking, can modify the complexion of the individual. On the other, the environment expresses Verdant’s pre-existing intemperance. Such an opposition is somewhat deceptive, however, insofar as it is the subject’s effort to regulate the influence of the non-naturals that is the basis for early modern conceptions of regimen. What Spenser articulates, though, is anxiety about the limits of regimen—about its potential inability to control the impact of the environment on the subject. 4 It is this very anxiety that arguably underwrites Guyon’s famously equivocal destruction of the Bower. Spenser’s hero of temperance dismantles the Bower in markedly intemperate fashion, making “of the fairest late, now    the fowlest place” (83.9). If Spenser has it both ways, Guyon does not; his destruction of the Bower reads it only as malign environmental influence, not as the expression of (his own) heroic intemperance. In destroying the Bower, Guyon refuses the body’s complicity in that which this environment emblematizes. The Bower of Bliss episode is particularly well suited to recent critical analysis of the relationship between body and environment. Scholars have emphasized the porousness of an early modern body that takes the environment into itself or spills out of its own bounds (or both). This criticism, some of which has been produced by contributors to this volume, has also alerted us to the “ecological” nature of early modern conceptions of embodiment—the way in which the body is understood as embedded in a larger world with which it transacts. 5 Although such

Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr 3

transactions cross the line between “inside” and “outside,” we tend to think through this dynamic flux dualistically, relying on fundamental distinctions between the body and its environment—between Acrasia’s sleeping lover and the Bower. While an ecological perspective highlights their mutual penetrability, the categories of “body” and “environment” prove remarkably resilient in maintaining their clarity of definition. For the purposes of this introduction, we acknowledge the conceptual utility of thinking dualistically about body and environment. Doing so allows us to get an important purchase on many aspects of early modern thought. For one thing, the relationship between “microcosm” and “macrocosm,” so integral to early modern cosmological thought, assumes these categorical distinctions. In what follows, we begin with a stable or reified sense of “body” and “environment” to chart a variety of body–environment relations conceived in the period. Our taxonomy of transactions between body and environment, though not exhaustive, seeks to account for the complexity of the early modern somatic ecology. First, we should point out that, in early modern thinking, transactions between body and environment usually imply a conception of subjectivity or social identity. For example, as Paster’s work has shown, the supposed inconstancy of women is underscored by and registered in the putative “leakiness” of the female body, represented by milk, menstrual blood, or prolific urination. 6 In other words, humoral physiology subtends the formation of distinctly gendered subjectivities, whose definition also presupposes specific kinds of environmental transactions. Moreover, some environmental transactions could be controlled or directed by the individual, as in the case of diet, as Michael Schoenfeldt demonstrates, to produce the parameters of early modern subjectivity. 7 Certainly one need not read all transactions between body and environment through the lens of subjectivity: respiration, for instance, does not necessarily require or engage the subject. 8 In his work on the phenomenology of hearing in Shakespeare’s theater, Bruce Smith suggests that the materiality of sound’s medium—air—in which both “speaker and listener are immersed,” ultimately “calls into question the distinction between subject and object.” 9 However, a majority of transactions between body and environment in this period seem to presuppose the subject; either subjectivity emerges through these transactions, or the subject seeks to shape their nature, or both. What the subject looks like, however, can differ dramatically from transaction to transaction—so dramatically as to put great pressure on the very category of subjectivity.

4 Introduction

The first model in our taxonomy of ecological relations is similitude. In this model, body–environment relations take their meaning from the overarching sense that the body resembles the world. As Oswald Croll and others asserted, “There is nothing in the World, the property of which is not found in Man the Microcosme    and since he is the Comprisement” of all creatures and plants, he “transformes himself & imitates and invents whatsoever is found in them.” 10 The signs of human virtues and vices are found in the traits of animals. The signatures of plants and roots reveal medicinal purposes by similitude: walnuts look like the brain, therefore they comfort the head. 11 The movement of the winds finds its somatic analogue in the internal motions of the passions. 12 Or, the microcosm mirrors the macrocosm in which it is embedded; it is both a part and an image of a universal order, figured, for instance, as a series of concentric circles extending outward from the body toward the primum mobile, or through the correspondence between the four elements (air, fire, water, and earth) and the four humors (blood, bile, phlegm, and black bile). While humans are both “embedded in and acted on by these circles,” from the perspective of similitude, the body’s transactions with the environment appear fundamentally reflective. 13 It is a malign model of similitude that we encounter in the Bower’s analogies between Acrasia’s seduction of Verdant and the false harmony of winds, waters, and instruments. A different kind of transaction is presupposed in the exchange model. Here, emphasis is placed upon that which crosses the threshold of the body, from within or without. Food is ingested and excreted, air is inhaled and exhaled, fluids are taken in and expelled: in all these cases, the body engages in active exchange with its environment. It is this model that has been of greatest interest to scholars of late, with the work of Paster and Schoenfeldt being most influential. However, these two critics have disagreed about the precise relationship between exchange and subject-formation. Paster’s account of female “leakiness,” alluded to above, associates loss of bodily control with (the misogynist notion of) female inconstancy. (Again, Verdant’s own moist leakiness is commensurate with his effeminization.) As we also noted, Schoenfeldt argues for a valorized conception of subjectivity that emerges out of somatic discipline, especially in the form of the careful regulation of ingestion. What unites their work, however, is the insight that subjectivity is constituted out of the passage of matter through and across the body. Rather than emphasizing the (relative) stasis of the similitude model, these critics have focused on the ebb and flow of exchange between body and environment.

Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr 5

A third type of transaction is defined by the counteractive model. Whereas exchange presupposes the more or less encumbered transmission of material from outside in or inside out, counteraction references the idea that the body’s complexion is formed in opposition or through resistance to the environment. The best example of this model is to be found in the legacy of Aristotelian geohumoralism recently examined by Mary Floyd-Wilson. While Hippocratic conceptions of the relationship between body and environment posit that the complexion of the subject is continuous with his environment—the putative cold wetness of Englishmen is continuous with the climate of Northern Europe—the Aristotelian tradition is counteractive in assuming the opposite, that internal heat is generated through resistance to external cold. 14 In a similar vein, the English colonists residing in the New World developed a concept of “seasoning” to account for the way their bodies could maintain an essential Englishness as they physically adapted to their new environs. 15 For this model, the transaction between body and environment is a fundamentally oppositional one, and both complexion and subjectivity are informed by the relation. Another kind of counteraction might be found in the Stoic withdrawal from a social or natural environment that too powerfully engages the passions. The Neostoic Justus Lipsius, for example, recognized that the natural environment had a strong hold on man, but he also insisted that internal fortitude emerged through resisting such “fetters of nature.” 16 In all three of these transactional models, “body” and “environment” exist in a dualistic relation. We discuss these models as if they exist in a pure form and in isolation from one another. However, in somatic practice the models can and usually do blur into or contain elements of one another. Similitude and exchange can overlap. For instance, the internal “winds” of the passions are often set into motion by external influences, and the passions themselves are seen as simultaneously “internal” and “external.” Moreover, the microcosm is arguably as shot through with the macrocosm as it is reflective of it. Additionally, shifting notions of pathology undermined the stability of a “single body image.” 17 Galenic conceptions of disease held that the disorder of internal humors, or dyskrasia, generated illness, whereas the Paracelsians emphasized exogenous origins of corruption. 18 As Jonathan Gil Harris has shown, these contradictory representations of the physical body’s relationship to the environment produced, in turn, incongruous notions of the body politic. These examples of overlap notwithstanding, by identifying our models (in all their false purity), we isolate more precisely the range of body–environment transactions, as well as their implications for figuring

6 Introduction

the subject. We do not mean to deny that certain elements of early modern thought troubled dualistic relations between body and environment. Our final model is one of dispersion or distribution. Drawing on developments in cognitive science, Evelyn Tribble and John Sutton have called attention to early modern instances of distributed cognition, in which the embodied mind extends across the environment in its functional reliance on culture and artifice. 19 Similarly, the passions were seen as simultaneously internal and external and did not necessarily map onto an individual subject. 20 Theoretically, the passions could suffuse an environment and capture a number of subjects within a given field, forming what Garrett Sullivan has described as an affective landscape. 21 In these instances, emotion and thought are fundamentally intersubjective, with both bodies and environment registering their effects in ways that stretch dualism to its limits. In such a landscape, not only is subjectivity distributed across bodies and environment, but the environment itself can also be seen as exercising the kind of agency usually limited to the subject. In the model of dispersal and distribution, bodies, subjects, and environment are relational and interdependent. When it comes to early modern literary texts, some of the models in our taxonomy have genres, modes, or forms to which they have a clear affinity. Schoenfeldt has suggested, for example, that the restrained form of the sonnet makes it the perfect vehicle for the self he sees emerging from a disciplinary regimen. 22 Smith’s work on acoustics emphasizes how theatrical performances rely on an exchange model, in which sounds circulate through the air, to stir the audience’s passions, eliciting shouts and applause that return to the environment’s “sea of noise.” 23 As Sullivan has suggested, a powerful case can be made for the dispersal model’s compatibility with romance. 24 This affinity is clearest in the case of “romance episodes” in epic—moments at which the conflicting imperatives of epic and romance collide 25 —which brings us back to the Bower of Bliss. In succumbing to the blandishments of the Bower, Verdant abandons his heroic, epic identity (as emblematized by the “gold moniments” erased from his “braue shield” []) and enters a romance world of sensual pleasures, a world dominated by the passions (both his own and his environment’s). In doing so, Verdant takes on attributes of the landscape of the pleasure garden: his facial hair is rendered distinctly floral (“And on his tender lips the downy heare / Did now but freshly spring, and silken blossomes beare” [79.8–9], emphasis ours); Acrasia’s rapacious kiss of his “bedewd” lips is figured in terms of her “greedily depasturing delight” (73.6, 4, emphasis

Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr 7

ours); and his very name underscores these vegetal associations (as in Spenserian references to “verdant gras” [,] and “verdant fields” []). Under the spell of romance, Verdant bleeds both into other subjects (“And through his humid eyes did [Acrasia] sucke his spright, / Quite molten into lust and pleasure lewd” [–8]) and into the environment itself. 26 In this romance episode, the dispersal of both subjectivity and soma stretches the dualistic relationship between body and environment to its limits. 27 The above models do not exhaust all possibilities for figuring relations between body and environment, nor do they, as our contributors will make plain, begin to account for what might constitute one’s environment. Thus far our taxonomy implies an understanding of the environment as predominantly physical or natural, mostly comprised of the Galenic non-naturals (including diet, air, and the passions) even when we allow, for example, that sound travels through air or that generic frameworks may presuppose particular subject–object relations. This is, of course, an inadequate notion of what can constitute an environment, as our opening example makes plain. The Bower of Bliss is emphatically not (or not simply) a “natural” environment. As the long-lived critical debate about art and nature in the Bower has made plain, Acrasia’s garden combines wind and water with “instruments”; it boasts both natural flowers and cunningly wrought artificial ones (–6). 28 Early modern ecologies comprise natural, social, and material environments, as the essays in this volume often stress. Several contributors examine the material impact of literary and textual representations, thus reminding us that the transacting mediums between bodies and environment include words and pictures. Others are interested in discovering the environmental pressures produced by the circumscription and shaping effects of particular cognitive or social spaces. As scaffolding for the mind and emotions, interactive structures such as the theater, the marriage contract, or the preface of a book frame one’s immediate environment. Indeed, one’s microenvironment could trump or challenge the influences of one’s macroenvironment. Certainly, all of the environments represented in this volume, whether natural or artificial, inert or animated, crowded or vacant, move well beyond the boundaries of a backdrop or setting. In the first chapter, “Spongy Brains and Material Memories,” the body and environment relation that John Sutton describes is one of distribution. In his earlier work on memory, Sutton established how early modern psychology was permeated by “context, culture, and body.” 29 Here, with a nod to Bruno Latour, Sutton observes that we have never

8 Introduction

been modern in how we use the world. Or more accurately, perhaps, we have always been postmodern hybrids or cyborgs. In essence, Sutton provides a historical dimension to the philosophy of cognitive science. Positing a non-anxious relationship between embodied minds and the environment, Sutton argues that the fluidity of the early modern brain— awash with humors and spirits—necessitated that people appropriate external props. With its memories embedded in clothing and recorded on writing tables, the mind was inevitably distributed across its environment, and the environment, in turn, was internalized. Thus, “culture, artifice, and moral practice” function, Sutton argues, as inevitable “supplements which construct and maintain the biological processes that they simultaneously and deeply reform.” For Elizabeth D. Harvey and Mary Thomas Crane, the seventeenthcentury poetry of John Donne and Andrew Marvell represents a world organized by analogies and correspondences, in which a disembodied mind and soul prove unimaginable. Both poets are deeply engaged by the complexities and challenges of a natural philosophical perspective that figures human autonomy within the model of similitude. But in neither case does this translate to mean that the embodied mind and environment are in static relation to one another. In “Marvell’s Amazing Garden,” Crane observes how the analogies between the garden, the world, the body, and the soul generate amazement in Marvell’s speaker. The marvel of similitude, in other words, produces wonder. And wonder, Crane argues, is a liminal affective state that distances the speaker from the old correspondences—indeed from all explanatory systems—while simultaneously demonstrating the impossibility of thinking without the world. For Harvey in “The Souls of Animals,” Donne’s Metempsychosis deploys the idea of transmigrating souls as a cumulative effect of past lives as an animal or a plant, carried within the individual as barely suppressed memories of urges and appetites. In essence, the bodies and souls that Donne represents prove permeable to their past as well as their environments. While the human microcosm in Metempsychosis is encircled by and reflected in the ever shifting macrocosm, it has also dynamically absorbed lived experiences in its vegetative and sensitive souls, which challenges the rational soul’s efforts to civilize its baser impulses. In Steven Mullaney’s essay, “Affective Technologies: Toward an Emotional Logic of the Elizabethan Stage,” the early modern theater emerged as a new forum for collective thinking and for experiments in modes of feeling that answered the cultural environment of profound dissociation. Drawing in part on models of distribution and exchange,

Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr 9

Mullaney posits that the theatrical environment was a cognitive space and an affective technology in the reformation of social emotions. Mullaney traces, in particular, the productive effects of affective irony; by alienating the audience’s more instinctual emotions, Shakespeare and other playwrights opened up a whole range of possible heterogeneous emotions. Affective irony, not unlike the wonder that Crane sees in Marvell’s poem, has the capacity to redraw the relationship between the embodied mind and its environment. For Katherine Rowe in “Inconstancy: Changeable Affections in Stuart Dramas of Contract,” the genre of a play determines its affective technology: different genres host different solutions to a shared set of emotional puzzles. Complicating the model of exchange, Rowe suggests that a tragedy or a romance functions as a social model, scripting responses for the humoral subject who is continually moved by a changeable environment. The genre of romance, in particular, presents the marriage contract as a conceptual ecology that aims to resolve the conflict between the authenticity of inward feelings and the force of external social pressures. In their respective essays, Jim Egan and David Baker address how travel destabilizes the relationship between bodies and environments. And for both scholars, the prefatory material to the travel narrative functions as a representation of the traveler-authors’ altered identities following their peregrinations. In “The East in British-American Writing: English Identity, John Smith’s True Travels, and Severed Heads,” Egan maintains that modern readers fail to recognize a spatial economy at work in Smith’s writings, which connects the seemingly disparate reports of Eastern Europe and America. But these two distant regions, Egan argues, are written into Smith’s narration of the symbolic import and experiences of his own body. Smith’s travel accounts depend, in particular, on the models of exchange and counteraction. His portrayal of America insists that the colonists have altered the New World to such a degree that they have remade a taxing environment into a restorative one—capable of redeeming the Englishness of those travelers who had surrendered their natural identity to alienating journeys. In “ ‘My liquid journey’: the Frontispiece to Coryat’s Crudities,” Baker posits that Thomas Coryate, the popular travel writer, presents his own body as the nexus of a communal circulatory system that gobbles foreign matter in his travels, digests experiences, and then nourishes and entertains the reader at home. Baker maintains, in particular, that Coryate aims to dispel the usual anxieties associated with the exchange model abroad—the fears of contagion or self-alienation—by presenting the

10 Introduction

physical effects of travel as entertaining, fun, and profitable. Coryate’s body is exposed to the dangers of foreign climes, but his self-presentation merrily invites the reader to share in those somatic exchanges. In “Becoming the Landscape: The Ecology of the Passions in the Legend of Temperance,” Gail Kern Paster extends her work on the emotions as the “body’s weather.” Drawing on Timothy Reiss’s concept of passibility, which captures the sense of early modern persons as “embedded in and acted on by [circles or spheres]—including the material world and immediate biological, familial and social ambiences, as well as the soul’s    and cosmic, spiritual or divine life,” Paster tracks varying degrees of passibility in the impassioned characters of Book II of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. 30 In Paster’s reading, Spenser makes plain that the model of exchange is often troubled by complexional inclinations; the choleric and the phlegmatic move through the world differently, bringing with them a “mini-dispositional environment” that blurs any distinction between “what is outside and what is inside” the body. Countering Schoenfeldt’s discussion of the static House of Alma, Paster suggests that Spenser represents desiring bodies in motion as having little control over their reciprocal relationships with the environment. Both Katharine Craik and Tanya Pollard expand our understanding of environments to include the linguistic in their discussions of how language in certain forms or contexts was understood to have material effects on the body. For Craik, in “ ‘The Material Point of Poesy’: Reading, Writing and Sensation in Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie,” Puttenham’s hope that poetry will inspire gentlemanly virtue among the Englishmen depends on his assurance that a dynamic reciprocity or exchange exists between the reader and the literary environment of English poetry. Puttenham’s literary styles, Craik observes, “have their own tempers, humors and complexions which are, like their authors, hot or cold ‘according to the mettal of their minds.’ ” What emerges in the reading of poetry is a dynamic transactional relationship between the stimulus of the poem and the natural constitution of the reader—a relationship that ideally fosters masculine self-government. In “Spelling the Body,” Tanya Pollard also describes the permeability of early modern bodies to words. Just as medicine has a counteractive or curative effect on the body, word spells could have the physical effects of herbal or mineral remedies. Surprisingly, the power of words did not always lie in their verbal sense: it sometimes resided in the occult force of a word as a penetrable object, or as breath, or some ingestible element. Pollard’s thesis reminds the modern reader that the early modern environment was not only natural and cultural but supernatural as well. 31

Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr 11

At the end of the book, Julian Yates’s essay “Humanist Habitats; Or, ‘Eating Well’ with Thomas More’s Utopia” shifts our perspective from subject to object. Yates advocates an ecological criticism that refuses to privilege the figure of the human in a network of cohabiting things and beings. His examination of Utopia shows how the humanist subject is rendered autonomous through a series of erasures of things, animals, and other humans. Yates suggests that ecology assumes an inhuman perspective that allows us to see that our ongoing maintenance of a human/non-human divide succeeds in excluding some humans from the category of person. 32 Although we have relied, for practical purposes, on a duality of body and environment in this introduction, we do so consciously, with the aim of dismantling the usual categories of analysis. And while we have privileged subjectivity as a vector formed by the movement of environmental forces through persons, we do so cautiously, with an eye to forming and sustaining approaches to history-writing that decenter humans. To some, decentering the human may imply a reenchantment of former ecological relations—a blissful bower of bodies at play— far removed perhaps from the laboring bodies that helped build such networks. To others, privileging the subject merely returns us to the same humanistic history belied by our invocation of ecology. Environmental studies invite us to question the status and locale of human practices. And within the space of this volume, we have more than enough room for the fashioned self, for distributed agency, and for talking sheep.

Notes 1. Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, ed. Thomas P. Roche, Jr, assisted by C. Patrick O’Donnell, Jr (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978),–9. Henceforth cited in the text. 2. Harry Berger, Jr, “Wring Out the Old: Squeezing the Text, 1951–2001,” Spenser Studies 18 (2003): 81–121, esp. 88. 3. Gail Kern Paster, “The Unbearable Coldness of Female Being: Women’s Imperfection in the Humoral Economy,” English Literary Renaissance 28 (1998): 416–440. 4. This is commensurate with Stephen Greenblatt’s influential assertion that the Bower expresses English anxiety about “going native” while in Ireland; see Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), esp. 157–192. 5. On the “ecology” of early modern emotions, see Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion, ed., Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, and Mary Floyd-Wilson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 18 and Gail Kern Paster, Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago:

12 Introduction

6. 7. 8.


10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

University of Chicago Press, 2004), 42–43. Some of the critical work on the embedded body includes Gail Kern Paster, The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993); John Sutton, Philosophy and Memory Traces: Descartes to Connectionism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Jonathan Gil Harris, Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic: Discourses of Social Pathology in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Michael C. Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Bruce R. Smith, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Mary Thomas Crane, Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading With Cognitive Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001); Margaret Healy, Fictions of Disease in Early Modern England: Bodies, Plagues and Politics (New York: Palgrave, 2001); Cynthia Marshall, The Shattering of the Self: Violence, Subjectivity, and Early Modern Texts (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002); Mary Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Sensible Flesh: On Touch in Early Modern Culture, ed. Elizabeth D. Harvey (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003); Timothy Reiss, Mirages of the Selfe: Patterns of Personhood in Ancient and Early Modern Europe (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003); Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr, Memory and Forgetting in English Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); and Embodiment and Environment in Early Modern Drama and Performance, special issue of Renaissance Drama, n.s. 35 (2006), ed., Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr. Paster, The Body Embarrassed; on “humoral subjectivity,” see also Paster, Humoring the Body, 137. Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves. For an exception, though, see Carolyn Sale on respiration and subjectivity, “Eating Air, Feeling Smells: Hamlet’s Theory of Performance” in Renaissance Drama 35 (2006): 145–168. Bruce R. Smith, “Hearing Green: Logomarginality in Hamlet” Conclusion. Early Modern Literary Studies 7.1 (May, 2001): 5.1–6. Also available at http://purl.oclc.org/emls/07-1/logomarg/conclus.htm. Oswald Croll, “Treatise of Signatures,” Bazilica chymica (London, 1670), sig. E4v–E5r. Ibid., sig. C1r. See Paster, Humoring the Body, 9. See also Shigehisa Kuriyama, The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine (New York: Zone, 1999). Reiss, Mirages of the Selfe, 2. Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity, 29–30. Karen Kupperman, “Fear of Hot Climates in the Anglo-American Colonial Experience,” William and Mary Quarterly 41 (1984): 213–230. Justus Lipsius, The Two Bookes of Constancie, trans. John Stradling (London, 1595), 23 and 26. Harris, Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic, 25.

Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr 13 18. As Margaret Healy notes, Galen also postulated that diseases had external causes (21); but more importantly, she argues, early modernists tended to combine humoral and Paracelsian models (6). 19. See Sutton in this book and Evelyn B. Tribble, “Distributing Cognition in the Globe,” Shakespeare Quarterly 56.2 (2005): 135–155. 20. See, for instance, Paster, Humoring the Body, 178, 186–188. 21. See Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr, “Romance, Sleep, and the Passions in Sir Philip Sidney’s The Old Arcadia,” forthcoming in ELH. 22. Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves, 74–95. 23. Smith, “Hearing Green,” 5.1–6. 24. Sullivan, “Romance.” 25. On the romance episode, see David Quint, Epic and Empire: Politics and Generic Form from Virgil to Milton (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). “[T]he romance narrative bears a subversive relationship to the epic plot line from which it diverges, for it indicates the possibility of other perspectives, however incoherent they may ultimately be, upon the epic victors’ single-minded story of history” (Quint, 34). 26. Significantly, Verdant’s resumption of his epic identity coincides with Guyon’s complete destruction of the romance landscape of the Bower. This act of destruction does not represent a new model for body–environment transactions, but rather a form of praxis that reinstalls the distinction between subject and environment that Book II’s epic conclusion requires. 27. This discussion of Verdant and romance is developed further in Sullivan, “Sleep, Romance and the Problem of the Human in Spenser’s Bower of Bliss,” unpublished paper. 28. The nature–art debate shaped early twentieth-century criticism on the Bower, with important arguments being made by C. S. Lewis (“The Faerie Queene” [1936], Essential Articles for the Study of Edmund Spenser, ed. A. C. Hamilton [Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1972]: 3–12) and N. S. Brooke (“C. S. Lewis and Spenser: Nature, Art and the Bower of Bliss” [1949], Essential Articles: 13–28), among numerous others. 29. Sutton, Philosophy and Memory Traces, 24. 30. Reiss, Mirages of the Selfe, 2. 31. On the supernatural element of early modern environmentalism, see Floyd-Wilson, “English Epicures and Scottish Witches” Shakespeare Quarterly 57.2 (2006): 131–161; and Kristen Poole, “The Devil’s in the Archive: Doctor Faustus and Ovidian Physics,” Renaissance Drama 35 (2006): 191–219. 32. Yates’s essay shares some of the ethical goals of early modern eco-criticism. Texts in this emergent field include Gabriel Egan, Green Shakespeare: From Ecopolitics to Ecocriticism (London: Routledge, 2006); Robert N. Watson, Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006); Lorraine Sylvia Bowerbank, Speaking for Nature: Women and Ecologies of Early Modern England (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004); Simon C. Estok, “Letter,” Forum on Literatures of the Environment, PMLA 114.5 (Oct., 1999): 1095–1096; Estok, “Shakespeare and Ecocriticism: An Analysis of ‘Home’ and ‘Power’ in King Lear,” AUMLA 103 (May, 2005): 15–41.

1 Spongy Brains and Material Memories∗ John Sutton

I. Openness, influence, and scaffolding “Our brains make the world smart so that we can be dumb in peace,” writes Andy Clark in Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again, a key text in the “situated cognition” movement in cognitive science. 1 In early modern studies too, theorists such as Peter Stallybrass and Evelyn Tribble describe certain objects as having a cognitive life of their own, as “exograms” within external symbol systems which couple with and complement the distributed, context-ridden traces or “engrams” of the humoral body. 2 Embodied human minds operate in and spread across a vast and uneven world of things—artifacts, technologies, and institutions which they have collectively constructed and maintained through cultural and individual history. This chapter seeks to add a historical dimension to the enthusiastically future-oriented study of “natural-born cyborgs” in the philosophy of cognitive science, 3 and a cognitive dimension to recent work on material memories and symbol systems in early modern England, bringing humoral psychophysiology together with material culture studies. The aim is to sketch an integrative framework which spans early modern ideas and practices relating to brains, bodies, memory, and objects. Embodiment and environment, I’ll argue, were not (always) merely external influences on feeling, thinking, and remembering, but (in certain circumstances) partly constitutive of these activities. In the early modern period it was dangerous, as Mary Floyd-Wilson has shown, for the English to travel. Although survival and morality alike required appropriate openness to the world—to perceive, judge, and act as the situation demands—English bodies, and in particular English brains, were excessively porous. Overly vulnerable to the idiosyncratic 14

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impressions of a hostile world, the Englishman’s bodily and cognitive processes alike were thus prone “to absorb foreign vice indiscriminately.” In both medical and historical writings, in the drama and the moral physiology of the period, the moist complexions of the “fantastique English-men” with their “braine-sick humors” are blamed for their inconstant behavior. 4 The roiling motions of these islanders’ watery surrounds are internalized: in 1653 James Howell wrote that “the sea tumbleth perpetually about    so their braines do fluctuat in their noddles, which makes [the British] so variable and unsteady.” 5 Worse still, even if the texture of this naturally “spungy brain” allows for sharp perception and quick wit, it does not lend itself to stability and is notoriously unfit for the solid retention of moral matters in memory: what is “apte to take” is “unapte to keepe.” 6 How could cognitive discipline be maintained if it had to inhere in such a fluid medium? If there are multiple channels by which brain, body, and world interact and dynamically couple—material and bodily, cognitive and informational, emotional and phenomenological, interpersonal and cultural— then in early modern England these channels were unusually open, at an unusually high bandwidth. Alongside the cultural and emotional “sense of unsettlement” which Steven Mullaney explores in this volume, deep-seated and recurrent worries concerning control of the personal and shared past were also grounded in and exacerbated by prevailing ideas about (and experiences of) embodiment and environment. In various ways across the period, from the Reformation to the Restoration, the organization of both collective and cognitive memory required stratagems to discipline the fluid brain as much as to impose narrative structure on uncertain events. 7 But despite its perils, psychophysiological openness to external influence is not optional, and so—as even the anxious English knew— can be accepted and exploited rather than denied. Just as humoral theory motivated sophisticated forms of regimen by which to manage the “mutually modulatory influences linking brain, body, and world,” so our modern cognitive sciences at last begin to acknowledge the embedded, situated, relational nature of remembering, feeling, and thinking. 8 Not all external influence inevitably leads to distortion and confusion, for—on such views—the functioning mind of essentially incomplete creatures like us is itself literally extended and naturally hybrid. In attempting to understand the resulting webs of continuous reciprocal causation between insides and outsides, between self and culture, and between physiology and technology, we must examine


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specific manifestations of the extended mind. 9 The historical dimension is vital here: the point is not just that brains themselves are “biosocial organs” that are “permeated by history,” 10 but that this antiindividualism has direct methodological implications. As Clark writes optimistically, much of what matters about human-level intelligence is hidden not in the brain, nor in the technology, but in the complex and iterated interactions and collaborations between the two   . The study of these interaction spaces is not easy, and depends both on new multidisciplinary alliances and new forms of modeling and analysis. The pay-off, however, could be spectacular: nothing less than a new kind of cognitive scientific collaboration involving neuroscience, physiology, and social, cultural, and technological studies in about equal measure. 11 Since there is dramatic historical diversity in the nature and the properties of external symbol systems, notations, labels, techniques, and other forms of scaffolding and cognitive artifacts, a genuinely historical cognitive science—which examines not just the history of theories of mind but also the history of cognitive practices—becomes an integral part of the interdisciplinary enterprise. 12 Early modern studies are thus a doubly appropriate partner in the coevolutionary framework, not just because of the general need to introduce more detailed historical case studies, but because of specific parallels in the way relations between inside and outside, or between brain, body, and world were experienced and conceptualized. The idea is not to apply a particular theory in cognitive science to early modern studies, but to seek mutually illuminating interaction and coevolution across the fields. Then as now, I’ll argue, cognitive order and stability were not natural to the isolated brain, but were integrative achievements often distributed over tools and other people as well as the unstable nervous system. It’s just because the humors and the animal spirits—or the patterns of activation flickering across neural networks—are naturally fleeting and inconstant that we coopt exograms and other external props. This chapter describes four phases of this framework in the early modern context, here rather artificially separated for analytic purposes. I examine the shared picture of relations between memory, brain, and body, underlining a general acceptance that the fleeting innards (however differently conceived in various physiological schemes) were insufficient to anchor psychological and moral order, and to ground

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continuity of self over time: the porous nature of the boundaries between humoral body and environment was the source not only of anxiety and increased policing but also of different forms of invented stability. I offer some examples of early modern cognitive and mnemonic technologies, building up a picture of relevant dimensions of variation in their characteristics which should be generalizable to other cases, and also addressing one case in which such technologies were internalized. I hope the attempt at historical applications of these distributed cognition/extended mind ideas is unusual or interesting enough to warrant the sketchiness of the current treatment. Rather than expecting to convince skeptics here, the final section of the chapter briefly specifies some challenges to be met for this general framework to be able to deal with genuine historical and cultural change.

II. Spongy brains and humoral bodies All brains were “spungy,” not just Englishmen’s. And like brains, sponges were peculiar because of their porous nature, able both to absorb and erase. John Marston’s malcontent Malevole, insatiably absorbing all happenings at court, will “fall like a sponge into water, to suck up, to suck up”: but such soaking-up is not careful or secure storage, but a chaotic transmission of passing information used only to snarl at and “bespurtle” his audience. 13 Sponges were used, among other things, to wipe the erasable leaves of table-books, which became increasingly common in England from the 1580s onwards. Frank Adams’s writingtables, published in 1581, include instructions about how to clean them with a wet sponge; in 1637 Richard Whitaker sent Sir Thomas Barrington three such books and a “Spunge,” which “on its own cost the relatively large amount of three shillings.” 14 In their groundbreaking discussion of writing-tables in Renaissance England, Peter Stallybrass and colleagues pinpoint “the tension between imagining tables as enduring records and as surfaces that can be wiped clean,” and neatly align this with the related or identical tension within human memory, which must record information while remaining always open to new pressures and influences. 15 I trace this same dynamic of history and erasability across the brain and the body below: but first it’s worth noting that sponges shared these almost contradictory characteristics with the writing-tables which they wiped clean, both retaining fluids and yielding them, absorbing and effacing. The semantic field of the sponge in early modern English is bewildering, marked by the OED with the dry note that “in various passages


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of Elizabethan writers the exact sense of the word is not quite clear.” The idea of a “spungy brain,” in particular, was barely metaphorical, for the best theories of brain structure and function described networks of pores traversed by fluids. Most important among these fluids were the animal spirits distilled from the blood which flowed through hollow nerves and around the brain, leaving traces in the flexures of its fibers and thus altering the networks’ subsequent responses. The way in which history endured in brains like these was not by keeping independent records of specific experiences in distinct cells or locations, but as the sedimented overlay of all experience condensed within a single complex system. 16 With the demise of the Aristotelian belief in the psychological centrality of the heart, even the most dualistic early modern theologians and natural philosophers took the brain to have something to do with the mind. They agreed further that mental and moral life alike—in remembering, meditating, thinking, feeling—had much to do with the ability to represent things which are not present: not just God, the soul, and moral principles, but especially particular events and actions in the personal past. Yet these same capacities for retention, which allow for access to past thoughts and deeds, also bring moral dangers because they allow equally for the representation of things which are absent in a different sense, not because they are no longer present but because they are imagined, fictional, or dreamt. Some thought it unlikely that other animals had any kind of contact with the absent in either guise, but in any case for humans memory and imagination had long gone together. A character in Marston’s What You Will (1601) describes the Aristotelian phantasy or “fantasticness” thus: By it we shape a new creation Of things as yet unborn, by it we feed Our ravenous memory, our invention feast: ‘Slid, he that’s not fantastical’s a beast. 17 Marston’s audience well knew that this “fantasticness” can feed the ravenous mind with “chimeras, imaginations, tricks, conceits” as easily as it could sometimes help the search for truth about the world, the soul, or the past. If these transitions between mental representations were driven by the spongy, changeable brain, with all of its humoral and temperamental openness to environmental influence, the cognitive stability required for moral discipline might be threatened. Later in the seventeenth century,

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for example, the Platonist Henry More fixed on two of the undesirable properties shared by sponges and brains. On the one hand, because of the sponginess and laxness of the brain, it is apt to take up and respond to things it should not. But because the nervous spirits roaming its pores are “nothing else but matter very thin and liquid,” 18 any appropriate patterns which they do retain, when acted on by “the bare laws of matter,” would become “strangely depraved, if not obliterated.” 19 So philosophers who see remembering as the reconstruction of particular motions of these animal spirits, such as Descartes, “force a great deal of preposterous confusion” on the memory. 20 As a “loose Pulp” of “a laxe consistence,” the brain is no more fit to perform our noble cognitive operations than is “a Cake of Sewet or a Bowl of Curds.” 21 Although the details varied across different systems of natural philosophy, animal spirits were taken to be embedded in nested systems of spirits circulating in the cosmos, the environment, the body, and in inanimate objects. If memory depended on these nervous spirits, it would be affected as they were by (among other things) angels and evil spirits and ghosts, alcoholic spirits and music, climate and airs and waters, by diet and by all else which influenced the blood from which they arose, by movement and activity and gesture and rest and sleep and wake and sexual activity and passion. 22 As the cognitive wing of the vast early modern pneumatic ecologies of spirits and fluids described throughout this book, the animal spirits were a fickle basis for linking the self to the moral universe, for remembering the personal past, and for focusing on the truths of morality and religion: yet early modern moralists, as Gail Paster shows, “had no choice but to take psychophysiology seriously, because it was their governing paradigm for theorizing the bodily wellsprings of human behavior.” 23 It’s not that memory was thus rendered impossible, but that control over memory was vanishingly difficult. Animal spirits theories could not guarantee our success either in intentional forgetting—the wiping away of unwanted pressures past, for example—or in deliberate willed recollection of specific ideas alone under rational direction, without the spirits rummaging in the adjacent cell, as David Hume would note much later (showing, incidentally, the long afterlife of these ways of thinking). So Paster’s description of humoralism in general applies specifically to the early modern understanding of the role of animal spirits in the cognitive and mnemonic economy: it is a way of thinking about bodily behaviour that    finds it much easier to account for a subject’s moment-to-moment fluctuations


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in mood and action than to account for emotional steadiness and a high degree of psychological self-sameness   . Psychological selfsameness presupposes disembodied consciousness, not the humoral subject’s full immersion in and continuous interaction with a constantly changing natural and cultural environment. The resulting anxieties, and the baroque stratagems used in different contexts to control, delay, or otherwise manage such “moment-tomoment fluctuations,” are revealed in many of the uneasy, distempered, highly charged scenes of early modern drama. But I want briefly to push on a different point also noted by Paster, that even highly idiosyncratic volatility of this sort in dramatic characters is still “a humoral inevitability” and an ordinary consequence of “the pneumatic character of life.” 24 The humoral subject’s interwoven medical, mental, mnemonic, moral, and metaphysical plight, therefore, can’t be understood by considering the vulnerable humoral body and the fleeting spirituous brain in isolation from the world. In particular, resources external to the body were actively constructed, exploited, and incorporated into practices designed to promote both physical and psychological health. So there is continuity between the collection of context-dependent and complexion-dependent practices of health and action which we gather under the label “regimen,” and the vast and uneven range of objects, props, and institutions used to scaffold and buttress activities of remembering, feeling, thinking, imagining, reasoning, communicating, and so on. In the early modern period, as now, the vulnerable embodied brain constructed, used, and leant on nonbiological supports. Such biotechnological hybridity isn’t an innovation of our age of new media and telerobotics: the human mind, as Clark argues, was always leaky, always seeping out of “the ancient fortress of skin and skull.” 25 Neither anxiety nor cognitive and emotional stability was or is an inevitable consequence of increased reliance on such hybrid modes of thinking, feeling, and remembering. If, across specific local social and psychological contexts, we find significant historical diversity in practices of remembering and thinking, this is not because changing external technologies latch on to the same pure pre-technological biological mind: rather, as different such coalescing systems emerge, they transform their constitutive physiological, social, and technological resources. The more-or-less flexible, moreor-less context-sensitive minds which result are both embodied and historical.

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III. Early modern cognitive technologies: The recording sponge Before discussing some real early modern cognitive technologies, we can return to the strange sponge. The oddly contradictory qualities I identified above, whereby sponges both suck up and obliterate, operated (like much else in the discourses of humoralism) at physical, psychological, moral, and social levels all at once. Flattering sponges at court are those who absorb and thus consume resources which they do not deserve: a true king, according to the outcast Andrugio in Marston’s Antonio and Mellida (1601?), “is not blown up with the flattering puffs of spongy sycophants.” 26 Yet those who saw confession as a sure mechanism of effacement used the same image: it is “that happy Spunge, that wipeth out all the blottes and blurres of our lives.” 27 And not only are body parts—skin and sense organs, as well as brain—highly porous and spongy: so too is the natural world. Later in the same scene of Antonio and Mellida, the grief-crazed Antonio rants that he will “howl out such passion that even this brinish marsh / Will squeeze out tears from out his spongy cheeks, / The rocks even groan.” 28 In wishing to wring salty crying from the sodden marshes, to make even the stones capable of high emotion, Antonio’s sense that his “extremest grief” extends into the environment seems at first a typical-enough case of affective projection or anthropomorphism, more mere Marstonian excess. We tend automatically to read any such attribution of a cognitive, informational, or emotional state to an object metaphorically, or as expressing the same kind of moral/micro-/macrocosmic correspondences by which black deeds are done at night. Such a reading may be apt in this case—Antonio’s numbed, unbuckled spirits and unhinged behavior render him comic, and in fact the rocks remain mute, the marsh won’t cry, and in any case his lost lover Mellida quickly turns up again so they can “point [their] speech / With amorous kissing, kissing commas, and even suck / The liquid breath from out each other’s lips.” 29 But the case of sponges reminds us that the lines between feeling and merely existing are not always so clear. The whole world need not be a mind, as panpsychists and Gaia enthusiasts have thought; but if cognition is intrinsically ecological, then (under certain circumstances, on certain dimensions, more or less temporarily, and to varying degrees) certain parts of the environment—natural, social, and technological alike—can become part of dynamical cognitive systems which are distributed across brain, body, culture, and environment.


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Sponges also star in an exotic European fantasy of the early 1630s, which I’ve discussed elsewhere. 30 Historians of sound recording tell us of a pamphlet called Le courrier veritable which informed Parisians about a fabulous type of sponge discovered by a Captain Vosterloch when voyaging in the South Seas. Local people used these sponges to communicate across long distances: a message spoken into one of them would be exactly replayed when the recipient on another island squeezed it appropriately. This wonder from the edges of all maps, retold in Europe with the thrill of its magical primitivism, is specifically a cognitive technology. The skilled users reliably passing information are extending their communicative powers, detaching their voices as well as their plans and wishes from their own bodies in a way that perhaps only Rabelais had previously dreamed of. These marvelous sponges, then, were unique cognitive artifacts, soaking up sound, embodying particular acoustic signals in this unusually porous medium. They were “apt” not only to “take” the recording, but also to keep it just long enough to yield it up to the expert recipient, who would presumably be able to reuse the sponge after replaying its message. We can now appreciate this delicious fable still better by juxtaposing it to our new understanding of the Renaissance writing-tables which sponges were used to wipe clean. Both inner and outer technologies of memory and storage, as Stallybrass and colleagues point out, are also technologies of erasure, for information held in both brains and external surfaces—table-books, sponges, archives—is “vulnerable to the material form on which it is inscribed.” This does not mean that all technologies are equal or that the internal and external components of coupled mnemonic systems have equivalent characteristics. Inner surfaces were less accessible and manageable, for within the humoral system it was particularly clear that “erasability is endemic to the human body.” But each medium of memory has its own properties, varying on a number of relevant dimensions in regard to (for example) permanence, erasability, portability and transmissibility, detachability, reliability, medium-dependence, and so on, and combining differently with other biological or technological forms. 31 The mythical sponge suggests just how magical it is, in a world of flux and mixture, that information is ever enduringly stored, transmitted without distortion, and precisely reproduced. Early modern Europeans did not have the vast networks of media and technologies we use without thinking to fix, transmit, and reformat information, and to shift or transform representations from one context to another. The unstable, porous recording sponge in the story reminds us that durable information storage is an achievement,

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not a bio-psychological given, and that it depends on the construction and exploitation of all kinds of cultural and technological resources, and alters the cognitive dynamics of those who have it.

IV. Clothes and other material memories Yet there were, of course, by the Renaissance an enormous array of alternative real mechanisms and media of memory and cognitive technology, a few of which we can now describe. There’s no single quantitative scale on which to assess the extent or complexity of exograms in external symbol systems, or the degree to which they were enmeshed in daily life or transformed it, just because of the multiplicity of relevant dimensions. Among key cognitive and emotional artifacts before the Reformation, for example, were the many sacred objects used in public and private ritual, ranging from real sacramental objects such as candles and palms, through the cycles of practice embedded in the religious calendar, to cognitive-sensual-poetic structures for thinking and feeling such as conjurations, blessings, and prayers. 32 As a first example of the new cognitive-mnemonic challenges of post-Reformation England, we can take the recent study by Evelyn Tribble of techniques and symbol systems which were intended directly to replace that rich multimodal engagement with the sacred. As Tribble argues, there were “new requirements on the faithful in Protestant England to recall sermons after having heard them once,” as “attention and memory became a spiritual duty.” 33 From this period date the new divisions of chapter and verse in the Bible, to chunk text for better memorability; new physical layouts of church interiors to minimize visual distraction and improve hearing; and new practices of designing sermons according to more tightly organized topical structures and methods. Tribble neatly shows, in particular, that the new sophistication of printed charts, tables, and figures was recommended by divines such as William Perkins as the structural basis for preachers “seeking to create memorable—or perhaps memorizable—sermons.” This example neatly shows the range of forms of scaffolding which can operate together: new physical/architectural and symbolic/textual modes of scaffolding are united with new moral injunctions on religious attention and behavior, all in service of encouraging hearers to get more direct cognitive access to, and better retention of, the new religious message. The range of this case study is paralleled in Tribble’s groundbreaking reinterpretation of the mnemonic environment of the theater, which supported actors’ ability to remember and perform many different plays,


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which I discuss in detail elsewhere. 34 But whereas Tribble’s projects, like mine, are explicitly working toward early modern exemplifications of the distributed cognition framework, some examples inspired by material culture studies can also be used to demonstrate the cognitive life of things. I sketch one interpretation of themes from the work of Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass on clothes and memory. 35 In the “cloth” or “livery society” of Renaissance England, clothes were “forms of memory that were transmitted.” We think of the person as prior to the clothes worn, so that anyone hooked by fashion into fetishizing merely material objects and garments has been contaminated by modern materialism: but then the clothes partly constituted the wearer, animated agents which as “material memories” molded the wearer’s identity. In the Renaissance cloth was not only a valuable medium of exchange but also a key means of incorporation or of binding into social and psychological networks. As Stallybrass states, The particular power of cloth to effect these networks is closely associated with two almost contradictory aspects of its materiality: its ability to be permeated and transformed by maker and wearer alike; its ability to endure over time. Cloth thus tends to be powerfully associated with memory. Or, to put it more strongly, cloth is a kind of memory. 36 This last and stronger formulation, I suggest, is supported by the general theoretical framework I’ve been developing: clothes, in this analysis, are not merely external triggers for forms of remembering which are always internal, but are rather themselves memories—enduring bearers of information and meaning and affect always standing in complex and more-or-less coupled and tangled relations to different embodied human wearers. Certainly, clothes don’t do or remember anything on their own—but then, I’ve suggested, neither do brains or people, for essentially incomplete creatures like us naturally parasitize, lean on, and incorporate “external” tools for thinking. In trying to understand particular episodes or activities of remembering, we often need to refer to disparate features of the history and characteristics of many parts of the current context, enduring features which can span brain, body, and world. The dead, for example, can be remembered quite differently, in particular multimodal affectively laden ways, when we encounter or wear an article of their clothing which itself, as Stallybrass points out, remembers them. 37

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In an ambitious if tentative grand narrative, Jones and Stallybrass also describe “the end of livery.” In a complex historical process involving new colonial comparisons between civilized autonomy and exotic overattachment to things, Europeans were driven by the new abundance of goods to assert “the detachment of the European subject from those goods.” While demonizing cultures and subcultures in which clothes were still invested with significance as “the materializations of memory, objects that worked upon and transformed the body of the wearer,” the idealized free agent would be detached from such goods, merely possessing them as commodities rather than being contaminated by their tangled historical or emotional meanings. 38 Such a diagnosis of a diachronic shift in the use of material memories—or at least in explicit attitudes to their use—is potentially a key feature of this object-oriented history, and one which could be fruitfully merged with parallel claims in distributed cognition and in science studies. Andy Clark’s view of agency, for example, as constructed and maintained around technologies and stories, as well as nonconscious integrative processes, renders it an intrinsically historical notion: there is no basic biological individual mind “tethered to the ancestral realm” or “the good old Savannah” remaining underneath merely superficial cultural molds. The modern individualism which rests on what Clark calls “a deeply mistaken view of the thinking agent as some distinct inner locus of final choice and control” results in part from what J.B. Schneewind dubs “the invention of autonomy.” 39 But even if this “fantasy of an individual who is not fashioned by ‘mere’ things,” as described by Jones and Stallybrass, did emerge alongside the related modern fiction of a self which owns its own memories, thoughts, and feelings, we do not need to see this depsychologizing of artifacts as either effective or complete. Both Clark’s idea that we are naturally cyborgs, so that our new technologies are not marching us into a post-human future, and Latour’s case that “we have never been modern” are supported by Stallybrass’s evocative accounts of all the neglected ways in which clothes still now “have a life of their own” and still “carry the absent body, memory, genealogy.” 40

V. The arts of memory I return briefly to these diachronic issues about transformations in the cognitive life of things in the final section below. For a final case of Renaissance cognitive artifacts, we can briefly rehearse the shift of emphasis encouraged by this framework in our understanding of the arts of memory. 41 This last twist on the notion of a cognitive


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technology shows “external” systems being internalized. The initial feature of these memory practices to notice is the stress on local memory storage. Images or other representations encoded in or on the places of the various memory systems must be independent of each other, each content mapping individually onto its place. That’s why strict division of material was required, keeping stored items distinct: and this independence of atomic items allowed in principle the random search through memory addresses by the active remembering subject, as described powerfully by Mary Carruthers. 42 This localist style of representation was a precondition for the ordering of fixed items on the prior rigid ordering of reusable memory places; and it grounded the crucial quest for cognitive discipline which drove the memory arts, for the items in artificial memory are themselves passive. After encoding, everything stored in memory is context-independent, to be inspected and manipulated only at will. Even in systems which allowed the images used to chunk encoded information to be strikingly affective, bloody and violent, each atomic item was to remain isolated at encoding. So the system should have no intrinsic dynamics: the point is to eliminate the activity endemic in what was called “natural” memory, because it leads inevitably to the confusion of items stored. Semantic stability is thus built in, allowing only the deliberate combination and recombination of units of information. A first comment in this context is to stress that such architectures, systems, and practices should be seen as both cognitive and extended, whether or not they happened to be outside the skin in the physical environment. They are cognitive even though they are not, in a straightforwardly ancestral way, natural and biological; and they are extended even though they are not literally external. This is just to repeat that the cognitive skills which individuals roam round with, more or less successfully, have histories which are just as much cultural and developmental as biological. Along with other commentators, I previously saw the rejection of dynamics in the memory arts as a wholesale defense against humoralist psychophysiology. This localist style of representation, with its built-in fantasy of totally voluntary remembering, was a wishful stabilizing of confusion from above. I saw the quest for control over items in memory, guaranteed by separating data from process, memory from executive self, as the external and artificial imposition of order by reason or will on the true and naturally confused memory system of fleeting animal spirits. So the arts of memory were the cognitive wing of a heavily moralized civilizing process: by freezing the contents of memory, and locking them into

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separate rooms for later extraction, monks and scholars sought to tame and recalibrate their minds, in a retreat from multiplicity, disturbance, and embodiment. In similar vein, in his recent reading of the same techniques Paul Ricoeur describes the ars memoriae as “an outrageous denial of forgetfulness and    of the weaknesses inherent in both the preservation of traces and their evocation.” 43 But I now think this analysis was taken in by the practitioners’ dichotomy between natural and artificial memory, which the framework developed in this chapter helps us to undermine. Accepting such a profound dichotomy between confused natural engrams and rigid artificial internalized exograms makes it seem as if there might be a way to avoid cognitive acculturation, the cultural taming of the mind. But this is not quite right: the true or natural memory is not that given by the brain alone, whether by humoral nervous fluids or by postconnectionist neural networks. The internal prostheses provided by the memory palaces and their internalized exograms are not in fact external impositions on the mind. Culture, artifice, and moral practice are not optional extras, merely dispensable surrogates which ride on top of the brain’s own unchanged tendencies. They are instead (in some form or other) inevitable, structuring supplements which construct and maintain the biological processes which they simultaneously and deeply transform. In contrast to later moral physiologists who simply denied the productive cognitive role of mixture and blending in the brain, these earlier memory practitioners took it very seriously. That’s why they were so sensitive to the need for artifice—in this case internalized prostheses— creating secure locations, virtual nooks, and clear unswampy corners of the memory, secret angles of the mind in which they hoped to find what and only what they had deliberately put there. Of course the quest is imperfect: as Hamlet discovered, despite his promise to the Ghost, “baser matter” doesn’t just disappear, and the personal past doesn’t always flatten out. But it’s not as if we can avoid leaning on artificial systems. Recalibration is ongoing, as we alter our own cognitive machinery by exploiting and importing whatever tools and labels we can. The memory artists’ skillful use of a manageable and reliable set of cognitive artifacts was an unusually developed, culturally anchored way to deal with contextuality. The civilizing process, thus understood, includes the tidying of our own brains as well as of our behavior, and it isn’t really optional. This slightly shifted picture of these weird old practices should have further historical benefit: it allows us better to incorporate Mary


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Carruthers’ persuasive work on the meditative aspects of mnemotechnics as a skillful “craft of thought.” Where previously we might have seen, with Ricoeur, a “deadly infatuation” with the exercise of sovereign choice after an “original denial” of “the constraints of traces,” by putting Carruthers’ revisionary history together with the distributed cognition framework developed here, we can reinstate a sense of the practical cognitive and emotional labor, and the riskiness of the quest for wisdom in the things and the devices of this “architecture for thinking.” 44 Just as in offloading both information and procedures into external technologies and social systems we thereby reconfigure our cognitive tasks and profiles, so in constructing elaborate inner machines for sedimenting and working with affectively laden images and thoughts, the memory artists gradually developed different cognitive skills. A range of means were thus used in various early modern contexts to redirect and redistribute attention in the service of thinking or remembering well. In relatively contained full-scale cognitive environments— such as the church or the theater—entire panoplies of technological and social scaffolding emerged and were adapted over time. Other more ubiquitous features of daily life, such as clothes and cloth, could in certain circumstances take on particular mnemonic and affective significance in keeping the past alive. And highly specialized cognitive practices, such as the arts of memory, continued to develop in their different rhetorical and meditational uses as internalized media for arranging and redeploying information.

VI. Conclusion and challenges Can this general framework, adapted from ideas about distributed cognition and the extended mind, really take historical change seriously enough? How can it incorporate evidence of diversity in cognitive technologies across individuals, groups, or cultures, or of slow and complicated alterations in the uses of particular such technologies in certain contexts over time? Jonathan Gil Harris, for one, has criticized recent fascination with “the glittering world of goods” in Renaissance studies for treating arrays of “mundane yet magical things” as timeless windows into alluring lost worlds. 45 And in a wide-ranging polemic against the modern “memory industry” in the historical disciplines, Kerwin Lee Klein attacks notions of “structural memory” which make “a seemingly endless array of physical objects part of memory.” 46 While full responses to these telling critiques must await another occasion, in conclusion

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here I can pin down some challenges which historical cognitive science of the kind I’ve been recommending needs to meet. A first point is that the distributed cognition and extended mind frameworks encompass a number of distinct dimensions, thus allowing for vast individual, cultural, and historical differences in the extent, style, and form of reliance on cognitive artifacts. The context dependence of cognitive processes is itself massively context dependent. Just as we all know individuals who do upload all the information they possibly can to their own brains, who rely as little as possible on external cognitive or mnemonic props, so we should expect to find groups and cultures whose minds and memories are, overall, relatively less extended, more internal, than others. Harris’s call to add a diachronic dimension to histories of the object, and the warnings against sentimentality in object history offered by both Harris and Klein, should simply be embraced wholeheartedly by those studying the cognitive life of things. On the first point, the histories of the production, exchange, and dislocation of objects which Harris recommends can be given a further twist through attending to the messages carried in and transformed by various material media: Harris’s quasi-epidemiological investigation of migrations and transformations in the careers of objects can be extended by attending to distortions and alterations in the transmission of representations and information across instantiations. 47 On the second point, Klein’s complaint that a disavowed mysticism animates talk of photographs or monuments or statues as remembering does hit home against some strands in recent memory studies. But two kinds of resources are available to the extended mind theorist in response. Klein’s positive argument against both “structural memory” and “social memory” comes to little more than the upholding of an “everyday use” of “memory” as “a property of individual minds,” and the views he criticizes are characterized as attributing memory to objects on their own. But on my framework, remembering is an activity often spread across embodied brains and objects (or others) simultaneously, with neither brains nor things always doing it on their own. Klein also offers an intriguing historical narrative, related to the one drawn from Jones and Stallybrass which I sketched in the section above. Klein accepts that the recent turn to structural memories has early modern parallels, noting that sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century usage allowed the ascription of memory to material objects such as clothes, memorials, or writing. But his conclusion is not that such usage had or has anything going for it, but that contemporary scholars


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are mistakenly attracted to the religiosity of a pre-secularized world: “the convergence of archaic and contemporary meanings suggests a narrative in which memory found its early meaning in the union of material objects and divine presence, a meaning that was displaced by the rise of the modern self and the secularization and privatization of memory.” 48 This sets us two challenges. First, we need more detailed examples drawing on semantic and social history as well as cognitive history, to pin down just what forms of religious or other essentialism were tangled in early modern notions of material memories. Secondly, we can pursue the subsequent history of “the secularization and privatization of memory” along the lines already suggested, to see whether the mnemonic autonomy of the subject was indeed a complete and pervasive achievement, or whether and in what contexts—through the strenuous histories of modern quests for cognitive discipline—brains still remained spongy, and remembering still spread and distributed across the smart things with which such spongy, embodied brains hooked up.

Notes * My warmest thanks to Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett Sullivan for organizing the wonderful conference at Chapel Hill, and for their editorial patience. I’m very grateful also for their suggestions, help, and enthusiasm to Mary Carruthers, Adrian Carton, Andy Clark, Lorraine Daston, David Hillman, Marnie HughesWarrington, Eve Keller, Pamela Long, Doris McIlwain, Gail Paster, Kathy Rowe, P. A. Skantze, Pamela Smith, Mary Spongberg, Lyn Tribble, and Julian Yates. 1. Andy Clark, Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997), 180. Compare John Haugeland, “Mind Embodied and Embedded,” in Having Thought: Essays in the Metaphysics of Mind (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 207–237. 2. For the terms “exogram” and “external symbol system,” see Merlin Donald, Origins of the Modern Mind: Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), 308–333; John Sutton, “Porous Memory and the Cognitive Life of Things,” in D. Tofts, A. Jonson, and A. Cavallaro, eds, Prefiguring Cyberculture: An Intellectual History (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press and Sydney: Power Publications, 2002), 130–141. See section 4 below on Stallybrass and Tribble. 3. Andy Clark, Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). 4. Mary Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 14 and 55 (quoting William Slatyer’s 1621 Palae-Albion), and in general 53–66. 5. From A German Diet: or, the Balance of Europe, quoted by Floyd-Wilson, 54.

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6. Floyd-Wilson, 14 and 65, quoting Roger Ascham’s The Scolemaster (1570) and Sara Warneke’s Images of the Educational Traveller in Early Modern England (Leiden and New York: E.J. Brill, 1995), 132. 7. For a survey of links between memory and morality, see Daniel Woolf, “Memory and Historical Culture in Early Modern England,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association (1991), 283–308, esp. 285–289. My treatment of these topics here draws on but significantly revises the discussion in my Philosophy and Memory Traces: Descartes to Connectionism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 132 and passim. 8. Clark, Being There, 163, with Sutton, Philosophy and Memory Traces, 38–41. 9. Andy Clark and David Chalmers, “The Extended Mind,” Analysis 58 (1998): 7–19. For a compatible argument, from a quite different feminist philosophical perspective, that social and other external influences on memory often support good remembering rather than merely introducing error, see Sue Campbell, Relational Remembering: Rethinking the Memory Wars (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). 10. Stephen J. Cowley, “Why Brains Matter: An Integrational Perspective on The Symbolic Species,” Language Sciences 24 (2002): 73–95, esp. 75. 11. Clark, Mindware: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 154. 12. John Sutton, “Exograms and Interdisciplinarity: History, the Extended Mind, and the Civilizing Process,” in R. Menary, ed., The Extended Mind (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007). 13. John Marston, The Malcontent, ed. B. Harris (London: Ernest Benn, 1967), 1.2.14–15, 1.2.11. 14. H. R. Woudhuysen, “Writing-Tables and Table-Books,” The Electronic British Library Journal (2004), articles 3, 3–4 and 7. 15. Peter Stallybrass, Roger Chartier, J. Franklin Mowery, and Heather Wolfe, “Hamlet’s Tables and the Technologies of Writing in Renaissance England,” Shakespeare Quarterly 55 (2004): 379–419, esp. 413. 16. Sutton, Philosophy and Memory Traces, 119–156. 17. John Marston, What You Will, ed. M. R. Woodhead (Nottingham, 1980), quoted by Rick Bowers, “John Marston at the ‘Mart of Woe’: the ‘Antonio’ plays,” in T. F. Wharton, ed., The Drama of John Marston: Critical Re-visions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 25–26, n. 10. 18. Henry More, An Antidote against Atheism (1653), in A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (1662: reprinted New York and London: Garland, 1978), I.11.2, p. 33. 19. Henry More, The Immortality of the Soul (1659), in A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (1662: reprinted New York and London: Garland, 1978), II.10.9, p. 105. 20. More, The Immortality of the Soul, II.2.7, p. 68. 21. More, An Antidote against Atheism, I.11.5, p. 34; Sutton, Philosophy and Memory Traces, 144–148. Since, for More, everything in the material world is more or less spongy, only the immaterial soul can keep “entire and unconfused images of things without.” An Appendix to the foregoing Antidote against Atheism, in A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (1662: reprinted New York and London: Garland, 1978), 10.10, p. 173. 22. Sutton, Philosophy and Memory Traces, 25–49; Gail Kern Paster, “Nervous Tension: Networks of Blood and Spirit in the Early Modern Body,” in


23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.






Spongy Brains and Material Memories D. Hillman and C. Mazzio, eds, The Body in Parts: Fantasies of Corporeality in Early Modern Europe (London and New York: Routledge, 1997), 107–125. Paster, Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2004), 20. Paster, Humoring the Body, 60. Clark, Natural-Born Cyborgs, 5. John Marston, Antonio and Mellida: The First Part, ed. G. K. Hunter, (London: Edward Arnold, 1965), 4.1.56–57. John Trapp, Commentary    Upon the Books of Ezra (London, 1657), OED sv “sponge,” 4b. Marston, Antonio and Mellida, 4.1.150–152. Ibid., 4.1.213–215. Sutton, “Porous Memory and the Cognitive Life of Things,” 130–131; T. Y. Levin, “Before the Beep: a short history of voice mail,” in Alessio Cavallaro, Shaun Davies, Frances Dyson, and Annemarie Jonson, eds, Essays in Sound 2: Technophonia (Newtown, NSW, Australia: Contemporary Sound Arts, 1995); Douwe Draaisma, Metaphors of Memory: A History of Ideas About the Mind (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 85–86. Stallybrass et al., “Hamlet’s Tables    ,” 416–417; Katherine Rowe, “Remember Me: Technologies of Memory in Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet,” in R. Burt and L. E. Boose, eds, Shakespeare, the Movie II: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, Video, and DVD (London: Routledge, 2003), 37–55; Donald, Origins of the Modern Mind, 315–316. Bob Scribner, “Cosmic Order and Daily Life: Sacred and Secular in Preindustrial German Society,” in K. von Greyerz, ed., Religion and Society in Early Modern Europe 1500–1800 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1984), 17–32. Evelyn Tribble, “The Chain of Memory: Distributed Cognition in Early Modern England,” Scan: Journal of Media Arts Culture 2 (2005), at http://scan.net.au/ scan/journal/display.php?journal_id=53. Evelyn Tribble, “Distributing Cognition in the Globe,” Shakespeare Quarterly 56 (2005): 135–155, covering particular cognitive artifacts such as sides and plots, the physical environment of the theater, the social structure of the acting companies and the apprentice system, and the cognitive-poetic qualities of the memorizable texts. I discuss this case study in light of differing interpretations of the “extended mind” hypothesis in “Exograms and Interdisciplinarity,” section 3. Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Stallybrass, “Worn Worlds: Clothes, Mourning, and the Life of Things,” Yale Review 81.2 (1993): 35–50; M. de Grazia, M. Quilligan, and P. Stallybrass, eds, Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996). The lines between specifically cognitive artifacts and the “social life of things” more generally (Arjun Appadurai, ed., The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986]) need only be as sharp as the lines between the cognitive and the social: some technologies, exograms, or material prostheses will still be coopted more in activities of remembering, perceiving, thinking, and so on than others. So it’s not, of course, that clothes in Jones’

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38. 39.

40. 41.





and Stallybrass’s treatment, were cognitive artifacts rather than social: they were both. Stallybrass, “Worn Worlds,” 38. Sometimes Jones and Stallybrass waver when expressing this point: discussing the ways in which transmission involving clothes can go astray, they note that “the detachability of clothes thus conjures up the alienability and reconfiguration of memory itself” (Renaissance Clothing, 272). This formulation still treats “memory itself” as distinct and separable from the external materials of memory. Stallybrass, “Worn Worlds.” It’s easy to see how the distributed cognition/extended mind framework would apply to the wider historical study of mourning and memorials. Jones and Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory, 7–11, and 277. Clark, Natural-Born Cyborgs, 197; Clark, “Beyond the Flesh: Some Lessons from a Mole Cricket,” Artificial Life 11 (2005): 233–244, esp. 242; Clark, “Memento’s Revenge: The Extended Mind, Extended,” forthcoming in R. Menary, ed., The Extended Mind (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007); Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 3–11. Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); Stallybrass, “Worn Worlds.” These paragraphs condense and draw on two longer treatments: my initial account in “Body, Mind, and Order: Local Memory and the Control of Mental Representations in Medieval and Renaissance Sciences of Self,” in G. Freeland and A. Corones, eds, 1543 And All That: Image and Word, Change and Continuity in the Proto-Scientific Evolution (Dordrecht and Boston: Kluwer, 2000), 117–150, significantly revised in my “Exograms and Interdisciplinarity,” Section 5. As well as dramatically simplifying complex and diverse historical practices, I am assuming here that the use of these mnemonic techniques was not restricted to self-consciously “occult” contexts, and was continuous in many respects with mundane practices of remembering (contrast Woolf, “Memory and Historical Culture,” 284). My revised reading owes much to Andy Clark’s recent work on the role of language, images, and other labels and maxims in minimizing contextuality and temporarily dampening or recalibrating affect: see Clark, “Word, Niche, and Super-Niche: How Language Makes Minds Matter More,” Theoria 20 (2005): 255–268. Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 7; The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric and the Making of Images, 400–1200 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 16. Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2004), 66. See also the suggestive treatment by Lina Perkins Wilder, “Toward a Shakespearean ‘Memory Theater’: Romeo, the Apothecary, and the Performance of Memory,” Shakespeare Quarterly 56 (2005): 156–175, esp. 160 on the memory arts as involving “an act of spectatorship” which avoids “the sticky process of humoral correction.” The awareness of the limits and imperfections of the arts which Wilder sees in Romeo and Juliet is compatible with the revised view I sketch here. Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, p. 66; Carruthers, The Craft of Thought, 7.


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45. Jonathan Gil Harris, “The New Historicism’s Wunderkammer of Objects,” European Journal of English Studies 4 (2000): 112; “Shakespeare’s Hair: staging the object of material culture,” Shakespeare Quarterly 52 (2001): 483. 46. Kerwin Lee Klein, “On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse,” Representations 69 (2000): 131, 135. 47. Harris, “Shakespeare’s Hair,” 485–488; for the parallel notion of an epidemiology of representations in cognitive anthropology, see Dan Sperber, Explaining Culture: a naturalistic approach (Oxford and Cambridge: Blackwell, 1996), 26. Harris accepts that Stallybrass’s approach to clothes is sufficiently alert to the diachronic dimension. 48. Klein, “Emergence of Memory,” 132.

2 Marvell’s Amazing Garden Mary Thomas Crane

For a poem that ostensibly celebrates disengagement from the world and its commitments, political, intellectual, and emotional, Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden” has prompted a surprising number of critical attempts to align it firmly with some explanatory system. One critic lists them: “philosophical (Cartesian dualism, Stoicism, Hermeticism, neoplatonism), theological (Augustinian, Pauline, Song of Songs, biblical, Christological, apocalyptic), and aesthetic (pastoral, typological, allegorical, classical, metaesthetic).” 1 We might add scientific systems to that list (vitalism, anatomical knowledge), although, curiously, debate over Marvell’s political affiliation (loyalist, “trimmer,” republican) has not extended to readings of “The Garden.” 2 Of course, there also exists a body of criticism that recognizes the difficulty of tying the poem to any system, praising instead its irony and allusiveness, yet there remains something unsatisfying about such readings. 3 Nigel Smith has suggested that Marvell’s refusal fully to espouse any of the intellectual or political systems to which his poems allude is a kind of “commentary on zeal, and it is one where ardor is finally suspended in the chiming, mirroring world for which his verse is so famous.” 4 Contrasting Marvell’s disengagement with Milton’s “embodiment of zeal,” Smith sees Marvell’s stance as a response to the political ferment of his time. I want to argue that “wonder” provides Marvell with an alternative to the seventeenth-century culture of partisanship and its pressure to take and defend a side in debates over religious, political, and scientific issues. “Wonder” represents for Marvell a wonderfully flexible space where seemingly opposed doctrines and concepts remain suspended in a kind of playful equilibrium. “Suspension” is, itself, a concept closely connected with wonder, and images of entrapment and suspension 35


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proliferate throughout the poem. Although Marvell’s poem has traditionally been read as espousing retirement from active engagement in public life, it actually refuses to take a side even in that debate, instead representing a speaker who wonders at the correspondences between the busy world and the leisured garden. The system of correspondences and analogies that structured understanding of man and his place in the world before the scientific revolutions of the seventeenth century are, for Marvell’s speaker, a source of wonder that both traps and liberates, and the speaker’s wonder traces the movement from religious awe to scientific curiosity. Finally, the poem depicts the speaker’s relation to his environment in witty and surprising ways intended to invoke a state of wonder in the reader. The poem’s enactment of the suspension and engagement on which it comments may explain why it leaves readers not only unsatisfied with systematic alignment of the poem, but also with the sense that no system can explain it. “The Garden” represents cognitive states of wonder and amazement, terms that were central to debates in the seventeenth century about the nature of thought, human interaction with and understanding of the natural world, and the explanatory power of different scientific and philosophical systems. Wonder, for Marvell, comes to represent a way of being in, perceiving, and thinking about the world. The wondering subject is suspended between activity and retirement, engagement and solitude, feeling and thinking, body and mind. Marvell’s poem calls on a range of commonplaces, topoi, ideas, and conventional analogies that functioned in the seventeenth century to shape human understanding of the world, but it views them all with wonder at their potential strangeness. This estranging power of wonder explains the uncomfortable dislocation that many readers experience when reading (or attempting to understand) the poem. The references to amazement (“how vainly men themselves amaze” [1]), wonder (“what wondrous life is this I lead” [33]), and curiosity (“the nectarene, and curious peach” [37]) in the “The Garden” place the poem in relation to the complicated interrelated history of these terms. 5 Wonder and amazement have a long history on the boundaries of religion and science, functioning as indices of the relative solidity or porousness of those boundaries, since people felt wonder when observing phenomena that escaped the bounds of their explanatory system. Lorraine Daston and Katherine Park trace this history in Wonders and the Order of Nature, and they argue that “as theorized by medieval and early modern intellectuals, wonder was a cognitive passion, as much about knowing as about feeling. To register wonder was to register a

Mary Thomas Crane


breached boundary, a classification subverted.” 6 They also chart the role of wonder as a starting point for both contemplation and action: wonder could be “a prelude to divine contemplation, a shaming admission of ignorance, a cowardly flight into fear of the unknown, or a plunge into energetic investigation.” 7 Until the end of the sixteenth century, wonder seems to have delineated the explanatory limits of existing systems of cosmology, medicine, and natural philosophy. For Thomas Aquinas and other medieval scholastic philosophers, wonder reflected ignorance of the causes of things: “the astronomer does not wonder when he sees an eclipse of the sun, for he knows its cause, but the person who is ignorant of this science must wonder, for he ignores the cause.” 8 While some natural phenomena were wonderful only to the ignorant, other kinds of marvel provided evidence of the omnipotence of God, and sparked feelings of wonder that resembled religious awe rather than scientific curiosity. 9 “Wonder” and “amazement” were particularly charged terms in relation to the new science of the seventeenth century. If wonder had previously been associated with awe-struck contemplation of God’s power, it now came to represent a necessary cause of a newly valued investigative curiosity. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, natural philosophers began to seek material causal explanations for persistent problems in understanding the physical universe. 10 In the seventeenth century, wonder and the marvelous also had a role, as Daston and Park argue, “in forging a new category of scientific experience: the fact detached from explanation, illustration, or inference.” 11 In this sense, wonder, as medieval thinkers like Aquinas had feared, worked to destroy the system of analogies that linked microcosm and macrocosm and provided an explanatory system for all observable natural events. Wonder had psychological, as well as epistemological, implications, and both the psychology and epistemology of wonder were associated with spatial images of entrapment and suspension. Significantly for Marvell’s poem, “wonder” came to be associated with curiosity, pointing the way out of an outmoded and entangling explanatory system, while “amazement” represented entrapment and stasis. Curiosity (which had previously been denigrated) gained new prominence as a necessary first stage of scientific investigation. 12 Descartes distinguished between good wonder—(admiration) useful in “making us learn and hold in memory things we have previously been ignorant of”—and bad wonder (estonnement in French, clearly something like amazement), which “makes the whole body remain immobile like a statue, such that one cannot perceive any more of the object beyond the first face


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presented, and therefore cannot acquire any more particular knowledge.” 13 Nicholas Malebranche clearly relates this scientific wonder to circulation of the animal spirits: “there is nothing so difficult than to apply oneself to a thing for a long time without wonder, the animal spirits not carrying themselves easily to the necessary places in order to represent it.” 14 The physiology of wonder takes a central role in Marvell’s “Garden,” linking wonder and amazement to images of attempted escape, entrapment and enclosure that recur throughout the poem and which contribute to Marvell’s sense of wonder as a state of suspension. The poem begins with the potentially surprising idea that ambitious men “amaze” themselves in a vain quest for earthly recognition and reward. Many critics have noticed a pun on “maze” or labyrinth, which links this word to pervasive images of entrapment within the poem. 15 The link between “amazement” and entrapment is, however, more than just verbal, and has a complex cultural history. Robert Burton, in The Anatomy of Melancholy, associates amazement with “terrors and affrights,” which “arise from the apprehension of some terrible object,” causing “agitation, motion, contraction, dilatation of spirits.” He gives an illustrative quotation from Seneca: “Their soul’s affright, their heart amazed quakes / The trembling liver pants i’ th’ veins, and aches.” 16 Burton’s reference to the relationship between amazement and the veins and spirits is important, partly because it identifies the physiological basis for this cognitive passion and the grounds for its link to spatial concepts of entrapment and suspension. Although cognitive scientists have argued that a basic kinesthetic sense of our bodies as containers provides an important structuring image for abstract concepts of containment, early modern understanding of the nervous system, and religious beliefs about the relationship between body and soul reinforced this basic sense that the self is contained, and even trapped, within the material body. 17 Jonathan Sawday links this view of the soul and body with the explanatory system of analogies, describing “an endlessly repetitive interplay of metaphor, similitude, and comparison” in which “the body lay entangled within a web of enclosing patterns of repetition,” until the new science of the seventeenth century destroyed the web of analogy. 18 “Amazement” was caused by the agitated circulation of sprits within a nervous system imagined as maze-like in structure. Marvell describes this bodily system as entangling in “Dialogue Between the Soul and Body” where the soul complains that it is “hung up, as t’were, in chains / Of nerves, and arteries, and veins. / Tortured, besides each other part, / In a vain head, and double heart” (7–10). Sawday

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links Marvell’s chained body with the Vesalian image of the nervous system and to the “gibbet” in which the bodies of executed criminals were imprisoned for public display. 19 Sawday cites Joshua Sylvester’s translation of the French author Du Bartas’s “Divine Weeks and Works,” which refers to the nervous system as “that curious Maze, that admirabile Nett / Through whose fine folds the spirit doth rise and fall.” 20 The nervous system was thought by many anatomists in the period to consist of veins, arteries, and nerves or sinews, all supposed to carry the spirits that linked soul and body, and animated the whole. Helkiah Crooke’s Microcosmographia (London, 1615), explains how veins, arteries, and nerves each carried a different kind of spirit. 21 Gail Kern Paster has traced the ambivalent early modern attitude toward these spirits which, on the one hand, were the means for dispersing the animating soul throughout the body, and on the other hand, moved the body with “giddy impulsiveness or even violence.” 22 This mazy network of spirits was crucially involved with the interrelationship of sense impression, memory, reason, emotion, and volition. Spirits were imagined as “heralds or poursuivants” carrying impressions and feelings to the brain for judgment. According to Thomas Wright’s Passions of the Minde in Generall, when an object becomes known in the imagination (located in the brain), spirits sent from the brain to the heart signify to the heart whether the object is “conuenient or disconuenient,” and the heart then generates the appropriate emotion to cause the body to “prosecute it, or to eschew it.” 23 Although Wright’s work is generally suspicious of passions described as “perturbations, for that    they trouble wonderfully the soule, corrupting the iudgement and seducing the will,” they are nevertheless necessary for human ambition and achievement: “passions are spurres to stirre up sluggish and idle soules, from sloathfulnesses to diligence, from carelessnesse to consideration.” 24 He goes on to note the importance of “vehement passions of glory and honour” in inspiring the achievements of military heroes, writers, philosophers, and statesmen. 25 It becomes clearer now why Marvell might imagine ambition as causing “amazement,” as the agitated spirits in their mazy vessels literally entangle the body in its own feelings, and trap it into action. And, although the poem seems to distinguish the stupefying amazement of life in the world from pastoral peace and quiet, the “repose” of the garden is imagined as causing a similar entrapment, as many critics have noticed, with “upbraid” and “weave” in the first stanza, and the “ensnaring” flowers later on. The poem ultimately depicts the amazement of ambition as analogous to the “wond’rous” and ensnaring


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life in the garden, and further depicts the analogy between microcosm and macrocosm to function, in some instances, as a means of entrapment. To depict these analogies as a source of wonder is, however, to bring them into conscious awareness as a site of historically situated cognitive process. As the speaker wittily describes the amazing congruences of world and garden, garden and body, he distances himself from their snares, even though he cannot escape them completely. 26 In seventeenth-century England, gardens were a particular locus for changing ideas about wonder and amazement. Starting at the turn of the century up until the time that the Civil Wars suspended most construction projects, there was a fashion for elaborate gardens imitating the “mannerist” gardens of Italy and France. Both James Hunt Dixon in The Italian Renaissance Garden in the English Imagination and Roy Strong in The Renaissance Garden in England trace the construction of gardens that contained all sorts of wonders: mazes, grottos, moving hydraulic statues, topiaries, exotic plants. 27 In Italy, gardens like those of the Villa D’Este included buildings that housed wonder cabinets, so that the curiosities of the garden merged with other kinds of wonders. 28 Wonder cabinets, and the gardens themselves, as Daston and Park have argued, often contained artifacts that were amazing because they seemed to breach or blur the categories of art and nature—automated statues were a clear example of this. 29 The garden that Robert Cecil had designed for Hatfield House, for instance, contained elaborate fountains, including a huge rock with a figure of a reclining river god and a figure of Fame, who “sounded her trumpet by means of a hydraulic organ within the rock.” 30 There were also rare fruit trees imported from Italy and Holland, ponds with artificial islands, and a “sea monster” pavilion. The gardens at Appleton house, formally laid out like a fort, “emblematic of the five senses,” is, according to Strong, clearly in this tradition of wonderful gardens. 31 Marvell’s mower probably refers to such constructions when he speaks “against gardens,” attributing something like amazement to the “stupified plants” placed in artificially rich soil. Marvell’s “The Garden,” then, begins by associating a stupefying physiological state of amazement with worldly ambition. It seems initially to associate this kind of entrapment with active life in the world, with its “uncessant labours” (3), and “busy companies of men” (12), contrasted with the innocence, quiet, and freedom available in the garden. However, Marvell goes on to describe a garden that similarly traps bodies in a wondrous life of solitary pleasure. Many critics have noticed repeated images of entrapment in this first stanza associated with both ambition (“does prudently their toils upbraid”) and

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retirement “all flow’rs and all trees do close / To weave the garlands of repose” (6–8). 32 The poem thus embodies a paradox—paradox being a common cause of wonder—in, on the one hand, strictly differentiating the garden from the busy world, but also arguing that the garden contains everything the world does in an alternate and equally wonderful form. The garden is, in this sense, like the ocean “where each kind / Does straight its own resemblance find” (43–44), as the ambition, passion, and achievements of the world find corresponding states in the garden. In this sense, too, the poem turns on a doubled version of the familiar analogy between microcosm and macrocosm. The garden is a microcosm of the world, as it is a macrocosm for the body. As the soul is entangled within the body, so is the body entangled in the vegetation of the garden. 33 These interlocking analogies function here not to make natural phenomena seem commonplace and explicable, however, but to arouse surprise and wonder. Marvell’s paradoxes thus disrupt the conventional pastoral distinction between the ambitious negotium of the city and the leisured otium of country life, since his garden contains its own versions of love and ambition. Dr Walter Charleton, writing as a vitalist and atomist in 1652, similarly attributes to plants vegetable souls that infuse them with their own simultaneous quiet and ambition: “consider with what ease the pale and feeble soul of a tree can at once provide for the vegetation as well of each leafe and blossome, as of the truncke and root.” 34 Charleton argues that such a plant would never “continue fixed and nayled down by its own roots to the earth, and there live a cold, dull, unactive life; if it could give to its self motion and abilities for nobler actions.” 35 For Charleton, “there is in every thing a kind of native Ambition to ennoble its nature, enlarge its power, nay (so much as in it lies) to mount even to infinity,” so that no “man would sit down quiet” if he could “wind up himself to heaven.” 36 Marvell imagines a garden in which his speaker thinks he can sit down “quiet,” but who discovers that plants themselves possess (and elicit) strange ambitions. Many critics have remarked the apparent naivet´e of the speaker in the middle stanzas, a stance which naturally lends itself to wonderment. 37 He matter-of-factly presents a series of paradoxes and surprising conceits (trees’ names carved on trees, gods preferring trees to women), all based on the central paradox that the garden contains its own versions of everything that humans strive for in the world. All of the speaker’s surprising images involve the ingenuity and category mixing associated with wonder. The garden contains desire, but it is a “green” desire for trees themselves. The image of a human changing into a tree represents


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the kind of blurring of natural categories that epitomized the marvelous gardens and collections of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Such metamorphoses were imaginable because of the system of analogies that linked plant and human: bark-like skin, roots-like legs, branches-like arms, vegetable soul analogous to the human soul. But Marvell’s speaker literalizes these correspondences in a way that defamiliarizes them. 38 Rosalie Colie argues that the literalism of Marvell’s naive speaker here “has collapsed ‘trees’ into their names   . the parts of the metaphor into each other,” a process she calls “unmetaphoring.” 39 An illustration of a design for a garden grotto from Salomon De Caus’s Les Raisons des forces mouvantes, a treatise on hydraulic mechanisms, provides a material analogue for Marvell’s estranging representations of metamorphosis. It features, in addition to its animated statue of Europa and the bull, frieze depictions of women in the process of alteration into trees. Daston and Park describe a kind of small statue that was popular in wonder cabinets during the period, depicting a female figure with branches for arms, where the branches were made of real coral attached to the metallic statue. 40 These figures depend on a belief that art and nature, human and plant, are separate categories linked by correspondences. The figures are wonderful because they literalize the correspondence, thus blurring the boundaries between the categories. Marvell’s idea that “Apollo hunted Daphne so, / Only that she might laurel grow” similarly complicates the human–plant hybrid by literalizing it. Thus, the traditional correspondence between woman and tree is “unmetaphored” and made surprising. As described by the speaker, the garden proliferates images of confinement and suspension, although these forms of confinement are presented as surprising and wonderful. The confining garlands of the first stanza (the “bays”) reappear here and Daphne is literally “amazed” into a “still” laurel tree: “The gods, that mortal beauty chase, / Still in a tree did end their race: / Apollo hunted Daphne so, / Only that she might laurel grow” (27–30). Colie points out that the trees are here changed into lyric poetry (the laurel and syrinx), and that in Marvell’s poem “The Coronet,” he associates poetry with winding vegetation. 41 That poem uses similar vocabulary of confinement and constraint (“weave,” “garlands,” “wreaths,” “winding snare”) to draw an analogy between the sinful human body that contains and confines the soul, and the “curious frame” of secular poetry. Analogy itself seems to have the confining force that Jonathan Sawday has attributed to it, trapping body and mind alike in its maze of associations. On the other hand, Marvell disrupts these analogies by representing them as wonderful rather than commonplace, as exceptions rather than the rules that explain the world.

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As the focus shifts (in stanzas 5, 6, and 7) to the speaker’s physical presence in the garden, the poem describes different bodily and mental states of suspended wonder and amazement. In these stanzas, the analogy between containing garden and containing body is made more explicit, but is rendered incongruous by reversing the expected patterns of agency. Stanza 5 depicts the “wondrous” life in a garden where humans are passive and plants are active: “The luscious clusters of the vine / Upon my mouth do crush their wine; / The nectarine, and curious peach, / Into my hands themselves do reach” (34–38). Marvell’s aggressive plants recall Charleton’s ambitious vegetables, which would strive for volitional movement and agency if they were allowed to do so. The nectarine, peach, and melons are, in the words of one critic, “luxuries, cultivated for a big house, esoteric because they grow in an English garden.” 42 These exotic fruits were featured in mannerist gardens and would themselves be curiosities even if they didn’t attack the speaker. Curiosity was closely allied with wonder in the mid-seventeenth century: in the words of Daston and Park, “wonder caught the attention; curiosity riveted it.” 43 Just as “wonder” could function as both a verb and a noun, “curious” was both verb and adjective. In both cases, an object and the human response to it are conflated. “Curiosities” was a word frequently used to describe the rare and luxurious objects in a wonder cabinet, while “curiosity” was, at least briefly, the necessary quality possessed by scientists who studied nature. The peach in Marvell’s poem is literally curious because it was an exotic plant cultivated in England with much care (Latin cura), like the “curious frame” of poetry in “The Coronet.” However, in the kind of reversal typical of “The Garden,” the peach becomes a scientist, investigating the passive speaker. Similarly, the fall is imagined as the result of the vegetable world exercising its desires on man, and not as caused by man’s own willful nature as exercised on the vegetable world: “Stumbling on melons, as I pass, / Insnared with flow’rs, I fall on grass” (39–40). Critics have argued about how seriously we should take this fall as an analogy for the fall of man. Marvell’s naive speaker seems unaware of the fraught significance of a fall in a garden. He seems to fail to realize that if his garden contains vegetable versions of desire and ambition, it might also contain vegetable evil. 44 Unlike previous moments in the poem where he pushed analogy to its limit, wonder is here produced by failing to develop the analogy at all. The speaker’s own wondrous experience of the garden blinds him to the potential for evil within it, and the reader is moved to wonder whether he or she is meant to supply that awareness, or not.


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Significantly, the speaker does not describe himself as either wondering or curious. The ensnaring flowers trap him into a state of passive amazement, as the ambitious men in the first stanza are trapped by their mazy network of circulating spirits. Like the soul “hung up in chains” by the physical body in “Dialogue Between Body and Soul,” the speaker is “stupified” by the luxurious physical surroundings of the garden. Victoria Silver has argued that Marvell’s passive speaker here seems to represent “our inability to transcend our condition, or at least the meanings we give it.” 45 I would add that this stanza enacts the ways in which the body both enables and limits the thinking self. While stanza 5 depicts a speaker stunned by a purely physical existence, stanzas 6 and 7 move to an exaggerated depiction of a neoplatonic theory of mind and soul, able to separate themselves from the body. However, these stanzas emphasize that the transcendence of embodied materiality can only be depicted by analogy with the material, and with physical movement. If the vegetation in stanza 5 reflects mental states of wonder and curiosity, in 6, Marvell’s image of landscape as a reflection of the speaker’s thoughts is inverted, so that the mind becomes an ocean where all objects perceived by the speaker are reflected: “the mind, that ocean where each kind / Does straight its own resemblance find” (43–44). Both E. M. W. Tillyard and Marjorie Hope Nicolson cite the mirroring of the world in the ocean, and in the mind, as an example of the correspondences between microcosm and macrocosm typical of the medieval and early Renaissance world picture. 46 By the mid-1650s, of course, such a view would be old fashioned, if not anachronistic, but Marvell’s version becomes atypical in blurring the distinction between mind and matter. Several of Marvell’s poems repeat an image cluster involving a body of water or other reflective surface, a meadow which is like a body of water, a mirroring of external reality or the speaker’s thoughts in the reflective surface. The speaker of “The Mower’s Song” remembers how “My mind was once the true survey / Of all these meadows fresh and gay; / And in the greenness of the grass / Did see its hopes as in a glass” (1–4). “Upon Appleton House” is full of such images, from the “green sea” of meadow where the cows “seem within the polished grass / A landskip drawn in looking-glass” (457–458) to the river which is “a crystal mirror slick; / Where all things gaze themselves, and doubt / If they be in it or without” (636–638). Stephen Greenblatt has argued that early modern wonder “mediated between outside and inside,” between “the designation of a material object and the designation of a response to the object.” 47 Marvell’s grass/sea/mirror images similarly suggest a

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reciprocal mirroring of thoughts and natural surroundings, so that it becomes impossible to tell which is which. Nigel Smith rightly associated these “chiming, mirroring” Marvellian images with a suspension that countered partisan zeal. The image of the doubly mirroring ocean and mind sum up the multiple analogies of the poem so far, where the passions of the world find “their own resemblance” in the garden, and where the speaker’s place within the garden resembles his mind’s place within his body. Thus, although the mind is described as withdrawing “into itself” and creating “far other worlds and other seas” it is not possible to separate the inner world from the outer world so completely. The speaker’s mind contemplates both the familiar and the strange, but both lead to a peaceful but blank state where thought and landscape seem indistinguishable: “a green thought in a green shade.” In order to truly escape the constraints of embodiment and the material world, the mind would have to “annihilate” all matter. Even then, what it imagines is linked by analogy with the material world it knows: “other worlds” are still worlds, and the disembodied “thought” is conveyed by analogy with a “green shade,” not matter itself, but its color and shadow. 48 The phrase itself seems purposefully enigmatic, a kind of puzzle, so it may not be accidental that Noam Chomsky’s famous “meaningless” sentence: “colorless green ideas sleep furiously,” designed to illustrate the difference between intuitive knowledge of syntax and semantic content, has an eerie resemblance to Marvell’s line here. 49 Both Marvell and Chomsky want to illustrate a mind amazed, suspended between meaning and meaninglessness. Imagery of suspension continues in the next stanza, which departs drastically from the vitalism of stanza 5, turning to Neoplatonism in an attempt to imagine an escape from the intertwining and entrapping analogies that link body and world. It depicts a conventionally platonic bird-soul, but in terms which emphasize its dependence on the world of matter. 50 This bird cannot leave the garden and ambitiously “wind itself up to heaven,” since that must wait for the “longer flight” after death. The “sliding foot” of the fountain, as Christine Rees has argued, “reinforces the oneness of the human body with nature” and the “mossy root” of the tree emphasizes the garden’s deep connection with the earth. 51 The earlier image of metamorphosis, where women’s selves are trapped within trees, shifts to an attempt to imagine the self as able to escape from its confining body. When it is up in the trees, however, this bird spends its time preening itself and waving the light in its wings: it does not seem to be able to turn its back on the physical beauty of the garden, and seems inescapably embodied. 52 In The Passions of the Mind in General,


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Thomas Wright relates a story told in the Life of St. Anselm, about a bird tied to a rock: “even as the bird mounted up to soare aloft, the stone drew her downe againe.” So is “the miserable condition of men, who no sooner did endeavour to ascend to heaven by contemplation, but the flesh and passions haled the heart backe againe, and drew it downe to earth, forcing the soule to lie there like a beast, which should have soared in the heavens like an Angell.” 53 Marvell’s stanza similarly seems to focus on the inescapable conditions of embodiment, as the soul finds itself unable to leave the body, and the mind finds itself unable to imagine anything except with reference to the world it has experienced. In contrast, Du Bartas depicts an ecstatic soul that uses its upward flight to undertake scientific investigation: “For sometimes, leauing these base slymie heapes, / With cheerefull spring above the Clouds she leapes, / Glides through the Aire, and there she learnes to know / Th’Originalls of Wind, and Haile, and Snow.” She also “marketh all the Spheares, / And all th’harmonious, various course of theirs: / With sure account, and certaine Compasses, / She counts their Starres, she meates their distances, / And differing paces” (219–220). Du Bartas’ soul more typically flees the body as a “slimy heape,” rather than a pleasant garden, but once out of there, uses her time wisely. Marvell’s bird soul seems as amazed by the garden as his body is. Marvell’s eighth stanza presents another potentially surprising argument, this time that solitude is preferable to companionship and marriage, and that Adam was happier in Eden before Eve was created: “Two paradises ‘twere in one / To live in paradise alone” (63–64). This stanza presents the naive speaker’s exaggerated conclusion to the commonplace association in stanza two of the garden with Quiet and Innocence. However, it also entails the negation of his claim that the garden represents a microcosm that contains its own vegetable versions of the love and companionship that women provide in the macrocosmic world. In a way, this stanza potentially contradicts everything that has come before. On the other hand, it is a logical corollary of the image of the soul escaping the snares of the body and the world. Marvell here resembles Sir Thomas Browne, another seventeenth-century writer who preferred wondering detachment to zealous engagement. Browne, who describes his “indifferency” with respect to religion as “neither violently defending one, nor with the common ardour of contention opposing another,” concluding that he would rather “lose my selfe in a mystery, to pursue my reason to an o altitudo.” 54 Browne, like Marvell, couples this suspension of engagement in dispute with a detachment from sexuality, also oddly linked to vegetation: “I could be content that

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we might procreate like trees, without conjunction, or that there were any way to perpetuate the world without this triviall and vulgar way of coition.” 55 Both Browne and Marvell seem to link estrangement from religious controversy with avoidance of sexual entanglement, and both express their unusual aversion in surprising or paradoxical form. Browne, however, despite his alignment with science as a medical doctor, remains firmly entrenched within the old explanatory system of analogies, and experiences wonder as a form of religious awe rather than as a prelude to scientific investigation. Marvell, on the other hand, eschews even these allegiances and turns, at the end of his poem, to a depiction of his garden in terms of the new mechanistic model of the universe, presenting a version of wonder that resembles scientific curiosity. It may seem difficult to see how the “fragrant zodiac” of the final stanza represents a mechanical clock, and the bee a scientist, but there is evidence to support this reading. Automata, clocks, and other mechanical devices formed a category of man-made wonders that appeared in gardens and also in other places. These devices were considered to be amazing examples of human achievement, blurring the distinction between art and nature. Before the invention of the first mechanical clock around 1300, imaginary automata were described in Romances and associated with the magical and occult causes of nature. 56 After such devices began to be constructed, they became, in Otto Mayr’s words, “mediators between the worlds of magic and rationality,” teaching “how to account for unfamiliar phenomena not by resorting to the supernatural but by identifying concrete, observable causes.” 57 Beginning as wonders, then, such devices paved the way for the replacement of an analogical universe with a rational and mechanical one. Joshua Sylvester’s translation of Du Bartas’ hexameral poem “Divine Weeks and Works” links the animal spirits, ambition, and mechanical devices in his passage on human anatomy: “what can be hard to a sloathshunning Spirit, / Spurr’d with desire of Fames eternall merit?” 58 His examples of human ingenuity include various mechanical birds, and an iron fly animated by “springs, wheeles counterpoise, & chaines.” 59 He gives as an example the famous astronomical clock in the Strasbourg cathedral: But who would think, that mortall hands could mold New Heau’ns, new stars, whose whirling courses should With constant windings, through contrary wayes, Marke the true mounds of Yeares, & Months, & Dayes? (222)


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This clock reminds him of a similar automaton, given by the Emperor Ferdinand to Solyman the Turk, in which “a Spirit still mouing to and fro, / Made all the Engine orderly to goe,” “The Sunne, there shifting in the Zodiake / His shining Houses, never did forsake / His pointed Path” (223). Some clocks and automata specifically reinforced an analogy between microcosm and macrocosm by representing a mechanical model of the universe, in miniature. The second astronomical clock at Strasbourg was designed by Conrad Dasypodius and completed in 1574. 60 In addition to indicating the time, this clock charted “the motions of the sun and moon relative to the zodiac,” and other astronomical movements. Such clocks often also included automata fashioned like people or animal. These engineering feats also took on cultural force in the later seventeenth century when clock-like mechanisms became a common analogy for the workings of the human body, and for nature as a whole. 61 Robert Boyle, for instance, used the example of the Strasbourg clock to argue, like Descartes, that nature itself was a marvelous automaton created by God. 62 Wonderful mechanisms both underscored the connections between art and nature, macrocosm and microcosm, and facilitated the transition to the analysis of a universe imagined as a mechanism, based on observable, linear chains of cause and effect. Marvell’s meditation on the garden moves from wonderful analogy to wonderful mechanism; neither worldview provides a way for the speaker to escape a cognitive bond with his environment. Marvell’s final stanza is usually read as a Georgic movement away from the poem’s pastoral retreat from the active life. However, I think even this conclusion is marked by the logic of wonder and amazement. The “dial new” described here is ambiguously an actual sundial (often the centerpiece of the mannerist garden) or the daily and seasonally changing plants themselves, again blurring the boundaries of art and nature. 63 The zodiac, I think, also alludes to complicated mechanical wonders like the Strasbourg clock, where automated representations of the sun and moon traveled through the astrological signs: as the sun here “does through a fragrant zodiak run.” To view the garden, even so indirectly, as a clock (or “horologium” in “Hortus”) brings the poem into the neighborhood of the Cartesian mechanistic universe. But like the exaggeration and reversal of analogies earlier in the poem, Marvell describes a mechanism in natural terms, rather than describing nature in mechanical terms. As Mayr has argued, drawing an analogy between a clock and nature could emphasize order, regularity, authority and the existence of God. 64 Marvell does here turn his attention to the

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Gardener who has created an orderly garden. But most authors who compare nature to a clock describe the springs and wheels that make up the clock’s internal mechanism and ensure its regularity: “This mouing world, may well resembled be, / T’a Jacke, or Watch, or Clock, or to all three: / For, as they moue, by weights, or springs, and wheeles.” 65 Charleton, the theorist of the ambitious vegetable, similarly refers to the “figure, situation, axis, number of teeth, and precise measure of circumrotation” that make a watch resemble “the system of the Celestial orbs, the Laws of natural motions.” 66 Marvell emphasizes instead the living, natural components of the garden, turning the analogy on its head. As he did with trees earlier in the poem, Marvell reverses and thus “unmetaphors” the analogy, making clear that gardens are literally made of herbs and flowers, even if they are imagined to be analogous to clockwork. Marvell’s scientist-bee offers another, perhaps more successful, version of suspension: hovering above the garden, he studies it without becoming entangled in its snares. Mayr links the analogy between nature and a clock with the new science and its “claim that it analyzed the phenomena of nature as though they were actions of machinery” explicable “in terms of quantities that could be counted and measured.” 67 The bee, unlike the speaker of the poem, is industrious, but with an industry that seems more like that of scientists who were beginning to approach gardens with a different kind of investigative curiosity than the usual honey-gathering bee. While sixteenth-century humanists had used the bee metaphor to represent industrious and selective study of books, “gathering” the most useful fragments of text in order to reframe then into new texts, Marvell’s bee counts rather than gathers. 68 This bee is more concerned to “compute,” a new word in the mid-seventeenth century, used exclusively of mathematical computation, than to gather or to produce anything. The bee doesn’t wonder at the “herbs and flowers,” or if it does, that wonder is directly transmuted into a practical “reckoning” and analysis. Flying above the garden with an analytical eye, the bee remains untangled in its vegetation. The bee is also, potentially, yet another wonder. In the Georgics, Virgil calls his bees “admiranda    levium spectacula”—marvelous spectacle of little things—and describes their labors in mock-heroic terms. 69 Marvell’s computing bee seems to be a similarly marvelous creature, whose computations parody as well as celebrate the new science. As seventeenth-century scientists like Bacon advocated the study of wonders as a way to escape from explanatory systems, wonder here works to distance both speaker and reader from a governing worldview,


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whether that based on hierarchy or on mechanisms. Analogy is revealed by the poem as a necessary and inescapable tool of conceptualization, one that could lend itself to many different ideological projects. In “The Garden,” then, Marvell depicts the speaker in various states of suspended amazement. In these states, he is supremely aware of his surroundings, poised between contemplation and action. He is aware of both mind and body but is also suspended at the moment of choice between them. He is also aware of various schemes for organizing knowledge—analogy between microcosm and macrocosm, Neoplatonism, mechanism, vitalism, scientific analysis—but presents them all as sources of wonder. Amazement here is a state of hyper-awareness that the mind is uneasily but inescapably embodied, engaged with the world and yet not entirely a part of it, capable of inventing various tools for understanding the world and for drawing analogies between concrete and abstract. If analogies are an inextricable aspect of the way we think, then thought is bounded by our experience of embodiment and the material world. In this sense, then, analogies are confining, as Sawday and Foucault imply, though not in any way that can be predictably correlated with any particular ideology. Cognitive scientist Terrence Deacon has described the paradoxical situation of the embodied mind as human beings are able to imagine that mind is independent of the body, but are also able to imagine the death of the mind along with the body. 70 Marvell’s poem depicts wonder as a kind of “out of body experience.” It shows how pervasive analogies are, and how inextricably they tie mind to body, even as it defamiliarizes them. If, as Tillyard suggested, the system of analogies was designed to “tame” surprising facts and allow people to accept them without question or wonder, Marvell’s poem disrupts this process. He shows how weird and wonderful the idea of a correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm could seem. He also shows how wonderful the idea of the universe as a clock could seem. But he also shows that without these analogies linking concrete with abstract, the mind would have nothing, not even a green thought in a green shade. Further, the poem presents its wittily paradoxical mix of art and nature, human and plant, individual and environment, in order to induce a state of wonder and amazement in the reader—as many baffled critics can attest. It may be that Marvell saw such a state of suspended awareness as preferable to the passionate and partisan adherence to beliefs and causes that was causing such turmoil all around him in the mid-seventeenth century. His poem is itself a wondrous garden that

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offers the reader a kind of amazed repose from epistemological, moral, and political controversy. It may also be that Marvell, like the collectors of curiosities, seeks to establish himself in the realm of the “marvellous.” If this is the case, the poem’s final paradox is that it seems to eschew poetic ambition only to express it in another form.

Notes 1. Eugene R. Cunnar, “Names on Trees, the Hermaphrodite, and ‘The Garden’,” Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth, eds, On the Celebrated and Neglected Poems of Andrew Marvell (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1992): 121. Cunnar cites Christine Rees, The Judgment of Marvell (London: Pinter, 1989), 179–197, for a summary of these critical approaches. 2. For Marvell’s vitalism and this poem, see John Rogers, The Matter of Revolution: Science, Poetry, and Politics in the Age of Milton (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996), 70, 98. For Marvell and anatomy, see Jonathan Sawday, The Body Emblazoned: Dissection and the Human Body in Renaissance Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), 21–22, 237–238. 3. See Thomas N. Corns, Uncloistered Virtue: English Political Literature, 1640– 1660 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 221–244, who argues that Marvell’s earlier poems “contain within them, unreconciled, conflicting values and aspirations, and collectively they manifest a degree of ideological disparity which matches other elements of instability within the oeuvre, such as the labile perspective on human sexuality” (240). See also Rosalie Colie, “My Ecchoing Song”: Andrew Marvell’s Poetry of Criticism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), 16, who suggests that “after prolonged exposure to Marvell’s poetry, one feels in it more than meets eye or ear; and even after one has worked hard to define this ‘more,’ it remains nonetheless elusive, indefinite, recessive. In ‘The Garden,’ it seems to me, this device is most successfully exploited.” See also Ann Baynes Coiro, who argues that “Marvell eludes us, and he seems to have intended to do so”; “The Achievement of Andrew Marvell: Excerpts from a Panel Discussion,” Summers and Pebworth, 243. 4. Nigel Smith, “Zeal and the Poets: Martyrs, Terrorists, Assassins,” Paper delivered at the 2004 MLA Convention. 5. All references to Marvell’s poetry cite Andrew Marvell, The Poems of Andrew Marvell, ed. Nigel Smith (New York: Longman, 2003). 6. Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 11501750 (New York: Zone Books, 2001), 14. 7. Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 14. 8. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles 3.101.2, 4 vols, trans. Vernon J. Bourke (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975): cited in Daston and Park, 122. 9. Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 122–123. 10. See John Henry, “Thomas Harriot and Atomism: a Reappraisal,” in History of Science 20 (1982): 267–296, for the idea that “when philosophers began to recognize the need to eschew ‘occult’ qualities and powers from their explanations of natural systems, they turned to the mechanical philosophy


11. 12. 13.


15. 16.


18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26.


28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33.


Marvell’s Amazing Garden which relied on the notion of contact action between bodies in motion for its explanatory force.” Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 220. Ibid., 306. Descartes, Ren´e, Les Passions de l’ˆame in Oeuvres, ed., Charles Adams and Paul Tannery, 12 vols (Paris: Leopold Cerf, 1897–1910), vol. 11, 75: 119 and 73: 118, cited in Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 317. Malabranche, De la Recherche de al verite [1674–75], 6th ed. [1712], in Oeuvres, 2: 204–207, ed. Genevi`eve Rodis-Lewis, 20 vols (Paris: J. Vrin, 1962–1967); cited in Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 316. See Rosalie Colie, My Ecchoing Song, 148. Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, ed., Floyd Dell and Paul JordanSmith (New York: Tudor, 1955), Part 1. Section 2, Memb. 4, subs 3, pp. 286–287. See George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 272–273; See also Sawday, The Body Emblazoned, 16–22, on the early modern idea that the soul is trapped in the body. Sawday, The Body Emblazoned, 23. Ibid., 22. Bartas His Deuine Weekes and Workes, trans. Joshua Sylvester (London, 1605), 214; partially cited in Sawday, The Body Emblazoned, 97. Crooke, Mikrokosmographia, 814. Gail Kern Paster, “Nervous Tension,” in David Hillman and Carla Mazzio, eds, The Body in Parts: Fantasies of Corporeality in Early Modern England (New York: Routledge, 1997), 107–128, esp. 118. Thomas Wright, The Passions of the Minde in Generall (London, 1630), 45. Ibid., 8. Ibid., 18. See essays by Gail Kern Paster and Mary Floyd-Wilson in Paster, FloydWilson, and Katherine Rowe, eds, Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), for the interpenetration of body and environment in the sixteenth century. Marvell, writing near the end of the dominance of this system of belief, views this interpenetration through the estranging lens of wonder. Roy Strong, The Renaissance Garden in England (London, Thames & Hudson, 1979); John Hunt Dixon, Garden and Grove: The Italian Renaissance Garden in the English Imagination, 1600–1750 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986). Dixon, Garden and Grove, 74–75. Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 287. Strong, The Renaissance Garden, 105. Ibid., 214. Colie, My Ecchoing Song, 148, makes this point. See Barry Weller, “The Epic as Pastoral: Milton, Marvell, and the Plurality of Genre,” New Literary History 30 (1999): 143–157, esp. 150, for the idea that the enclosed space of the garden is also analogous to the “boundedness    of lyric utterance.” Walter Charleton, The Darknes of Atheism Dispelled by the Light of Nature: A Physico-Theologicall Treatise (London, 1652), 133. On the link between Charleton’s Royalism and his vitalism, see Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 297.

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35. Ibid., 133. The “nayled” plants recall the speaker of “Upon Appleton House,” who asks “courteous brambles, nail me through” (616). 36. Ibid., 133. 37. See Colie, My Ecchoing Song, 157–158, on the speaker as “naif.” 38. On the correspondence between plants and people, see Nicolson, The Breaking of the Circle, 13, 29. 39. Colie, My Ecchoing Song, 159–160. 40. Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 273–274. 41. Colie, My Ecchoing Song, 160, 153. 42. Christine Rees, The Judgment of Marvell (London: Pinter Publishers, 1989), 187. 43. Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 311. 44. Jonathan Crewe, “The Garden State: Marvell’s Poetics of Enclosure,” in Thomas Healy, ed., Andrew Marvell (New York and London: Longman, 1998), 58–59, has argued that “although the speaker’s ‘fall’ may successfully be divorced from any negative biblical implication, it entails his own ‘passivization’ and a corresponding transfer of agency to the virtually forcefeeding landscape.” 45. Victoria Silver, “The Obscure Script of Regicide: Ambivalence and Little Girls in Marvell’s Pastorals,” ELH 68 (2001): 29–55, esp. 31. 46. E. M. W. Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture (New York: Vintage, 1943), 83–84; Marjorie Hope Nicolson, The Breaking of the Circle: Studies in the Effect of the “New Science” Upon Seventeenth-Century Poetry (New York: Columbia University Press, rev. ed. 1960), 20. 47. Stephen Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 22. 48. Colie, My Ecchoing Song, 150, describes it as “the shadow cast by materiality upon the ideal, the shadow also cast by the ideal upon materiality.” 49. Bruce Smith, “Hearing Green,” in Paster, Rowe and Floyd-Wilson, eds, links Chomsky’s sentence to the phenomenology of “green” in the early modern period, 147–168, esp. 147. 50. Colie, My Ecchoing Song, 165–166, on the genealogy of this image. 51. Rees, The Judgment of Marvell, 190. 52. John Klause, The Unfortunate Fall: Theodicy and the Moral Imagination of Andrew Marvell (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1983), 115, notes the bird’s self-absorption, while Silver, 42, is “inclined to regard this ecstatic pleasure as being of the same order as the voluptuous one.” 53. Wright, The Passions of the Minde in Generall, 69. 54. Sir Thomas Browne: Selected Writings, ed. Sir Geoffrey Keynes (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), 7 and 14 (Part I sections 1 and 9). 55. Ibid., 79 (Part II section 9). 56. Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 94. 57. Otto Mayr, Authority, Liberty, and Automatic Machinery in Early Modern Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), 26. 58. Du Bartas, 220. 59. Ibid., 221. 60. Mayr, Authority, Liberty, and Automatic Machinery, 13. 61. Ibid., 12.


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62. Robert Boyle, Free Inquiry in The Works    , 6 vols, ed. Thomas Birch, (facsimile reprint 1772, Hildeshein: George Olms, 1965–1966), 5: 163; cited in Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 298. 63. Strong, The Renaissance Garden, 211, on Marvell, garden sundials, and gardens as sundials. 64. Mayr, Authority, Liberty, and Automatic Machinery, 47. 65. The Elizabethan poet John Norden, (1614), cited by Mayr, Authority, Liberty, and Automatic Machinery, 48. 66. Charleton, The Darknes of Atheism, 135. 67. Mayr, Authority, Liberty, and Automatic Machinery, 56. 68. On gathering bees, see Mary Thomas Crane, Framing Authority: Sayings, Self, and Society in Sixteenth-Century England (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 57–59. 69. Virgil, Georgics, ed. R. A. B. Mynors (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), book 4, line 3. 70. Terrence W. Deacon, The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain (New York: Norton, 1997), 454.

3 The Souls of Animals: John Donne’s Metempsychosis and Early Modern Natural History∗ Elizabeth D. Harvey

John Donne’s Metempsychosis, 1 a poem enriched with what H.W. Janson calls “a truly awesome amount of biblical and zoological lore,” 2 chronicles the transmigrations of a soul through a successive series of vegetable, animal, and human hosts. 3 In his engagement with Pythagorean metempsychosis, Donne participates poetically in philosophical debates that preoccupied contemporary moral and natural philosophers, and this strange poem articulates in embryo, as it were, many of these larger concerns: what was the nature of the linkage between soma and psyche? If a soul transmigrated, did it remember its past lives? Was the rational soul unique to human beings? Did the vegetative and sensitive soul join human beings to plant and animal life in ways that changed their connection to the environment? These questions, and the ethical and philosophical implications of metempsychosis, interrogate the fundamental beliefs of humanism. Where Pico della Mirandola argued that reason radically distinguished men from animals, 4 Donne used the ideas of the tripartite soul and Pythagorean transmigration of souls to examine humanism’s darker side: if the vegetable and animal souls are not finally subsumed into the rational soul, but rather coexist with it, then the sovereignty over all living things that God supposedly conferred upon human beings is called into question. If human beings are not distinguished as fundamentally different from the plants and animals with which they share the world, their ethical relationship with other forms of life is then no longer a natural right or innate privilege. Indeed, the erosion of the distinction between animal, vegetable, and human urges a redefinition of the nature of humanity and the privileges that reason should bestow. Donne’s transmigrating soul defines the human subject as constituted both by the intricate linkage between soma and psyche and by extension, by a relationship with the 55


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environment that renders the body both permeable to it and also psychically contiguous with it. I will argue here that Donne’s poem provides a portrait of the early modern psyche that presages Freud’s: Donne’s vegetable and animal souls are as aggressive and propelled by sexual and survival instincts as Freud’s id, and their continued existence in the form of active vegetable and animal souls within the rational human is only precariously contained by the civilizing impulses of reason. Metempsychosis depicts a soul that is relentlessly implicated in somatic materiality and the passions. 5 The poem charts the progress of this greedily physical soul not through the celestial terrain of The Second Anniversary, but through the natural and social worlds. The result is a scathing portrait of a civilization undergirded by anarchic desire and unbridled violence. 6 The poem is framed by the soul’s first avatar, the apple that hangs on the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, and its last incarnation, Themech, Cain’s sister and wife; in between, the soul inhabits a variety of vegetable and animal bodies which rapaciously procreate, kill, and devour in a poetic landscape that is saturated with aggressive and sexual appetite. In the prefatory epistle to the poem, Donne invokes Pythagorean metempsychosis, a doctrine that was not only vigorously debated in early modern culture but also frequently parodied, as it had been since antiquity. 7 This comic derision informs Donne’s description of the soul’s progress in the poem, which has the capacity to move, he tells us, not only “from man to man,” but also from “man to beast” and “indifferently to plants also” (26). He enjoins the reader not to “grudge,” therefore, “to finde the same soule in an Emperour, in a Post-horse, and in a Mucheron [mushroom],” since no “unreadinesse in the soule” but rather an “indisposition in the organs workes this” (26). Thus, although the soul “could not move when it was a Melon, yet it may remember, and now tell mee, at what lascivious banquet it was serv’d.” Although it could not speak as a spider, “yet it can remember, and now tell me, who used it for poyson to attaine dignitie” (26). Memory is the principle of continuity in the soul’s migrations through its somatic hosts. Although the vegetable and animal bodies into which the soul is incarnated do not possess the faculties that would allow for movement or speech, this soul can nevertheless mnemonically store its experiences until it finds a body that will allow it verbal expression. Metempsychosis is designated “Poêma Satyricon” on the title page of the 1633 edition, a label that supports Milgate’s grouping of the poem with Donne’s satires. Karl Wentersdorf suggests that the Hermeticism that pervades the poem is coupled with a definition of satire derived

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from the late-Latin term satyricus or saturicus, a Renaissance etymological confusion that linked satire with satyrs and the woodland lasciviousness for which they were notorious. 8 Wentersdorf is right to invoke the spurious derivation for satire, but where he stresses the legendary sexuality of satyrs, I would emphasize in addition their hybridity, the heterogeneity of the human/animal body. Stephan Batman’s 1582 translation of De Proprietatibus Rerum couples the discussion of satyrs with a description of fauns in “De Faunis & Satiris,” a section that directly precedes the chapters on the female of the species, “Of Feminae,” on viviparous animal parents, “Of Fetante,” and on the fetus, human and otherwise, “Of Fetu.” 9 Although this juxtaposition of women, parents, fetuses, and hybrids is generated by the ordering of the alphabet, the grouping of topics reproduces in this natural historical taxonomy what the figure of the satyr simultaneously integrates and distinguishes: animal–human hybridity. While satyrs have the “lykenesse” and “shape of mankinde,” according to Batman’s Bartholome, they do not have “reason” or “natural wit”; where some writers say that they have feet like goats, others believe satyrs to be wild men. Indeed, Edward Topsell, in his Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes, recounts the capture of a satyr in Saxony: he was “in the upper parts like a man, and in the neather partes like a Goat, but all hairy throughout: he was brought to be tame, and learned to go upright, and also to speake some wordes, but with a voice like a Goat, and without all reason: he was exceeding lustfull to women, attempting to ravish many.” 10 Topsell’s anecdote elaborates Bartholomaeus’s identification between satyrs and “wild men,” troubling as it does the idea that erect posture and language are unique to human beings. His account also suggests the dangerous permeability of the divide between human and animal and between human and environment, and it emphasizes by extension the pivotal nature of the civilized habits that maintain the boundaries between wilderness and cultivated society. Pierre de la Primaudaye, the Huguenot writer whose four-part encyclopedia, L’Academie Françoise, provided a highly influential treatment of the body and its relation to the soul, strenuously insisted upon psychic compartmentalization, with the vegetable and animal souls being subsumed into and absorbed by the rational soul. John Donne countered la Primaudaye’s passionate belief in the supremacy of the rational, human soul in Metempsychosis, a poem that charts the radical porosity of the soul, a psychic exchange among plants, animals, and human beings. Donne’s term “Poêma Satyricon” is, I contend, a pun, a coupling of different meanings in a single word or form, and this


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linguistic hybridity is exemplified and extended by the satyr, whose unrestrained sexuality and amalgamation of human and animal parts exposes the multiple dimensions of the human soul to excoriating scrutiny. Some critics have argued that the poem is filiated with the beast fable, but Donne portrays not just an analogical relationship between human and beast, a mirror that reveals human nature because of its difference from the animal, but something more radical: an inhabitation by the very beings that rational humanity seeks to disavow. If the soul’s migrations appear to move up the chain of being toward civilized life, the soul’s memory ties it to its past incarnations, importing with an almost viral force the animal impulses of these former lives. Courtly behavior, as the poem’s cryptic allusions to political figures and social corruption suggest, is a veneer, a camouflage of manners that hides ambition and aggression. This hypocrisy is most evident in the figure of the ape, whose longing for Adam’s daughter, Siphatecia, produces a ferocious parody of the Petrarchan tongue-tied lover. The ape, watching children play, sees that his “organs” are “so like theirs” that he wonders why he cannot “speake his minde” (454–455). His courtship of Siphatecia is often described by critics as a rape, but in fact his attentions, which without language must depend on touch and gesture, awake in her a kind of “itchie warmth, that melts her quite” (483). What is significant about her response is that it is divided: she is “willing halfe and more, more than halfe loth” (485), and when her brother interrupts their sexual congress and kills the ape, the soul flies into the gestating embryo of Themech, “com[ing] out next, where the Ape would have gone in”(492). The transition between the simian and human incarnations is thus marked not only by this almost consummated “unnatural” coupling, but also by mimicry, division, and doubling, as if the confusion of Siphatecia’s desire was mirrored in a confounding of species, a miscegenation of souls.

I. The farcical transgressiveness of the hypothetical soul’s transformation from melons and mushrooms to horses and emperors, its ability to insinuate itself into a range of hosts and accumulate intelligence about the world, may initially distract attention from the seriousness of the philosophical claims Donne is making. His allusion to Pythagoras elicits a set of debates about the nature of the soul, its tripartite nature, the possibility that the human or rational soul could inhabit an animal or vegetable body, and the attributes of memory, imagination, and reason

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that were thought to be unique to the rational soul. Plato aligned the soul in the Timaeus with specific bodily zones: the head, which lodged the immortal soul, was separated from the body by the isthmus of the neck, which formed both a connection with and a barrier to the mortal souls. These two inferior souls were placed in the upper and lower parts of the thorax respectively; one was associated with courage and passion and was housed in the heart, and the other, notable for its desire for meat and drink, was separated by the diaphragm and confined to a region that was “a sort of manger for the food of the body.” It was “bound it down like a wild animal which was chained up with man” (70e), as far as possible from the brain or “council chamber” (71a), relegated to the “house of the lower nature” (71b), the liver. 11 Plato’s territorializations became in Aristotle the tripartite soul so familiar to the early moderns: the soul, the “cause and first principle of the living body,” 12 was composed of the nutritive or vegetative soul, which was associated with food and growth, the sensible or animal soul, which was linked to sensation, and the intellective or rational soul, which was marked by the capacity for speculative thought. The bodies through which the soul in Metempsychosis migrates seem to correspond roughly to this Aristotelian soul, beginning with the vegetative soul (apple, mandrake root), moving through the animal soul (sparrow, fish/swan, sea-pie, fish, whale, mouse/elephant, wolf, dog, ape), and ending finally in the rational soul (Themech). 13 As I will suggest, however, the poem offers a powerfully subversive critique of the very traditions that shape its architecture. Pierre de la Primaudaye in the Second Part of his popular treatise The French Academie, which provides “a naturall historie of the bodie and soule of man,” 14 sought to reconcile the Platonic tradition with earlier Pythagorean ideas. La Primaudaye’s synthesis of classical and patristic writers on anatomy and natural philosophy supplied a storehouse of ideas that visibly influenced Sir John Davies’s Nosce Teipsum (which was published two years before the date of Donne’s poem) and may also have informed, although in less obvious and more contestatory ways, Metempsychosis. 15 Some critics have suggested that Donne’s sources included patristic writings on the soul, Tertullian’s De Anima in particular, 16 and while I do not disagree, I will explore here the relationship between Donne’s poem and a group of treatises that draw on anatomy, natural history, and philosophies of the soul. This peculiar blend characterizes The French Academie and its precursor and successor texts, most notably De Proprietatibus Rerum, an encyclopedia of natural history written by the thirteenth-century Franciscan Bartholomaeus and


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translated into English in 1582 by Stephan Batman, Batman upon Bartholome, and a subsequent series of texts exemplified by Kenelm Digby’s Two treatises (1644) and Thomas Willis’s somatico-psychic disquisition of 1683, Two Discourses. 17 Although I will focus here on la Primaudaye and Batman, I want nevertheless to contextualize Donne’s poem within a tradition that debated not only the nature of the rational soul, but its crucial relationship to the animal and vegetable souls that invest both the human body and the flora and fauna of the ambient world. 18 As a Protestant moralist, la Primaudaye was intent on establishing not only the immortality of the human soul, but also the absolute distinction between the rational and lower (sensitive and vegetative) souls. La Primaudaye says that he cannot imagine how great philosophers could fall into the “foppery” of believing in the transmigration of souls. Achitob, one of the book’s four interlocutors, suggests that wee have already learned by our discourses of the nature both of body and soule, that the soule cannot dwell nor exercise her offices in any other then in the body of a man, seeing that is the true forme and perfection of man and of that kinde, without which he cannot bee man. Wee may say the same of the soule of beastes and of plants. For if every creature had not his proper forme and some thing in which the perfection of it consisteth, without which it cannot bee that which it is, and by which it differeth in kinde from other creatures, there would be a woonderfull confusion throughout all nature, yea the whole order thereof woulde bee overturned. 19 La Primaudaye’s insistence on the primacy and uniqueness of the human rational soul is matched by the scorn that informs those (even Plato) who believed in the “passage of the soule from one body to another” (508). As he asserts in his discussion of instrumentality, the human soul must “of necessitie have another body, with other instrumentes and of another nature, then the soule of beastes may have: and the soule of beastes another then the soule of plants, according as every one of them differeth from other both in nature and offices” (435). His interpretation of the Platonic and Pythagorean doctrines of metempsychosis is aggressively allegorical. These philosophers never actually believed in transmigration, he asserts; their meaning was rather to “withdraw men from beastly affections” (509). Men have the capacity to transform themselves at any time into sheep, wolves, hogs, dogs, bears, or lions, just as they can also transfigure themselves as angels, for as Plato tells us, the “nature of man” is “monstrous” (510) in its ability to house multiple

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natures. Plato, la Primaudaye says, represented man with a head that resembles a Virgin (because it is the seat of reason), a breast that is compared to a lion (because the middle part of the body contains the affections, which may be likened to furious beasts), and the lower parts can be figured as “barking and bawling” dogs (because that part is very “brutish” and “given to all carnall pleasures, and chiefely to fornication” (510). The Platonic and Pythagorean doctrines of transmigration are, claims la Primaudaye, “fayned kindes of speech,” designed to “withdraw men from beastly affections” (509). Reincarnation, in other words, served a monitory function, a figuration of what the predominance of the sensible over the rational soul would look like, an imaginative portrait of a depraved inner soul displayed in the outward form of a beastly body. La Primaudaye here reiterates humanist beliefs in the human and rational capacity to triumph over the mortal, inferior souls that all humans harbored within them, to submerge the sensual in the speculative. Just as Adam had been given dominion over the animals, a superiority marked by language and reason, so, too, could all human beings vanquish the animal and vegetable affinities bequeathed to them by their mortal souls. The confident pronouncements of la Primaudaye about the absolute distinction between souls and the impossibility of random reincarnation nevertheless contain several small seeds of doubt. While these moments do not approach the radical skepticism of Montaigne’s interrogation of human and animal intelligence in the Apology for Raymond Sebond or Plutarch’s Moralia to which Montaigne recurrently refers, they do anticipate Donne’s subversion of the humanist principles that la Primaudaye so vehemently articulates. La Primaudaye’s contention that the rational soul is unique to human beings is itself undermined by the etymology that he furnishes and then almost immediately disavows. “[T]his worde Animal [is] derived from Anima” (446), he writes, which means that a human being “is altogether animal, that is, naturall and sensuall both in body and soule without Christ Jesus” (446). Religion modifies the animal soul, but it is only death and resurrection that can slough off the natural and sensual aspects of human existence. La Primaudaye’s invocation of the Latin root for soul, anima, and its etymological imbrication with “animal” suggests an uncontrollable linguistic mingling that is reflected in the shadowing of the rational soul by its vegetative and animal counterparts. La Primaudaye’s account of the gestation of the infant also acknowledges the rational soul’s root in the natural souls that form its foundation: “we see how the child, so long as it is in the Mothers wombe, differeth almost nothing at all


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from plantes; and after it is borne, how it differeth but a little from brute beastes”(427). He then goes on to contend that “in every body there is but one and the same kinde, fashion, and essentiall forme of nature, whereby it cometh to bee that which it is: so there is but one onely Soule in every living creatures body, by which it doth live, but yet this soule is distinguished according to the vertues and offices thereof” (427–428). La Primaudaye clings to an idea of natural order that depends on the orderly cleaving of specific souls to matching bodies. An arbitrary transmigration that is motivated by destiny or appetite would produce a chaotic universe that often appears at the edges of his encyclopedic work, but is always quickly relegated to the strictly ordered universe governed by an intrinsic correspondence between soma and psyche.

II. The philosophical chaos that la Primaudaye banishes from The French Academie is the vital principle that animates Donne’s Metempsychosis. If la Primaudaye adheres to the idea of the unitary soul/body, Donne’s poem embraces the concept of hybridity from the outset. If the soul’s memory to which Donne alludes in the prefatory epistle stores its own transmigratory history, the soul is nevertheless not precisely the repository of that mnemonic faculty. Kenneth Gross argues that we “gather only a very volatile, abstracted notion of a self or personality from within its endless cycle of changes” and the soul actually remembers “nothing of itself” and “neither does the world,” 20 judgments that are consonant with Milgate’s assertion that the soul does not really “accumulate individuality.” 21 Metempsychosis and Ovid’s Metamorphoses feature intertwined narratives of transformed bodies and the enactment of Pythagorean transmigration, 22 and both poems share a common narratorial dilemma: who records the thoughts of speechless bodies? The sailors Circe transforms to swine in Chapman’s translation of The Odyssey share a similar linguistic complexity: “But harmful venoms she commix’d with these, / That made their country vanish from their thought. / Which eat, she touch’d them with a rod that wrought / Their transformation far past human wonts; / Swine’s snouts, swine’s bodies, took they, bristles, grunts, / But still retain’d the souls they had before, / Which made them mourn their bodies’ change the more.” 23 Donne’s promise in the epistle that the soul will reveal the secrets of its vegetative and animal hosts when it occupies a body that can speak evokes Ovid’s transmuted bodies; Actaeon’s anguished

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attempt to communicate with his hounds from inside a stag’s body, Io’s endeavor as a white heifer to reveal her real identity to her father, and Niobe’s stony, silent grief mime the pathos of lost language. The narratorial voice serves in both poems as the translator of these aphasic bodies, conferring upon them an eloquence of gesture and inner complexity that belies the linguistic incapacity of the forms that mute their human speech. While Donne’s soul is never reincarnated in the speaking body he forecasts, Metempsychosis does mnemonically document the soul’s successive incarnations in its language and metaphors. The richness of this figural palimpsesting provides a portrait of the human soul that is unable ever to forget its vegetative and sensitive roots, but is perennially haunted by its earlier incarnations, just as images used to describe the vegetative and animal dwellings are themselves infused with a future they cannot know. The resulting poetic texture is layered and hybridized, a poetic argument for the interpenetration of souls and for the impossibility of definitively compartmentalizing the tripartite soul. The soul’s second lodging in Metempsychosis, the mandrake root, epitomizes this idea. Set free from the Edenic apple by the serpent’s “gripe” (121), the soul flies to a “darke and foggie Plot” where “her fate” throws her into “th’earths pores” (129–130), and she takes up residence in a plant. The vegetable form is “abled” (a recurrent pun and a choice of verb that predicts the poem’s structuring Cain/Abel narrative) by the soul, which “force[s]” itself a place “where no place was,” a germinal urgency that is proleptic of the many copulative forcings the soul subsequently witnesses. The ensouled plant’s insinuation into the crowded earth and its greed for space is likened in an extended simile to the city streets thronged with people who gather to see “the Prince”: they have “so fill’d the way / That weesels scarce could passe, when she comes nere / They throng and cleave up, and a passage cleare, / As if, for that time, their round bodies flatned were” (137–140). The temporal anticipation of the simile gathers into the mandrake’s development an urban landscape dense with people and a polity presided over by a sovereign, as if the future civilization was itself seeded in the mandrake, as if the root was the inchoate source of the early modern city. The next stanza continues the prolepsis in its description of the mandrake’s anthropomorphic development. Donne is, of course, drawing on the natural historical lore accreted around the mandragora, particularly the notion of the root as a little man growing in the earth. 24 But in the details of the mandrake’s development (the ends of the arms “digest / Into ten lesser strings, these fingers were,”


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“as a slumberer stretching on his bed, / This way he this, and that way scattered / His other legge, which feet with toes upbeare” [142–146]) we hear an anticipatory echo of the human host at the end of the poem who is the soul’s destiny. Like the mandrake, Themech’s gestation, not in the body of the earth, but in Eve’s womb, is described in its vegetable detail: Adam and Eve had mingled bloods, and now Like Chimiques equall fires, her temperate wombe Had stew’d and form’d it: and part did become A spungie liver, that did richly’allow, Like a free conduit, on a high hils brow, Life-keeping moisture unto every part. (493–498) The two gestations mirror each other across the soul’s intervening vagrancies: the mandrake root, which describes the growth of a vegetable soul, metaphorically forecasts the final human host, and Themech’s fetal development, which begins with the nutritive soul that is housed in the liver, inevitably replicates its vegetable origins. The humanity of the mandrake root, “this living buried man” (160), is immanent; like la Primaudaye’s description of the fetus in utero as differing “almost nothing at all from plantes,” the mandrake’s potentially human sensory faculties are undeveloped, embryonic “A mouth, but dumbe, he hath; blinde eyes, deafe eares” (151). It is Eve who unfetters the soul from its mandrake lodging. In a savage irony that Donne exploits fully, she tears the plant from its earthy womb to cool her sleepless child’s blood, killing a vegetable soul (the mandrake was reputed to be an abortifacient), in other words, to preserve the small child she cradles in her arms, whose lack of a rational soul is evident from the fact that “since it saw light,” it had never slept or shut its “moist red eyes” (165–166). The baby expresses the sensible soul in the ferocity of its animal needs, and Eve’s corresponding desperation causes her to murder the mandrake for its soporific effects. If the hybridity of these intersecting human/vegetative metaphors frames the poem, two other transmigrations are emblematic in their doubleness. The soul, seeking a new host, is “inform’d” in freshly fertilized fish roe, and “able[s]” a young fish to “rowe / It selfe with finnie oares” (227–228). Before it even approaches maturity, however, a swan devours it. For a brief time, the soul thus simultaneously inhabits two bodies:

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Now swome a prison in a prison put, And now this Soule in double walls was shut, Till melted with the Swans digestive fire, She left her house the fish, and vapour’d forth. (241–244) The soul’s double container replicates its double (vegetative and sensitive) soul, a point that is emphasized by the swan’s “digestive fire,” which the early moderns associated with this lower soul’s role in nourishing the body and promoting growth. The demise of the fish in the swan’s digestive juices seems to signal the vegetative soul’s translation into the animal soul, though as the double incorporation suggests, both lower souls continue to inform the poem’s psychic protagonist. Later in the soul’s journey, it invests “the streight cloyster of a wreched mouse” (375), which then climbs into the “sinewy Proboscis” (390) of a sleeping elephant. 25 As in “a gallery this mouse / Walk’d, and surveid the roomes of this vast house, / And to the braine, the soules bedchamber, went, / And gnaw’d the life cords there” (391–394). Donne’s joke, of course, is that the description of the mouse’s entrance into the elephant’s brain exactly replicates the language of anatomy treatises and the poetry, most notably the Castle of Alma in Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Sir John Davies’s Nosce Teipsum, which draws on them. La Primaudaye begins the Second Part of The French Academie, for instance, with the same familiar anatomical trope. In his address to the reader, he says that he will reveal not only the “outward members of man’s body,” but also the “most hidden & inward parts thereof”: “Heere may you see the exquisite frame & composition of the head, as it were the upper lodging of this house, the severall ventricles of the braine, as so many sundry chambers for the intertainement of the Animal Spirits” (A2). The elephant holds a privileged place in natural histories, for it is often, as la Primaudaye himself acknowledges in the third volume of The French Academie, the animal nearest to the “sense of man” in its “excellent witte, discretion, and memorie.” 26 The mouse’s inhabitation of the elephant brain anticipates both the soul’s investiture in a human form and its taking on of a rational soul, with all the attendant speculative faculties that this would enable, and also the way that the intellective soul is always subtended (and often thwarted completely) by the impulses of its lower souls. The mouse, even as it occupies rhetorically the anatomist’s perspective, is disabled by its appetitive nature; it cannot help seeing the brain’s “life cords” as food. These double incorporations are only the most obvious ways of signaling the complex hybridity of the soul’s suturing to its host body.


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As the soul ascends toward its final, human incarnation, the poem’s landscape, which except for metaphorical prolepses had been set in relative wilderness, begins increasingly to include human population and the traces of cultivation. The soul’s investiture in an embryonic wolf allows Donne to explore not only the topographical boundary between wilderness and civilization but also the psychic geography of this border. When the wolf is born, assisted by Nature, “the best midwife” (402), its basic instinct is to kill, and because it lives on the fringes of a pastoral society, its desired prey are Abel’s “white” and “milde” sheep. The sheep are, however, guarded by a fiercely competent “sentinell,” a female herding dog. The wolf determines to “corrupt” the bitch, and he steals in the dark to the “skirts” of Abel’s tent, where the bitch sleeps: ere she could barke, Attach’d her with streight gripes, yet hee call’d those, Embracements of love; to loves worke he goes, Where deeds move more than words; nor doth she show Now much resist, nor needs hee streighten so His prey, for, were shee loose, she would not barke, nor goe. (415–420) The appetitive nature of the animal soul is directed toward food, copulation, and aggression, but here at the interface of wilderness and civilization, represented by the wolf and dog as feral and domesticated counterparts, there is nothing simple in their manifestation. The wolf’s corruption of the dog produces in her an elaborate masquerade; if the wolf comes to the flock and Abel is present, she “faines hoarse barkings, but she biteth not” (424). Eventually the wolf is killed, but not before he impregnates the bitch. Their offspring is a whelp who combines the impulses of both parents: “He, as his dam, from sheepe drove wolves away, / And as his Sire, he made them his owne prey” (444–445). Finally, the confusion of his natures is his undoing: “hopelesse that his faults were hid, betraid / Himselfe by flight, and by all followed, / From dogges, a wolfe; from wolves, a dogge he fled; / And, like a spie to both sides false, he perished” (447–450). The chiasmus encapsulates the ambiguities of this hybrid wolf-dog, which is finally destroyed by conflicting allegiances that he cannot reconcile. The etymology of “hybrid,” as Philemon Holland’s 1601 translation of Pliny’s Natural History tells us, comes from the crossing of a domesticated pig with a wild boar; the offspring, he writes, are called a “Hybrides.” 27 Although writers like la

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Primaudaye insist on the supremacy of the rational soul, Donne’s notion of the human incorporates its other souls as indelible memories of its past appetites and urges. In this sense, then, all human beings are as hybrid as the wolf-dog, and although civilization may teach human beings how to restrain and channel the violent urgency of their appetites, it can never eradicate them. If, as Norbert Elias argues in his magisterial study of civilization, human beings become progressively civilized through codes of manners and the inculcation of certain civilized behaviors, their aggressions and desires do not disappear, but are rather redirected into an increasingly unreadable and inscrutable interior. 28 The “progress of the soul” in Donne’s poem is an ironic progress, for its ascension through increasingly complex organisms works to reveal the discrepancy between primordial urges and the civilized behaviors that attempt to disguise them. The narrator muses, for instance, on the sparrow’s lustfulness early on in the poem, speaking of a time before incest was prohibited (“Men, till they tooke laws which made freedome lesse, / Their daughters, and their sisters did ingresse” [201–202]), though by the end of the poem, incest, copulation with animals, murder, and rape are the texture of early “civilized” life. That these events are now mediated by language suggests a future in which “laws” will not so much prevent incest or rape as make their occurrence more covert. In the poem’s cynical vision, social complexity, the arts invented by “[C]ursed Cains race,” “plowing, building, ruling and the rest”(514–516) that are foundational to civilization, does not correlate with ethical behavior or goodness, and what we see, then, is the incorporation of the lower souls into progressively more dangerously “able” host bodies. Rather than cordoning off the vegetative and bestial from human existence Donne’s poem insists on the contiguities and consonances. That the soul emerges initially from the apple of knowledge in the Garden of Eden associates its errancy ever afterward with a fall into mortality, sexuality, and the divided and multiple nature of human beings. At the end of the poem, we witness the birth of the “tender well-arm’d feeling braine,” from which the “sinowie strings” that tie us to our bodies are “raveld out” (502– 504). Fastened by one end, “this Soule limbes, these limbes a soule attend” (505). This chiastic description of the rational soul’s installment in the brain’s faculties or organs (“limbes”) enacts the reciprocity of the body/soul knot, and it shapes the fulfillment of the prefatory epistle’s promise. Now that the soul has a faculty of memory, it can remember and keep “some quality” (506) of every past shape, the record of its


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vegetative and animal incarnations, the traces of its lower souls and past lives.

Notes * I am profoundly grateful for an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship from the Folger Shakespeare Library and for the generous responses from audiences at the Folger colloquium and the Renaissance Society of America annual conference (New York, 2004) who listened to an earlier version of this chapter. 1. References to Metempsychosis are to Milgate’s edition, John Donne: The Satires, Epigrams and Verse Letters, ed. W. Milgate (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967) and appear parenthetically in the chapter. The prefatory epistle is designated by the page number, and quotations from the poem specify line numbers. 2. H. W. Janson, Apes and Ape Lore in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (London: Warburg Institute, University of London, 1952), 272. 3. Despite its apparent incompleteness, the enigmatic poem was placed first in the 1633 edition of Donne’s poetry, a position that suggests the importance of the poem’s body–soul relations to Donne’s thought. The evidence for its unfinished nature relies partly on the discrepancy in the epistle prefacing the poem in which Donne promises to follow the soul from the apple that Eve ate to “this time when shee is hee” (Milgate, 26) and from the insinuations in ll. 61–70 that the great soul is a powerful presence, that it will tell its own story at the end, and that it will be incarnated in the bodies of Luther and Mahomet. Ben Jonson’s description, that Donne’s “generall purpose was to have brought in all the bodies of the Hereticks from the soule of Caine and at last left it in the body of Calvin” (Milgate, xxvi) suggests a temporal sweep that is never realized. 4. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, “Oration on the Dignity of Man,” trans. Elizabeth Livermore Forbes, The Renaissance Philosophy of Man, ed. Ernst Cassirer, Paul Oskar Kristeller, and John Herman Randall, Jr (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), 215–254. 5. For histories of the soul, see Katharine Park and Eckhard Kessler, “The Concept of Psychology” and Katharine Park, “The Organic Soul” in The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, ed. Charles B. Schmitt et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 455–463, 464–484. See also Psyche and Soma: Physicians and Metaphysicians on the Mind-Body Problem from Antiquity to Enlightenment, ed. John P. Wright and Paul Potter (Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). 6. Some critics have tried to identify the “great soule” (61) with a particular Elizabethan. The most convincing of these approaches suggest that the soul belongs to Robert Cecil. See M. Van Wyk Smith, “John Donne’s Metempsychosis (concluded),” R.E.S. n.s. 24.94 (1974) and Brian Blackley, “The Generic Play and Spenserian Parody of John Donne’s Metempsychosis,” (Unpub. Doct. Diss., University of Kentucky, 1994). 7. One of the central vehicles of Pythagorean doctrine and its parody was Lucian’s Dialogues, especially “The Dream, or the Cock.” Examples of Renaissance parodies of Pythagorean doctrine include Ben Jonson’s, Volpone, Act

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9. 10. 11.






1.1, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, 4.1., and Twelfth Night: 1.5.2. For a study of Pythagorean influence in antiquity, see Christopher Riedweg, Pythagoras: His Life, Teaching, and Influence, trans. Steven Rendall (C.H. Beck, 2002, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2005). Karl P. Wentersdorf, “Symbol and Meaning in Donne’s Metempsychosis or The Progresse of the Soule,” SEL 22.1 (1982): 69–90, 89. Janel Mueller’s important discussion of the genre of Metempsychosis is foundational (“Donne’s Epic Venture in the Metempsychosis,” Modern Philology 70.2 [1972]: 109–137). Batman Uppon Bartholome His Booke De Proprietatibus Rerum (London, 1582), 364–367. Edward Topsell, The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes (London: William Jaggard, 1607), 15. Plato, Timaeus, trans. Benjamin Jowett in Collected Dialogues of Plato, ed. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), 1151–1211, 1193–1194. Aristotle, “On the Soul” in Aristotle: On the Soul, Parva Naturalia, On Breath, trans. W.S. Hett (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1936, repr., 1995): 415b. Michael Tepper schematizes the soul’s transmigrations in “John Donne’s Fragment Epic: ‘The Progresse of the Soule’,” English Language Notes 13.4 (1976), 262–266. First published in French in 1577, it began to be translated into English in 1586. Its currency is indicated by the numerous editions in the 1590s and in the first two decades of the seventeenth century. Madalene Shindler (“The Vogue and Impact of Pierre de la Primaudaye’s ‘The French Academie’ on Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature,” Unpub. Doct. Diss., University of Texas, 1960) asserts that in 1658, it was the second most popular book in England (vi). See also Anne Lake Prescott’s “Growing Encyclopaedic” in The Renaissance Computer: Knowledge Technology in the First Age of Print, ed. Neil Rhodes and Jonathan Sawday (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), 157–169. For a discussion of Donne’s potential contact with the French academies, see Dennis Flynn, Donne and the Ancient Catholic Nobility (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995). He examines the years between 1585 and 1587, a period of Donne’s life about which we know little. Donne probably went to France in 1585 in the retinue of Henry Stanley, ambassador to Henri III (Flynn, 134). It is likely that he knew or even took part in the French academies, those adjuncts to the universities modeled on the Florentine Academy (Flynn, 152). Whether he was actually in the ambit of the French academies, he and other Englishmen would certainly have known of them through the publication of Pierre de la Primaudaye’s L’Acadèmie Françoise. I am very grateful to Dennis Flynn for several illuminating conversations about Metempsychosis. See M. van Wyck Smith’s “John Donne’s Metempsychosis,” R.E.S. New Series, vol. 24.93 (1973): 17–25 and John Carey, John Donne: Life, Mind and Art (London: Faber & Faber, 1981): 136ff. For a discussion of Tertullian’s critique of Carpocrates and Epiphanes, whose heretical doctrine of Gnostic promiscuity Tertullian and other patristic writers disseminated even as they reprehended it, see Mueller: 123–124.


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17. Digby’s treatise, Two Treatises in the One of which, the Nature of Bodies; in the Other, the Nature of Mans Soule; is Looked into: In way of discovery, of the immortality of reasonable soules (Paris, 1644), couples two separate works, one on the body and one on the soul, which provides an occasion for him to speculate on the relationship between the properties of soma and psyche, not only for humans but also for animals. Willis’s brief history of the soul, Two Discourses Concerning the Soul of Brutes, which is that of the Vital and Sensitive of Man (London, 1683), includes a debate about the “soul of brutes” that moves almost immediately from the philosophical to the natural historical, contemplating by turns various classes of animals before turning to human beings. 18. Gail Kern Paster provides a brilliant analysis of animal and human passions in “Melancholy Cats, Lugged Bears, and Other Passionate Animals: Reading Shakespeare’s Psychological Materialism across the Species Barrier” in Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2004): 135–188. She was an inspirational presence throughout the writing of this chapter. See also George Boas on theriophilies (The Happy Beast in French Thought of the Seventeenth Century [Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1933]) and Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England 1500–1800 (London: Allen Lane, 1983; Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd, 1984). 19. Pierre de la Primaudaye, The Second Part of the French Academie, London, 1605, p. 508. The earliest date of publication in England for this The Second Part is 1594. My quotations are to the 1605 edition. For The French Academie and other early modern treatises I cite, I have silently modernized “i,” “j,” “u,” “v,” long “s,” and I have expanded contractions. Subsequent references in the text are to this edition. 20. Kenneth Gross, “Donne’s Lyric Skepticism: In Strange Way,” Modern Philology 101, 3 (2004): 371–399; 372. 21. Milgate, xxix. 22. For an excellent discussion of Metempsychosis and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, see Mueller. 23. George Chapman, The Odysseys of Homer, ed. Rev. Richard Hooper (London: Reeves & Turner, 1897), Book 10, ll. 320–326. 24. See D.C. Allen, “Donne on the Mandrake,” Modern Language Notes 74.5 (1959): 393–397. 25. See W. Milgate, “A Difficult Allusion in Donne and Spenser,” Notes and Queries, n.s. 13.1 (1966): 12–14 for a discussion of sources. 26. The Third Volume of the French Academie (London, 1601), 378. 27. Philemon Holland, The Historie of the World, Commonly called, the Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus (London, 1601), 231. 28. Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners and State Formation and Civilization, trans. Edmund Jephcott (London: Blackwell, 1939; repr., 1994).

4 Affective Technologies: Toward an Emotional Logic of the Elizabethan Stage Steven Mullaney

I. If anything were certain in sixteenth-century England, it would be that everything changes, even the immutable; that everything is relative, even the absolute. In the space of a single generation, from 1530 to 1560, there were no fewer than five official state religions, five different and competing monotheisms, incompatible versions of the one god, the one faith, the one truth, the one absolute. What one monarch declared to be sacred and timeless, the next declared to be heresy or worse, in a reformation and counter-reformation by state decree, which was also a family feud, with one Tudor half-sibling divided against another in the name of God. One of the results was a lasting sense of unsettlement; another was a lasting cynicism. Roger Williams, of Rhode Island fame, captured each rather well when he reflected back (in 1645) on the odd process by which England became a Protestant nation: What lamentable experience have we of the Turnings and Turnings of the body of this Land in point of Religion in few yeares? When England was all Popish under Henry the seventh, how esie is conversion wrought to half Papist halfe-Protestant under Henry the eighth? From halfe-Protestantisme halfe-Popery under Henry the eight, to absolute Protestanisme under Edward the sixth: from absoluer, Protestation under Edward the sixt to absalute, Popery under Quegne Mary, and from absolute Popery under Quegne Mary (just like the Weathercocke, with the breathe of every Prince) to absolute Protestanisme under Queene Elizabeth. 1 71


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The image is an extraordinary one: the body of the land turning and turning, like an unquiet corpse in a no-longer hallowed grave. What England experienced in these years was a kind of collective vertigo, as one version of the absolute was uprooted by another in quick succession. And as Williams’ caustic irony suggests, this succession of absolutes didn’t mean that people changed faiths like hats with each new proclamation. It is hard to imagine that anyone’s conscience could be quite that adaptable—and yet, as each new regime declared its newly incompatible version of the one true faith, most of one’s neighbors managed to pass, most of one’s family too, even one’s self. It is difficult to know how deep the cultural confusion or skepticism or schizophrenia went, just as it is difficult to know what to call it—but it opened fault lines of doubt everywhere, in the familial and the social, the secular and the religious, the intellectual and the physical, and the affective domains of daily life. Patrick Collinson provides an apt emphasis: “Shakespeare and countless others of his generation did not know what to believe.” 2 It might seem odd to highlight the challenge faced by this generation, born as it was into the relatively stable, relatively Protestant world of the Elizabethan compromise, rather than the challenges faced by the parents or grandparents who had lived through the upheavals and martyrdoms of the previous 30 years, but Collinson is, as usual, a shrewd observer of sixteenth-century tensions and dilemmas. It was this generation that inherited, and had to learn to live with, a profoundly dissociated sense of its world, whether one thinks of its dissociation from previous generations—if not Catholic parents, then Catholic grandparents—or of its dissociation from its own members, neighbors and even kin whose religious identities and sympathies could no longer be presumed or known. And it was this generation that gave birth to a new form of theater, what we commonly call Elizabethan popular or amphitheater drama—the theater of Kyd (b. 1558) and Marlowe (b. 1564) and Shakespeare (b. 1564) and, most especially, those countless others of their generation who formed the audience for this new theatrical enterprise. I bring these two together—the historical trauma of a certain kind of dissociation, generational and affective rather than strictly theological or doctrinal, and the historical emergence of Elizabethan popular drama—in the hope of understanding the latter more completely, as a felt need or response to its own time and place. I am less interested in the representation or rehearsal of religious issues on stage—others have done admirable jobs in tracing the more or less doctrinal, pro- or

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anti-, Calvinist or Catholic aspects of particular plays or playwrights or genres—than I am in understanding how and why this particular kind of theater came to inhabit its particular world. Theater is the most social of the arts, in terms of its mode of production—it is completed only in performance, and thus it is produced not only for but also by its audience—and in terms of the means and objects of its embodied representations—it uses actual bodies to enact or embody virtual selves (or characters) on stage, in imaginary social relation to one another. It is also the most local, the most rooted, and the most thoroughly entangled in the cultural warp and woof of its own historical moment, so much so that it sometimes has the feel of necessity to it. New forms of theater sometimes emerge at moments of historical and cultural crisis. According to Jean-Pierre Vernant, the new genre of tragedy emerged at such a moment in fifth-century Athens, when a gap opened up “at the heart of social experience”: The tragic turning point occurs when a gap develops at the heart of social experience. It is wide enough for the oppositions between legal and political thought on the one hand and the mythical and heroic traditions on the other to stand out quite clearly. Yet it is narrow enough for the conflict in values still to be a painful one and for the clash to continue to take place   . The particular domain of tragedy lies in this border zone. 3 Theater can provide a culture with a means of thinking about itself, especially about its more painful conflicts and contradictions, when other methods and media fail. It can be, at some times and in some places more than others, a form of embodied social thought: a critical phenomenon in the way that theory, an etymologically related term for seeing, is critical; a far from harmonious and not always therapeutic way of thinking through virtual and (yet) real bodies—those of the actors on stage, and those of the audience, too—in order to think about the larger social body, whether the city-state or the English or the Protestant nation, in a collective sense and by means of a collective experiential process. In the case of Elizabethan theater, we are concerned with the emergence not of a new genre but of a new forum within which such collective thinking could take place—a new instrument or set of tools, in a sense, with which to accomplish such collective thought. The open-air amphitheaters of early modern London seated up to 2500 people. Constructed in the liberties or suburbs of the city from 1567 on, they were the first buildings expressly designed for theatrical performance to be erected in Europe


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since classical times, and they were massively attended by Elizabethans from almost all walks of life. They introduced new dimensions, in a quite literal sense, to an already extensive early modern performative sphere, producing a complex cognitive space for playwrights, players, and audiences to occupy and experience—an inhabited affective technology, if you will, within which, and with which, they could think and feel things not always easy or comfortable to articulate. The physical structure was a highly tuned acoustic instrument, as Bruce Smith has shown. 4 The plays that were performed on and in that instrument, I want to suggest, were designed to resonate with an audience newly uncertain of its individual or collective identities, and thus to sound out the gaps that had opened up in the heart of the Elizabethan social body. 5 Before considering the emergence of Elizabethan drama in more detail or providing examples of what I mean by theater as a kind of inhabited affective technology, I want to enter into and explore these gaps more closely, in order to clarify the kind of dissociation and historical trauma that developed at the heart of Elizabethan social experience, in the long and perplexed aftermath of the English reformation.

II. What does it mean, then, to say that Shakespeare and his generation did not know what to believe? Some were confused, some were conflicted, and others, to be sure, were committed and eager to share their zeal, but not always to good effect. “What manner of religion we have here in England I know not,” declared one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, a tailor from Fintchingfield, in 1577, “for the preachers now do preach their own inventions and fantasies, and therefore I will not believe any of them.” 6 Thirty years ago, historians confidently declared the English reformation an accomplished fact by 1569 or 1570; now they speak of English reformations in the indefinite plural, and argue that they were still ongoing well beyond the 1590s. 7 Local archives reveal a complex interweaving of many if not all manners of Christianity, coexisting in a state that was one of licensed pretense rather than communal tolerance. The Elizabethan compromise was a Tudor version of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”: behave like an Anglican once a month by attending services, and (for the most part) we’ll not inquire further. When Elizabeth was crowned, England was a nation of converts, some of them multiple offenders. It was also a nation of coverts, a nation of hidden or impersonated identities, ranging from priest-hole Jesuits to church papists, from church Anglicans to Familialists to Anabaptists and so on. It is hard for us to

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discover who believed what, or when the English reformation(s) can be declared complete; my point is that it was hard for them, too. What was in doubt for them was any reliable sense of a collective self, a phrase which sounds more paradoxical than it is. 8 A collective self might be thought of as a “where” rather than a “what,” a place rather than an ontological, anatomical being; it is where the ontological, anatomical being intersects with and is oriented by all the familial, social, cultural, religious, and political spheres that communicate with it, weigh it down, enable, repress, and endeavor to interpellate it in so many different ways. It is a matrix held together by affective and ideological bonds of all kinds, many of them in contradiction with one another: collective in this sense should not be confused with the communal, seamless, harmonious, or otherwise utopian. It is composed at least in part by its flaws and fractures—its fault lines, to borrow a geological metaphor that Alan Sinfield has recently put to good use. 9 The fault lines that Sinfield defines and explores in a book by that name are the product of ideological contradictions in and of themselves; I want to expand the term, open it out a bit, to include other sites of stress and conflict in the early modern habitus. The sites of stress and conflict that I wish to examine are cultural and historical; they are the product of a significant conflict between an ideology and something else, something any ideology needs in order to be effectively instantiated, such as a particular affective investment or a larger, shared structure of feeling. Like geological fault lines, cultural fault lines are sites of stress, tension, and potential upheaval. They are also, unlike geological fault lines, sites where a culture defines itself and works itself out by working through, or alternately burying more deeply, its informing and enabling contradictions. But what was so traumatic about the English reformation, which has sometimes seemed most remarkable for all that didn’t happen, given the one big thing that did—an independent, relatively stable, and (recalling Roger Williams) “absolutely” Protestant state? There were no civil wars, no divisions of the kingdom, no genocidal pogroms or outbreaks of popular violence of the sort that devastated France, where over 10,000 Huguenot men, women, and children were butchered in towns and villages across the country during the massacres that began on St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572. England did have its Marian pyres, where Protestants convicted of heresy were burned at the stake, and its Elizabethan scaffolds, where Catholics convicted of treason were hanged as secular criminals rather than as heretics. In large part, however, the violence of the English reformation was more likely to be done to one’s


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ancestors than to one’s living neighbors—to the community of the dead, which Natalie Davis has described as a highly significant “age group” in late medieval society. 10 The material forms and literal landscapes of social or collective memory—the body of the land, in Williams’ phrase—came under fierce attack in the English reformation. The dissolution of the monasteries is a well-known and quite massive example, even if it is not usually understood in these terms, as a part of what Williams may have meant in his lamentation over the “Turnings and Turnings of the body of this Land.” What we call collective memory, however, resides in actual landscapes and property lines and public buildings and shops and homes as powerfully as it dwells in commemorative monuments. The dissolution erased long-standing boundaries and markers, literal and virtual, of memory and memorial community, and it was also, despite its scale, merely one part of a much broader reconfiguration of the country’s collective memory. The banishment of purgatory and the dissolution of the chantries, where prayers for the dead were purchased in order to ease the journey of loved ones in the afterlife, grew out of fierce Protestant efforts to sever affective ties to the dead as well as economic ties to an often corrupt clergy. Such attacks on the community of the dead were efforts to effect a kind of damnatio memoriae, an erasure of past lives from present concerns. In England, they went surprisingly far, as can be seen in the campaign against charnel houses. Charnel houses were buildings where the bones of the dead, removed from the ground to make room for more recent arrivals, were displayed in a reverence no longer conditioned by immediate bonds of kinship, since “the inhabitants of the charnels had been thoroughly collectivized and anonymized,” 11 their bones no longer individuated by the flesh but jumbled together in a sacred community that would be theirs until the final resurrection. Charnel houses were prominent and integral components in the community of the dead, key monuments in the infrastructure of a social memory system whose past tense had a great many more moods and inflections than our own. A charnel house was a pragmatic necessity, a way of making room in overcrowded graveyards for the more recent dead, but it was also a key way-station in the afterlife of the body, where the exhumed bones of loved ones could continue their long and slow journey from this life to the next, from one dust to the other. During Edward’s reign, however, charnel houses were dismantled in many parts of the country, often in the dead of night. 12 John Stow tells of cartloads of bones, numbering more than a thousand, that rumbled through the streets of London one night, when the Pardon Churchyard

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at St. Paul’s was emptied out. The carts, bearing the remains of innumerable loved ones from the community, were dumped without ceremony in a marsh at Finsbury Field and then covered over by “soylage of the citie.” 13 Warehouses and stationers’ sheds were then built on this macabre and disenchanted landfill. Turnings and turnings of the body of the land, indeed. No animus against papist idolatry can explain such attacks on the material remains of kin and community. Instead, the target was kinship and social memory: under attack were all the affective ties that bound communities of the living to their ancestors, no-longer-living but lovingly recollected and literally re-collected, in places like the charnel house. In England more than elsewhere, there seems to have been a pronounced effort to produce a kind of collective and generational social amnesia. In another widespread practice, brass nameplates—the inscribed identities of the dead—were stripped en masse from tombstones in graveyards throughout the land and sold by the pound to be melted down and put to other uses. 14 These were not acts of iconoclasm, such as lopping off noses on plaster saints or defacing rood screens or chipping away at frescoes of the Virgin Mary; they were instead assaults on collective memory, efforts to dissociate the living from the dead and thus to bring into the world a new generation that would be, in Keith Thomas’ apt phrase, profoundly “indifferent to the spiritual fate of its predecessor.” 15 To the degree that such a dissociation succeeded, however, it produced an affective legacy more troubled than indifferent. Such deep and structural attacks on a culture’s collective memory, on its way of being (with) itself, were wounds inflicted on the future, sources of historical trauma for the next generation. Historical trauma shatters something integral to the collective self; it is the “We–I balance,” to borrow a phrase from Norbert Elias, that is damaged, wounded, or scarred. 16 What was passed on to the next generation was a dissociated past, an unsettled social memory whose effects are evident even among otherwise assured Calvinists. What did it feel like to be a sincere Calvinist and contemplate the everlasting fate of one’s mother or father or brother or sister, who were not? Was it hard to escape a sense of guilt—theologically preposterous but affectively real—over their presumed damnation, as if it were the result of one’s own reformed faith, as if one’s own redemption were purchased at the cost of theirs? In other contexts, this is what we would call “survivor’s guilt.” Such guilt, a failure to be fully indifferent to the spiritual fate of one’s predecessors, seems to have played a role in the shaping of “applied rather than theoretical Calvinists” (the phrase is Linda Pollock’s) like Grace Mildmay. 17 Grace spent her life in godly


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deportment, firmly convinced that she was one of the elect, yet she was unable to bear the thought that others, especially Catholics like her own parents, would not be saved. So she eased her spiritual and emotional torment by cheating a bit, easing out of strict Calvinism and into covenant theology so that she could imagine others (especially Catholics like her parents) could see salvation, if they (had) lived as though they were elect. Others found themselves a bit anxious at the thought of revising God’s will on the basis of their own best practices. Shakespeare gave us a typically two-eyed solution in Hamlet, incorporating two incompatible cosmologies into a single play, in which sons return from Lutheran colleges to find their fathers lodged, less comfortably, in a Catholic afterlife. 18 To revise Collinson slightly, let us say that the generation that was born Elizabethan—I would stretch the dates slightly to include Thomas Kyd, baptized 2 weeks before Mary Tudor’s death—these Elizabethans did not know what to believe, whether in terms of their own faith or the spiritual identities of those around them, and they also, perhaps even as a consequence, did not know what or how to feel. Like monarchies or religions or ideologies, human emotions have histories: they are culturally inflected, shaped by family and kin and a great many other private and public spheres where our social identities, our roles as collective selves or individuals, are given form and motion. Like language, emotions seem to be hard-wired into us as potentialities, but they are unlocked and learned in specific times, places, and spaces, in dynamic interaction and even experimentation (or play) with others. According to Clifford Geertz, We acquire the ability to design flying planes in wind tunnels; we develop the capacity to feel true awe in church. A child counts on his fingers before he counts “in his head”; he feels love on his skin before he feels it “in his heart.” Not only ideas, but emotions too, are cultural artifacts in man   . In order to make up our minds we must know how we feel about things; and to know how we feel about things we need the public images of sentiment that only ritual, myth, and art can provide. 19 To a significant extent I agree, but not everyone does. To Sir Edmund Leach, éminence grise of social anthropology, Geertz’s emphasis on the cultural and social construction of emotion was “complete rubbish.” 20 Most social scientists would side with Leach, arguing that emotions are universal rather than constructed, biological rather than sociocultural,

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ahistorical aspects of human nature rather than affective barometers of historical specificity or historical change. 21 Emotions are always difficult to talk about, even among like-minded colleagues; they are boundary phenomena, prismatic aspects of corporal and sentient life, hard to contain in reductionist categories because they are, by their very nature, betwixt and between rather than here or there. Elizabethans also found it hard to define emotions and also felt compelled to do so. That’s why they rehearsed Galen so often, their inherited version of a universal theory of character and temperament whose physiological, climatological, and ideological complexities have been ably explored by a number of scholars—in whose good hands I leave the corporal, physiological body of humoral theory. 22 My interest, no less material or historical but more transactional, tends toward the social or corporate body with its affective gaps and seams—toward those Elizabethans who had somehow, to recall Geertz’s image, lost the capacity to feel true awe in the church. What we believe and what we feel are intertwined, but they were coming unraveled in the second half of the sixteenth century. The crisis of faith that traumatized Europe worked to alter structures of feeling as well as structures of belief; it and other cultural forces precipitated a reformation of emotions, if you will, as well as a reformation of religions.

III. The sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries have often figured as a time when something rather large happened—a something that would eventually produce us. For Marx and Weber, this was the preface to the first volume of capitalism; for Foucault, the typical point of departure for an analysis of an increasingly intrusive, bureaucratically articulated, panoptical society; for Wallerstein, Giddens, Chakrabarty, and a host of others, it was a period whose massive contradictions made it an historical conundrum, at once an age of rapid expansion, the first true moment of globalization, and an age of intense contraction, when Europe narrowed down into its various vernaculars and its new ethnicisms and its emerging nationalisms. By contrast, Norbert Elias seemed quite modest in his claim, in The History of Manners (1939), 23 to have found evidence of an affective transformation in the same period, a shift in the way people felt about themselves in relation to others, whose traces he found in mundane places like behavior manuals and books of etiquette. Within the span of only a few generations, behaviors that had previously been tolerated and even encouraged became taboo;


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farting in company at the dinner table, for example, went from being prescribed in a medical sense (it was unhealthy to contain oneself) to being proscribed in a social sense. In a relatively brief period of time, the threshold of emotions like shame and embarrassment expanded dramatically; since these are among the most acute of social emotions, their transformation suggests that something was altering in the orientation of the individual to society, that a reconfiguration of collective identities was taking place. Indeed, the English language bears numerous traces of such a reconfiguration. By the middle of the seventeenth century, “individual” has ceased to mean an indivisible or inseparable part of a whole—an “indiuiduall Trinitie,” an “Indiuiduall    man and wife” (OED)—and has taken on its modern sense of something separate, unique, or singular. The language itself seems to need a new word for the passions, for it is at the same time that “emotion” becomes a term for affect; previously it had referred not to feelings but to the mass migration of peoples or to large-scale political and social agitations or tumults. The brilliance of Elias’ History of Manners was his projection of behavioral prescriptions onto an affective screen of interpretation; however, the traces of such an affective reformation, the evidence found in behavior manuals and the like, tell us nothing about how or why such alterations came about. And there are problems, to be sure, with Elias’ grand narrative of the “civilizing process,” including his trickle-down theory of emotional history, whereby court society first imposed new codes of affective regulation and then watched as they gradually seeped into the lower orders. One does not need to subscribe to such narratives, however, to be struck by the deep and unsettling dissociations of the period, or to notice the newly expanded role being played not by prescriptive manuals of etiquette but by a series of more affectively engaging cultural and discursive media—what I would call the “affective technologies” of the period. John Foxe identified three of the most powerful when he declared in 1570 that “Preachers, Printers, and Players    be set up of God, as a triple bulwarke against the triple crown of the Pope, to bring him down.” 24 Preachers, printers, and players: alongside the spoken word and the word imprinted in a book, Foxe granted equal status in his reformed trinity to the word embodied in performance. We tend to speak in twos rather than threes, to divide the world of early modern discourse into oral and literate cultures, but no matter how fluid or porous we make the boundaries between them, the dichotomy is a clumsy and misleading one. A large part of the performative sphere—comprised of

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collectively embodied forms of social meaning, ranging from largely non-verbal rituals like a Rogationtide procession to semantically overdetermined theatrical performances like a professionally rehearsed and enacted play—is consequently lost to our view. In Foxe’s world, delivering a sermon or reading out a proclamation in a town square or performing a play to a live audience was a significant act of publication, in a sense closer than our own to the original meaning of that term. They were ways, that is to say, of making discourse or ideas or actions public, by means of speech or inscription, whether scribal or printed, or performance—and thereby ways of forming a public, a new form of association, whether in the shape of a congregation or a readership or an audience. The players would prove a disappointment to Foxe. He omits them from his call to arms in the 1576 edition of the Book of Martyrs— published, coincidentally or not, in the same year that the Theater was erected at Shoreditch, staking out a significant expansion in the performative sphere in early modern England. Accessible to literate and nonliterate alike, the drama that developed in the amphitheater playhouses of Elizabethan London was one of the more complex affective technologies of this or any other period. The different styles of affective representation that were daily produced on these stages span an incredible range; rather than rank them as more or less accurate, deep or superficial, accomplished or unconvincing, we might instead take them for what they seem to be: experiments in alternative modes of feeling as well as their esthetic representation, signs that this instantiation of theater was, among all else, an historically significant laboratory of human affect. Elizabethan theater comes into being, in fact, through an affective reformation of its own, enacted as it shifted away from the morality tradition of late medieval English drama, with its abstract personification of states-of-being, and moved toward the particular, discursive, and theatrical embodiment of affective characters. For such a shift to be successful, as it so clearly was, it had to occur offstage as well as onstage—that is to say, it had to occur in the audience as well. The new playhouses demanded and produced new powers of identification, projection, and apprehension in their audiences, altering the threshold not only of dramatic representation but also of self-representation, not only of the fictional construction of character but also of the social construction of the self. If emotions are embodied thoughts, as Michelle Rosaldo once suggested, early modern popular drama was an historically situated experiment in collective embodiment. “Feelings are not substances to be


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discovered in our blood,” Rosaldo went on to say, “but social practices organized by stories that we both enact and tell.” 25 The Elizabethan open-air amphitheater made available a complex affective space for the telling and enacting of such stories. As a forum for the representation, solicitation, shaping, and enacting of affect in various forms, for both the representation and, I would argue, the reformation of emotions and their economies, the popular stage of early modern England served as a critical affective arena in which significant cultural traumas and highly ambivalent events—cultural fault lines—could be directly or indirectly addressed, symbolically enacted, and brought to partial and imaginary resolution.

IV. Earlier, I described England at the time of Elizabeth’s accession as a nation of converts and a nation of coverts. Both nations came together regularly in two public forums: in church, where their presence was required by state decree, and (after 1576) in the new amphitheater playhouses, where need was differently legislated. What unified either gathering and bound it together as an audience was as much a matter of anonymity as it was of a shared or known identity. In church, however, attendance precluded inquiry into such matters; the officially sanctioned fiction was that what you saw—an apparent, or apparently practicing, Protestant—was all there was to see. In the playhouse, inquiry into masked identities and ambiguous realities was precisely the point of attendance, and nothing was presumed to be what it seemed. “Who’s there?” Herbert Blau cites this, the opening line of Hamlet, to articulate a question that is emblematic of all theater, the question any play asks of its true enigma—its audience. 26 Imagine asking it (as this play does) of an Elizabethan audience, comprised of individuals whose “affective core of identity” 27 was hidden, masked, shattered, or in doubt, who were uncertain what to believe or how to feel or how to decipher the identity of the person seated next to them. “Who’s there?” is the question many will not want to answer—think of how anonymous Shakespeare managed to remain—yet everyone wants to hear answered, at least by others. One of the things we know for certain about Elizabethan popular theater is that it worked, in the sense that it succeeded: it survived and developed into the massively attended, semilicit institution that it quickly became, that is to say, because first one and then another, subsequent generation supported it on a phenomenal

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scale. There were many other and less costly forms of entertainment to be had, including other forms of drama and performance. Like much of Europe, England was and would continue to be a richly dramaturgical culture—yet from 1576 to the closing of the theaters in 1642, over a million Londoners annually attended plays performed in the city’s new amphitheater playhouses. Given such numbers, drawn from a community whose population ranged from 60,000 to 200,000 during the same years, it seems an allowable form of historical speculation to suggest that this new form of theater emerged when it did, and lasted as long as it did (and no longer), because it “worked” in another sense as well: it performed a kind of cultural work for the generation(s) who supported it, who came together, so often and in such numbers, as auditors and spectators. If so, it worked by characteristically paradoxical means. This was a theater of indirection rather than reflection; it looked at what it wanted to see obliquely, through the eyes of others, from multiple and unexpected points of view. One finds such indirection everywhere in the drama that developed in the 1580s, from its fondness for foreign lands (Spanish popular drama was about Spaniards figuring out how to be Spanish; English popular drama was about Spaniards and Viennese and Italians figuring out how to be English) to its fondness for the genre of the revenge play. Fredson Bowers once claimed that revenge was such a chronic feature of Elizabethan plays because revenge was such a chronic feature of Elizabethan society, but his evidence was as sparse as it is unconvincing. 28 Reflection theories shatter early on when confronted with this kind of drama. Elizabethan society was highly litigious, but it was not Spanish, it was not Italian, and it was most emphatically not a revenge culture in any sociologically defensible sense of the phrase. It was an otherwise preoccupied culture that found something it needed in stories that it borrowed from revenge societies on the Continent: stories about societies, that is to say, that cannot fix themselves anymore, in which the desire to put things right is inseparable from the desire to violate what’s right. There is an anti-mimetic character to the play of human emotions on the Elizabethan stage as well. Most Elizabethan authors who wrote about the induction of emotion in an audience have an oratorical, Ciceronian model in mind, in which the orator shows the audience the emotion that he wants them to feel. But theater is not oratory, and Elizabethan theater is quite often anti-Ciceronian in its affective practices. In Marlowe’s Edward II, before the horrid death we know is looming, we are surprised by a quieter moment of excruciating complexity. An anonymous abbot


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who has been sheltering the king expresses his dismay when Mortimer’s men violate both the sanctuary of the church and the person of the monarch: My heart with pity earns to see this sight; A king to bear these words and proud commands! (19.70–71) 29 To earn is to be “affected with poignant grief or compassion” (OED); to earn is also “to desire strongly, to long” (OED)—to yearn, as our modern spelling would have it. They are the same verb, an early modern example of one of Freud’s much-beloved antithetical words. Everything in the context of the scene, however, suggests that the abbot voices only one register of “earn,” grieving to see the king brought low. But what do we feel? As an onstage audience, does the abbot act as our surrogate to mime or guide our response, our own grief at the king’s impending humiliation and death? Doesn’t he also expose us, stand there as our better angel and the source of our own humiliation, as we at once earn and yearn for the spectacle of regicide that we have always known is coming, that in fact was one of the anticipated pleasures that drew us to the performance? Marlowe uses one affective point of view, embodied on stage—the abbot gazing on Edward’s capture with grief—to evoke in us a doubled, contradictory set of emotions—empathetic grief, firstperson yearning—from our point of view, our no longer unified vantage point in the audience. With a single word that defines a dialogic gaze (a paradox of eye and ear), he tests our mettle as spectators and exposes our own complicity in Edward’s fall, making us feel, or rather, earn the queasy underside of empathy. It is an effect Marlowe might have learned (along with much else) from Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy. Shakespeare also learned a great deal from Kyd about the affective resources of the new playhouses: about the visual and auditory possibilities of the playing spaces (platea and locus, trap, tiring room, exits and entrances, pillars, roof, balcony, and so on), about the entire auditorium (ground, tiered seating, gallery) and its various and never entirely synthesized points of view and lines of hearing, about the ways in which the audience can be made to feel its flawed or fractured nature. Titus Andronicus, for example, translates Kyd’s experiments in dramatic irony and affective incongruity into startling moments of what I would call “affective irony,” in which the emotions represented or acted out on stage alienate the audience, and so serve to define exactly, and only, what the audience won’t be induced to feel, leaving open, as irony is wont to do, the wide range of

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what members of that audience—collective but not communal, heterogeneous, and anonymous—might feel instead, in their own contrary fashions.

V. A fuller account of such moments will have to wait, alas, for another time and place. 30 For now, I’d like to close with a scene from Richard III, a play in which the theatrical production of social emotions receives a quasi-allegorical staging, signaling Shakespeare’s own awareness of the stage as a powerful kind of affective technology and thus a key player in the reformation of social emotions. Richard’s uneasy last night reverses an emblematic stage practice from the medieval morality tradition. In a morality play, the protagonist might be positioned center stage at a critical point of decision, torn between antithetical desires that are personified as a good angel or spirit on the one side, a bad angel on the other, each trying to woo the protagonist to heaven or to hell. Marlowe’s Faustus has a few anachronistic moments of this kind, and in Marlowe as in the medieval tradition, one is often unable to say whether the spirits are symbolic or actual, meant to be taken as a psychological allegories of conscience, in which the spirits are personifications of a divided will, or as “actual” supernatural visitations by “genuine” spiritual beings from other realms, such as heaven and hell. In Shakespeare’s play, the spirits take center stage rather than the wings; they are flanked by the good Richmond asleep on one side of the stage and the bad Richard on the other, and of course the spirits are neither angels nor allegories but the ghosts—the very “real” ghosts—of those Richard has murdered, who have returned to haunt and curse him in his final hours. Richard’s waking soliloquy is well known. It has been celebrated for its anticipation of later introspective moments by later introspective characters, and it has also been taken to task for its hyperbolic and sentimental excess. What interests me is the fact that Richard’s moment of guilty anagnorisis stems from a mistake, a fundamental error or misreading of the visitation scene we’ve just watched. Have mercy, Jesu! Soft, I did but dream. O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me! The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight. Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh.


Affective Technologies

What do I fear? Myself? There’s none else by. Richard loves Richard, that is, I am I. Is there a murtherer here? No. Yes, I am. Then fly. What, from myself? Great reason why– Lest I revenge. What, myself upon myself? (5.3.178–186) 31 Richard has been visited by the dead in his sleep, but he awakes thinking he has dreamed their curses—and his mistake is a generative one. He thinks that these voices come from within himself: that he has produced them, that he is at heart a moral and ethical creature who can feel guilt and who possesses the sort of conscience that could make him feel this so strongly. In a Lacanian mirror stage, the infant realizes it is a self only at the point when it misrecognizes its own image in the mirror as a better self, an other (self) who is more whole and complete that it can ever be; it is only from this error that the self is born, in its early, rudimentary, always already inadequate form. Richard’s conscience is as imaginary as the reflection in the mirror and even more productive, since there are some rather large concepts at play in the scene. Richard mistakes the supernatural for the psychological, the actual for the imaginary, the real in a virtual sense for the real in a fictional or delusional sense. Where the medieval stage apparatus refused to solve the ambiguity inherent in theatrical representation, Richard internalizes ambiguity as ambivalence. What was supernatural—real ghosts speaking in sleeping ears— becomes psychological; the two voices of Richard’s soliloquy aren’t standing alongside him but quarreling within him. The point is that, although born in error, the guilt he feels is real, just as real as the feelings we have, responding to his stage fiction. Richard has the awful sensation of having grown a new part of himself in the night, like a third limb or a tumor. It’s called a conscience, and even though he’ll later call it a fiction, “but a word that cowards use, / Devised at first to keep the strong in awe” (5.3.309–310), this doesn’t really change anything, since this conscience like Lacan’s infantile self depends upon its fictionality for its very existence. Fictions often produce realities, don’t they? Internalizing the dead, psychologizing the sacred, Richard is fooled into inventing a soul, but invention is by definition a process in which the make-believe and real, the constructed and the discovered, are hard to distinguish. The conscience he now possesses is imaginary but it haunts him for real. In the larger disenchantment of the world, Protestantism demystified the old religion by “unmasking” the sacramental as the merely theatrical, the miraculous as the fake: hoc est corpus meum, the words of the priest that announce the “real presence” of Christ in

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the communion host—this is my body—was reduced to mere “hocus pocus,” a charlatan’s trick. When Richard unwittingly disenchants his own world, taking a true visitation for a dream, supernatural curses for the psychological stirrings of guilt, he mistakenly demystifies things of true substance—the shades or souls of the dead—as false shadows, but he also mistakes and thus internalizes the shadows as something cast by his own newly substantial soul, the thing neither he nor we ever imagined that he had. Richard discovers that affect, in its ethical dimension, is real and imaginary, actual and virtual, at once—and we mime his discovery if, however sentimental we find his soliloquy, we nonetheless respond to imaginary causes with real affects, and pity him.

Notes 1. Roger Williams, Christenings Make Not Christians    (London, 1645): 11–12. 2. Patrick Collinson, Elizabethans (New York and London: Hambledon and London, 2003): 219. 3. Jean-Pierre Vernant, “The Historical Moment of Tragedy in Greece: Some of the Social and Psychological Conditions,” in Jean-Pierre Vernant and Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece, trans. Janet Lloyd (New York: Zone, 1988): 27. 4. See Bruce O. Smith, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999). For an excellent study of the amphitheater playhouse as a system of “situated” or “distributed” cognition, see Evelyn Tribble, “Cognition in the Globe: Socially Distributed Cognition and the Demands of Playing,” Shakespeare Quarterly 56 (2005): 135–155. Although Tribble is concerned in this essay not with the audience but with the acting companies and their ability to memorize and rehearse so many plays in so little time, her argument that “cognition is distributed across the entire system” of the companies and their new spaces would seem to apply equally well to the plays in performance, and the complex, highly interactive system of affective and cognitive distribution that I would argue can be found there. For another application of cognitive science and “extended mind” (EM) theory to the early modern world, see John Sutton’s chapter in this book. 5. On the geopolitical significance of where the playhouses were located, see Steven Mullaney, The Place of the Stage: License, Play, and Power in Renaissance England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988; repr. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995). 6. Cited by F. G. Emmison, Elizabethan Life: Disorder (Chelmsford, Eng.: Essex County Council, 1970), 46. 7. See A. G. Dickens, The English Reformation (London: B. T. Batsford, 1964); J. J. Scarisbrick, The Reformation and the English People (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984); Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, c.1400–c.1580 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992); Christopher Haigh, English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society



9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

16. 17.

18. 19. 20. 21.


Affective Technologies under the Tudors (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); Patrick Collinson, The Birthpangs of Protestant England: Religious and Cultural Change in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1988) and The Reformation: A History (New York: The Modern Library, 2003). For a collection of essays that extend the process of reformation well beyond the sixteenth century, see England’s Long Reformation, 1500–1800, ed. Nicholas Tyacke (London: University College of London Press, 1998). What follows is my own formulation, but the idea of a “collective self” is not at all foreign to psychologists. For an overview of scholarship on the social aspects of the self, see Individual Self, Relational Self, Collective Self, ed. Constantine Sedikides and Marilynn B. Brewer (Philadelphia: Psychology Press, 2001). Alan Sinfield, Faultlines: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992). Natalie Zemon Davis, “Ghosts, Kin, and Progeny: Some Features of Family Life in Early Modern France,” Daedalus, 106: 2 (1977): 92. Peter Marshall, Beliefs and the Dead in Reformation England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 41. Ibid., 93–123. Ibid., 107. Ibid., 100–108. Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971), 603. See especially The Society of Individuals, ed. Michael Schroter, trans. Edmund Jephcott (New York and London: Continuum, 1991), 153–238. For Pollock’s distinction between applied and theoretical Calvinism and a discussion of Grace Mildmay, see Norman Jones, The English Reformation: Religion and Cultural Adaptation (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 24–25. For a rich reading of such strains in the play, see Stephen Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001). Clifford Geertz, “The Growth of Culture and the Evolution of Mind,” in The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 81–82. Edmund Leach, “A Poetics of Power,” The New Republic, 184: 4 (1981): 32. The study of emotions in various disciplines has generated a voluminous bibliography. An excellent overview of the “nature vs. nurture” debate can be found in John Leavitt, “Meaning and Feeling in the Anthropology of Emotions,” American Ethnologist 23: 3 (1996): 514–539. For an excellent collection of recent work on the history of emotions, see Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion, ed. Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, and Mary Floyd-Wilson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). See Reading the Early Modern Passions (cited above), as well as the following individual works: Gail Kern Paster, Humoring the body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004) and The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993); Mary Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Michael Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves in Early Modern

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23. 24. 25.

26. 27. 28. 29. 30.


England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). It is worth noting that Thomas Wright, whose Passions of the Minde in Generall (London, 1604) is more frequently cited in such studies than any other work of humoral theory, left Galen behind when he turned from the physiological to the more social dimensions of the passions. Humors fill the first third of his book, but humors are not passions, as Wright repeatedly reminds us; humors are barely mentioned in the rest of the book, either in the central or the final third of The Passions of the Minde, where Wright turns from the physiological to the social and then to the spiritual realms of human emotion. These sections of the book are crucial to understand what Wright means by the passions; to my mind, Wright himself found humoral physiology of limited use—a beginning but hardly an end point—in his own efforts to understand and explicate the passions or emotions. Norbert Elias, The History of Manners, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1978). John Foxe, The First Volume of the Ecclesiasticall History Contayning the Actes and Monumentes (London, 1570), 1524. Michelle Z. Rosaldo, “Toward an Anthropology of Self and Feeling,” in Culture Theory: Essays on Mind, Self, and Emotion, ed. Richard Shweder and Robert Levine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 143. Herbert Blau, The Audience (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 355. My notes attribute this wonderful phrase to Debora Shuger, but neither she nor I have been able to relocate it in her published works or public lectures. Fredson Bowers, Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy, 1587–1642 (Gloucester, MA: P. Smith, 1959). Christopher Marlowe, Edward II, ed. Martin Wiggins and Robert Lindsey (London and New York: W.W. Norton, 1997). For affective irony in Titus and other plays, see Steven Mullaney, The Reformation of Emotions: Trauma and Collective Identity in the Age of Shakespeare (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming). William Shakespeare, The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974).

5 Inconstancy: Changeable Affections in Stuart Dramas of Contract Katherine Rowe

For now I see inconstancy More in women than in men remain. – The Passionate Pilgrim O the unsounded Sea of women’s bloods, That when ’tis calmest, is most dangerous. – Chapman Early seventeenth-century English writers did not invent the idea of inconstancy but they wielded it with a particular urgency. Writers from Raphael Holinshed to John Bulwer wrestled with a classical system of humors that categorized northerners as essentially changeable, giddy, “facile, light, and inconstant as women.” 1 The English incapacity to hold themselves “styl,” as Andrew Boorde puts it in 1547, was proverbial and it placed the English at an inherent disadvantage with other nations, disposing them to unpredictable changes of opinion and making them too quarrelsome to settle disputes effectively. 2 This constitutional inconstancy figures importantly in a variety of discourses in the period: discourses of ethnicity, nation, political organization, medicine, psychology, and domestic life, to name a few. It is part of the larger field of terms for alteratio—the manifestation of passionate alteration—in which physiological and emotional transformations are imbricated in Renaissance psychology. 3 Framed in the negative, it anchors neo-Stoic arguments about the need for gentlemanly self-discipline; framed in the positive (as impressibility or adaptability) it is recuperated by anti-Stoic arguments about the virtue of authentic, unstudied feeling. 4 Inconstancy holds a particular charge in the arena of contract, where the capacity to predict and track affective ties proves a vital index of 90

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the success of any obligation or debt extended through time. A stable internal life was understood as a critical indicator of credit-worthiness, as Craig Muldrew argues in his study of the burgeoning debt economy of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England. 5 The proverbial internal instability of the English posed both a practical and a theoretical obstacle to commerce, both at home and abroad. The mental workings that contract depends on—will and memory, the faculties that warrant agreements and maintain them over time — were understood in early modern England to be constituted in and by a potentially hostile environment of bodily affections and humors. 6 Half a century after Boorde explained the stereotype, John Davies still worried that his countrymen’s “litigious humor” and “unquiet disposition” would impede the speedy resolution of actions for debt and effectiveness in trade. 7 Thus inconstancy figures a particular mode of alteration in which not only physiological and psychological but social transformations are imbricated. My particular interest here is the trope of sex-linked inconstancy invoked in my opening epigraphs and in Boorde’s effeminate Englishman, a self-described “minion,” pictured in an accompanying woodcut with round belly, hips, and breasts. 8 The idea that female affections, particularly amorous ones, are especially unstable was a basic tenet of English humoralism. 9 But it was also, I want to hazard, a commonplace deployed to address the general problem of English inconstancy in contemporary explorations of contract. Inconstancy functions, in other words, not only as a social stereotype but also as a key trope of humoral intersubjectivity: both a symptom of responsiveness to external and internal impressions and a negative stance toward such responsiveness (which in other contexts might appear salutary). The routinized, clichéd quality of complaints about female inconstancy can obscure the deep conceptual paradoxes they mark. Moreover, the very conformity of these clichés to what anthropologist Catherine Lutz describes as the dominant division of emotional labor in modern Western culture (controlled masculine rationalism vs. labile feminine emotionalism) makes them appear inevitable and trans-/ historical. 10 In what follows, I hope to show that such routine misogynist clichés do specific conceptual work, indexing both the virtues and liabilities of humoral intersubjectivity in a set of Stuart plays focused on problems of contract. The inconstancy of women (and also youths, the other liminal subject of contract) points out (and sometimes serves to answer) fundamental conflicts between the different models


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of inwardness demanded by early contractualism and supplied by late humoralism. For literary scholars, that conceptual work has been hard to see in part because of how differently the trope of inconstancy functions in the different generic registers of tragedy, melodrama, urban comedy, and romance. Different genres model different responses to the contingencies of humoral intersubjectivity: the fact of being moved by the world as one moves through it, one’s affections continually impressed by and in transaction with a changeable environment. 11 Accordingly, the problem of inconstant affections tends to be framed in early modern drama— and accounted for by critics—in generic terms. Thus Renaissance city comedy offers up the spectacle of adultery as a kind of pragmatist play, affording new kinds of agency to the subjects of a growing market economy, along the lines fruitfully pursued by Douglas Bruster and Lars Engle. 12 Romance, on the other hand, frames the problem of inconstancy in terms of speech acts as much as sexual ones, concentrating on the threat of broken or coerced vows. The conceit of the marital vow has long been recognized as a central figure of contractual thought, from the middle ages to the present. For seventeenth-century writers, marital vows model a liberal view of political authority warranted in the affection of subordinates rather than the power of superiors. 13 Indeed, Renaissance scholars have tended to see romance as the genre of liberal political theory, supplying the earliest vision of a subject constituted in positive, transformative sentiment and radical self-reflection, later assimilated by the domestic novel to promote the idea of a nation as a “state of feeling.” 14 Yet to the extent that recent scholarship has tended to follow singlegenre scripts in sketching an early history of contract, it has scanted some central difficulties with transformative sentiment in the dominant humoral discourse of this period. Reading across rather than along the bias of genre illuminates competing lines of analysis and possibility within the same conceptual field. For example, because romance a priori positions the female subject as the normative subject of contract (one who willingly submits to be bound to another in futurity), it proves a difficult context in which to uncover the contradictions that make the establishment of a feminized norm necessary: how can essentially unstable affections be the basis of agreements extended in time? This question worries a variety of Stuart plays that we rarely group together: from George Wilkins’s urban melodrama, The Miseries of Enforced Marriage (1607) to Chapman and Webster’s courtly tragedies, and Shakespeare’s dramatic romances. Crises of sexual inconstancy in

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these plays dramatize what appears to be an essential incompatibility between a humorally constituted inner life, with its sudden alterations, and the demands of contractual subjectivity for stable and continuous internal experience. To the extent that affections appear a reasonable basis for contractual relations, they do so only with the hindsight of several centuries of assimilated Lockean theory and a political and economic rationalism that claims to sequester inordinate feelings in the space of the domestic, private, and feminine. From the vantage of early seventeenth-century tragedy and melodrama, the essential inconstancy and the impressibility of English emotions make an anxious basis for a social order. Tragic spectacles of sexual inconstancy foreground two central conflicts between humorally constituted affections and contractual relationships. First, the radical impressibility of affections makes problematic, even unknowable, the condition of the self in the past—the part of the self that we might logically assume is most knowable, because already experienced and unfolded. Revenge tragedies in particular, with their emphasis on relentless remembering, underscore the role of retrospection as a cognitive and social process, an essential feature of contractual models of the self. The strenuous, even strained claims for memory in these plots suggest how much energy is required to maintain a backward accounting of self against the entropy of humoral affection. (Think of Vindice’s repeated visitations with and rehearsals of the past, for example, in The Revenger’s Tragedy [c. 1606]; or Hamlet’s struggles to master the impressions in the “baser matter” of memory [1.5.97–105]). 15 That entropy threatens the kind of cognitive and psychological continuity, or “sameness” of self through time on which contractarian thought depends, both in practice and in theory. 16 A brief example from Chapman’s Bussy D’Ambois conjures the potential for humoral breaches of self-continuity in especially explosive terms. Early in the play the Countess Tamyra waits onstage, about to commit adultery for the first time and obsessed by her own inconstancy. A secret Vault opens behind her, as the stage direction tells us. Symbolically obvious as this stage business is, it seems to require a gloss. So Tamyra supplies one in a few lines of soliloquy. She says (in the B text), See, see a Vault is opening that was never Knowne to my Lord and husband, nor to any But him that brings the man I love, and me; (2.2.176–176b) 17


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In the A text Tamyra glosses the opening Vault in less sexually suggestive terms. But her soliloquy still emphasizes the radical and retrospective transformation adultery brings: See, see the gulf is opening, that will swallow Me and my fame for ever; I will in, And cast myself off, as I ne’er had been. (2.2.176–78) Adultery makes the elusive nature of affections vivid here, knowable only to the woman involved (and in an anti-Catholic aside, to her confessor). Yet even that secret self is lost, as the conceit “I will in, / and cast myself off” makes clear. All knowledge of desire is provisional, since a change of affections swallows up any prior self, public or private. Tamyra later explains her change of heart as a humoral earthquake, characteristically marked by extremes of caloric alteration and outpourings of internal fumes: I cannot cloak it: but, as when a fume, Hot, dry and gross (within the womb of Earth Or in her superficies begot), When extreme cold hath struck it to her heart, The more it is compress’d, the more it rageth; Exceeds his prison’s strength that should contain it, And then it tosseth Temples in the air; All bars made engines to his insolent fury: So, of a sudden, my licentious fancy Riots within me:    (2.2.34–43) Constrained by humoral contingency in this way, any consent Tamyra can give will turn out to be unstable over time: grounded in labile affections and a porous physiology that may radically falsify and invalidate past commitments. The sensational scenes of divorce, bigamy, forced betrothal, and broken contract that dominate early Stuart theater put pressure on the premise of extending a single promissory act, such as a vow, indefinitely in time. 18 Yet paradoxically, the changeable affections that make such a premise seem untenable are also those that warrant its authenticity. The divorce scenes in John Webster’s The White Devil (c. 1610) highlight these internal contradictions within the act of consent itself, when the duchess Isabella finds herself in the impossible position of

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fulfilling her vows of obedience to her husband by unsaying those vows (1.2). 19 Spurned by the duke, she consents to divorce him at his request, making herself the ritual “author” of a speech act that voids the loving contract that authorized it. Her ritual repetition of his expressions of disaffection foregrounds the paradoxes of words that are at once a curse and a vow. What is exposed here is not so much the emptiness of marital consent as a social agency (as modern critics of sexual contract, such as Catharine MacKinnon, might argue), but a split within the idea of consent. On the one hand, consent is understood as a willful speech act, on the other, as an unwilled affective state that proves the absence of coercion and thus testifies to the authenticity of that speech act. This paradox, Nancy Bentley has argued, is what makes female marital consent such a powerful trope for founding political economy. 20 A related fracture in the idea of consent is staged in Wilkins’s The Miseries of Enforced Marriage (1607), a play concerned with the many ways emotions are vulnerable to social obligations—external conditions that radically restructure inward experience. The structural position held by Chapman’s Tamyra and Webster’s Isabella is here figured in a young man, William Scarborow, who gets similar, anguished soliloquies about the loss of a past self when he is forced by his guardian to forsake his first choice of wife. Scarborow’s betrothal illustrates the varied interests that compete, often brutally, in what appears to be an autonomous speech act of consent. Nearing the age of marriage, he assumes his consent is both proprietary and individual—it is his prerogative to contract himself. Yet as a propertied ward, not yet of the age to inherit, he does not have the legal authority to do this. When his greedy guardian forces him into a second, approved marriage, destructive consequences (both psychological and economic) spiral out through overlapping circles of obligation. Bad debts, it turns out, are a necessary consequence of bigamy. Thus the coerced vow leads to incontinent gaming, threatening a domino effect through dependents and kin that destroys the love-triangle and threatens the extended family, employees, and neighbors. This community of London gentlemen barely escapes destitution, becomes as deeply shattered as the courtly survivors of a revenge play, before a reprieve that turns the play from tragedy to sentimental tear-jerker. Paradoxically, this reprieve depends on Scarborow’s inconstancy, as he switches his affections and reclaims his second family. Urban melodramas such as Wilkins’s Miseries register both the force of externals on affections and the converse: the risky dependence on


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bonds of affection to stabilize increasingly extended communities of credit and provide for reliable accounting of mutual debts. The issue here is again the extension of a promise, but a social and spatial extension across overlapping circles of obligation, rather than diachronic extension through time. Scarborow’s forced betrayal threatens the financial collapse of an extended circle of creditors and debtors—in which a reputation for fulfilling one’s promises turns out to be as valuable a currency as an inheritance, but also more easily lost. Thus the problems with contract in Miseries appear on the surface more social than psychological. While the play dramatizes the agonies and costs of Scarborow’s alienated consent at length these seem separable from his true feelings, always constantly attached to his first object, Claire. The troubling last scene, however, highlights the efficient way externals impress themselves on and restructure inward experience, the impossibility of separating social and psychological processes in a humorally embodied subject. In a final, sentimental tableau Scarborow’s emotions transfer to the wife of his enforced marriage. His affections turn out indeed to be inconstant, ontologically malleable, and radically vulnerable to the force of social obligation—rather than the origin and internal warrant of those obligations. The anti-Stoic bias of this final scene suggests this inconstancy is salutary: the family is saved from destitution. Yet even as it makes a virtue of socially porous emotions (in terms that have remained central to later melodramas) the scene is also dramatically at odds with any notion that Scarborow’s final state of affections is self-generated and self-consistent. By paying closer attention to the conservative critique of contract in early seventeenth-century tragedy and melodrama, we can see more clearly the formal attraction romance has for these issues. As a genre, romance provides some structural answers to the problem of forensic continuity of the self. Romances narrate or dramatize the unfolding constancy of their protagonists, tracking them through profoundly destabilizing changes of condition, over extraordinary stretches of space and time. We might think of Pericles’ invitation to Marina to recount her life story, in the final act of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, prompted by her extraordinary self-possession and endurance “Like Patience gazing on kings’ graves, and smiling / Extremity out of act” (5.2.138–139). Or in Cymbeline, Imogen’s commitment to a constancy that transcends distance, as she follows the departing Posthumous in imagination, across the water:

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I would have broke mine eye-strings, crack’d them, but To look upon him, till the diminution Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle; Nay, followed him till he had melted from The smallness of a gnat to air    (Cymbeline, 1.2.17–21) Those are the kinds of affections, still strong no matter how attenuated over space and time, required to sustain a civil polity grounded in numerous individual acts of consent. The domestic novel, that powerful engine of liberal economy, assimilates some of the structural solutions to a continuous self invoked here: retelling the adventures of suffering protagonists whose subjectivity is the sum of their cumulative, serial experiences. The suspicion of crafted feelings that distinguishes later forms of sentimentalism also gains some of its urgency from the critiques of consent we find in Stuart melodrama and tragedy. For affections to be a true warrant of contract—as say, in marriage—they must be authentic, un-coerced, and by extension unstudied. Thus, the requirements of contract complicate the neo-Stoic discourse of emotional discipline in this period, reinforcing counter-arguments about the value of unstudied emotion and impressibility developing in other discursive contexts. 21 The particular instability of English affections could be either a liability or an asset in this period, as Mary Floyd-Wilson has shown. 22 Thus as we find in The Miseries of Enforced Marriage, Scarborow’s passions may be inordinate—swinging from amorous delight to intense despair in a youthful way that requires correction and maturation. But their very inordinacy is a critical guarantor of their authenticity. Too much discipline invokes the spectacle of forced or calculated affections that unsettles the close of this play. Solving the problem of inconstant English humors in this context involves preserving the privileged role of authentic, unstudied feelings (required to warrant contracts) within the narrow confines of amorous consent, while displacing anxieties about civil, masculine inconstancy. Any gesture toward tighter categorical ties between femininity and changeable emotions helps to forward both interests. In this way, for example, the dramatic arc of Bussy D’Ambois displaces concerns about Bussy’s constancy in service onto the problem of Tamyra’s marital infidelity. 23 That pattern of displacement—or more properly, that division of emotional labor—is characteristic of attributions of inconstancy, not only at the level of dramatic narrative


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(as in Bussy) but at the level of language. The attribution of inconstancy typically involves a structure of comparison, as we can see if we look back to the two epigraphs of this chapter, both framed in the comparative: For now I see inconstancy More in women than in men remain. (The Passionate Pilgrim, XVII, 11–12) O the unsounded Sea of women’s bloods, That when ’tis calmest, is most dangerous. (Bussy D’Ambois, 3.2.286–287) The difficulty of this accommodation—how hard it is to maintain distinctions between well-disciplined affections and false ones, or between inordinate passions and unstudied feeling—is suggested by key scenes of emotional self-discipline in that peculiar, mixed-genre drama of contract, The Two Noble Kinsmen (1613: perf. 1619–1620). Shakespeare’s play revives Chaucer’s story of Theseus’s conquest of Thebes by various acts of dominion. These include contracting the winner of a trial by combat to the sister, Emilia, of his own conquered bride Hippolyta. Dramatizing this state marriage, the play offers a cautionary vision of a polity grounded in crafted bonds of affection. The Chaucerian source, “The Knight’s Tale,” is itself deeply critical of the uses of marital consent in nation-building. 24 Chaucer’s Emelye has famously unknowable desires, reflecting her structural lack of consent as a spoil of conquest. Shakespeare’s Emilia inherits this structural problem, but in slightly different terms. Unlike Emelye she is voluble about her inner state, but like her she cannot fix on a single object of desire, vacillating in several scenes between one or the other of her Theban suitors. Shoring up his own stern brand of mercy, Theseus names this vacillation feminine inconstancy: “You are a right woman, sister, you have pity, / But want the understanding where to use it” (3.6.215– 216). And the pattern repeats throughout the play, as figures of authority displace anxieties about the degree to which the state itself is governed by impulsive passions, through familiar misogynist gestures. Yet although the play confirms such divisions of emotional labor at the level of character—Theseus’ charge perfectly suits Emilia’s counterpart, the jailor’s daughter, a figure of inordinately open and impressible affections—they are presented as deeply dysfunctional, an impossible ground for anchoring stable bonds, whether amorous or political. The

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social porousness of affections that appeared so salutary in Wilkins’s Miseries, in other words, appears in The Two Noble Kinsmen as either a dangerous extremity of passion (the Jailor’s Daughter) or self-negating artifice. The radical incompatibility of authentic feeling with deliberate discipline emerges in Emilia’s central soliloquy, explicitly a performance of emotional artifice. On stage alone in IV.ii, with portraits of her lovers, Emilia attempts to talk herself into a preference for one or the other by blasoning their beauties, borrowing Petrarchan topoi of selftransforming desire: Good heaven, What a sweet face has Arcite! If wise Nature, With all her best endowments, all those beauties She sows into the births of noble bodies, Were here a mortal woman, and had in her The coy denials of young maids, yet doubtless She would run mad for this man. What an eye, Of what a fiery sparkle and quick sweetness, Has this young prince! (IV.ii.6–14) Emilia’s opening device is a version of the myth of origins we find in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 20: Nature falls for the young man and “run[s] mad” for beauties she herself created. Using this familiar rhetorical machine to try to generate correct feelings (as writers of emotion manuals in the period advised) Emilia dutifully works through the Petrarchan script—eye, forehead, complexion, and so on—for both portraits. But each pass through the process generates equally strong and equally transient feelings. This performance has no art like Nature’s (or Imogen’s), to create true affections that can bind her to one lover or the other. Failing the effort, she goes on to decline even to be present at the trial by combat—explicitly refusing to affect the outcome in any way, a radical rejection of the economy of mutual impressions on which (in a play such as Wilkins’s) social bonds are founded. Like Miseries, The Two Noble Kinsmen realigns its love triangles in closing, in a way that reflects social rather than individual interests. As in the earlier play, here too that realignment of passions remains ambivalent and conceptually dissonant. This dissonance reflects not only the specific dramatic concerns of each play but the contradictory values attached to changeable affections more generally, in the period.


Changeable Affections

Social stereotypes, as Philip Fisher has observed, can mark moments of cultural forgetting, in which conflicts between different systems of thought are consolidated in structures that come to seem normative and natural only in retrospect. 25 In this way, the stereotype of female inconstancy marks conceptual conflicts in English Renaissance writing, between the demands of contractual subjectivity and the constraints of humoral psychology. In historical terms, we might say these clichés work by a sort of conservation of cultural energy, sequestering the cultural liabilities associated with one system of thought while conserving its perceived virtues in another context. In the case of “inconstant woman,” this discursive economy may contribute to the peculiar alignments of emotions, gender, and political life that underpin Western notions of the liberal polis as a “state of feeling.” 26 It is tempting to hazard that the divisions of emotional labor in modern liberalism, described by scholars such as Nancy Armstrong, are partly a legacy of this humoral accommodation: sequestering authentic but undisciplined affections with things feminine, domestic, and amorous, away from the masculine life of civil politics—but needing to reforge connections between these (as liberal writers would continue to warn, from Margaret Cavendish to Abigail Adams) lest the civil rationalism of the latter become mechanical, artificial, and suspect. To make such a case would require a wider field of evidence than the small set of plays gathered here and a longer historiographic view. But it might proceed as I have begun here, by thinking of the diverse genres in which the possibilities of contract are explored in Renaissance fiction as conceptual ecologies: hosting differing solutions (dangerous inconstancy, salutary impressibility) to a shared set of problems.

Notes 1. Mary Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 41. 2. Andrew Boorde,“An Englishman,” The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge (1547), ed. F.J. Furnivall (London: Early English Text Society, N.T. Trübner & Co., 1870), 117. 3. On Renaissance treatments of alteratio (passionate alteration) see Timothy Hampton, “Strange Alteration: Physiology and Psychology from Galen to Rabelais,” Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion, Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, and Mary Floyd-Wilson, eds (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 272–293. 4. On English anti-Stoicism and nationalist recuperations of impressibility see Floyd-Wilson; on anti-Stoic discourses more generally, see also Reid Barbour, English Epicures and Stoics: Ancient Legacies in Early Stuart Culture (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998), and Richard Strier, “Against the

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5. 6. 7.

8. 9.






15. 16.


Rule of Reason: Praise of Passion from Petrarch to Luther to Shakespeare to Herbert,” Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion, 23–42. Craig Muldrew, The Economy of Obligation: The Culture of Credit and Social Relations in Early Modern England (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998). John Sutton, Philosophy and Memory Traces: Descartes to Connectionism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). John Davies, Le primer report des Cases et Matters en Ley Resolues et Adiudges en les Courts del Roy en Ireland (Dublin, 1615), reprinted in Divine Right and Democracy: An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England, ed. D. Wootton (New York and Hammondsworth: Penguin Books, 1986), 137. Boorde, “An Englishman,” 117. Gail Kern Paster, “The Unbearable Coldness of Female Being: Women’s Imperfection and the Humoral Economy,” English Literary Renaissance 28 (1998): 416–440. Catherine A. Lutz, “Engendered Emotion: Gender, Power, and the Rhetoric of Emotional Control in American Discourse,” Language and the Politics of Emotion, Catherine Lutz and Lila Abu-Lughod, eds (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 69, 87–88. Garrett Sullivan, “Sleep, Epic, and Romance in Antony and Cleopatra,” Antony and Cleopatra: New Critical Essays, ed. Sara Munson Deats (London: Routledge, 2005), 260. See Douglas Bruster, Drama and the Market in the Age of Shakespeare (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), and Lars Engle, Shakespearean Pragmatism: Market of his Time (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). See Victoria Kahn, “Margaret Cavendish and the Romance of Contract,” (Renaissance Quarterly 50: 2 [1997]: 526–566), and Constance Jordan, Shakespeare’s Monarchies: Ruler and Subject in the Romances (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997). Kahn, Jordan, and others have taught us to recognize the topos of female consent, in this context, as a critical feature of Renaissance contract theory. Nancy Bentley, “Marriage as Treason: Polygamy, Nation, and the Novel,” The Futures of American Studies, Donald E. Pease and Robyn Wiegman, eds (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002), 341–370, esp. 343. Bentley cites Lauren Berlant, “Poor Eliza,” (American Literature 70 [1998]: 635–668, esp. 647). A full account of scholarly debates about early modern contractarian thought is beyond the scope of this chapter. Along with Kahn and Jordan’s work, see also Annabel Patterson, Early Modern Liberalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997) on early forms of liberalism; see Elizabeth Fowler, Literary Character: The Human Figure in Early English Writing (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003) on the conceit of vows; and see Luke Wilson, “Promissory Performances” (Renaissance Drama XXV [1994]: 59–87) on theatrical engagements with legal and economic discourse. All Shakespeare quotations follow the Riverside edition (Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1974). John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), ed. Peter H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon, 1975), 4.15–16.656. Locke’s specific phrases


17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.



Changeable Affections are “the same thinking thing in different times and places” and “the sameness of a rational being.” Quotations from Chapman’s Bussy D’Ambois follow Nicholas Brooke’s edition in The Revels Series (London: Methuen, 1964). On the extension of obligations in time as an emerging feature of Renaissance contract theory, see Wilson (1994). John Webster, The White Devil, ed. John Russell Brown (London: Methuen, 1965). Bentley, “Marriage as Treason: Polygamy, Nation, and the Novel,” 344ff. On counter-discourses that privilege unstudied emotion, see Strier, Reading the Early Modern Passions, 23–42. Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama, esp. Chapter 2. Katherine Rowe, “Memory and Revision in Chapman’s Bussy plays,” Renaissance Drama 31 (2002): 125–152, esp. 140. Elizabeth Fowler, “The Afterlife of the Civil Dead: Conquest in The Knight’s Tale,” Critical Essays on Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Thomas C. Stillinger (New York: G.K. Hall, 1998). For his account of sentimental clichés and paradoxes of Jeffersonian liberalism, see Philip Fisher, Hard Facts: Setting and Form in the American Novel (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985). Berlant, quoted in Bentley, 343.

6 The East in British-American Writing: English Identity, John Smith’s True Travels, and Severed Heads Jim Egan

I suppose one might say my essay investigates the significance of a single word taken from the title page of a work that scholars of American literature have, almost without exception, scrupulously and rigorously ignored. I refer here to the word “together” that appears on the title page of John Smith’s, The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captaine John Smith, in Europe, Asia, Affrica, and America, published in London in 1630. 1 At least to some extent, the book sets out to provide precisely what its title promises: a narrative of a rather extraordinary series of wars, shipwrecks, captivities, battles, and beheadings which were supposedly all witnessed if not undergone by Smith. Those few scholars who have bothered to direct any extended attention to The True Travels have, with remarkable consistency, been puzzled by the relationship between the material on Hungary, Egypt, Muscovy, Italy, Istanbul, and Morocco and the material covering the English colonies in America. 2 Smith’s writings on his travels to every corner of the globe do not seem to fit with the reports he includes from other writers on English colonization in the New World. As the final piece of evidence to demonstrate the incompatibility of these writings, scholars point out that the incompatibility can be seen even on the title page where Smith’s adventures are described as a single unit put “together with a continuation of his General Historie.” Philip L. Barbour goes so far as to say the material dealing with the New World “can be dismissed briefly” since even Smith “was aware that he did not have the makings of ‘a book by it selfe.’ ” 3 103

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I do not want to take issue with these critics’ arguments regarding the work’s stylistic, formal, or even thematic consistency and/or coherence. I believe they are correct. The work does not have an easily recognizable formal or stylistic coherence. 4 It might, though, offer a kind of geographic coherence. It might be, in other words, that the work achieves coherence through some imagined relation in the way it asks us to link the very diverse spaces on the globe through which its main protagonist leads his reader. In this essay, then, I want to focus our attention on figures of geographic space in True Travels. I am drawn to figures of space both by that word “together” on the title page and by what I believe is the deeply buried symbolic spatial economy underlying much of the dismissal of this text by twentieth and twenty-first century scholars of Smith in particular and British-American colonial writing more broadly. The work is ignored by scholars in the field, I would suggest, not only because it’s stylistically flawed and generically incoherent, but also because it deals with America only as an afterthought. The view that The True Travels is somehow un-American and therefore unworthy of study by scholars of American literature can be traced as far back as those very works of scholarship that are now seen as giving birth to the academic study of American literature in the first place. Everett Emerson, for instance, claims one of the founding fathers of the academic study of American literature, Moses Coit Tyler, ignores The True Travels because Tyler, according to Emerson, does not consider it “an American book.” 5 Other than their importance to understanding Smith’s life, the thinking seems to be, what could Smith’s remarks about Eastern Europe have to teach scholars who study the literature produced by seventeenth-century British-American colonists? Such dismissals of The True Travels operate, it seems to me, on a deeply buried spatial logic that considers American geographic spaces and those of Eastern Europe as unrelated. I think an attention to figures of geographic space in The True Travels reveals how Smith was trying to show us precisely that English colonization of American space depends on a particular understanding of spaces to England’s East. Those few scholars who have examined the work long ago recognized that Smith’s tales of his adventures in the East in The True Travels serve at least a utilitarian purpose for him. This is the work in which Smith makes explicit his claim to the title of “Gentleman.” Smith’s adventures in Eastern Europe put geographical movement to use as a way of producing social mobility within a supposedly fixed set of social relations. In the process of showing how his movements outside England entitle him to move up in social rank within England, Smith uses the

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figure of his own body to forge an inextricable link in The True Travels between very different geographic spaces. Smith uses the figure of his body to erase the distinctions between the East and the West, even while acknowledging the very different threats and specific challenges each of those geographic spaces poses to English people traveling through them. In the end, Smith suggests that American space provides a way of reclaiming English peoples who might have been lost to Eastern ways. By the time The True Travels appears in 1630, Smith’s reputation as a man of the world is well established. His life has been the subject of both a play and a verse satire, each of which mocks Smith precisely for his claims to travel the world. 6 In The True Travels, Smith turns for the first time to a lengthy description of his travels to the East of England. The East may supplant the West as Smith’s narrative focus in the story of his life in True Travels, but the West remains absolutely essential to any understanding of the East as it appears in this book. Even before the story of his life begins, in fact, Smith asks us to think about the East and West as inseparable from one another. Indeed, America might be said to produce the East in Smith’s narrative. In “TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE, William Earle of Pembroke    ,” Smith tells us he wrote the narrative of his life only after Sir Robert Cotton requested he do so after reading Smith’s Generall Historie. When Cotton learned, Smith says, that the intrepid explorer “had likewise undergone divers other as hard hazards in the other parts of the world,” Cotton “requested [Smith] to fix the whole course of [his] passages in a booke by it selfe” (A2r). Smith accomplishes several rhetorical feats here. First, he displaces the motivation for writing the story of his life onto a Gentleman so that he can deflect accusations of arrogance. Of course, the very claim that a person of such impeccable stature would request that Smith commit his life story to print aims to validate that life by implying its great interest to someone of Cotton’s rank. Second, in making The Generall Historie the source of Cotton’s desire to read of Smith’s travels outside America, Smith makes it so that desire of a person of rank brings together Smith’s travels across the globe. In so doing, Smith asks us to understand the narrative of his travels to America as the source for the narrative of travels elsewhere in the world. He does this even though it inverts the chronological order of events. His trips to Western and Eastern Europe come first in the narrative of his life but, at least as he explains it here in the dedication, they are the products of his American narratives. If American narratives produce Eastern ones in The True Travels, Smith’s narratives to the East serve to validate their Western progenitors. He accomplishes this rhetorical feat when he claims he was compelled

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to write this story to counter the stories circulating about him in London where “they have acted my fatall Tragedies upon the Stage” (A2v). Smith tells us that some unspecified English playwright has “racked my Relations at their pleasure” to produce this unnamed performance. The allusion to his “Relations” here refers us to the many tracts that he published before the True Travels, tracts which give only his story in the Americas. Indeed, he has just told us that his exclusive focus on America in these tracts was precisely what prompted Cotton’s desire for the book we are now reading. He thus produces a story of his travels to the East of England, The True Travels, in order to provide “a true discourse” that will “prevent therefore all future misprisions” (A2v). He never bothers to explain how it is that stories of his life in the East will refute plays which draw on his writings about life in America. Somehow his stories of his adventures in the East serve to authenticate his stories of his activities in America. But Smith does something even more remarkable in this dedication, I think. His story of how The True Travels came to be written transforms a book explicitly designed to explain the whole of European colonization efforts in the New World, The Generall Historie, into a story of the hazards he faced in the New World as he, in the same sentence, ties those New World hazards to those he faced to the East and South of England. For he implies in the dedication that Cotton reads Smith’s Generall Historie as the story of the “hazards” over which he triumphed in America. He does not read it, in other words, as a collection of documents that give a broad history of England’s explorations, discoveries, and prospects in the New World compiled by John Smith. This does more than simply make Smith the figure for all of England’s colonization efforts in America. Smith ties those colonization efforts together with his own battles with Muslims to England’s East in the figure of his very person. The dedication makes Smith a figure for England’s colonization of America and a figure for the link between England in America and the East. Smith even goes so far in the dedication as to suggest that his very body serves as a representative for other English bodies of his middling rank. In the dedication Smith asks us to understand the words he uses to describe his adventures abroad in The True Travels as figures for his body. Smith does this when he uses the word “Monument” to describe the book. It would be easy to understand his use of this word as a reference solely to the book as a record of his life abroad, except that Smith goes on to link this verbal “Monument” with the “Tombe” where his bones will lie “buried” (A2v). But Smith seems to understand the hubris involved in publishing a book in which he would “speake only

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of [him] selfe” and that self would, in turn, be understood as a figure for the whole English social body. So, in order to deflect the attempt to discredit Smith’s writings by claiming that he took more credit for these actions than he rightly deserves, Smith claims his words should be taken as signs not only for his own body but also for the bodies of his many English “co-partners    whose lives begot me the title of a Souldier.” The bodies of these men are “partakers” with Smith in his “Tombe” of words that is The True Travels. In joining him in this Tombe, The True Travels serves as a substitute for the proper burial of their bodies that were denied them when they were left “unburied in the fields” around the globe where Smith has traveled. In this way, Smith associates himself and his own travels across the globe with English bodies while retaining his own separation from those bodies—they are still separate bodies in the tomb, and only Smith is mentioned by name. He thus distinguishes himself from them in the very act of claiming to be their representative. In fact, the literal deaths of his “co-partners,” Smith tells us, “begot” him his “title” (A2v). These are the men, in other words, whom he says helped him, at least in part, become a Gentleman. He not only distinguishes himself from them, in other words, even as he claims to be their representative but their deaths on the battle fields of the East make possible his movement beyond the social rank that had tied them together. In The True Travels, Smith directly links the very terms of global mobility he uses to establish his authority with fighting Turks to the East of England. The True Travels, in other words, specifically and precisely defines a man-of-the-world as a man who fights “Turkes.” Smith’s decision to “set upon brave adventures” rather than learn to manage the “competent meanes” his father had left him are defined in this book in terms solely of fighting Turks (1). The young Smith who had just left his apprenticeship was, we are told at the beginning of the book’s second chapter, “desirous to see more of the world” (2). Smith quickly explains what this phrase means by saying, “and trie his fortune against the Turkes.” In The True Travels, then, Smith leads us to understand his true calling as being a warrior in a religious war against Muslims. The events with which we now associate Smith and about which Smith devoted virtually every page of every one of his previous books, colonization of a New World and “taming” Native Americans, are in The True Travels what he does after he had performed the work for which fate had chosen him. And Smith doggedly and enthusiastically sets out to fulfill his destiny. The opening chapters of The True Travels portray Smith in the midst of an almost desperate search to find Turks somewhere in Western or

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Eastern Europe with whom he can fight. He devotes those chapters to a focus on his often thwarted movement eastward in hopes of joining an army—and, it would seem, any army will do—waging war against the dreaded Turks. The decapitations for which Smith would become famous occur soon after he joins a Christian army fighting Turkish forces in what appears to be modern-day Hungary. The decapitations occur, in other words, when the narrative’s expressed desire has been fulfilled. He has found a way at long last to fight the Turks. I would like to now turn to those scenes of decapitation which help legitimate his claims to rise within England’s social ranks. Before we examine these scenes, we must first consider the textual history of The True Travels. Smith’s narrative of his travels to the East of England first appears in Samuel Purchas’ Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes    (1625). 7 Philip L. Barbour speculates that the publication of Smith’s life in Purchas’ volume “grew out of personal contacts with Samuel Purchas that can conjecturally be assigned to c. 1622–1623.” 8 The differences between the 1625 story of Smith’s life and The True Travels are significant enough that Barbour publishes the Purchas version in its entirety in Smith’s Complete Works in addition to The True Travels. I will refrain from providing a list of all the differences, both great and small, between the two versions in order to call our attention to one significant change. We learn in the Purchas version that the entire section of The True Travels detailing Smith’s activities in the Christian army in Transylvania was not written by Smith but, instead, extracted from another work. This section, Purchas tells us, appears “in an Booke intituled, The warres of Hungaria, Walachi, and Moldavia, written by Francisco Ferneza, a learned Italian, the Princes Secretarie.” Smith does not try to hide his source for this material, either. In a marginal note, he repeats exactly what Purchas had written but adds “and translated by Master Purchas” (22). Despite years of valiant effort, no one has ever been able to locate a book by this title or anything remotely resembling this title, nor has anyone identified the book’s purported author. Barbour argues that Smith likely brought back with him from his travels East a book manuscript, written by someone he knew, about the wars. Smith, Barbour speculates, must have given this manuscript to Purchas. Both Smith and Purchas, Barbour concludes, must have then edited the material to suit their own purposes. I do not intend to resolve this mystery here. I do want to argue, first, that the insertion of a third-person narrative at precisely this point in The True Travels serves the purpose of legitimating Smith’s claims once and for all to the rank of Gentleman so that he would, at long last, be

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the social equal of those he had so frequently lampooned in his writings on America. I believe we can see that at least one of the primary motives for publishing The True Travels was to legitimate Smith’s claims to being a Gentleman when we compare two key aspects of The True Travels with the Purchas version of the same material. Purchas chooses not to include the coat-of-arms Smith receives as reward for his Transylvanian services. Why would he? Smith’s travels are included in Hakluytus Posthumus to provide simply another narrative of an English subject into Eastern Europe so that his readers can become familiar with such locations. The coat-of-arms Smith receives as a result of his actions has no bearing on this goal. But maps of the region Smith traveled might well further the goals of Purchas’ work, and so he includes two of them in the midst of Smith’s narrative. Smith, on the other hand, not only includes the seal in The True Travels, he also stops the narrative of events in order to insert copies in Latin and English of his grant of arms. That is, Smith includes a smaller engraving of the shield in the narrative proper alongside the grant in Latin as well as a translation of that grant into English by Sir William Segar as well as his confirmation of the act of recording the grant. Smith goes to great lengths, then, not only to include material that would demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt his claims to the status of Gentleman, but he also inserts this material in the midst of the story of how his actions earned him such distinction. At the very moment when Smith’s narrative begins to describe just what he did to warrant his move up in the social ladder, the voice of the narrative switches into third person. I will concede that works in Smith’s name often switch to the third person. In his earlier books, Smith frequently includes material from other relations about English colonization efforts. Sometimes Smith includes material from other works without switching to the third person or even acknowledging the source for his information. He does this, in fact, later in The True Travels when he gives a brief history and account of the West Indies. Smith does precisely the reverse in the chapters on his beheadings, though, using a source to describe in third person what he could easily have recounted in his own distinctive voice. In using a source to narrate the most important part of Smith’s life story, Smith distances himself from the representation of his own elevation lest he be accused of literal self-promotion. Bringing in another voice at precisely this moment in the narrative shifts authority for the account from Smith to a member of the Italian nobility. Smith accomplishes the neat trick in The True Travels of showing himself producing his own social elevation through

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the violent dismembering of Turkish bodies while being able at the same time to claim to be only a compiler. His noble blood displays itself for all to see on the Transylvanian stage when he bests his opponents through a display of dismembering their very bodies. By having that display be rendered by a third party, Smith’s performance becomes the evidence of his noble blood, rather than his writing about that performance. Even the switch to third-person narrative as a way of authorizing Smith’s claims to nobility outside his own pen is not enough to satisfy Smith’s desire for external confirmation. The overdetermined nature of the need for such outside authorization of Smith’s social status can be seen by the excesses to which Smith goes in providing external validations of his claims. He provides his reader with not one but two engravings of his coat-of-arms. He includes not only his own coat-of-arms twice but also the coat-of-arms of the man who granted him those arms, Zsigmond Båthory. He provides the reader not only with the Latin version of the grant itself, but also with its English translation and, then, with the proof of its being recorded. Smith does everything, in other words, to make sure we have external evidence of his nobility. As for the description of the decapitations themselves, the heads function here quite literally as performance pieces. They occur during part of a staged performance between battles for an audience who are not part of the military campaign itself. Why choose duels with one’s enemy as a means of keeping alert and battle-ready while the fighting has stopped? We are told Smith’s commander agrees to the battles so as “to delight the Ladies, who did long to see some court-like pastime” (12). To entertain the audience, the Turkish commander proposes a challenge to the Christian army. One fully armed captain from the Turkish army would meet one similarly equipped captain from the Christian army in a duel on horseback where only beheading would count as victory. Smith’s successful decapitation of his first opponent so “swell[s] the heart” of one of the loser’s friends it prompts the said friend to fight Smith as well in order to “regaine his friends head, or lose his owne” (14). He accomplishes the latter. The third decapitation in two short pages grows out of Smith’s attempt to “enamour” himself to “the Ladies” as his company works “to delude time” between battles. When Zsigmond Båthory later comes to view his army, “hee was made acquainted with the service Smith had done    for which with great honour hee gave [Smith] three Turkes heads in a Shield for his Armes, by Patent, under his hand and Seale” (14–15). Just as Smith did in his opening dedication, the unnamed narrator of the beheadings transforms a larger historical

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narrative in which Smith is only marginally involved into the story of the hazards Smith has overcome. In this way, the narrative manages to show Smith being a good soldier and a singular individual off the field of battle. By carefully and repeatedly emphasizing that the decapitations take place during a lull in hostilities, the narrative shows that these incidents were not a part of the military campaign at all. Only Smith can be said to be responsible for the deaths of three Turkish soldiers. He does this on his own, rather than as part of and with the help of his fellow soldiers. But in having his commander describe the beheadings as a part of his “service” to his army, the narrative uses those same events to show that he is considered a good soldier by his superiors. And, of course, in having him demonstrate his qualities while engaging in “court-like” display for Transylvanian nobility, the narrative suggests that Smith earned his gentlemanly status the old-fashioned way: in one-on-one confrontations with an opponent that are reminiscent of duels between soldiers that would earn the winner his social elevation. Smith’s noble blood, in other words, displays itself in front of all to see during the closest thing he can get to such battles. He has to go to Transylvania to find such opportunities, but when he does he gets to fight England’s most feared enemy. Others might be born with the blood of nobility, but Smith shows his when it counts. The engraving that accompanies The True Travels provides a visual illustration of Smith gaining mastery over the foreign spaces that the book has shown him moving through. The engraving begins in the upper-left-hand corner with an image of Smith making his way to shore after being thrown overboard, while the next two images across the top of the page show the military stratagems he taught his army, stratagems that helped defeat the Turks in two key battles. The next three images in the center of the engraving show Smith in battle with each of the three opponents whom he would behead. At the bottom left of the engraving we see Smith being led away as a captive, while the middle of that bottom row of images depicts an earlier scene, when Smith was being rewarded for his decapitation of the three Turks. Finally, the last image on the lower right-hand corner presents Smith killing his captor. In case we have missed the point that these images are designed to show Smith’s ultimate traversal beyond the spaces this engraving depicts through these acts of violence, this last image has an accompanying text which reads, “Capt. Smith killeth the BASHAW of Nalbrits and on his horse escapeth.” What is especially noteworthy about this text is that it does something none of the others do: it tells us what happens after the

Illustration 1

Engraving from John Smith’s True Travels. The John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.


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scene depicted. In making sure we remember what Smith’s killing his master accomplishes in the narrative, I think it aims to demonstrate the productive quality of Smith’s violence. Smith’s violence propels further movement through geographic space. Violence against these Turks sends Smith back across the continent, home to England. The engraving provides a quick, narrative progression that helps readers visualize Smith’s relation to the people who occupy this foreign space. In the figures at the top of the engraving, Smith’s image is very small. Indeed, one has to strain to make him out among the various objects depicted. Only in the first image, of Smith swimming to shore after being marooned, is his body easily recognizable—to say nothing of it being radically out-of-proportion. When depicted in single combat against his Muslim opponents, Smith stands out. And there is much that the narrative includes that this image could have also included but, for whatever reason, chose not to. We need only remember the ladies who are said to form a large crowd and whose interest, the narrative tells us, produces the contests in the first place. Instead, the engraving focuses on Smith and his opponents. In these scenes, Smith occupies a kind of equivalent position to those he is about to decapitate. They are virtually eye-to-eye as they go about their messy business. When we get to the last image, though, Smith stands above the Bashaw as he brandishes a stick ready to knock him on the head. It is tempting to see these scenes as virtually equivalent when reading the text. In both cases, Smith attacks the head of a Muslim. I think the engraving suggests that we treat these events as two separate and distinct parts of a narrative sequence. Smith moves here from a position of equivalence, to a position of inferiority, to a position of superiority over these Turkish figures. He bests the Turks in a fair fight, in other words, but he also is able to transform himself from slave to self-liberator after he is forced to become a slave to a Muslim and, potentially, even become a Muslim. In the end, then, Smith moves upward in the social realm here when he is awarded the crest and the title of Gentleman and, after this, in the spatial realm when he stands above the Turk he is about the thrash to death. Smith’s enslavement by the Bashaw in fact poses a double threat to Smith’s identity. His slavery threatens simultaneously to dehumanize and convert him, to make him, in other words, less than human and Muslim. I say this because in The True Travels, Smith tells us that he comes under the Bashaw’s control when the Bashaw’s sister, the “Noble Gentlewoman” Charatza Tragabigzanda, hatches a plan to marry him. To bring her plan to fruition, Smith must be taught “what it was to be a Turke” (24). To accomplish this while hiding Smith from her mother’s

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watchful eyes, Tragabigzanda sends Smith to her brother for training, only to have her brother turn against her plan “with the worst of crueltie” by enslaving him. He is stripped naked, has his head shaved as “bare as his hand,” and forced to wear only a “peece of an undrest skinne” as clothing. Worst of all, Smith was made the “slave of slaves” so that his situation at its best was “so bad, a dog could hardly have lived to endure.” The Bashaw, Smith concludes, was treated so badly he was “no more regarded than a beast.” The depiction of Smith’s thrashing of the Bashaw in this way demonstrates both Smith’s resolve to maintain his identity as human and as a Christian even at the risk of his own life. This kind of religious and cultural threat in The True Travels is fundamentally different than the environmental ones Smith and other English people were believed to encounter in the wilds of America. In those locations, the environment posed the greatest threat to English bodies. 9 Who you were depended, at least to some extent, on where you were in early modern theories of identity formation if only because the external environment was thought to have great effect on the humors of any particular person’s individual body. In moving to a different climate, then, English people risked altering the humoral constitution of their very bodies and, as a result, losing their affiliation with English bodies in England. But The True Travels conflates these very different kinds of threats—the religious and the environmental—facing English travelers like Smith who visit different parts of the globe. The True Travels does this, I would suggest, in the way that it asks us to use the very body of Smith as the unifying figure that links English activities in these two regions. When we get to the section in The True Travels on America, we must remember that Smith has already used his own person to tie together the story of England’s colonization of America with the “hazards” he has faced personally. Smith has already shown us that people of unquestioned social status read the history of England’s colonization of America as part of Smith’s life story. As if to drive home the point that we, too, should read the history of these colonies as simply the story of John Smith, Smith reminds us that he “oft times used to call” England’s colonies “his children that never had a mother” (47). Smith thus casts England’s colonial communities as reproductions of himself and, not only that, but in pointing out their lack of a mother, he suggests those colonies are reproductions not only of himself but of himself alone. It should come as no surprise that Smith follows through on the logic of this metaphor by figuring the colonies as extensions of his very own body. He does this when he speaks of the bodily harm those colonies have suffered even in the years since he has left. When Smith

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writes of what he calls those “many strange accidents hath befallen them and him,” he means that his very body has suffered whenever the colonies have come under attack from the Indians or starved due to their lack of discipline or lack of sufficient attention from managers in England (48). This is not to say that Smith fails to acknowledge the American environment’s potential effects on English bodies. Quite the contrary, Smith acknowledges the relation between body and environment in The True Travels, and he even concedes the American environment might have an adverse effect on English peoples living there. But Smith contends that English people have literally transformed the environment. While in the early years of English colonization Virginia was “held most intemperate and contagious,” Smith claims that once English settlers “cut downe the wood” around their communities, “they finde it much more healthfull than before” (43). Smith provides a simple explanation for this: with the trees gone, “the Sunne hath power to exhale up the moyst vapours of the earth    which before it could not, being covered with spreading tops of high trees” (43). The local environment undergoes such a transformation as a result of English deforestation that “few Countreyes are less troubled with death, sicknesse, or any other disease.” The environment of England’s colonies, Smith insists, should no longer be considered “intemperate and contagious,” as its detractors have suggested, but rather should now be considered an ideal climate. Smith goes one step further than claiming that the American environment in its altered form suits English bodies even better than other parts of the globe do. He contends that American geographic space harbors the power to restore a body, to its rightful, one might even say “natural,” identity. We see this in Smith’s final section of The True Travels when he discusses pirates. Smith describes life among pirates as worse than “amongst wilde beasts,” and he claims that once one enters into such even-more-degenerate-than-beasts community one can “hardly [be] reclaimed” (60). But he contends the decision to enter such a life should be attributed to economic considerations rather than understood as a sign of some inherent flaw in the person. It is not surprising, Smith argues, that pirates exist given the low wages sailors and soldiers are paid since “neither Souldiers nor Sea-men can live without meanes” (60). As a solution to this economic problem, Smith offers the English colonies. Rather than turn to a life of pirating, Smith recommends for those sailors and soldiers who are financially distressed that they “endevour rather to adventure to those faire plantations of our English Nation.” Smith contrasts the image of the colonies as a place “scorned and contemned”

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with what he contends are the “many rich and gallant people come from thence, who went thither as poore as any Souldier or Sailer.” It’s not simply that those down on their luck will be able to live on what they can find in the colonies. They will, according to Smith, “regaine” their “wonted reputations” by moving to England’s American plantations. Smith’s chapter on pirates is the final chapter of The True Travels, and it concludes the section of the book that Smith labels a “continuation of the generall Historie of Virginia” (41). This chapter, in other words, concludes the American material that, as the title page told us, had been brought “together” with Smith’s travels to the East and South of England. In this final chapter, Smith brings England’s American colonies to bear directly on the threat posed to England by “Turks and Moores” (60). Smith does this in his brief history of English piracy. Smith contends that English piracy begins with the reign of “our Royall King James” whose peaceful ways provided no “imployment” for pirates. James’ policy had the unintended effect of making men who had been useful to the “most gracious Queen Elizabeth” in times of war “turne Pirats” (59). The harbors around Barbary offered the only safe haven for these men when “they grew hatefull to all Christian Princes.” Once there, the motley pirate crews “compiled” of a mixture of European castoffs eventually “became so disjointed, debawched, and miserable, that the Turks and Moores beganne to command them as slaves, and force them to instruct them” in the ways of piracy “which many accursed runnagado, or Christian turned Turke, did” (60). In the end, these newly converted Turks sailed their ships back to the “Seas in England” to prey on the very nation that had originally cast them off as useless. It is precisely this group of people that Smith claims England’s American colonies can help. It is precisely this group that Smith claims can be “reclaimed” as English Christians through life in the American colonies. In this final chapter, Smith brings together figures for the very disparate geographic spaces through which his narrative has taken us by showing us how his very children have the power to save England’s castoffs from the threat of turning Turk. Indeed, the English American colonial space that Smith has cast as his motherless children has the power, in the end, to ward off the threat Islam poses to England itself.

Notes 1. All parenthetical citations refer to John Smith, The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captaine John Smith, in Europe, Asia, Affrica, and America    (London, 1630).

Jim Egan 117 2. Philip Barbour, ed., Complete Works of Captain John Smith (1580–1631) 3 vols (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986), 3: 125–136, and Everett Emerson, Captain John Smith (New York: Twayne, 1971). 3. Barbour, Complete Works, III, 128 and 214, n. 4. 4. Ed White offers the most recent, and, as it happens, most extensive and provocative reading of True Travels, arguing that the stylistic and generic difficulties can be resolved when we realize that the work represents the beginnings of novelist discourse. See “Captaine Smith, Colonial Novelist” (American Literature 75 [2003]: 487–513). 5. Emerson, Captain John Smith, 94. 6. For a discussion of the play devoted to Smith’s life, see Barbour, “Captain John Smith and the London Theatre” (Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 83 [1975]: 277–279). The verse satire that is believed to have Smith as its central subject was first published in 1631 as The Legend of Captain Jones. Alden Vaughan provides the most extensive discussion of this satire in “John Smith Satirized: The Legend of Captaine Jones” (The William and Mary Quarterly 45 [1988]: 712–732). See also Laura Striker, “Captain John Smith in Seventeenth-Century Literature,” In The Life of John Smith, English Soldier (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1957), 3–31, and Jeffrey Knapp, An Empire Nowhere: England, America, and Literature from Utopia to The Tempest (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992). 7. See Barbour, The Complete Works, III 328–340 for the most extensive discussion of the differences between these two versions. Barbour also provides extraordinarily helpful commentary on the differences between these versions in his notes to The True Travels in The Complete Works, III, 123–245. 8. Ibid., III 328. 9. The scholarship on the significance of humoral theory and its interaction with environmentalist theories of identity in the early modern period is now quite extensive. I discuss this issue in Authorizing Experience: Refigurations of the Body Politic in Seventeenth-Century New England Writing (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), esp. 14–31. For alternate readings of the significance of environmentalist theories of identity as they relate to early American literature and culture, see Joyce Chaplin, Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American frontier, 1500–1676 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001). For the perspective on these issues from scholars of British literature, see Jean Feerick, “Spenser, Race, and Ire-land” (English Literary Renaissance 32 [2002]: 85–117), Mary Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), and Roxann Wheeler, The Complexion of Race: Categories of Difference in Eighteenth-Century British Culture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), esp. 2–48.

7 “My Liquid Journey”: The Frontispiece to Coryat’s Crudities (1611) David J. Baker

Coryat’s Crudities, self-published in London by Thomas Coryate in 1611, details his peregrinations during a 4-month sojourn on the Continent in 1608. A frontispiece contributed by the noted engraver, William Hole, introduces the volume, and, if you’re like many readers, before you cast your eye over the some 200,000 words of the text, you will turn to this first. The author, now as then, has a reputation as a buffoon and a selfpromoter, one “so covetous, so ambitious of praise that he would hear and endure more of it than he could in any measure deserve,” 1 so you are probably not surprised to see a portrait of him displayed prominently at the bottom of the engraving. 2 There he is, encapsulated in an oval, looking long-nosed and slightly smug, held in place on a plinth by three female figures representing European kingdoms he has visited: “Gallia, Germania, Italia.” But here is where you’re likely to come up short. Is Germany really vomiting on his head? Then, as your eye quickly follows the smaller scenes that circle the twin pillars in the center, you find yourself registering, almost simultaneously, both the author and a surprising amount of bodily filth. You pick out Coryate against the fragment of land or sea on which he is placed, and then you notice the mess that he, or sometimes another figure, is making of that setting. In the upper left, at (A), the seasick author is throwing up into the English Channel, while fishes wait below for a queasy meal. Just above that, at (M), he beds down with horses, directly under their rumps. On the right, at (E), our traveler is assailed by a woman throwing    eggs? (From the Crudities, we will learn that this is a Venetian courtesan. Coryate tells us that she was annoyed because he did not avail himself of her services. The “egges,” one wag claimed, were filled not with rose water, as Coryate 118


Illustration 2 Engraving from Thomas Coryate, Coryat’s Crudities, 1611. This item is reproduced by permission of the Huntington Library. San Marino, California.


My Liquid Journey

claimed, but “some other matter.” 3 ) Look directly above, to (H), and you observe Coryate and a large man with a halberd gesticulating at each other. They are standing under what at first appears to be a hacked and no doubt putrescent body dangling from a gibbet, a common-enough sight in travelers’ tales of the Continent, and one they frequently sought out. (Coryate will report that “A little on this side [of] Montargis I saw a very dolefull and lamentable spectacle: the bones and ragged fragments of clothes of a certaine murderer remayning on a wheele, whereon most murderers are executed” [1:196].) Glance again, though, and this body resolves itself into a disjointed scarecrow. Look long enough, moreover, and you begin to wonder: are these merely discrete scenes, or is there some implied unity to the engraving? Look longer, and you start to notice what appears to be a kind of circulatory apparatus at work. Not only are bodily fluids and other matter— ordure and vomit—freely exchanged among the depicted figures, but to the tracing eye it can seem that this material passes among those figures and even within the engraving, as if all of what it shows were conjoined by some unseen plumbing. (Coryate spews in the English Channel; the cascade reappears over his head.) This effect is heightened by the engraving’s fluid geography. The title of the Crudities is framed by tall, straight pillars, well grounded on a pedestal beneath and joined by a cross-piece above. But, as you can see, this architecture does not work to segregate the figures or to divide Coryate’s journey into discreet segments. On the contrary, this standing armature exists, it seems, to allow the background and foreground to merge and flow around it. The lettered landscapes and seascapes of Coryate’s travels collapse into and intrude upon one another, and you are invited to see them not so much as a linear journey from (A) to (B) to (C), and so on, but as a meandering progress among a dispersed alphabet. (“J,” not featured here, is not yet in general use.) (B) lies beside (G), which is contiguous to (D); these sites are in no obvious order. The waves of the English Channel (A) wash up against the Alps (D); a road up those mountains curls down to Venice (G). A Swiss horizon disappears behind the title and emerges in Germany (H) “betwixt Franckendall and Wormes” where a “Boore” (2:253), we will learn, menaced Coryate for helping himself to some grapes. A Venetian canal (F) passes under Germany to emerge off the coast of France (A). Nor can the coordinates of this tour be fixed from the engraving’s borders (it is left open at the margins). The frontispiece, we note, does not lay down a progressive itinerary or sketch a coherent vista. Instead, the movement of Coryate’s travel is suggested by the internal structure of the illustration, with its many apertures and

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interconnecting “passages,” and these in turn suggest, by an almost inescapable analogy, the “Maze or labyrinth    wheeled about in manifold foulds & convolutions” 4 that is the human gut. The “passages” of the trip that is depicted seem to follow something like the “passages” within bodies that are also depicted. Eating, digesting, and excreting are what the eye follows, and this movement pulls the engraving together into a corporeal diagram, though a roughly sutured one. The assorted sites on which Coryate “expose[d]” his “body,” as he would later put it, to a “world of iminent dangers both by Sea and Land” 5 are themselves portrayed as a “body,”a “body” through which Coryate moves. Here, for our titillated curiosity, his travels are set out as a sequence of fluid geosomatic exchanges. Our eyes track the path of a traveling body (inside another body) as it is pursued, besmirched, transported, and assaulted. We take a quick tour of its routes within what seems like nothing so much as a trans-national alimentary canal. Despite its provocations, today this frontispiece, along with a good deal of other prefatory material, “has been almost universally ignored by commentators” on the Crudities, who in general have been “more than happy to take Coryat at face value as the bizarre buffoon he represents himself to be.” 6 The off-putting oddness of this engraving has deflected not only attention, but analysis as well. I will say, though, that, as peculiar and outré as the fluid corporeality of this frontispiece now seems, it is crucial for understanding Coryat’s Crudities, and especially as it was received by its first readers in 1611. As we will see, the lexicon of images that are on display in the frontispiece provided Coryate’s readers with an effective (though risible) model for thinking about both his foreign travel and their relation to him, the traveling author. If we tend to avoid or misrecognize this lexicon now, I suggest, it is because it draws on a notion of the humoral body that is no longer ours. For the Crudities’ readers, however, such a notion was very much a part of the lived experience of their own physicality. In Coryate’s time, as Gail Kern Paster has remarked, everyone “grew up with a common understanding of his or her body as a semipermeable, irrigated container in which humors moved sluggishly.” The “early modern subject became aware of her or his body    under the auspices of specific cultural regimes.” And, that “body,” she emphasizes, “was always a humoral entity,” “characterized by corporeal fluidity, openness, and porous boundaries.” 7 The leaking, dirtied body that appears in this frontispiece was familiar to Coryate’s readers, as familiar as their own. In a sense, of course, it is familiar to us too. Paster has said more recently that “certain basic emotions—love, hate, fear, anger, and sadness, for example—are broadly recognizable


My Liquid Journey

across wide distances of time and culture,” and consequently these are more or less transparent to us when they show up in early modern texts. Because we do not share the humoral theory that explained those feelings for early modern people, however, we tend to deliteralize, to read as metaphorical, the “pyschophysiological lexicon” 8 in which they are couched, or else, as she puts it elsewhere, to dismiss “as dead metaphors or inconsequential idioms” the “signifiers of humoralism” 9 when we come across them. Either, that is, we interpret as metaphorical what was meant literally, or we reject as metaphorical what was meant literally. A similar claim could be made about our conception of travel in the early modern period. The essential mechanics of this activity have, no doubt, remained somewhat similar over time—they involve moving a human body from point (A) to some fairly distant point (B) located “elsewhere”—but the fluctuating progress of Coryate from, say, (D) to (F) on his frontispiece and the liquid flow of matter it features should be enough to remind us that if travel is still more or less travel, even today, it is certainly not so that this activity is experienced and represented in the self-same ways both now and then, nor that the body that is set in motion is thought of identically in each period. If we mostly elide the humoral body when we think of early modern journeying (and consequently dismiss as an “inconsequential idiom” or merely metaphorical the humoralism in the Crudities’ frontispiece), it is because it is hard to “discard our deepest categories of thought almost as if they never were.” 10 But Coryate and his contemporaries did not do this, and how could they? They understood the human body as “Trans-fluxible,” 11 and for them, travel, which opened that always already porous corpus to a host of external influences, was potentially transforming—and dangerous—in ways that we have mostly forgotten. William Camden, for example, had claimed that “Britaine is seated as well for aire as soile, in a right fruitful and most milde place,” 12 and others would draw the conclusion that “That which is a mans usuall soyle, and Countries arye is best.” 13 At the same time, many Britons suspected, despite such apologists, that they did not have much of an intrinsic nature, that they were prone to mutability and imitation, and the reason for this might be the British environment itself. Perhaps it was the “changeable complection of the Climate,” 14 speculated one writer in 1663, or it could be that the “mutability of air in an island contributed to mutability of thought,” 15 as another suggested soon after. In this context, travel abroad could be seen as a kind of humoral bio-engineering. Fathers who considered their sons too ineffectual, said the first earl of Clarendon, might send them to “bolder Climates to correct their Flegm.” 16 The bodies of early

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modern Britons, as Paster notes, were held to be exquisitely sensitive to the “micro- and macroclimatic changes” 17 that travel entailed. Coryate, though, willfully takes his British body on the road and exposes it to an array of corporeal fluctuations. Why? What does the “psychophysiological lexicon” of this frontispiece tell us about the somatic implications of Coryate’s jaunts? Why do digestion and excretion figure so prominently in it? Why are the effusions and messiness of Coryate’s traveling body accentuated, its indiscriminate minglings with the surrounding environment? And what sort of negotiation, encoded in this lexicon, is being conducted between this curious author and his fascinated readers? Richmond Barbour has said that Coryate was sometimes “taken for a buffoon,” but was indeed “no fool.” 18 What, we should ask ourselves, did he and his contemporaries think he was up to? An especially cogent way to read the frontispiece is as an advertisement. “I suspect,” Thomas N. Corns has noted shrewdly, “that the principal advantages of such front matter” as we have been considering “lay in its impact on the browsing reader at the point of sale,” 19 at a bookseller outside St. Paul’s, perhaps. For his part, Barbour has argued persuasively that Coryate was among the first inventors of the commercial enterprise we know today as tourism. He was a prototypical travel salesman; the “major cultural innovation” we can attribute to him was that “he commodifies travel.” “He hit upon a novel means of self-promotion: to exploit London’s appetite for exotica by inscribing himself into the remote scenes he traveled to describe” 20 (as, of course, he did literally in the frontispiece). Indeed, it’s clear that the impulses that drove Coryate’s peregrinations were decidedly entrepreneurial. A letter of introduction he took from London mentioned that he might engage in “traffiquing or mechandising” 21 in Italy. When, upon his return, he could not find a publisher for the Crudities (perhaps, as his biographer says, “because nobody had ever written a book quite like this before” 22 ), he laid out his own money for a printing run and advertised the volume assiduously, taking no care for his dignity as he did so. Instead, he turned his reputation as a figure of fun into a marketing ploy. We can only guess how members of the royal family, including Princess Elizabeth and the future Charles I, responded when Coryate showed up accompanied by a donkey, the beast laden with copies of the Crudities in a box labeled ASINUS PORTANS MYSTERIA (the ass carrying the mysteries), but certainly this “stroke of showmanship” 23 got the author talked about. Within months he was publishing a second volume of assorted materials, Coryat’s Crambe. This was meant to capitalize on the success of his first book, and he was contemplating a second edition


My Liquid Journey

of that. Both works were competing in the market with The Odcombian Banquet, a pirated edition of the prefatory matter to the Crudities. This knock-off omits Coryate’s travel narrative altogether, suggesting that, to his competitors at the time, Coryate was far more interesting as a publicity phenomenon than as an actual traveler. What had seized the attention of the book-buying public in 1611, they concluded, was Coryate’s adroit packaging of himself as an “odde Joviall Author” 24 (1:19) and the profitable spectacle that he had made of that persona, rather than the bare fact of his journeys. Critics today often notice how insistently dramatic Coryate was in his self-presentation. “What remains constant in Coryate’s varied accounts,” Jyotsna Singh points out, “is his keen sense of drama as he casts the world into a theatrical mode—a world divided into actors and audiences.” 25 As Barbour suggests, though, this theatricality was not simply ostentation for its own sake, the acquired plumage of a self-appointed jester. Rather, it was animated by the same financial imperatives that quickened the early modern theater itself. Coryate “travels    to write; and he writes to publish”—and he publishes to sell. His Crudities met an audience demand for foreignness, much like the plays that were set in, say, Venice or any of the other locales that Coryate made a point of visiting. Such works were the “logical extension of commercial Jacobean appetites: of London’s markets for exotica and of social institutions that theatricalize the world.” 26 It would seem, then, that we should be able to trace this “logic,” to analyze the giveand-take of pleasure for profit that made the Crudities the marketplace success that it was. If the book buyer standing at the point of sale for Coryat’s Crudities was indeed considering the frontispiece as an advertisement, then this engraving was effectively a travel poster, a piece of signage from early modern “London’s entertainment industry,” 27 and that is something, surely, that several centuries of commodified travel will have taught us how to read. And yet, this is just what we cannot do, or not easily. Even to call this an “advertisement” is to realize how very alien is the sensibility that is implied by this engraving, no matter how commercialized it may have been. Obviously, it was intended and taken as an enticement to foreign travel, but this is like no travel come-on that we are likely to find alluring. Even Barbour, who sees Coryate for the canny operator that he was, seems puzzled by the frontispiece. Its “marketing strategy,” he says, is at odds with the author’s upbeat endorsement of the pleasures of travel. It “emphasizes the comic discomforts he suffered in Europe. Clearly, he craves attention, not consistency.” 28 One way to restore some consistency to Coryate’s commercial strategizing, I think, is to keep his target

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readership in mind, as well as the bodily assumptions that, in 1611, informed their thinking on journeying abroad. It’s true that Coryate was an early modern harbinger of the mass-market tourism that we know today, and also that in time the Crudities would become the “Baedeker of the seventeenth century,    used as a vade mecum by hundreds of travelers who made their way through France and Italy in the days of the Stuarts.” (It’s hard now, as a travel historian notes, to come upon a copy from the period that has not been “read, thumbed, and digested by the inquisitive tourist.” 29 ) But, in that year, Coryate’s intended audience was much more specific: young noblemen with the money to venture abroad. 30 These were hardly the only early modern Britons to seek our foreign countries; “merchants, craftsmen, divines, soldiers, lawyers and physicians” 31 outnumbered them. But they were the clientele that Coryate was angling for. In a dedication, he tells his patron, Henry, Prince of Wales, 32 that he intends the Crudities to “yeeld some little encouragement to many noble and generose yong Gallants that follow your Highnesse Court    to travell into forraine countries.” He means to “infuse    a desire to them to travel into transmarine nations, and to garnish their understanding with the experience” (1:1–2) of them. This was an audience that was touring more and more, especially on the Continent. For the scions of the nobility, Britain was in the midst of a “travel boom.” When James I signed the peace treaty of 1604, he released the kingdom from its hostilities with Spain and removed the “last major legal barriers” 33 to Continental travel. Until quite recently, though, the great weight of received opinion had been against leaving home. Although Elizabeth I herself had a good opinion of travel and its benefits, her government’s policy prohibited it except under license from the Privy Council. (These restrictions did not apply to merchants, and many other English travelers simply ignored them. 34 ) In 1570, Roger Ascham’s The Schoolmaster had set off a round of denunciations leveled at those who went to “serve Circe in Italy” and who then returned home “Italinated.” 35 He inveighed against peripatetic Britons who were “men in shape and fashion but become devils in life and condition.” 36 Other influential personages as well stressed that the English traveler’s body was desperately at risk from what they often called foreign “infections.” Such anxiety, it should be said, was often prompted by the very real dangers of venereal disease, since much of what would come to be known by the middle of the seventeenth century as the “Grand Tour” was what we have since come to call “sex tourism.” 37 Ascham alleged that the Pope himself promoted the “maintenance of stews and brothel houses at home in Rome” and complained that, in Italy, young


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Englishmen felt “free    to go whithersoever lust will carry them.” 38 “I was once in Italy myself,” confessed Ascham, “but, I thank God, my abode there was but nine days. And yet I saw in that little time, in one city”—Venice—“more liberty to sin than ever I heard tell of in our noble city of London in nine year.” 39 Departing the homeland, it was said, could have literal and often disfiguring consequences. “[C]arelesse entercourse of trafficking with the contagious corruptions, and customes of forreine nations” 40 could pollute the traveler, John Deacon warned in 1616. In 1617, Joseph Hall would be more direct. “The world is wide and open,” he declared, “but our ordinarie trauell is southward” toward Italy, “into the iawes of danger.” And from that journey, he asked ominously, “how few young trauellers haue brought home, sound and strong, & (in a word) English bodies”? 41 This, then, was the sort of thing that the elite clientele whom Coryate hoped would buy the Crudities had been hearing for some time. Such polemics did not accord, usually, with the way they traveled in Europe, and certainly not with their intense desires to travel there. The “only body of people who undoubtedly held a consistently benevolent view of educational travel,” Sara Warneke notes wryly, “were those young men who hoped to undertake a tour themselves.” 42 But these polemics had long made up the existing, officially accepted rhetoric on the topic. Under the new king, the rhetoric on Continental travel changed considerably, a development that Coryate both participated in and helped to further. James I himself was of two minds about touring, permitting much more of it than before, but also trying to restrict it when Britons seemed to be taking advantage of the liberties he allowed. 43 He and his Council continued to impose licensing on travelers, though often with little effect once they left the kingdom. Coryate’s patron, Prince Henry, distinguished himself from his father in this, as in much else. That he highly approved of Continental touring was well known. Roy Strong suggests that the Prince liked to travel vicariously; “his friends acted as his eyes and ears regarding all that was new on their journeys abroad.” 44 (Presumably, this is a role that Coryate and his Crudities played for Henry as well.) Even Hall, writing 14 years into James’ reign, sounds more conciliatory than his rigorously insular Elizabethan predecessors. The world is one globe, he asserts, and Britain cannot be cut off from it. For “[w]e do not lie more open to one common sunne, then to the eyes and pens of our neighbours; Euen China it selfe, and Japonia, and those other remotest Isles, and Continents (which haue taken the strictest order for closenesse) haue receiued such discoueries, as would    satisfie a Reader”—although for Hall the point is that the

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“Reader” should remain a reader and stay home rather than seek to “amend” his condition through actual travel. The porousness of kingdoms one to another—all “crossed and interchanged”—is just one more reason for the British man to keep his own all too permeable body in its proper place and his wandering eyes safely ensconced behind the covers of a travel book, “at once the best companion, and guide, and way, and end of our iourney.” 45 Coryate too was keen to promote the trade in travel books, of course, and the audience of mobile aristocrats that he had in mind was much the same as the one Hall addressed. But the metaphoric for travel that Coryate devised—the fluid exchanges of a body “open and fungible in its internal workings” 46 —did not suggest that travel books might be used as shields against the world outside Britain or that they should serve as impediments to foreign journeys. Though there was an obvious distinction to be made between reading about foreign lands and visiting them, Coryate found a way to imply that his own book could act as a conduit to the outside world. The marketing strategy that Coryate was promoting had, after all, a good deal of entrenched resistance to overcome. Besides the usual anti-travel animus, he needed to deflect the intuitive conviction that Britain was and should remain something like a “perfect and impermeable container,” 47 a conception that had been prevalent under the late Queen and that was still being bruited about by travel’s opponents. It’s not surprising that, for their part, his preferred readership of noblemen with a yen for Continental experience was more than ready to start imagining travel in a new way, one that did not seal them off from the fascinating, provocative—and, of course, quite possibly corrupting—influences that they had so often been warned about. Coryate gave them what they wanted and, by doing so, made the Crudities a publishing success and himself the celebrity clown of the moment. He offered his ludicrously permeable body to mock and his tales of digestive misadventure to titillate. This was not a traveler who shrank from foreign contact, however objectionable that might sometimes be. On the contrary, he sought it out and converted it into the material of his narrative. The insistence of travel’s critics that British bodies be sequestered made it almost inevitable, I suspect, that, as travel theory and practice began sharply to diverge, someone would come up with a model that implied physical exchange instead, and that this model would find its expression in something like the frontispiece to the Crudities. This engraving does not evade the quite literally visceral fears that foreign travel could call up for many of Coryate’s contemporaries: changes, it does not scruple to reveal, will be worked upon the traveling


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British body. Coryate’s own body, exquisitely sensitive, like the bodies of all of James’ subjects, to the diverse impressions of foreign climes, has been exposed abroad. This body has not been set in motion outside the British kingdom for the usual “pedagogic or imperial motives,” 48 though, but for mutual fun and profit (most of the latter going to Coryate). Exchange between him and his environs has certainly taken place, but it is not a cause for alarm. It is a cause for laughter. For buying Coryat’s Crudities. In the early modern period, Michael Schoenfeldt has pointed out, the “stomach is at the center of an organic system demanding perpetual, anxious osmosis with the outside world.” The vector that Coryate chose for the integration of the foreign into the domestic could not have been more graphic or, given the prevailing notion of the body as a “dynamic and porous edifice,” 49 more plausible. “I chewed uncooked morsels in my mouth,” he announced in the “kitchen Latin” of the last of the “panegyrick” verses to the Crudities, “and vomited them up from my chest: these are the things it has now pleased me to submit to the press. Hail reader, and digest well in the brazier of your stomach the raw bits from our kitchen.” 50 Lest any unlettered reader, lingering, perhaps, at the point of sale, should miss the implications, he spelled them out in the book’s extended title. Now rarely given in full, it reads: Coryat’s Crudities Hastily gobled up in five Moneths travells in France, Savoy, Italy, Rhetia commonly called the Grisons country, Helvetia alias Switzerland, and some parts of high Germany and the Netherlands; Newly digested in the hungry aire of Odcombe in the County of Somerset, and now dispersed to the nourishment of the travelling Members of this Kingdome. “Crudities,” in the early modern period, meant primarily food that had not yet been rendered into nourishment—“imperfect ‘concoction’ of the humours,” raw, “imperfectly digested” (or indigestible) “matter in the stomach.” (A somewhat later sense of “crudities” as “undeveloped, ill digested” items of thought, expressed with “[u]npolished plainness or ‘brutality’ of statement or expression” 51 is also tacit here.) The workings of a digestive system can be traced: if his travels entail the circulation of “crudities,” his readers, by reading, have placed themselves on the receiving end of that “matter.” Travel is eating; writing is vomiting. And reading? It follows that, as they proceed through the twists and turns of Coryate’s lengthy title, they are re-tracing the progress of his Continental journeys as of a bolus moving through a digestive tract that has them as its final point of discharge. Coryate “gobbles” up material; he returns to his home. He “digests” his experiences in the “hungry aire of ODCOMBE,” and now “nourishes” them as they read

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this book. The vomit that gushed out of Coryate as he hung over the side of a ship in the English Channel (at [A] on the frontispiece, we recall) is, by these equivalences, what they take in as they peruse his writing. And who are the “travelling Members” who eat up the “matter” of Coyrate’s writings? They are, of course, none other than the “generose yong Gallants” whose attention Coryate solicits, here figured as wandering organs, peregrinating like him beyond the British domain. The charged physicality that pervades this title is directed at them. It elicits and feeds—as it was meant to—their mingled arousal and disgust. Even today, it must be said, this title is a little hard to take. To Andrew Hadfield, for example, it “is eccentric and bears little relation to the contents” 52 of the Crudities, and he is not alone in thinking this. But the British men who made up Coryate’s hoped-for readership got the point and, stimulated by this frontispiece and the title on it, responded to its physiological implications with gusto. We know this because many of those responses were published together with the Crudities. And many of those responses were in turn directly elicited by the frontispiece it bears. Hole, whose engraving this is, had a celebrated clientele before he was tapped to illustrate the Crudities, and he too was associated with the circle around Prince Henry. He had made several maps for William Camden’s Britannia (1610), and afterwards he would go on to contribute engravings to Michael Drayton’s Poly-Olbion (1612–1622), Joshua Sylvester’s translation of Du Bartas’ Diuine Weekes and Works (1613), Walter Raleigh’s History of the World (1614), Ben Jonson’s Workes (1616), and many other texts. All told, the Crudities feature at least four (and possibly eight) of his plates. As we will see, though, exactly who is responsible for which of the various pieces of the Crudities is sometimes unclear. Coryate claims that he had “resolved    to conceale [the Crudities] from the world, and to bury [it] for a time in oblivion” until importuned by others, one of whom, Sir Edward Philips, pointed out that “many sinister accidents might happen unto me betwixt the time of my next going out of England, and my arrivall againe in my country; and so consequently my friends and country might be deprived of the fruits of my past travels” (1:5). More consequentially, he tells us, he was urged to publish by Prince Henry himself. In his dedication to him, Coryate asks that “your Highnesse will vouchsafe to Patronize [the Crudities] with your Princely protection” (1:6), which he did, in a fashion. Henry certainly lent him the cachet of his attention, but he also seems to have set him up as a figure of fun, encouraging the wits of his circle to compose mock panegyrics to the author and his travels. Then, when


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many of these proved scurrilous, he still insisted, by “a strict and expresse commandment” (1:21), according to Coryate, that they be printed with the Crudities itself and not in an “Index expurgatorius” whence the author himself had wished to consign “above a thousand [lines] of them” (1:20). These panegyrics from 55 contributors, 53 including John Donne, Inigo Jones, and Michael Drayton, together with verses written by Laurence Whitaker 54 and Ben Jonson (keyed to the letters on the frontispiece), as well as a “Character” of the author by Jonson, make up the prefatory matter to Coryate’s heterogeneous “lucubrations” (1:20). 55 What’s striking, though, is how immediately we can link these verses to the incitements of Hole’s frontispiece. In fact, many of the jocular panegyrists had probably not even read the Coryate’s opus before it and their witticisms saw print. “[I]t is clear from most of the verses that the authors’ knowledge of the Crudities was derived from the illustrated title page, which was no doubt freely circulated together with copies of the verses which Ben Jonson and Laurence Whitaker wrote to explain the various incidents portrayed” on it. 56 And what’s even more striking is how immediately those verses pick up on and elaborate the digestive exchange apparatus that the frontispiece and its title construct. Taking their cue, Coryate’s “friends” chose to zero in on a specific (albeit shifting) target—his traveling body. They make light of its many tribulations, derisively representing them in culinary terms. As they portray him, Coryate is either consuming foreign places as if they were food, or being consumed in or by those places, or offering himself up as food to his readers at home, or all of these at once according to some complex gastronomical metaphoric. Circulating through their verses is a fascination with the fluid dynamics of Coryate’s physical person, the flow of matter to and from and within and without that person. Time and again, the traveler is wittily dissected as a body in flux, seeping foreign stuff into the British body politic by various noxious means. One panegyrist, for instance, imagines Coryate, still in England, oppressed by the “squeazie humour of his braine.” But since the hot “Sunne” of foreign climes—“Italie I mean”— beganne to sup, And drinke those grosser vapours up, He is no more a Gull (1:25–26) —a conclusion his own facetious lines do not support. Richard Martin pictures him saving “oyle    from his shoes and sallats,” then gobbling

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up “these Crudities,” which, properly anointed and “season’d,” now serve “for sundry palats” (1:39) back home. John Pawlet compares him to a bee, sucking, scouring, squirting, “to feede those that flie abrode” (1:62). Sometimes the physicality of Coryate’s effusions merges with their textuality. George Sydenham, for example, speaks of the Crudities as “cloying    chewed in the braines of the Author, and cast up in the presse of the Printer” (1:65). Shortly thereafter, John Gyfford completes the food chain, noting that in Britain Coryate is “Filling mens mouthes” (1:67). William Baker professes to be concerned for the “cooks shops and Ordinaries” of Britain, “For who, to save a dinner, on him steales, / Forgetteth hunger, and out-laughes his meales” (1:79). This absurd traveler is their new dish. In a poem shaped like an egg, John Jackson calls for salt, pepper, and vinegar to flavor the “Italian Banquet” Coryate has provided, then urges: “Feast Coryate, feast the World / Still with thy travel, [and] discharge / the Presse” (1:96). In certain of these verses, moreover, Coryate appears as either/both an emetic subject and object. John Davis laughs to think of the German “Boore” “vomit[ing] sweet wordes by the dozen / In Toms deare praise” (1:104). And in case you thought my earlier reference to a transnational “alimentary canal” was gratuitous, consider this pungent instance of such badinage. “Then Coryate,” urges Henry Poole, feed thy Muse in forraine parts, Swallow their secrets, and devoure their arts; Whereof when thou saturitie shalt gaine, Come home, and then disgorge thy selfe againe. (1:30) This, of course, is just the circuit of digested matter that Coryate had described his “kitchen Latin.” To give these lines a paraphrase they hardly need: in Europe, Coryate engrosses “forraine” matter to the point of repletion. He then returns home and pukes up the stuff he has “swallowed.” And his readers? By a logic from which these “friends” do not shrink, they themselves are the recipients of the “discharge” from Coryate’s “Presse.” By reading him they ingest his vomit. As his eulogists portray him, Coryate is a kind of traveling bulimic. His journeys are a binge and purge cycle, and his Crudities brings Europe back to Britain as a noisome mess. Considering this raillery, most of it in very dubious taste, we might wonder whether Coryate really solicited it, and whether he truly wanted to include it in the Crudities. Would he rather have purged his “friends”


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from his book, or had he invited their witticisms and was pleased to receive them, no matter how insulting they might be? (Perhaps, we might decide, there is such a thing as bad publicity after all.) Coryate himself describes a process of composition that mingles whatever intentions he had with those of others. He had asked for some of the panegyrics, but “I can assure thee,” he reports, that “I sollicited not halfe those worthy Wights for these verses that I now divulge” (1:20). What intrigues me especially about the Crudities, however, is how hard it is to answer such questions. The Crudities might be thought of as a work by which Coryate fashioned himself, but, as Schoenfeldt observes, in this period it is possible to “conceive all acts of ingestion and excretion as very literal acts of self-fashioning,” 57 and in this case, I think, the fashioning was communal. I have spoken of Coryate as if he were the “author,” the sole originator, of the physical iconography by which Continental travel is shown on the frontispiece. As one study of such title pages points out, though, this assumption may very well not hold up. While the “complex ideas” they express are usually the responsibility of the “authors themselves,” “[u]nfortunately,    lack of such evidence often makes it difficult to assess the nature of the co-operation between the author and the engraver,” 58 an observation that would apply just as well to the relation between Coryate and his eulogists. Hadfield notes that these panegyric “verses    are often extremely rude and disrespectful to Coryat,” but that they also give “the impression that there has been something of a pact between author and his circle.” 59 But, if so, what sort of pact? Who among the list of possible suspects—William Hole, Thomas Coryate, Prince Henry, Ben Jonson, Laurence Whitaker, among numerous others— instigated this pact and shaped its goals? To whom can we ascribe the “complex ideas” of this engraving and the Crudities’ other prefatory matter? Rather than put the question like this, however, perhaps we should frame the issue in another way, one suggested by the organic imagery of the frontispiece itself. The question, maybe, is not, “who specifically is behind the prefatory matter to the Crudities and its ideas?” but “how does the prefatory matter suggest that it came to be published and its ideas promulgated?” If this material seems to have no one author, not even Coryate, it could be because it is a joint production, fashioned out of exchanged components by means of a give and take every bit as “fluid” as the humoral processes that the engraving depicts. And if we look closely, I think, this is just what it shows. The ideas it purveys are comical, but no less complex for all that; a great deal of intellectual

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work is done in the space of a page. At a time when an older, prohibitive notion of travel was losing its hold somewhat and one more permissive had yet to be articulated, when a clique of influential men was told to do one thing (stay home), but was also licensed and tacitly encouraged to do another (travel), 60 when the standing rationales for touring had yet to catch up the developing realities of European “tourism,” the frontispiece to Coryat’s Crudities offered its viewers a working lexicon, drawn from the physiological understanding of the day, in which the fraught enterprise of going abroad could be rethought. Here was travel as a sequence of physical experiences (walking, vomiting, sleeping, etc.), most of them familiar enough to those who perused the engraving: Taken together, these intimated a system of somatic exchanges between “here” and “there.” Under Elizabeth I, as Peter Stallybrass reminds us, the English state was often compared to “an enclosed garden walled off from enemies.” 61 Under James I, the frontispiece implies, the garden walls are down and Coryate, one of the “travelling Members of this Kingdome,” is abroad, roaming where he will across a variegated terrain. Bringing down barriers between Britain and Europe and carrying its foreign “matter” home is the point of his excursions. Coryate replaces the concept of a sealed British body politic with the far more likely, in early modern terms, concept of that body as a leaky vessel constantly in reciprocal flux with its environment. Though he is the focus of much of what’s depicted, his travels across the Continent, we are asked to realize, are never those of a wandering monad. He is always attached to his British readers by the digestive system that is anatomized in the extended title. (And they to him, as we learn from the panegyric verses that take up its promptings so gleefully.) And this give and take extends to the fashioning of the frontispiece itself. We see Coryate on the engraving printed with the book he wrote, but we also see the letters ([A] through [N], no [J]) that lead us to the verses (by Jonson and Whitaker) that comment on the engraving designed by Hole (and Coryate?), which leads us back again to the verses that, together with this very engraving, elicited the numerous panegyrics that Prince Henry told Coryate to publish with the book; these in turn responded to the same engraving that    The circularity that emerges whenever we try to find the origins of the prefatory material is already represented on the frontispiece, and taking seriously its bodily implications is perhaps the best way we have to think about the complicated exchanges (of text, money, publicity) that went into producing it. My “liquid journey” (2:286), Coryate called his visit to the Continent. He meant that more literally than we have realized.


My Liquid Journey

Notes 1. Such was the judgment of Edward Terry, a clergyman who was traveling with Coryate at the end of his life. Quoted in Michael Strachan, The Life and Adventures of Thomas Coryate (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1962), 266. 2. This remains the only extant portrait of Coryate. 3. Coryat’s Crudities, 2 vols (1611; Glasgow: James MacLehose & Sons, 1905), 1: xvi. Further references to this text will be given parenthetically. 4. The phrase is Helkiah Crooke’s in Microcosmographia: A Description of the Body of Man (London, 1615), quoted in Gail Kern Paster, The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), 11. 5. Quoted in Strachan, The Life and Adventures, 119. 6. Andrew Hadfield, Literature, Travel, and Colonial Writing in the English Renaissance 1545–1625 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 59. Exceptions to this dearth of commentary are Anthony Parr, “Thomas Coryat and the Discovery of Europe,” The Huntington Library Quarterly 55 (1992): 578–602, and Katharine C. Craik, “Reading Coryats Crudities (1611),” SEL 44: 1 (2004): 77–96. Craik’s essay is particularly astute about the digestive implications of the Crudities; she argues that Coryate “depart[ed] from, and perverse[ly] literaliz[ed] conventional principles of textual digestio, thus confirming both the text’s excessiveness and the opprobrium involved in readers’ private enjoyment of it” (84). The “mock panegyrists,” she notes, as I do here, “collude with Coryat’s metaphor of crudity by recording their responses to the text in startlingly corporeal terms” (78). 7. Paster, Body Embarrassed, 10, 8. 8. Paster, Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 244. 9. Paster, Body Embarrassed, 7. 10. Paster, Humoring, 244. 11. Crooke, quoted in Paster, Body Embarrassed, 9. 12. William Camden, Britainia, or a Chorographical Description of    England, Scotland and Ireland (London, 1637), 2, quoted in Andrew Wear, Health and Healing in Early Modern England: Studies in Social and Intellectual History (Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate, 1998), 126. 13. William Vaughan, Directions for Health (London, 1617), 4, quoted in Wear, Health and Healing, 127. 14. Robert Codrington, A Discourse upon some Innovations of Habits and Dressings, appended to Francis Hawkins, Youths Behaviour, or Decency in Conversation Amongst Men (London: 1663), 54, quoted in Sara Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller in Early Modern England (Leiden and New York: E.J. Brill, 1995), 84. 15. Thomas Baines, June 1676, Historical Manuscript Commission, Finch, II, ix, quoted in Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller, 84. On geohumoralism as it was applied to the British, see Mary Floyd-Wilson’s English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, especially the first chapter, “The ghost of Hippocrates: geohumoral history in the West,” and the second, “British ethnology.”

David J. Baker 135 16. Edward Hyde, The Miscellaneous Works (London: 1751), 300, quoted in Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller, 244. 17. Paster, Body Embarrassed, 9. 18. Richmond Barbour, Before Orientalism: London’s Theatre of the East, 1576–1626 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 117. 19. Thomas N. Corns, “The Early Modern Search Engine: Indices, Title Pages, Marginalia and Contents,” in The Renaissance Computer: Knowledge Technology in the First Age of Print, Neil Rhodes and Jonathan Sawday, eds (London: Routledge, 2000), 97. 20. Barbour, Before Orientalism, 124, 116. 21. Strachan, The Life and Adventures, 15. 22. Ibid., 124. Hadfield also stresses how innovative the Crudities was: “the first self-consciously styled work of English travel writing    the book    bears little resemblence to what had gone before” (Hadfield, Literature, Travel, and Colonial Writing, 58–59). 23. Ibid., 131. 24. The phrase is Ben Jonson’s; it is found in his “Character” of Coryate, included with the Crudities (1:19). Most “subsequent judgements of Coryate,” notes Strachan, “have been based mainly on Ben Jonson’s banter” (Strachan, The Life and Adventures, 121). 25. Jyotsna Singh, Colonial Narratives / Cultural Dialogues: “Discoveries” of India in the Language of Colonialism (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), 45. 26. Barbour, Before Orientalism, 124. 27. Ibid., 132. 28. Ibid., 123. 29. Boies Penrose, Urbane Travelers 1591–1635 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1942), 63. This was true even though responsible travelers were often warned off from Coryate. See Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller, 290. 30. “Proper touring,” as Barbour tells us, “required a retinue, high expense, and might consume up to three years” (Barbour, Before Orientalism, 116). 31. Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller, 4. 32. On this association, see Roy Strong, Henry, Prince of Wales and England’s Lost Renaissance (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1986), 46. 33. Edward Chaney, The Evolution of the Grand Tour: Anglo-Italian Cultural Relations since the Renaissance (London: Frank Cass, 1998), 86. 34. Ibid., 76, 86. 35. Roger Ascham,The Schoolmaster (1570), ed. Lawrence V. Ryan (1570; Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967), 66, 70. On Ascham and his influence, see Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller, 52–69. 36. Ibid., 66. 37. On the sexual motives and opportunities of the Grand Tour, see Ian Littlewood, Sultry Climates: Travel and Sex (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2001). 38. Ascham, 73. 39. Ibid., 72. 40. John Deacon, Tobacco Tortvred (London: 1616), 10 quoted in Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller, 278. 41. Joseph Hall, Quo Vadis? A Just Censure of Travell (1617; Norwood, NJ: Walter J. Johnson, 1975), 11–12, 17.

136 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47.


49. 50.

51. 52.


54. 55.

56. 57. 58.

59. 60. 61.

My Liquid Journey Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller, 70. See Chaney, The Evolution of the Grand Tour, 86, 101 (n. 118). Strong, Henry, Prince of Wales, 46. Hall, Quo Vadis?, 33, 34. Paster, Body Embarrassed, 9. Peter Stallybrass, “Patriachal Territories: The Body Enclosed,” in Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe, Margaret W. Ferguson, Maureen Quilligan, and Nancy J. Vickers, eds (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 129. On the body image of the Elizabethan state, see this essay, pp. 129–131. Barbour, Before Orientalism, 123. The Crudities also does not contribute much, if anything, towards “the productive function of [bodily] discipline,” the “careful maintenance of constitutional solubility” that Michael Schoenfeldt cogently analyzes. (Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999], 13, 15.) As Katharine Craik puts it, the “Crudities declines to instruct its readers” (77). Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves, 13. See Coryat’s Crudities, 121. Here I quote the translation provided in Craik, 81. She points out that “Coryat’s fanciful superimposition of Latin endings onto words borrowed from Italian (stampae, Cucinae) is an example of barbarolexis, or the practice of mixing up languages, which artfully points up his kitchen Latin” (81). See the entry for “crudity” in the OED. Hadfield, Literature, Travel, and Colonial Writing, 59. He continues, “apart from the joke on the rawness of the writing as merely an hors d’oeuvre for what is to follow.” On the men who contributed panegyrics to the Crudities, see Strachan’s “Biographical Notes on Coryate’s Circle” (Strachan, The Life and Adventures, 269–292). “About a third” of them, he observes, “have some known connexion with the Court, either as courtiers, or    through being responsible for Court entertainments. At least eighteen are members of the Inns of Court   . There are numerous links with    the world of letters. At least eight were serving members of Parliament when the Crudities was published” (Ibid., 127). Whitaker also contributed an “Elogie of the Booke” (1:149–151). Besides the dedication to Prince Henry, this included the author’s “Epistle to the Reader” and his translation of the “learned German” (1:4) Hermannus Kirchnerus’ “Oration” in praise of travel. Strachan, The Life and Adventures, 124–125. Schoenfeldt, 11. Margery Corbett and Ronald Lightbown, The Comely Frontispiece: The Emblematic Title-Page in England 1550–1660 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979), 45. Hadfield, Literature, Travel, and Colonial Writing, 60. On the mixed messages that early modern British travelers received, see Warneke, Images of the Educational Traveller, 217–218. Stallybrass, “Patriachal Territories,” 129. The enclosed body of the English state was modeled, he notes, on the sealed body of its virgin queen.

8 Becoming the Landscape: The Ecology of the Passions in the Legend of Temperance Gail Kern Paster

A perfect example in Spenser of what I mean by “the ecology of the passions” occurs in the long February eclogue of The Shepheardes Calender. The eclogue proceeds through an extended commonplace comparison of the human life span to the seasons, with the fatalistic old shepherd Thenot having to endure Cuddie’s glib boasting of his springlike youth and vigor, a boast that includes an implied self-comparison to a young bullock: Seest, howe brag yond Bullocke beares, So smirke, so smoothe his pricked eares? His hornes bene as broade, as Rainbowe bent, His dewelap as lythe, as lasse of Kent. See how he venteth into the wynd. Weenest of loue is not his mynd? (71–76) 1 What I find striking in this eroticized description is its culminating elemental detail—the bullock’s breathing into the wind and Spenser’s punning use of the word “venteth” to describe it. E.K. glosses “venteth” here as “snuffeth in the wind,” as if to suggest that the verb needs explanation. Spenser could indeed have used “snuffeth” without metrical loss, so “venteth”—a verb for what the wind is and does—must have suggested semantic gain. The etymological pun on Latin ventus makes the bullock’s expelled breath an image of wind interacting with wind, of wind from within the body pushing back the wind outside, of microcosm and macrocosm converging in and as the air. 137


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The effect here is fleeting but significant since, for Renaissance philosophers, the winds were in effect the body’s passions out of doors, the passions taking elemental form. Metaphorical comparisons of winds to passions were commonplace. French bishop Nicolas Coeffeteau says “that as there were foure chiefe winds which excite diuers stormes, be it at land or sea; so there are foure principall Passions which trouble our Soules, and which stir vp diuers tempests by their irregular motions.” 2 This understanding of the wind recalls its enormous importance in ancient philosophy. For the ancient Greeks, Shigehisa Kuriyama has argued, winds were “immanent powers, vivid presences.” Winds “sculpted the shape and possibilities of the body, molded desires and dispositions, infused a person’s entire being   . Geography was destiny, and wind the instrument of fate.” 3 Cuddie’s point is that the cold blast of February air stimulates and excites the young animal rather than causing it to shrink or shiver like Thenot and his pitiful sheep. The bullock’s relation to the wind is in this sense continuous with the human relation to wind, even if in this instance the animal’s relation is inflected by Cuddie’s fantasies of impossible imperviousness, of his becoming as forceful and determining as either bullock or wind. But Spenser’s unusual use of the verb “venteth” puts pressure on the moment: the animal’s breath not only becomes an elemental force within a field of analogical force, but also seems to both express and constitute the nature of his desire. “Venteth” implies a discharge of vapor, gas, or liquid from strong containment, so that the animal’s breath is an upward displacement of sexual discharge, a release of eros into the air. To “vent” in the sixteenth century, then as now, meant to “utter” and is strongly associated with the expression of feeling. 4 The word, whether as noun or verb, is another example of an early modern word containing psycho-physiological meanings and it suggests the unity of those domains for early modern thought. In “venteth,” the animal’s breathing becomes linked to feeling and consciousness; it becomes a quasi-linguistic utterance that Cuddie finds so obvious in significance that it becomes a rhetorical question: “Weenest of loue is not his mynd?” The bullock’s breathing into the wind thus represents him as a desiring animal, and Cuddie’s confident assertion about what is on the bullock’s mind endows him with purpose and intentionality. This suggests that we see the beast, endowed by Renaissance thought and Aristotelian biology with a sensitive soul, as an example in little of what Timothy Reiss speaking of personhood has called “passibility.” Passibility denotes “experiences of being whose common denominator was a sense of being

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embedded in and acted on by [circles or spheres]—including the material world and immediate biological, familial and social ambiences, as well as the soul’s    and cosmic, spiritual or divine life.” These circles, says Reiss, “preceded the person, which acted as subjected to forces working in complicated ways from ‘outside.’ But because of the embedding, that ‘outside’ was manifest in all aspects and elements of ‘inside’—of being a person.” 5 In passibility, outside and inside come together, as aspects of one another: in the February eclogue, a bullock-like wind meets a wind-like bullock. In belaboring this line, I will admit that Spenser is more interested in Cuddie than in the bullock and that he wants us to note Cuddie’s naiveté in seeing himself as a young bullock standing up to February’s blasts and in representing the bullock as so impervious. But I am interested in the bullock because he shows desire in a form that resembles but is not synonymous with the sentimental projection of human desire onto the inanimate world usually seen as characteristic of Renaissance pastoral and so important to pastoral’s use of prosopopoeia. This image of desire includes the human in its generous compass without making the human realm the origin of that desire or central to it. This is why this line in the February eclogue expresses what I mean by “the ecology of the passions,” using the word ecology in its contemporary scientific sense as the study of an organism’s relations with its surroundings but retaining a sense of the word’s Greek roots in oikos, or home. If the bullock is ecologically at home even in a cold February, Cuddie implies, so too does he wish to be. Here, emotion is understood as a feature of the natural world, and is represented as fully shared between animate and inanimate objects within that world. For Spenser and for early modern Europeans generally, as I have argued elsewhere, the passions belonged fully and seamlessly to the order of nature. To report on an emotion—whether an emotion as witnessed in another person or experienced in oneself—was to describe an event occurring in nature and understandable in natural terms. Within the human body the emotions participate in the chain of analogies which held the Renaissance macrocosm together. Emotions become a key feature of the body’s internal climate to match key features of the climate in the world outside the body. Emotions were a body’s weather, its winds, and its waves. 6 Such a configuration of animal desire, I propose, is consonant with the portrait of universal desire to be found in Renaissance natural philosophy. Desire not only was present in the bodies of humans and animals but also was distributed in chains of sympathy and antipathy throughout the natural world. It was made visible thanks to


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the Renaissance doctrine of signatures. 7 In The Anatomy of Melancholy, Burton writes, “In vegetall creatures what soveraignty love hath, by many pregnant proofes and familiar examples may be proved, especially of palme trees, which are both he and she, & expresse not a sympathy but a love passion.” 8 Even the behavior of inorganic substances betrayed the presence of desire. In Sidney’s Arcadia, Dorus praises the loadstone for expressing “the admirable power and noble effects of love, whereby the seeming insensible loadstone, with a secret beauty holding the spirit of iron in it, can draw that hard-hearted thing unto it.” 9 In his oddly interesting book of physiological experiments, Sylva Sylvarum, Francis Bacon speaks of the desire for union to be found in various inorganic substances: “all solid bodies are cleaving, more or less; and    they love better the touch of somewhat that is tangible, than of air.” He remarks on the strong appetite in liquid bodies for union with other substances and the strong resistance to union in iron or wood. Finally he describes bodies of a middle sort—“those bodies which are noted to be clammy and cleaving, are such as have a more indifferent appetite (at once) to follow another body, and to hold to themselves.    [T]hey are commonly bodies ill mixed; and    take more pleasure in a foreign body, than in preserving their own consistence.” 10 What governs the behavior of all these bodies, of course, is the mixture in them of the four fundamental qualities of cold, hot, wet, and dry. Although the bullock’s is a higher-order desire than the vegetable love of palm trees or the mineral self-love of loadstone and iron, the animal’s desire can be classified with desire in other forms because, for Spenser and his contemporaries, the passions of palm trees, bullocks, and human agents were all part of nature. 11 I want to use this little image of the bullock breathing into the wind and its larger significance as an informing context for more extended occasions of passibility—for the relations of body to environment, of passions to their environmental surround—in selected episodes of Book II of The Faerie Queene. Though the holistic image of the human body allegorically central to that book is obviously Alma’s Castle, the architectonic castle does not exemplify a desiring body in motion and, despite its daily dealings with Maleger’s troops, the question of the castle’s passibility is not—I think—very interesting except as emblematic centerpiece for the whole book. Thus I want to concentrate instead on the behavior of two impassioned minor characters in the Legend of Temperance— that of Amavia in the book’s founding episode and that of Pyrochles, whose compulsive wanderings we follow from his first appearance in Canto 5 until his decapitation by Arthur in Canto 8.

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It is the suicidal intemperateness of their passionate natures that bring Amavia and Pyrochles together for comparison, even as their very different relationships to the environment juxtapose them. Spenser defines the nature of their passions not only by describing Amavia’s and Pyrochles’s interactions with other characters but also by giving their embodied passions distinctly different relations to the natural world. In Baconian terms, the embodied passions of Amavia and Pyrochles manifest a different “appetite of union” with other bodies. Spenser represents Amavia’s desperate suicide—both physically and psychologically—in terms of her incontinent desire to merge back into the natural world, to become indivisible with it. In the choleric Pyrochles he depicts a compulsive and vengeful resistance to the human and natural environment neatly summed up in Pyrochles’ shield, Burnt I do burne (2.4.38). 12 More important, perhaps, these terms of contrast between Amavia and Pyrochles—a contrast between total immersion or total resistance, between self-abandonment or compulsive opposition—recur in other figures throughout Book II (the metamorphosed nymph of Canto 2 or Pyrochles’ brother Cymochles, to name just two). Together, these figures suggest Spenser’s careful construction of an informing paradigm of the animate body’s relation to an environment conceived and depicted holistically. Since Spenser makes clear that both characters’ passionate temperaments lead them to ultimately self-destructive behaviors, the comparison of Amavia and Pyrochles—however unconventional—suggests that another way of seeing active temperance in Book II is as an ongoing, continuous rectification of the body’s appetites with the appetites of the natural world. 13 The deaths of Amavia and her husband Mordant represent the devastating social and personal consequences of physical and psychological intemperance—exemplified in the blood-stained, helpless baby whose care must be assumed by others. Occurring in the wild, Amavia’s suicide signifies itself as a surrender to primitive irrationality and despair. While capable of recognizing Mordant’s intemperance, Amavia is ironically unable to recognize her own, describing the onset of death as medicinal therapy—“Sharpe be thy wounds, but sweet the medicines bee, / That long captiued soules from wearie thraldome free” (2.1.36). Both deaths signify failed nurture, of self and other. But the melodramatic horror and pity of the tableau mort that meets Guyon when he enters the wood in Canto 1 should not prevent us from noticing how carefully Spenser draws Amavia, Mordant, and Ruddymane into the great order of nature through analogies and reciprocities between


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body and environment—analogies that contextualize Amavia’s death in natural terms and use the details of her suicide to convey the ecological basis of all passions. Slowly bleeding out, Amavia’s body becomes a feature of the landscape in a process of dissolution that is clearly reciprocal. Seen apart from its ethical significance as an act of intemperate despair, her death implies the “appetite for union” between bodies that Francis Bacon saw as characteristic of all things. 14 Her dying is a gradual liquefaction of figure into ground by the “streme of gorebloud thick, / That all her goodly garments staind around, / And into a deepe sanguine dide the grassie ground” (2.1.39). Issuing from her wound, the stream of blood saturates first her garments and then the grass—as if, Ophelia-like, she is drowning into her clothes and her clothes are then being absorbed by thirsty ground. Blood cloaks the body as its garment, dissolves garment into ground, and makes blood a natural dye of garment and of grass. Such a death by drowning alters the natural world even as it alters Amavia herself. In this context, Spenser’s use of the psychophysiological term “sanguine,” like his use of “venteth” to describe the bullock’s excited breathing, is significant. “Sanguine”—synonymous with blood, but evocative of temperament, temperature, and the entire burden of human vitality—serves as a reminder of the humoralism that organized all of early modern nature. “Deepe sanguine” is thus a pun—signifying both the dark red of Amavia’s blood, its color literally deepened by grief, and its absorption by the ground. 15 Thus insanguinated, the ground expresses human blood’s analogical relation to rivers and streams; it recalls blood’s place in bodily topography as the body’s liquid source of nourishment as well as its current of feeling and consciousness. 16 This reciprocal absorption of body by landscape and landscape by body becomes even more manifest when Amavia is revealed to be lying beside “a bubbling fountain,” that “she increased with her bleeding hart” (2.1.40). For Spenser and the other early moderns, Robert Erickson has told us, the heart stored “thoughts and secret feelings or one’s inmost being.” It was imagined not as a pump but rather as a capacious receptacle and a fountain. 17 Amavia’s heart is a fountain beside a fountain, a fountain within the body yielding its ensouled contents to a receptive body outside. Liquids, as Bacon tells us above, are defined by their readiness for union (though, as we soon learn, the liquid of this seemingly natural fountain is singularly resistant to union). The presence of the baby—while adding to the social and moral horror of the tableau for Guyon and the reader—also functions to insist upon

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these analogies. That babies in the womb were thought to be nourished by maternal blood makes the significance of Amavia’s death as dissolution even more striking. Since breast milk was thought to be formed from blood, part of Amavia’s denial of maternal responsibility is to bleed into the fountain rather than use her blood to suckle her baby. 18 The baby is unconscious of his vulnerability as a victim of failed nurture, unconscious of his mother’s refusal to turn blood into milk for his sake. Rather he marks his animal immersion in the natural world by displaying an appetite for physical pleasure and delight that seems horrible to Guyon and the reader. 19 But for the unconscious, inanimate world he is merely a creature who plays in a liquid environment. In this sense, the baby has not yet been taken up by what Giorgio Agamben calls “the anthropological machine” and turned into a human being. 20 Indeed, it is the baby’s significance as marking both the border between and the continuity of the human and inhuman worlds that Spenser seems to insist upon. In the mark of such creatureliness—Julia Reinhard Lupton has argued—the “image of the cosmos    is never distant.” 21 The baby, rather like Cuddie’s bullock, inhabits a liminal space between the animate and the inanimate, between human beings and all other creatures. As a creature, the baby both recognizes and misrecognizes his mother’s death, seeing it as the natural world does. He treats his mother’s body and blood as indistinguishable from their immediate surroundings, recognizing her heart as a fountain beside a fountain and playing with her blood as if it were really a stream, rather than a metaphor for one. Like the ground, the creaturely infant is also insanguinated by Amavia’s self-stabbing. Though he is not fed by her blood, his flesh is stained by his immersion in it, like a baby marked at birth by the consequences of the maternal imagination. 22 Amavia, dissolving into death, dissolves into landscape, moves away from being a wife and mother, part of a human family, and is taken up into the ecological chain of natural analogies that Spenser has so carefully constructed for her and that he uses in order to place her death in a natural and cosmological paradigm. Guyon’s passionate reaction to this horrific sight draws him too into the larger chain of analogies. The bloody spectacle of dead knight, dying mother, and bloody child creates a set of parallels between Guyon and the metamorphosed nymph whose body is the fountain into which Amavia bleeds. As horrified as Guyon is by the sight of Amavia and the baby, it is seeing the corpse of Mordant—the image of his own death—that makes Guyon afraid. Spenser describes Guyon’s


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first reaction to the sight as involuntary, instinctual, and mimetic— his heart waxing “as starke, as marble stone,” his fresh blood freezing “with fearefull cold,” his senses seeming instantly “bereft” (2.1.42). 23 The early moderns believed that fear caused the heart to go stony cold— a cold that the body’s internal regulatory mechanisms sought to repair by sending blood, which had gone out to feed the body’s parts, back to the heart in order to warm and nourish it. It was because blood vacated the limbs and returned to the heart that fear caused pallor, weakness in the limbs, and the sensation of bodily chill. “O fie, hold, hold, my heart,” the frightened Hamlet tells his bodily self upon the Ghost’s exit, “And you, my sinows, grow not instant old, / But bear me stiffly up” (Hamlet, 1.5.93–95). 24 Such a fearful, weak-kneed reaction is shaming since, for Guyon as for Hamlet, the issue here is one of involuntary loss of bodily control at the sight of another. 25 The beginnings of return to self come only when Guyon’s “mightie ghost” or spirit “gan deepe to grone”—to rouse itself to a shamed and painful self-consciousness which Spenser likens to a “Lyon grudging in his great disdaine” who “Mournes inwardly, and makes to himselfe mone” (2.1.42). The animal simile signals that Guyon’s entire passionate response to the sight of Mordant occurs within the emotional domain of the sensitive soul—the joint possession of which constituted the essential similarity of humans and animals. 26 The passions of this soul, according to Thomas Wright, were “certaine internall acts or operations of the soule, bordering upon”—that is, intermediate between—“reason and sense, prosecuting some good thing, or flying some ill thing, causing therewithall some alteration in the body.” 27 The sensitive soul is the body’s essential mechanism of self-preservation, here causing both Guyon’s instinctive aversion to the sight of Mordant and his recursive, shamed response to momentary self-dispossession and astonishment. What is important to note is that this instinctual reaction of Guyon’s body—loss of warmth, cessation of heartbeat, near-loss of consciousness—threatens to turn him too into part of the landscape. He is like Amavia but with a difference: she melts into the ground, he would freeze. More precisely, fear threatens to transform him into a stony figure like the metamorphosed nymph whose history of flight from the satyr Faunus the Palmer goes on to relate in the next canto. Just as Spenser likens Guyon to a wounded lion, so the Palmer likens the frightened nymph to a deer—“As Hind from her, so she fled from her enimy” (2.2.7). For both Guyon and the nymph, fear presents itself as the specter of shameful uncontrol—the nymph threatened with rape and loss of virginity, Guyon with the bodily and psychic incontinence of

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unconsciousness. But if Guyon’s movement into a stone-like state is momentary, the nymph’s is—we learn—permanent and emblematic of her chastity: Lo now she is that stone, from whose two heads, As from two weeping eyes, fresh streames do flow, Yet cold through feare, and old conceiued dreads; And yet the stone her semblaunce seemes to show, Shapt like a maid, that such ye may her know; (2.2.9) Immortal in shape, immutable in meaning, a testament to the transforming power of fear, the nymph stands in a complex antithetical relation to both Amavia and Guyon. She has already been absorbed into the natural world (as Amavia will soon be) by the extremeness of her passion—the cold passion of fear. Yet the water from her fountain does not behave like other liquids: “For it is chast and pure, as purest snow, / Net lets her waues with any filth be dyde, / But euer like her selfe vnstained hath beene tryde” (2.2.9). This water, which does not wash the blood from the baby’s hands, suggests the ferocity of the nymph’s resistance to union with any other body—here, with the human substance of Amavia’s blood. As Kathleen Williams notes, “it will not wash away sin, it will not forgive, it simply dissociates itself.” 28 The nymph as fountain memorializes only herself, resembles only herself, unlike the dissolving Amavia who is destined for the ground and whose “innocence,” says the Palmer, will be encoded in the permanently stained hands of her son (2.2.10). In this sense, the nymph remains a paradoxical emblem of static self-possession even after her own metamorphosis into topography—as Amavia and Mordant, their blood and hair mingled and buried without ceremony by Guyon and the Palmer, cannot be. In her stasis and impenetrability, the nymph would seem to offer no lessons for embodied human temperance. Having been rescued by Diana from the too-great passibility of fear, she has entered into a realm of pure impassibility which finds a counterexample in the active maidenly resistance of Belphoebe with her “goodly mixture of complexions dew” (2.3.22) when she enters the Legend of Temperance, briefly, in Canto 3. Yet it is a mistake, I think, to see the nymph as exempted through divine intervention from the chain of analogies into which fear and despair draw Amavia and Guyon, that is, to see her only as the antithesis of dissolving Amavia or the perfectly balanced maiden goddess. Like Niobe forever memorializing her grief, the nymph is stone that weeps—weeps because this stone memorializes and in so


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doing resembles the liquid currents of natural passion, here a passion notable for its extreme cold. We must, that is to say, recognize that the narrative of the nymph’s metamorphosis draws significantly on the four elemental qualities of cold, hot, wet, and dry whose interaction governed the behavior of bodies in early modern cosmology. The metamorphosed nymph is part of the natural continuum of those qualities, not in opposition to them. 29 And—as has happened for Amavia—the force of her extreme passion has made her a part of her natural environment, if one resistant to the elemental processes of dissolution and union. More important, perhaps, the nymph’s mythopoetic resistance to union provides a suggestive context for the passionate resistance of other characters in Book II, most notably the choleric knight Pyrochles. Unlike the cold and frozen nymph whose body flows but never moves, the overheated Pyrochles is in constant motion. This hyperactivity is not only symptomatic of his natural choler, but also an aggravation of it, according to Thomas Walkington who declares, “too violent and much motion is not good for this complexion.” 30 The activities of Pyrochles’ varlet Atin constantly provide him—as Spenser makes clear allegorically—with the stimulus for opposition: “His am I Atin    That matter make for him to worke vpon, / And stirre him vp to strife and cruell fight” (2.4.42). The pun plays on matter as occasion or problem and matter as mere physical stuff—that which make him “all disposd to bloudy fight” (2.4.43). “Matter” refers to all the circles of passibility— social and physical—in which Pyrochles is embedded. Matter is the smoldering stuff of experience that accompanies Pyrochles as he moves through the world, bringing a mini-dispositional environment with him so that it is difficult to tell what is outside and what is inside his body. Upon his first appearance in Canto 5, the heavily armored Pyrochles is defined as enveloped by a fire burning both within and without. 31 Guyon first sees him as One in bright armes embatteiled full strong, That as the Sunny beames do glaunce and glide Vpon the trembling waue, so shined bright, And round about him threw forth sparkling fire, That seemd him to enflame on euery side: (2.5.2) The self-world interchanges endemic to the ecology of the passions allow us to see the motto on Pyrochles’ shield, Burnt I do burne (2.4.38) less

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as a threat of retaliation for injuries suffered than as reflecting the indeterminate thresholds between Pyrochles’ inner and outer environments. Of course it is the utter dominance of choler in his nature that makes Pyrochles’ interactions with the object-world a compulsive repetition of combats, exemplifying in social and environmental terms what Bacon sees as the hard body’s strong resistance to change or to union with other bodies. Perhaps it is this strong resistance to being altered or conjoined— the fear of not being hard enough—that explains why Pyrochles is so horrified by the sight of blood pouring out of his body when Guyon’s sword bites “deepe in his flesh” and opens “wide a red floodgate” (2.5.7). Yet he is unable to alter his behavior in any way so as to avoid defeat and injury: Deadly dismayd, with horrour of that dint, Pyrochles was, and grieued eke entyre; Yet nathemore did it his fury stint, But added flame vnto his former fire, That welnigh molt his hart in raging yre. (2.5.8) If violent motion exacerbates his choler, then Pyrochles’s violent reactions to every encounter keep producing matter for his disposition to work upon. Here, the abstract noun “ire” as wholly synonymous with the bodily fluid choler has full material force in the object-world, melting hearts, adding flame to bodily fires. 32 We ought to notice in this description that, with choler as with grief, extreme passion melts flesh—but in choler the body reacts not by dissolving back into the environment but by creating its own ferocious environment where the only kind of interaction is an embattled one. According to Walkington, even Pyrochles’ hair color denotes his choleric complexion: “hee is alwaies either orenge or yellow visag’d, because hee is most inclined to the yellow jaundice: or a little swarthy, redde-haird, or of a brownish coulour.” 33 And the dust that constantly accompanies Pyrochles and makes his sandy hair filthy with blood and dirt seems the product as much of the burning within his body as of his strife-filled interaction with the outside world. By contrast, thanks to her sturdy perfection, Belphoebe’s fights with the world leave her untouched, “withouten blame or blot” (2.3.22). Extreme choler makes Pyrochles capable of only one kind of interaction with the outside world, a severe limitation that Spenser interestingly sees less as homicidal than suicidal because the warfare is essentially


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internal and self-reproducing. 34 Pyrochles’ interactions with the world are dominated by an endless cycle of violence continually feeding upon and being fed by the inner fires of his ferocious temperament, as the Palmer indicates in counseling Guyon to leave Pyrochles’ provocations unanswered: “He that his sorrow sought through wilfulnesse, / And his foe fettred would release agayne, / Deserves to tast his follies fruit, repented payne” (2.5.24). More than simply a fluid overproduced in his body, the choler continually produced by these monotonous combats is an ecological force determining Pyrochles’ dusty, overheated inner and outer environments—environments that can never change but only constantly reinforce one another so that, as James Carscallen points out, Pyrochles “burns even in the Idle Lake.” 35 Indeed it is this resistance to being defined or changed by the objectworld that most differentiates the behavior of Pyrochles from that of his brother Cymochles. The relation of the two brothers has puzzled scholars who find Spenser being eclectically untraditional in his representation of the pair. 36 But if an excess of bodily choler translates into Pyrochles’ single-minded opposition to the object-world and a predetermined journey through it, then Cymochles’ phlegmatic disposition translates into bouts of intermittent activity occasioned and governed largely by outside forces. If it is difficult in the fiery Pyrochles to distinguish between internal and external warfare, in Cymochles it is difficult to discern any interior resistance to outside stimuli at all—hence his wandering and deferrable path. Being phlegmatic does not mean that Cymochles is incapable of action or of anger. It means that, like women, Cymochles is easily angered but finds it difficult to sustain the manly heat that puts anger into concerted and purposeful action. As Helkiah Crooke points out, “Anger is a disease of a weake mind which cannot moderate it selfe but is easily inflamed, such is in women, children and weake and cowardly men.” Such anger is unlike “Ira permanens” or the manly heat of wrath, says Crooke, which “belongs to stout hearts.” 37 Thus the initial contrast between the two brothers is complete— Cymochles not glinting in battle armor and on horseback but “all carelesly displayd” in the shade of a soft bed of lilies in the Bower of Bliss (2.5.32). Cymochles is defined not by flames, dirt, and solitary, furious action but by idleness in the company of women who “embrew” his melting lips with “sugred licour.” But on Atin’s infuriated and shaming summons, Cymochles does rise up instantly “inflam’d with fell despight / And called for his armes” (2.5.37). Mounting his horse, he sets out immediately with an impulsiveness fully in character, as Crooke has made clear, with phlegmatic effeminacy. Yet if Pyrochles cannot

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be deflected from resisting his environment, the quick heat of anger in a phlegmatic nature like that of Cymochles cannot sustain itself in the face of environmental pleasures. The characteristic pattern of behavior in the second brother is sloth followed by arousal or, in elemental terms, cold followed by hot, water followed by fire. Thus, having been enticed into Phaedria’s boat and thence onto her island, Cymochles almost instantly returns to idle dissoluteness with a nap from which he rouses himself in a bitter self-reflection “how ill did him beseeme, / In slouthfull sleepe his molten hart to steme, / And quench the brond of his conceiued ire” (2.6.27). What Cymochles recognizes in himself is a shameful—though ultimately irremediable—tendency to melt rather than burn, to dissolve into his social and physical environment rather than, like his brother, stoutly and fatally to resist. The choleric Pyrochles cannot melt his inner fires—even after he has thrown himself into the lake of idleness: I burne, I burne, I burne, then loud he cryde, O how I burne with implacable fire, Yet nought can quench mine inly flaming syde Nor sea of licour cold, nor like of mire, Nothing but death can doe me to respire. (2.6.44) And, Spenser tells us, that even as the water washes away his blood and filth, Pyrochles continues to resist dissolution and the peace it might bring: “Yet still he bet the water, and the billowes dasht” (2.6.42). These behavioral contrasts between the two brothers—I am suggesting—are part of a larger set of contrasts throughout Book II between characters, like the nymph, who ferociously resist or, like Amavia, passionately dissolve into their environments. It is a contrast that Spenser renders in the elemental discourse of early modern humoralism—the master code for the Legend of Temperance. Michael Schoenfeldt has argued that Spenser uses humoral discourse in the Legend of Temperance to signify the possibilities of internal selfdiscipline, even over the unruly inner body. In doing so, Schoenfeldt posits a Galenic “individual” prior to or somehow apart from humoral determination, an individual empowered by Galenic physiology and ethics. 38 But it is not clear to me that the early modern humoral subject can effectively determine his or her own degree of passibility— can control the “material circles” in which he or she is embedded. 39 Thus Amavia and Pyroches may seem to represent humoral and environmental opposites—the one overwhelmed by grief and longing for


Becoming the Landscape

dissolution, the other overwhelmed by choler and endlessly engaged in combat. Yet each, in different ways, enacts a deeply reciprocal relation with their environments—Amavia dissolves into a ground eager to receive both flesh and blood while Pyrochles battles an environment always ready to embattle him. In the world of Spenser’s poem—as in the early modern world outside it—the environment, the humors, and the ensouled flesh were always engaged in what philosopher Andy Clark has described as “continuous reciprocal causation.” 40 This dynamic interaction governs the behavior not only of Spenser’s characters but of their appetitive and strangely powerful environments too.

Notes 1. Quotations from The Shepheardes Calender follow Edmund Spenser, The Shorter Poems, ed. Richard A. McCabe (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1999). 2. See Nicolas Coeffeteau, A Table of Humane Passions, trans. Edward Grimeston (London, 1621), 31. 3. See Shigehisa Kuriyama, The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine (New York: Zone Books, 1999), 241, 235. 4. See vent as a verb (4a) in the Oxford English Dictionary. 5. Timothy J. Reiss, Mirages of the Selfe: Patterns of Personhood in Ancient and Early Modern Europe (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 2. 6. See Gail Kern Paster, Humoring the Body: Emotions on the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), 9–10, 42–43. 7. See the definition of signature in the OED: “A distinctive mark, a peculiarity in form or colouring, etc., on a plant or other natural object, formerly supposed to be an indication of its qualities, esp. for medicinal purposes” (4a). For more on the Renaissance doctrine of signatures, see Elizabeth D. Harvey, “Flesh Colors and Shakespeare’s Sonnets,” unpublished Shakespeare Association of America paper, 8–9. 8. The Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. Thomas C. Faulkner, Nicolas K. Kiessling, and Rhonda L. Blair, 6 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989–2000), 3: 42. 9. Sir Philip Sidney, The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, ed. Victor Skretkowicz (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), 165. 10. “Experiment solitary touching appetite of union in bodies” in Sylva Sylvarum [III.293] in Philosophical Works, Vol. II in The Works of Francis Bacon, 7 vols, ed. James Spedding, Robert Leslie Ellis, and Douglas Denon Heath (London: Longmans, et al., 1876), II: 438. 11. Giorgio Agamben has suggested, “The division of life into vegetal and relational, organic and animal, animal and human . . . passes first of all as a mobile border within living man, and without this intimate caesura the very decision of what is human and what is not would probably not be possible”; see The Open: Man and Animal, trans. Kevin Attell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 29, 15. I owe this reference to Garrett Sullivan. For the early moderns, I would propose, the case should be made slightly differently: if we recognize that these borders are first and foremost a human construction of

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12. 13.

14. 15.


17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26.

27. 28. 29.

the biological, the early moderns would recognize these borders as divine endowment. Quotations from The Faerie Queene follow the Penguin Classics edition, ed. Thomas P. Roche, Jr. (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1978). James Carscallen also sees the cosmological implications in Book II but places a greater emphasis than I do on the architecture of order; see “The Goodly Frame of Temperance: The Metaphor of Cosmos in The Faerie Queene, Book II” in Essential Articles for the Study of Edmund Spenser, ed. A.C. Hamilton (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1972), 349–350. Bacon, II: 437. On the meaning of the colors of blood, see Gail Kern Paster, The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplinies of Shame in Early Modern England (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993), 71–74. See Marie-Christine Pouchelle, The Body and Surgery in the Middle Ages, trans. Rosemary Morris (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 163; her appendix is a useful metaphorical table which lists features of the body and their commonplace metaphorical—or I would say, analogical—equivalents (207–217). See Robert A. Erickson, The Language of the Heart, 1600–1750 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997), 11–15, esp. 11. On the relation of blood to milk, see my The Body Embarrassed, 70–72, 95–96. Michael C. Schoenfeldt describes Ruddymane as “grotesquely playing in his mother’s blood”; see Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 44. Schoenfeldt follows other critics in seeing Ruddymane as primarily “an emblem of the congenital nature of sin—what Spenser calls ‘bloudguiltinesse’ (2.2.4)” (44). Agamben, 33–38. See Julia Reinhard Lupton, “Creature Caliban,” Shakespeare Quarterly 51 (2000): 1–23, esp. 3. For a contemporary statement of this belief, see Nicholas Culpeper, A Directory for Midwives (London, 1671), 93–94. See also Ottavia Nicoli, “‘Menstruum Quasi Monstruum’: Monstrous Births and Menstrual Taboo in the Sixteenth Century,” trans. Mary M. Gallucci, in Sex and Gender in Historical Perspective, ed. Edward Muir and Guido Ruggiero (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 5. Carscallen calls it “Guyon’s most desolate moment,” 355. I follow The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997). On Hamlet being shamed by a bodily coldness caused by melancholy and grief, see Humoring the Body, 46–49. See Katharine Park, “The Organic Soul,” in The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, ed. Charles B. Schmitt et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 469. Thomas Wright, The Passions of the Minde in Generall, ed. Thomas O. Sloan (1604; repr. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1971), 8. Kathleen Williams, Spenser’s World of Glass: A Reading of “The Faerie Queene” (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1966), 43. For a similar comparison of Belphoebe and the nymph, though with a heavier moral inflection, see Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves, 45.


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30. Thomas Walkington, The Optick Glasse of Humours (1631; repr. Delmar, N.Y.: Scholars’ Facsimiles Reprints, 1981), 104. 31. See Carscallen, 355. 32. For a fuller discussion of this passage in relation to Hamlet, see Humoring the Body, 44–45. 33. Walkington, 109. 34. See Williams, Spenser’s World of Glass, 52. 35. Carscallen, 352. 36. See entry for “Pyrochles, Cymochles” by John Webster and Richard Isomaki in The Spenser Encyclopedia, A.C. Hamilton, gen. ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990), where Pyrochles is described as “surely choleric” but Cymochles is described as “not as slow and lazy as one might expect from a character of phlegmatic humor.” The canonical critical account of the two brothers is that of Harry Berger, Jr in The Allegorical Temper: Vision and Reality in Book II of Spenser’s “Faerie Queene,” (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957), 56–62. It is important to note that Berger says, “Spenser’s characterization is not exhausted by the appetitive allegory. . . . if we are not to sublime them right out of the fictional world, we must see that the dramatic significance of what they embody depends on what they are—men” (59). 37. Helkiah Crooke, Microcosmographia (London, 1615), 276. On women’s incapacity for sustained action, see Humoring the Body, 79–85. As Carscallen says, “Cymochles can only veer between untempered sloth and untempered wrath” (359). 38. Schoenfeldt, 11. 39. The quoted phrase belongs to Reiss, 211. 40. Andy Clark, Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again (Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press, 1997), 163.

9 “The Material Point of Poesy”: Reading, Writing and Sensation in Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie∗ Katharine A. Craik

Philemon Holland’s translation of Plutarch’s Moralia (1603) begins with several essays surveying the ideal moral, intellectual and spiritual education of young noblemen. The second essay, “How a yoong man ought to heare poets, and how he may take profit by reading poemes,” lays out a program of reading for the literary apprentice and argues that the acquisition of sober habits of reading was one skill among many that kept men’s minds and bodies neat and clean. Students are advised in the third essay, “Of Hearing,” to commit themselves to a period of solitary self-examination after reading or listening to lectures: he must enter into his owne heart and examine himselfe when he is alone, how he was mooved and affected    whether he find any turbulent passions of his minde thereby dulced and appeased; whether any griefe or heavinese that trouble him be mitigated and asswaged. Attentive acts of reading change dramatically a young man’s private state of mind and, in so doing, alter his conduct in society at large. By a process of moving or affecting him, books tranquilize overwhelming emotions, kindle an “instinct unto vertue and honestie” and shore up his honor, authority and reputation in the world. 1 But Plutarch regards this process as a risky one, especially for young men who are fond of poems. “Poësie hath I wot not what Sympathie with the first 153


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heats of this age,” he warns, for it can leave young men dangerously unprotected: The straunge fables and Theatricall fictions therein, by reason of the exceeding pleasure and singular delight that they yeeld in reading them, do spred and swell unmeasurably, readie to enter forcibly into our conceit so farre as to imprint therin some corrupt opinions: then let us beware, put foorth our hands before us, keepe them backe and staie their course. 2 If the student reads poetry combining sweetness and utility, in accordance with the familiar Horatian dictum, he is nourished by way of wisdom, reason and understanding. If on the other hand he unguardedly encounters poetry solely “devised for delight,” the consequences are disastrous. Fables and fictions do not stay settled and static on the page but seem to morph unpredictably in the process of being read, spreading, swelling and imprinting themselves upon the imagination. Poems are as malleable as the young men’s bodies they act upon, acting like independent agents rather than passive objects, and Plutarch describes in startlingly material terms how such poems can enter a young man so forcefully that he is obliged to “put foorth [his] hands” in order physically to defend himself. Since the passionate words which make up poetry “touch us    neerely,” they must be handled wisely and used with discretion. Poems “worke strange events” in the imagination, exercising a form of conjuring which catches inexperienced readers off-guard, and constant vigilance is necessary to circumvent their dangerous tendency to stimulate, agitate or intoxicate young men from the outside in. 3 Descriptions of poetry’s ability literally and physically to move (whether arouse or disturb) those who produced or consumed it are commonplace in the Renaissance, and Plutarch’s essay was familiar to early modern literary theorists including George Puttenham, Sir John Harington and Sir Philip Sidney. 4 This essay focuses on Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie (1589), perhaps the first English literary-critical treatise fully to articulate the relationship between poetry and feeling. The Arte is at once an appraisal of the present state of English versification, an encyclopaedia of literary techniques, and a defense of poetry written in English. It is also a conduct book, for Puttenham believed firmly in the transformative power of literature, especially its facility to stimulate the minds and bodies of those who produced and encountered it, and was committed to the idea that good habits of reading fostered self-mastery among aristocratic gentlemen. 5 He explores in The Arte

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the thick materiality of literary language: here words and sentences touch, contain and wrap themselves around people and things, themselves acquiring physical attributes such as mass, weight and texture. 6 Like other Renaissance literary theorists, Puttenham was immersed in ancient rhetoric and drew from classical writers, including Plutarch, a belief that poetry could change for the better those who came into contact with it. 7 Part of the work of this essay is to trace this classical history. Unlike many of his contemporaries, however, who followed Plutarch and others in deploring the pleasure (h¯edon¯e, volputas) associated with reading poetry, Puttenham explored the possibility that the sensations involved in reading and writing, including delight, could contribute in important ways to a distinctively English poetics. His apologia rests upon the vocabulary of everyday corporeal experience including processes of digestion, concoction and excretion; the drawing and stopping of breath; lesions and abrasions of the skin; and the beating or skipping of the pulse. Puttenham also inherited from classical rhetoric and poiesis a conviction that the consequences of reading and writing poetry extended far beyond the boundaries of the individual subject. By the mid-sixteenth century, the judicious assimilation of good poetry, redeployed in informed practices of speaking and writing, was understood profoundly to affect not only the moral and spiritual self but also the intellectual, cultural and political life of the nation. I argue that Puttenham formulated a new aesthetic vocabulary in The Arte in order to describe the experience of being moved, stirred or enraptured by poetry; and that such experience was linked in complex ways to gentlemen’s integrity, honor, and self-government. Theories of literary affect are presently attracting critical attention, but the place of emotional and bodily sensation in such theories remains relatively uncharted. 8 Scholars interested in Renaissance subjectivity have until recently tended to regard early modern bodies and selves as internally regulated and essentially separate from the world they inhabited. The body in particular has often appeared an enclosed container, more readily defined by its internal fluctuations of temperature, density and viscosity than by the environment outside. 9 We are now starting to understand the ways in which the world shaped and directed the entire psychophysical self, however, and to appreciate that pre-Cartesian emotions remained unsequestered from the fleshy matter of the body. Like others in this book, the present chapter aims to understand the early modern subject as not only comprised of hidden, inward phenomena but also formed in negotiation with its surroundings. Whereas other scholars describe the sensitivity of bodies and selves


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to, for example, landscape, climate, air, color, smells, and music, the present discussion considers the ways in which immersion in a literary environment might have shaped or imperilled masculine subjectivity. Most straightforwardly, a literary environment may be understood to comprise the material books which writers and readers touch, hold, read and buy. In Puttenham’s discussion, however, the literary environment of English poetry is neither static nor separate from the minds and bodies of those who encounter it, emerging instead as a series of transactional relationships between material language and the material bodies of readers and writers. Plutarch found disquieting the propensity of poems to “come nere unto us, and touch the quicke,” but Puttenham thinks afresh in The Arte about the ways in which poetry alters homeostasis, the delicate system of internal regulation which facilitates a properly regulated life, charting the consequences of such encounters on the emotional and corporeal sobriety of English gentlemen. 10 As we will see, the sympathetic transactions Puttenham describes between books and readers involve not only the soft bodies of men, but also, perhaps more unexpectedly, the malleable bodies of poems themselves. If readers remember liking anything about The Arte, it is perhaps Puttenham’s description of literary figures as real and vibrant: “the Trespasser,” “the Moderatour,” “the Ouer reacher, otherwise called the loud lyer,” “the speedie dispatcher,” “the Wondrer,” “the Stragler,” “the Ringleader,” “the Vncouthe.” 11 Puttenham regards literary language as brightly and newly alive, arguing in his third book, Of Ornament, that the creation of poetic style involves distinguishing language “no litle from the ordinary and accustomed.” Verse should never be left unadorned but rather clothed with literary figures and figurative speeches. Just as “great Madames of honour    would be halfe ashamed” to show their naked bodies, so language requires appropriate accoutrements. Judiciously handled ornaments adorn every “lymme” of excellent poetry in the same way as “crimson tainte,” applied with skill and restraint, brightens ladies’ lips and cheeks. Like rouge on a dull complexion, then, rhetorical flourishes revivify language “with a certaine noueltie.” Improperly applied, however, the effect in both cases is to “disfigure the stuffe.” 12 Although Puttenham is defining the nature of literary appeal (ornament works to “delight and allure”) he is also defining the nature of literary quality. Ornament serves to increase not only poetry’s beauty but also its substance for, at its best, poetry has both “skin as it were and beauty” and a sturdy “inside and strength.” 13 Recalling the Neoplatonic theory that artists were capable miraculously of breathing life into art, Puttenham describes the enlivening of literary subject matter through

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near-divine creative process: if poets are “able to deuise and make all these things of them selues,” they are properly understood “(by maner of speech) as creating gods.” 14 Although Puttenham argues that the craft of the poet is to express truthfully and forcefully whatever he sees before him, literary imitation is less central to The Arte than one might perhaps expect. Poetry’s palpability involves more than the affective realism of its content, for it is the formal, stylistic and metrical features of poetry which look as though they are alive. In Book II, Of Proportion, Puttenham explains that stanzas support ballads “not vnlike the old weake bodie, that is stayed vp by his staffe,” and describes how poems’ feet may be made to go, to runne, & to stand still: so as he must be sometimes swift, sometimes slow, sometime vnegally marching, or peraduenture steddy. Lines with an extra syllable, or half-foot, are described as “catalectik or maymed,” recalling the Greek verb katalegein, literally meaning to stop short. 15 To illustrate the dynamics of poetic metre, he draws an elaborate analogy between the feet of Greek dactyls and “runners at common games    sometimes swift sometimes slow as his breath or forces serue him.” Punctuation and caesurae in speech and writing carry out amputations: The shortest pause or intermission they called comma as who would say a peece of a speach cut of. The second they called colon, not a peece but as it were a member for his larger length, because it occupied twise as much time as the comma. 16 Full stops (the “periodus    or full pause”) are compared to the bodily “staies or easements” of travelers. Literary styles have their own tempers, humors and complexions which are, like their authors, hot or cold “according to the mettal of their minds.” 17 Poetry succeeds not by beautifully describing something (or someone) beautiful in order to persuade the reader that it (or she) lives and breathes. It is not so much literary content that looks vital, in other words, but poetry’s very medium and mechanics. As Sir Philip Sidney put it in An Apology for Poetry (pub. 1595), which Puttenham may have encountered in manuscript, the best verse is graced with “poetical sinews” while the worst is marred by “swelling phrases.” 18 The achievement of literary proportion finally involves exercising control over poetry’s figures, which here


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look strikingly sensitive, by heating, cooling, exercising, manipulating, cutting and soothing them. Like books, poems “are not absolutely dead things,” to borrow John Milton’s phrase, for their words and phrases come organically alive under scrutiny. 19 Puttenham’s living, breathing figures may at first appear eccentric, but are working to support one of his central suppositions in The Arte: that the parts of poetry not only move or arouse the sensitive bodies of readers, but are also themselves characterised by changeable bodily attributes such as heat, color, size and texture. In order properly to understand The Arte, then, one must come to terms with the dense materiality which characterises Puttenham’s understanding of literary language and, relatedly, his fascination with the points of exchange between poetry and the physical body. Like Sidney, who remarked of the poet that “all his kinds are not only in their united forms but in their severed dissections fully commendable,” Puttenham proceeds by methodically probing poetry’s parts, limbs and members. Perhaps he drew directly from Aristotle, “the Prince of Philosophers,” the assumption that the same procedures could be used to describe the constituent parts of both poetry and the body. 20 Puttenham was familiar with the Politics and Ethics and seems to have absorbed much material from the Poetics, especially his belief in the ethical value of poetry. The same basic classificatory terminology appears across the Aristotelian corpus in works of philosophy, aesthetics, science and biology where the terms physis (nature), moria or mere (parts), and systema, synthesis and systasis (structure) are applied without difficulty to the analysis of art and poetry, as well as the body and soul. Like The Arte, especially Book III, Aristotle’s analysis of poiesis is quasi-anatomical in character. Tragedy has six parts: plot, character, thought, speech, song and spectacle. The most important part, plot, has three elements: peripeteia (reversal) in which anagnorisis (recognition) is important, metabole (change) and pathos (suffering). Aristotle describes the plot of tragedy as a “living organism” with a beginning, a middle and an end. 21 The methodical treatment of poiesis in the Poetics is similar to the orderly classification of the body in The History of Animals where Aristotle begins by dividing animals’ bodies into segments. 22 Puttenham’s methodical arrangement of poetry into “lymmes” and “members” indeed perhaps recalls the common etymological confusion between mere (parts) and mele (limbs). The anatomical method of analysing poetry is intimately connected in The Arte to poetry’s designs on the bodies and selves of those who produced and consumed it. Puttenham inventories the architecture of

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the body in terms of its facility to transmit literary expression, describing the convenience of “a broad and voluble tong, thinne and mouable lippes, teeth euen and not shagged, thick ranged, a round vaulted pallate, and a long throte.” 23 His description of the long and short syllables which make up metrical feet is informed by the mechanics of speech: long sounds arise “by the infirmitie of the toung, because the word or sillable is of such letters as hangs long in the palate or lippes ere he will come forth.” Short sounds, on the other hand, are “made of such letters as be by nature slipper & voluble and smoothly passe from the mouth.” Puttenham’s elision of words with the parts of the body which fashion them informs his description of a rude, barking lawyer as “a mouthy Aduocate.” 24 Literary figures and bodily gestures seem inseparable, as though poetry becomes describable at the points at which it enters into, or emerges from, the physical body. The application of one figure, the scornful “Micterismus. or the Fleering frumpe,” for example, is best accompanied by “drawing the lippe awry, or shrinking vp the nose.” 25 It was conventionally agreed that poetry stimulated the eyes and ears; in The Arte, it also brushes, tickles, impresses, grazes and skims the nose, tongue, lips, teeth, throat and palate. The parts of poetry are accordingly recognized not only by how short or long they look or sound, but also by the way they feel. Their measures are “thicker or thinner,” their forms “euen & smooth”, or distinguished by virtue of their “solliditie and stedfastnesse.” 26 Consonants and vowels are identified by their “hardnesse or softnesse,” letters of the alphabet can be “tossed” around, sentences can undergo “alterations in shape” as well as sound and sense, and the matter of speech can become altogether “too full.” 27 Poetic accents can be heavy enough to “fall downe,” or light enough to “rise vp,” like as one or two drops of water perce not the flint stone, but many and often droppings doo: so cannot a few words (be they neuer so pithie and sententious) in all cases and to all manner of mindes, make so deepe an impression, as a more multitude of words to the purpose discreetely, and without superfluitie vttered: the minde being no lesse vanquished with large loade of speech, than the limmes are with heauie burden. 28 Properly pitched and appropriately measured out, poetry makes a tangible impression on those who hear it. Puttenham’s vocabulary calls to mind Sidney’s remarks in An Apology about literary “stuff” and


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“matter”; here and in The Arte, poetry has both material substance and material effects. 29 Words do not simply share characteristics with bodies in Puttenham’s discussion, nor are they simply discharged from (or received into) bodies in ways that make the sensory organs look vulnerable or strange. Instead he describes a vigorous, energetic and powerfully creative exchange between the substance of poetry and the minds and bodies of those who encounter it. An intense, improvisatory dynamic emerges between readers and the literary environment they inhabit, and it is perhaps for this reason that Puttenham emphasizes the twofold properties of energeia—a feature of literary style identifiable on the page in a “goodly outward shew” of words and, at the same time, an affective property of poetry “inwardly working a stirre to the mynde”: that first qualitie the Greeks called Enargia, of this word argos, because it geueth a glorious lustre and light. This latter they called Energia of ergon, because it wrought with a strong and vertuous operation. 30 The liveliest features of literary style are thus inseparable from the liveliest experiences of emotion. In The Arte, indeed, the experience of reading lively poetry sounds as absorbing as an intensely lived life: the reader is drawn imaginatively beyond the confines of isolated subjectivity as the body remaps its boundaries according to its affective relationship with the poetry it encounters outside. 31 Puttenham is describing something similar to the sensation Plutarch called synenthousion, the precious “sympathetic enthusiasm” or “elation” which makes readers respond positively to the heroic examples they encounter on the page. 32 This dynamic reciprocity between poems and readers contributes in important ways to Puttenham’s central preoccupation in The Arte: the facility of poetry to inspire virtue among Englishmen. Like all contemporary apologists, he regarded proper practices of reading and writing as an effective spur to a better life, consistently linking poetic propriety with corporeal sobriety. Properly assembled syllables are slippery, smooth and delicate; we know they are so because we feel them “smoothly proceeding from the mouth” or because the rhythm they make up agreeably “shapes    to” the ear. Imperfect rhymes, on the other hand, tend to “annoy & as it were glut the eare.” 33 Inkhorns and other “sodaine innouations” in speech are similarly objectionable. Writing about Richard Stanyhurst’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, for example, Puttenham remarks that “my stomacke can

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hardly digest    his wordes,” especially his “copulation of monosillables supplying the quantitie of an trissillable to his intent.” 34 Puttenham’s name (like Stanyhurst’s) is often associated with the quantitative movement in verse whose supporters were committed to adopting the principles of ancient meter as the basis for English prosody. If poetry was an art “of al antiquitie    among the Greeks and Latines,” Puttenham argues, so English verse has now reached sufficient maturity that it, too, can be “fashioned and reduced into a method of rules & precepts.” In his technical discussion of literary proportion in Book II, Puttenham often maps the rhythm of native words and phrases onto classical measures, retaining the vocabulary of iambs, trochees and dactyls to describe “the pleasant melody of our English meter.” 35 Dedicated at the same time to fashioning a new, specifically vernacular poetics, however, he argues that clear, strong rhymes compensate the English language for its lack of classical “numerosity” and finally prefers to scan verse by syllables rather than ancient “mincing measures.” 36 The Arte thus contributes to the debate about quantitative verse and rhyme which flourished from the 1570s to the early 1600s. As Richard Helgerson has argued, this debate was fraught with issues of national self-definition: to manipulate a linguistic system was to manipulate a cultural system where English identity was at stake. The art of poetry indeed resembles an art of living in Puttenham’s discussion, where the achievement of proportion in verse involves the achievement of balance, wholeness and integrity in everyday life. Rhyming inkhorn polysyllables “smatch more the schoole of common players than of any delicate Poet Lyricke or Elegiacke,” so that cultivating literary propriety is like nurturing English civility and eliminating grossness and barbarity. 37 Like many writers engaged in the controversy over native and classical versification, Puttenham was preoccupied with the relationship between poetry and the development of a national sense of self. But his discussion uniquely describes poetry’s facility to move private bodies and selves as the first step towards creating a public, imperial “kingdom of our own language.” 38 Aesthetics and self-scrutiny are inseparable in The Arte: the ordered, masculine, temperate body signifies excellence in verse, whereas the curious, effeminate, asymmetrical body betokens literary indecorum. Properly constructed utterances resemble “the vertues of a well constitute body and minde,” whereas “rude and vnciuill speeches” are offensive like “the shape of a membred body without his due measures and symmetry.” Puttenham notes approvingly Emperor Marcus’s reprimand to one “fine, foolish, curious, sawcie” ambassador whom he accused of being more likely “to combe & cury thy haire, to pare thy


The Material Point of Poesy

nailes, to pick thy teeth, and to perfume thy selfe with sweet oyles” than to concentrate on speaking with dignity. 39 Both bodily and literary curiosity, or preciousness, “carry a marueilous great indecencie” and no affectation is more uncivil than if one seems by one’s “voice a woman.” 40 The bodies of English poems and the bodies of English aristocrats should ideally resemble and complement one another, and, in the exchanges Puttenham imagines, the best-proportioned minds and bodies sympathetically resemble the most generous, capacious—and perhaps the most pleasurable—aspects of literary experience. For although Puttenham emphasizes temperance, he also negotiates a place for pleasure in his new English poetics. It has often been assumed that the mastery of passion by reason is a primary Western ethical or psychological ideal, and that knowledge derived from or located in the body is imperfect and improvisatory compared to the civilised, measured workings of the mind. 41 Contrary to these expectations, however, Puttenham sees sensation, especially pleasurable bodily sensation, contributing in important ways to virtuous acts of reading. Literary “volubilitie,” a form of delight located firmly in the body, features prominently in his innovative theory of literary affect. The best poems are made up of slipper words and sillables, such as the toung easily vtters, and the eare with pleasure receiueth, and which flowing of wordes with much volubilitie smoothly proceeding from the mouth is in some sort harmonicall and breedeth to th’eare a great compassion. 42 Feelings of intense pleasure accompany the experience of reading poetry, and Puttenham describes the exchange which takes place between good poems and good listeners as a form of delightful sympathy. To Puttenham’s mind, there is no contradiction involved in achieving dignity through somatic and physical feeling. Reading involves a powerful engagement of the passions, and poems become vivid, present and credible when they reach through men’s ears into their soft imaginations. 43 Men are not advised to deny themselves the sensory pleasures of reading, but rather to temper such pleasures judiciously and allow them to work on the body and soul in an ethically transformative fashion. The bodies of Puttenham’s imagined readers are therefore sensitive and malleable (or “tender and quesie”) enough to experience the intense feelings necessary in order finally to develop masculine sobriety. 44

Katharine A. Craik


If pleasurable, well-regulated bodily sensations accompany encounters with commendable poetry, painful bodily disorders are linked with less decorous literary kinds. In his chapter on “witty scoffes and other merry conceits,” Puttenham remarks that all the world could not keepe, nor any ciuill ordinance to the contrary so preuaile, but that men would and must needs vtter their splenes in all ordinarie matters also: or else it seemed their bowels would burst. 45 The act of writing satires and epigrams is as intuitive as relieving an overflowing spleen or emptying the bowels, and Puttenham goes on to describe the sharp, irritating nip such poems are intended to deliver to friends and foes. Satirical verse issues from the writer’s afflicted body and, in turn, stimulates discomfort in the reader. Here the body’s effortless production of waste functions as a shorthand for the follies of speaking too much or out of turn. Sidney similarly describes in An Apology how mysomousoi, or poet-haters, work “by stirring the spleen,” and how a lampooning “Iambic    rubs the galled mind.” Bodily discomfort stimulates indecorous writing: “there is nothing of so sacred a majesty but that an itching tongue may rub itself upon it.” Like an overwhelming urge to scratch or defecate, the impetus to compose satires looks both spontaneous and irresistible. Unlike more familiar metaphors comparing the act of writing poetry with conception or parturition, the body’s baser functions suggest the indignity of satire as a literary occupation. As Sidney sees it, bodily urgency overwhelms rational thought: stirring the spleen “may stay the brain.” 46 Puttenham found support for his theory of sympathetic transactions between dignified poetry and bodily decorum in the work of Roman rhetoricians. In the first book of De Inventione, Cicero names the five parts of rhetoric as inventio, dispositio, elocutio, memoria and pronuntiatio (invention, arrangement, expression, memory and delivery). His comments on the fifth part, pronuntiatio, confirm that the rhetor’s management of his body contributed in important ways to his effectiveness as a speaker: “pronuntiatio est ex rerum et verborum dignitate vocis et corporis moderatio” (“Delivery is the control of voice and body in a manner suitable to the dignity of the subject matter and the style.”) 47 Puttenham recalls Cicero’s remark that Roscius’s efficiency as an orator was impeded because “he was squint eyed and had a very vnpleasant countenance    which made him ridiculous or rather odious to the presence.” 48 The close connection between bodily self-control and


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effective rhetorical communication is confirmed in De Senectute, where Cicero observes that despite the many graces of seniority, “The orator, I fear, does lose in efficiency on account of old age, because his success depends not only upon his intellect, but also upon his lungs and bodily strength.” 49 For Puttenham, as for Cicero, bodily sobriety is a useful gauge of literary quality. Poetry begins in the body—or, more accurately, in the brain: “the very Poet makes and contriues out of his owne braine, both the verse and matter of his poeme.” Puttenham offers several explanations: this science in his perfection, can not grow, but by some diuine instinct, the Platonicks call it furor: or by excellencie of nature and complexion: or by great subtiltie of the spirits & wit, or by much experience and obseruation of the world, and course of kinde, or peraduenture by all or most part of them. 50 Like many early modern theorists of authorship, Puttenham conflates several different accounts of artistic creativity. In Plato’s Ion, literary invention has a non-rational, extra-human genesis: as Socrates explains, lyricists and writers of epic are able to create beautiful poems because they are “inspired and possessed.” 51 Puttenham may also have known Book XXX of Aristotle’s Problems, which offers a specifically physiological explanation for literary inventiveness: men who are outstanding in philosophy, poetry or the arts are melancholic, and some to such an extent that they are infected by the diseases arising from black bile. Other outstanding individuals such as Empedocles, Plato and Socrates were likewise afflicted and, according to Aristotle, “the same is true of most of those who have handled poetry.” 52 Secular theories of inspiration in the Renaissance often emphasized the connection between artistic creativity and black bile, and this idea was as familiar as notions of Platonic furor. Artistically gifted men were commonly described as suffering from humoral imbalance, so that illness and impairment emerged as affirmative tokens of both blessedness and genius. 53 By the late Middle Ages, however, the associated states of despair or self-pity were already linked with shame, and early modern theorists inevitably regarded with some suspicion the link between artistic creativity and states of bodily or emotional imbalance. The same

Katharine A. Craik


suspicion was already present, indeed, in Horace’s Ars Poetica, commonly regarded in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries as the best available authority on the craft of writing and quoted twice in Puttenham’s The Arte. Horace connects poetic inspiration with contagion: Ut mala quem scabies aut morbus regius urget aut fanaticus error et iracunda Diana, vesanum tetigisse timent fugientque poëtam qui sapiunt; agitant pueri incautique sequuntur. hic, dum sublimis versus ructatur et errat As when the accursed itch plagues a man, or the disease of kings, or a fit of frenzy and Diana’s wrath, so men of sense fear to touch a crazy poet and run away; children tease and pursue him rashly. He, with head upraised, splutters verses and off he strays. 54 Unlike Aristotle, who regards bodily suffering as an enabling stimulus to artistic creativity, Horace describes the afflicted body as a terrifying and unpredictable affront to civility. Here, verse resembles the troubling and embarrassing symptoms of illness: an itch, a disease, a fit or a splutter. Both ideas are present in The Arte, where Puttenham struggles to reconcile ideas of literary inspiration—ascribed to both Platonic furor and the poet’s own “nature and complexion”—with available criteria of literary decorum. The poet must be in good health, otherwise “the euill and vicious disposition of the braine hinders the sounde iudgement and discourse of man,” giving rise to monstrous conceits. 55 Properly conceived and understood, however, poetry provides “an ayde and coadiutor to nature    as doth the arte of phisicke, by helping the naturall concoction, retention, distribution, expulsion, and other vertues, in a weake and vnhealthie body.” Like an invigorating cordial, poetry enables man to function “ouer and aboue the stint of his first and naturall constitution.” 56 The co-operative exchanges Puttenham envisages between poets’ healthy bodies and well-proportioned poems sketch a newly productive relationship between poetic rapture and masculine self-government. Puttenham is seldom credited with Sidney’s ironic, self-deprecatory wit, but his defense of poetry is perhaps even more resourceful than Sidney’s An Apology. He was committed to drafting a fiercely topical defense of poetry, and literary excellence emerges most clearly in The Arte at the


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point at which it touches or anticipates touching those who produce or consume it. Puttenham’s account of affect rests on the assumption, now lost to us, that poems (like other objects in the phenomenological world at large) had humors, temperaments and complexions, and the assumption is disconcerting because it collapses the seemingly secure boundary between subjects and the world they inhabited. Puttenham takes for granted the early modern body’s involvement in a dynamic, reciprocal relationship with the environment which surrounded it, allowing him to conceptualise lively, sympathetic exchanges between books and readers. For many of his contemporaries, the pleasurable bodily sensations experienced by impressionable male readers were a source of anxiety and impediment. While Puttenham occasionally shares these anxieties, his initial supposition that poets were “the first Philosophers Ethick,” committed to teaching men “the first differences betweene vertue and vice” by delighting them, informs the whole of The Arte. 57 This supposition enables Puttenham to envisage the reformative effects of carefully moderated literary pleasure on men’s passions, and to assert poetry’s nobility and dignity by way of its facility to inspire bodily sensation. Poetry’s effects on the material body are indeed presented in The Arte as the very qualities which mark literary language as different and precious. It matters deeply what poetry feels like; and such feeling involves not only the imagination, variously conceived, but also the entire psychophysical self. Good poetry stimulates not only the mind but also the body of the writer and reader, and sensation is the place where fresh, energetic encounters with literature begin.

Notes * Earlier versions of this chapter were presented at the “Ecologies of the Early Modern Body” seminar, organised by Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America, held in New Orleans in April 2004; and at the “Minds and Bodies: Renaissance Ways of Knowing” conference, held at the Centre for Research in Renaissance Studies at Roehampton University in October 2004. I would like to thank participants in both events, and Tanya Pollard, for their thoughtful responses. The support of the British Academy is also acknowledged with thanks. 1. Plutarch, trans. Philemon Holland, The Philosophie, Commonlie called, the Morals    (1603), sig. E4v. 2. Ibid., sigs. B3r and B4r. 3. Ibid., sigs. B4v, sig. B4r, B5v and C5r. Joseph R. Roach has traced the classical history of the idea that rhetoric alters materially the bodies of listeners by stirring their passions, and has shown its influence on seventeenth-century

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theories of acting and theatrical affect. See The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), 23–57. On the importance of Plutarch’s essay to Renaissance literary critics, including Puttenham, see Brian Vickers, ed., English Renaissance Literary Criticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 12, 47 and 190. Sir Thomas Elyot dedicated his treatise The Education or Bringing up of Children, Translated out of Plutarche (c. 1533) to his sister Margery, Puttenham’s mother, urging her to refer to it when bringing up her sons, George and Richard. Harington mentions Plutarch’s essay in “A Preface or rather, A Briefe Apologie of Poetrie, and of the Author and Translator of this Poem,” prefixed to Orlando Furioso in English Heroical Verse (1591), sig. 3v. Sidney refers to Plutarch’s essay, which “teacheth the use to be gathered” out of poets, in An Apology for Poetry (pub. 1595), ed. Geoffrey Shepherd (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1965; rev. 1973), 130. Although he dedicated The Arte to Elizabeth I, Puttenham is concerned primarily with gentleman readers rather than ladies. For the history of women readers, see Helen Hackett, Women and Romance Fiction in the English Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Sasha Roberts, Reading Shakespeare’s Poems in Early Modern England (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), esp. 20–61; and Lori Humphrey Newcomb, Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002). Elaine Scarry has brilliantly revealed the “mimesis of materiality” in early modern literary language, focusing on the poetry and prose of John Donne. See her introduction to Literature and the Body: Essays on Populations and Persons, ed. Scarry (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), xv; and her own essay in the same volume, “Donne: But yet the body is his booke,” 70–105. For a survey of Renaissance writers’ commitment to “the civilizing force of rhetoric,” see Brian Vickers, “ ‘The Power of Persuasion’: Images of the Orator, Elyot to Shakespeare” in Renaissance Eloquence: Studies in the Theory and Practice of Renaissance Rhetoric, ed. James J. Murphy (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1983), 411–435 (414). See, for example, Robert Cockcroft, Rhetorical Affect in Early Modern Writing: Renaissance Passions Reconsidered (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Mary Thomas Crane, Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); Elizabeth Harvey, ed., Sensible Flesh: On Touch in Early Modern Culture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), esp. Lynn Enterline’s “Afterword: Touching Rhetoric,” 243–253; Jacqueline T. Miller, “The Passion Signified: Imitation and the Construction of Emotions in Sidney and Wroth,” Criticism, 43.4 (2001): 407–421; and Bruce R. Smith, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor (Chicago and London: Chicago University Press, 1999). For a survey of these trends in the history of the early modern subject, see the introduction to Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion, eds, Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, and Mary Floyd-Wilson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), esp. 13–18. Holland, sig. D1r.


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11. On the personification of the figures, see Gladys Doidge Willcock and Alice Walker’s introduction to The Arte of English Poesie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1936), lxxxii. The figures mentioned above appear on 168, 184, 191, 233, 226, 233, 164 and 255. 12. The Arte, eds, Willcock and Walker, 137–138. 13. Ibid., 137. The final two phrases come from Sidney’s description of Plato’s work in An Apology for Poetry, ed. Shepherd, 97. 14. Ibid., 4. For the history of this theory, see François Rigolot, “The Rhetoric of Presence: Art, Literature, and Illusion” in Glyn P. Norton, ed., The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 3, The Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 161–67, esp. 161. 15. Ibid., 65, 67 and 130. The term ‘catalectic’ was probably first used by the metrical theorist Hephaestion. 16. Ibid., 68–69 and 74. 17. Ibid., 74 and 149. 18. An Apology for Poetry, ed. Shepherd, 133 and 137. On the possible influence of Sidney on Puttenham, see Vickers, ed., English Renaissance Literary Criticism, 191, n. 1. 19. Milton, Areopagitica (1644) in The Riverside Milton, ed. Roy Flannagan (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), 999. 20. An Apology for Poetry, ed. Shepherd, 120; The Arte, ed. Willcock and Walker, 19. 21. Aristotle, Poetics, ed. and trans. Malcolm Heath (London: Penguin, 1996), 59a, p. 38. Aristotle later describes plots which have “a single action of many parts” (59b, p. 39). 22. The History of Animals, trans. A.L. Peck, 3 vols (London: William Hienemann Ltd; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1965), vol. I, 491a–493a, pp. 34–49. For a discussion of Aristotle’s ideas about uniform and nonuniform parts, see Peck’s introduction, lxii. 23. The Arte, ed, Willcock and Walker, 143. 24. Ibid., 121, 121–122 and 178. 25. Ibid., 191. 26. Ibid., 85, 98 and 100. 27. Ibid., 118, 111, 159 and 257. 28. Ibid., 78 and 197–198. 29. An Apology for Poetry, ed. Shepherd, 120. 30. The Arte, ed, Willcock and Walker, 142–143. 31. For an extended discussion of how early modern bodies felt a sympathetic sameness with the sensible world, see Gail Kern Paster, Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004). This chapter builds on Paster’s discussion of the reciprocal transactions (or ecologies) which existed between early modern humoral subjects and the natural or topographical worlds they inhabited. To the physical, elemental environments Paster discusses (air, fire, earth and water), this chapter adds a discussion of the affective environment of poetry. 32. Plutarch, “How a Young Man Should Study Poetry” in Moralia, trans. Frank Cole Babbitt, 15 vols (London: William Hienemann Ltd.; New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1927), vol. 1, 26a–b, pp. 136–137. 33. The Arte, eds, Willcock and Walker, 77, 132 and 83.

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34. Ibid., 112 and 117–118. 35. Ibid., 5 and 129. 36. Ibid., 124 and 129. Puttenham’s sometimes self-contradictory remarks about classical and vernacular prosody, especially English and Latin polysyllables, are discussed in detail in the introduction to this edition, lxiv–lxxiii. 37. Richard Helgerson, Forms of Nationhood: The Elizabethan Writing of England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 25–40. Willcock and Walker discuss Puttenham’s overlapping categories of aesthetic, social and moral civility. See their introduction to The Arte, lv. The quotation appears on 127. 38. Edmund Spenser coined this memorable phrase in a letter to Gabriel Harvey. See The Works of Edmund Spenser: A Variorum Edition, ed. Edwin Greenlaw et al., 11 vols (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1932–1957), 10.16 Quoted in Helgerson, Forms of Nationhood, 25. 39. The Arte, eds, Willcock and Walker, 305, 272, 261 and 266. Puttenham’s precious ambassador recalls Thomas Nashe’s description in The Unfortunate Traveller (1594) of an incompetent rhetorician who, having “cast a figure so curiously” for his audience, “would take occasion to stroke up his haire, and twine up his mustachios twice or thrice over while they might have leisure to applaud him.” Quoted in Brian Vickers, In Defence of Rhetoric (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1988), 264. 40. Ibid., 272 and 265. 41. Richard Strier redresses this assumption in “Against the Rule of Reason: Praise of Passion from Petrarch to Luther to Shakespeare to Herbert” in Reading the Early Modern Passions, eds, Paster, Rowe and Floyd-Wilson, 23–42. Strier argues that Renaissance neo-Stoicism was countered by a strong current of anti-Stoicism which emphasised the importance of affect. 42. The Arte, ed, Willcock and Walker, 77. 43. For a longer discussion of the “vitalistic experience” of reading, see Rigolot, “The Rhetoric of Presence,” esp. 167. 44. Here I am indebted to Mary Floyd-Wilson’s discussion of English literary theorists such as Sidney and William Webbe, who described the civilizing force of rhetoric and poetry as “a kind of physical erosion—or a softening of barbaric traits.” See English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 89–110 (esp. 98). My argument also builds on Michael C. Schoenfeldt’s discussion of pleasure in the writings of George Herbert: “Sense-experience is not absolutely negated, but it is kept tightly controlled, and always pointing at a higher good.” See Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert and Milton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 119. The phrase “tender and quesie” appears in The Arte, ed, Willcock and Walker, 250. 45. The Arte, eds, Willcock and Walker, 53–54. 46. An Apology for Poetry, ed. Shepherd, 121, 116 and 121. Mary Claire Randolph discusses exhaustively “the omnipresent medical metaphor in English satire of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries” in “The Medical Concept in English Renaissance Satiric Theory: Its Possible Relationships and Implications,” Studies in Philology, 38 (1941): 125–157, esp. 135.


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47. Cicero, De Inventione, De Optimo Genere Oratorum, Topica, trans. H.M. Hubbell (London: William Hienemann Ltd.; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976), I.VII.9, 20–21. 48. The Arte, eds, Willcock and Walker, 33. 49. Cicero, De Senectute, De Amicitia, De Divinatione, trans. William Armistead Falconer (Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press, 1923; repr. 1996), 36–37. 50. The Arte, eds, Willcock and Walker, 3. 51. Plato, Ion, Hippias Minor, Laches, Protagoras in The Dialogues of Plato, 4 volumes, trans. R.E. Allen (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996), 534a, 3.13. 52. Aristotle, Problems, trans. W.S. Hett, 2 vols (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1937), 953a, 2.156–57. 53. See Juliana Schiesari, The Gendering of Melancholia: Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Symbolics of Loss in Renaissance Literature (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1992), 7. 54. Horace, Ars Poetica, ll. 453–457; in Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1926), 486–487. 55. The Arte, ed, Willcock and Walker, 3 and 18. 56. Ibid., 303. 57. Ibid., 9.

10 Spelling the Body Tanya Pollard

“Write these words:” begins one early modern medical spell, “ ‘Arataly, Rataly, Ataly, Taly, Aly, ly,’ and binde these wordes about the sick mans arme nine dayes, and every day say three pater nosters in worshipp of Saint Peeter and Saint Paul, and then take of that and burn it, and the sick shall bee whole.” 1 A combination of prayers and nonsense syllables, oral and written, this formula is typical of a widespread set of magical healing practices. The immense popularity of these spells, or word-medicines, offers a window into early modern beliefs about the effects of language, and the body’s susceptibility to it. Medical spells involve treating words, or even letters and syllables, as physical entities that interact directly with the body, primarily through external application or internal digestion. In doing so, they demonstrate the curiously liminal nature of words: although they derive power from their status as abstract symbols, this power becomes associated with their material form, embodied in physical substances such as ink, paper, and the vaporous particles of breath. Building on recent work on the porousness of the boundary between the body and its physical environment, attention to spells demonstrates the body’s corresponding permeability to its linguistic environment. 2 Simultaneously material and symbolic, spells complicate the project of materialist criticism by eroding the distinction between these realms. What is a spell, and how does it work? The distinction between spells and ordinary words is an unstable one. Etymologically, the word “spell” originally refers simply to speech; as a verb, it means to talk or converse, and, gradually, to discover, decipher, and read. By the late sixteenth century it came to mean a “set of words, a formula or verse, supposed to possess occult or magical powers; a charm or incantation; a means of accomplishing enchantment or exorcism,” and, as a verb, to “charm, 171


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fascinate, bewitch, bind by    a spell.” 3 At its base, then, a spell is simply words: any association with magical powers only builds on this foundation. Through the formulaic patterning of a spell, however, simple words become transformed into something more substantial, something with both material and spiritual powers. As a kind of performative language, spells form a subset of speech acts, yet their obscure and unconventional uses of words often seem to defy communication, and as medical recipes they are typically reported to work automatically, waiving standard prescriptions for users and circumstances. 4 Strange, palpable, and apparently inexorable spells stretch the boundaries of linguistic theory and challenge our conceptions of what words are and do. Following Keith Thomas’s identification of spells with the ritual and ceremonial practices of Catholicism and its residual incorporation of magic, most scholars tend either to overlook them or simply to acknowledge them as a manifestation of Thomas’s powerful arguments about magic more broadly. 5 Medical spells and charms remained extremely popular during and long after the Reformation, however, and recent scholarship on the period has challenged traditional views of Protestantism as a move away from ritual, a teleological step toward Enlightenment secularization and rationality. 6 Rather than simply representing a backlash against the repression of Catholicism, the flourishing popularity of word-cures in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries suggests a complex fusion of traditional folk-magic, Catholic sacraments, and a Protestant cult of the word. More importantly, though, despite the crucial role that religion plays in medical spells, it is by no means the only explanatory force behind them. This essay argues that early modern belief in word-medicines was rooted in a belief that language and the imagination have a material force, a force that translated symbolic meanings into physical consequences.

I. Wearable Words, Edible Words Early modern medical spells take many different forms, but their most common strategies involve applying written words, especially of a religious or quasi-religious nature, directly to the body. James Sykes of Guiseley, for instance, claimed in 1590 to have healed horses by writing prayers on paper and hanging them in their manes. 7 His treatment’s curative force derives from physical contact between written prayers and the bodies being treated; using the performative power of religious words as a bodily medicine, he converted an abstract power into tangible form. Although this power is clearly linked to the words’ meaning, however,

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its effects do not hinge on direct communication, at least not with the patient (like most spells, it relies on communicating with a supernatural force—a deity or spirit—who will do its bidding). In directing his cure toward horses rather than people, Sykes shows that the patient’s understanding was not perceived to be necessary for the spell’s operations. In a variation on this idea, John Aubrey wrote that to prevent ague one should write out the letters ABRACADABRA in a triangle and wear it about the neck. “Dr Bathurst saith,” he added, “that this spell is corrupt ˜ and abraca is benedixit (i.e.) verbum Hebrew, [that is,] dabar is verbu, benedixit [sic].” 8 Like Sykes’ treatment, Aubrey’s necklace converts the magical authority of religious language into a physical shield for the body. Notably, in doing so, it transforms the actual Hebrew words into an artificially symmetrical single word, neatly fitting the triangular pattern that will embody it. Bathurst’s translation also alters the spell’s meaning in a small but crucial way. In Hebrew, “dabar ” refers specifically to the spoken word. 9 “Verbum,” however, can refer to both written and spoken use, and Aubrey’s directions for the spell depend exclusively on the written word. Here, as with Sykes, the oral and performative mode of prayer gives way to reliance on the physical form of carefully patterned written words. Other spells required not merely physical contact with words, but direct ingestion of them. 10 In “A Spell to cure the biting of a Mad Dog,” for example, Aubrey offers “Rebus Rubus Epilepscum. Write these words in paper, and give it to the party, or beast bitten, to eate in bread, or & Mr. Dennys of Poole, in Dorsetshire sayeth, this Receipt never failes.” 11 A similar recipe for “Madness in a Dog or anything,” from Sir John Floyer, spelled out the following: Pega, tega, sega, docemena Mega. These words written, and ye paper rowl’d up and given to a Dog or any thing that is mad, cure him. W. Whitby told me he had it from Mr. Brisco of Farrall, who was bitt by a mad dog and in a very ill frantick condition, his Friends much troubled resolved to send him to sea and use all meanes for his recovery, an Italian Mountebank by chance came where he was, and understanding ye matter, gave him yt verse as ’tis directed and it cured him. Mr. Wh. says he has cured many of his dogs with it. Very strange. 12 While the homely recourse to testimonials (“Mr. Dennys of Poole in Dorsetshire sayeth this Receipt never failes”) reassures readers of the simplicity and practical efficacy of these cures, the assumptions on


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which they depend are complex and far-reaching. Like other spells, these recipes view words as physical entities that interact with the body. Substantiated into the material forms of ink, paper, and bread, words become objects with physical powers, occupying a liminal status between abstract and physical phenomena. As with Sykes’ treatments for horses, moreover, these spells are presented as working equally successfully on dogs as on people, again suggesting that understanding was not required for them to work. Strikingly, also, whereas both Aubrey’s ABRACADABRA and Sykes’ prayers rely on recognizable verbal forms, these spells are both constructed of nonsense, but nonsense shaped into highly patterned forms, involving rhyme, near-rhyme, assonance, and alliteration. Even more than the two prior examples, these spells rely not on persuasive rhetoric, but on an imagined power inherent in the form of words, syllables, and letters themselves. Although these spells all call for direct physical contact between words and bodies, other recipes involve a higher level of abstraction. The spell with which this chapter opened, again, instructed users to “Write these words: ‘Arataly, Rataly, Ataly, taly, aly, ly,’ and bind these words about the sick man’s arm nine days, and every day say three Pater Nosters in worship of St. Peter and St. Paul, and then take off that and burn it and the sick shall be whole.” The model of the spell for a mad dog, in which words are directly absorbed into the body, might suggest that these written words, ballasted by spoken prayers, heal by sinking through their paper into the sick man’s arm. At a closer glance, though, we can see that the words in this recipe function differently. They absorb the man’s sickness into their own material substance and, when they are subsequently removed and burned, the sickness is destroyed as well. The processes of identification and incorporation involved in this last spell suggests that the physical body of the patient might not always need to be directly involved for similar formulae to work. A description of an Elizabethan wizard’s spell for a toothache, for instance, specifies, First, he must know your name, then your age, which in a little paper he sets downe, on the top are these words In verbis, et in herbis, et in lapidibus sunt virtutes, underneath he writes in capitall letters A AB ILLA, HVRS GIBELLA, which he sweres is pure chalde, and the names of three spirits that enter into the bloud and cause rewmes, & so consequently the tootheach. This paper must be likewise three times blest, and at last with a little frankincense burned, which being thrice vsed, is of power to expell the spirites, purifie the bloud, and ease the paine. 13

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This spell incorporates the patient’s body into its material form purely symbolically, without direct physical contact—the actual work is done by the spirits it invokes—and destroys the patient’s pain by destroying the paper that has become contaminated with that pain. As in the earlier examples, the words that achieve this end are marked by specific formal traits: not only do they represent ancient languages unfamiliar to laymen, but involve both rhymes (verbis, herbis) and near-rhymes (ILLA, GIBELLA). Their meanings, however, are hardly irrelevant. The provocative alignment of verbis, herbis, and lapidibus—words, herbs, and stones—directly correlates the medicinal power of language to the physical force of herbal and mineral remedies. 14

II. Imagined Effects Although medical spells enjoyed widespread popularity, they also incurred attacks. Zealous Protestants, hostile to overtones of Catholic ritual, were some of their most open opponents. In 1608 the Puritan minister William Perkins attacked the efficacy of the spoken word, insisting “that which is onely a bare sound, in all reason can have no vertue in it to cause a reall worke”; words, according to him, cannot have “the power of touching a substance.” 15 In his 1584 attack on belief in witchcraft, Reginald Scot similarly claimed that “By the sound of the words nothing commeth, nothing goeth.” 16 With their emphasis on the sound of the spoken word, Perkins and Scot focus on discrediting language’s capacity for material effects, limiting its nature to abstract and conventional representation. 17 Their need to affirm this point, however, suggests that it was not, and could not be, taken for granted. Spells also triggered fierce controversies in the increasingly professionalized field of early modern medicine. Skeptics seized on associations with magic and the irrational to bolster their condemnations. The physician John Cotta, a fierce critic of non-scholarly medical practitioners, harangued in 1612 against “such as cure by spels and words.” 18 To illustrate the insubstantiality of word-medicine, Cotta offers a parody of a spell for the eyes: It shall be no error to insert a merrie historie of an approued famous spell for sore eyes. By many honest testimonies, it was a long time worne as a iewell about many necks, written in paper, and inclosed in silke, neuer failing to do soueraigne good when all other helps were helplesse. No sight might dare to reade or open. At length a curious mind while the patient slept, by stealth ripped open the mystical


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couer, and found the powerful characters Latin, which Englished were these: The diuell digge out thine eyes, and fill vp their holes with his dung. 19 Cotta’s example closely echoes a popular format for spells: writing down words in an ancient language, wrapping them up, and wearing them on the body. His “merrie historie,” however, uses this similarity to undermine the spells it mimics, demystifying their effects. Fundamentally, he suggests, spells are nothing more than pranks: bundles of inert curses or invocations, wrapped up in finery and activated by the willing belief of their consumers. In his discussion of spells, Cotta moves quickly from amusement at senseless beliefs to angry criticism of the intellectual foundations they imply: If there be any good or vse vnto the health by spels, they haue that prerogatiue by accident, and by the power and vertue of fancie; wherein is neither certaintie nor continuance.    If fancie then be the foundation whereupon buildeth the good of spels, spels must needs be as fancies are, vncertaine and vaine: so must also by consequent be their vse and help, and no lesse all they that trust vnto them. 20 Cotta attributes the efficacy of spells—“if there be any”—to either accident or “fancie,” the quixotic and unreliable realm of the imagination. A contraction of “phantasy,” “fancy” was often (as here) a derogatory term, emphasizing the unstable, delusive, and hallucinatory capacities of the mind. Cotta’s attack on fancy identifies it as ephemeral and unsteady, in sharp contrast to the rational and stable methods he attributes to scholarly medicine. 21 “The defect in the Empericke,” he explains pointedly elsewhere in his book, “hence appeareth to be want of true methode & the habite of right operation and practise according to reason.” 22 Spells, he argues, like fancy, lack method and habit, and are accordingly unreliable. Cotta’s remarks must, of course, be read in their social context. In the rapidly expanding medical marketplace of the early modern period, competition for clients was fierce, and practices that deviated from officially approved medical procedure were viewed as a pernicious symptom of the period’s burgeoning medical quackery, a threat to traditional Galenic practice and its attempts at professional and financial monopoly. Because of their accessibility, popularity, and low cost,

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spells posed an especially significant threat. Perkins complained that “Charming is in as great request as Physicke, and Charmers more sought vnto than Physicians in time of neede,” 23 and spells were widely viewed as effective, even by those who did not approve of them. Despite serious misgivings about how they worked, Robert Burton commented that “Wee see commonly the Tooth-ache, Gout, Falling-sicknesse, biting of a mad Dog, and many such maladies cured by Spells, Words, Characters, and Charms,” 24 and the Puritan minister William Fulke grudgingly acknowledged, in the context of a condemnation of idolatry, that “Not only cankers, but also fistulas, toothache, and many other diseases have been healed by charms.” 25 The motives behind Cotta’s invective, then, may at some level be primarily professional and economic ones. His comments also, however, point to significant philosophical and medical debates. In particular, by singling out the imagination as the operative force behind the workings of spells, Cotta engages a larger contemporary conversation about the mind’s power over the body. Although Cotta describes the imagination as having “neither certaintie nor continuance,” his dismissal was not universally shared. The subject of treatises by writers including Paracelsus, Montaigne, Gianfrancesco Pico Della Mirandola, and Thomas Fienus, the imagination stirred considerable interest and controversy in the period. While paradigms were shifting, body and mind were still primarily understood as overlapping and mutually influencing systems, following the medical thought inherited from Galen. 26 The imagination, according to this tradition, was part of the body—Burton writes that “His Organ is the middle sell of the braine”—and could accordingly exert a material impact. 27 The physician Thomas Fienus argued that through its effect on the emotions, the imagination could change the physical body: The imagination is fitted by nature to move the appetite and excite the emotions, as is obvious, since by thinking happy things we rejoice, by thinking of sad things we fear and are sad, and all emotions follow previous thought. But the emotions are greatly alterative with respect to the body. Therefore, through them the imagination is able to transform the body. 28 This conception of the imagination’s powers was widespread. After listing a catalogue of physical effects resulting from the imagination, Burton argues that “this imagination is the medium deferens of passions, by whose meanes they worke and produce many times prodigious


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effects; and as the phantasie is more or lesse intended or remitted, and their humours disposed, so doe perturbations move more or lesse, and take deeper impression.” 29 Montaigne similarly uses physiological language to illustrate the material consequences of the imagination: “Wee sweat, we shake, we grow pale, and we blush at the motions of our imaginations; and wallowing in our beds we feele our bodies agitated and turmoiled at their apprehensions, yea in such manner, as sometimes we are ready to yeeld up the spirit.” 30 If the imagination could transform the body through its power over the emotions, then anything that could affect the imagination—such as words or spells—could transform the body through it. Burton, in fact, makes precisely this point. In a discussion on the imagination, he claimed that “All the world knows there is no vertue in such Charmes, or Cures, but a strong conceit and opinion alone, as Pomponatius holds, which forceth a motion of the humors, spirits and bloud, which takes away the cause of the maladie from the parts affected.” 31 Like Cotta, who dismisses this causal chain as “vncertain and vaine,” but does not actually deny its effects, Burton derides the power of charms, but does so in a way that ultimately offers a blueprint for explaining their power. Other critics of spells agreed with Cotta in identifying their effects with rhetoric and persuasion. The German doctor Johannes Oberndoerffer, in a treatise translated by College of Physicians member Frances Herring in 1612, complained of doctors who gain patients’ credulity and loyalty through eloquence. The mock doctor that he caricatures has no skills other than verbal facility: hee laboureth to excell in Garrulitie, and much Babling: his Tongue being like a Lambs Tale, or Aspen leafe, which neuer lyeth still, but is alwayes wagging. And since he cannot come neare others in sound Learning, Iudgement, and Skil in his Art, he will be sure to goe farre beyond them in Childish, Foolish, Vnsauourie, Tedious and Tiersome Loquacitie. 32 Although this garrulous physician does not resort to the supernatural for his cures, in his reliance on words he is not far removed from practitioners of spells, who may colourably and cunningly hide their grosse Ignorance, when they know not the Cause of the Disease, referre it vnto Charmes, Witchcrafts, Magnificall Incantations, and Sorcerie, vainely, and with

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a brazen forehead, affirming that there is no way to help them, but by Characters, Circles, Figure castings, Exercismes, Coniurations, and other Impious, and Godlesse Meanes. 33 Oberndoerffer identifies these tricks with magic, but the juxtaposition of these two passages suggests that in the eyes of skeptical doctors, reliance on words was a slippery slope. If “Charmes, Witchcrafts, Magnificall Incantations, and Sorcerie” were not authorized by the magical or religious powers they invoked, whatever power they exerted must lie in the persuasive content of words alone: a power that could be closely approximated by the soothing words of a charismatic and eloquent physician. Oberndoerffer’s own language, in fact, is laced with the incantatory verbal hijinks he scorns, exploiting them for the purpose of persuasion. Spells, then, might only be an extreme form of rhetoric: artfully arranged words designed to manipulate the imagination, inducing both emotional and physical effects.

III. Embodied Words Embedded in their attacks, skeptics such as Cotta and Oberndoerffer implicitly offer a theory for the workings of spells, one which resonates with recent research on the placebo effect and the influence of stress on the immune system: words affect the body through their influence over the imagination and the emotions. Important though this argument is, however, it only partially explains early modern spells. The imprint of words on the imagination may well alter bodies, but how do obscure languages and nonsense syllables achieve this effect? And how can words infiltrate the mind through the skin, or tongue? Spells cast on animals underline this problem; even if animals have imaginations that are susceptible to human language, words tied into manes or fed in bread take a circuitous route into their patients’ consciousness. If spells are primarily directed toward deities or spirits rather than the patients they treat, we may see them as having a communicative force, but not one that fully accounts for their apparently direct impact on the body. As a synecdoche for language more generally, spells suggest that words have a power beyond the rhetorical: they exert a physical force of their own. The idea at the root of spells—that words are intrinsically material phenomena—has extensive roots in Renaissance thought. Although written words take a more obviously tangible form, and feature heavily in medical spells, discussions of the materiality of language emphasize


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the spoken word, with its immediate rootedness in the body. Writing on the power of words sung to music, the philosopher Marsilio Ficino noted, For this too is air, hot or warm, still breathing and somehow living; like an animal, it is composed of certain parts and limbs of its own and not only possesses motion and displays passion but even carries meaning like a mind, so that it can be said to be a kind of airy and rational animal. 34 Words, to Ficino, are alive and potent because they emanate directly from the body, carrying heat and breath, as well as a spiritual essence. Words become not only animate but animal, a physical force with motion, passion, and meaning. Strikingly, however, words are not only material, but simultaneously symbolic: crucially to its effectiveness, the breath that conveys words “even carries meaning like a mind.” This warm, breathing, quasi-alive substance is at the heart of what Ficino describes as “a natural power in speech, song, and words.” 35 The physical force that carries over into written words as well, then, derives not only from the material origins of words in the body, but from the way they conjoin this materiality with representational power. Other Renaissance philosophers drew on similar ideas to explain the effects of words not only on people, but on inanimate objects. Cornelius Agrippa, for instance, wrote that an uttered word hath a certain act in the voice, and properties of locution, and is brought forth with the breath of a man, with opening of his mouth, and with the speech of his tongue, in which nature hath coupled the corporeall voice, and speech to the mind.    Words therefore are the fittest medium betwixt the speaker and the hearer, carrying with them not only the conception of the mind, but also the virtue of the speaker with a certain efficacy unto the hearers, and this oftentimes with so great a power, that    they change not only the hearers, but also other bodies, and things that have no life. 36 Like Ficino, Agrippa roots the bodily effects of words in the observation that words themselves are bodily effects, built of voice, breath, mouth, and tongue. This idea leads him directly to the argument that words convey not only intellectual meaning, but “virtue,” or power. Speech, to him, is both animate and corporeal, and exploits these qualities in transforming its hearers. And while individual words may exert power,

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Agrippa notes that there is even more force in “many words joyned together, as in sentences, and verses, and of the vertues, and astrictions of charms.” 37 As in music, rhythm and pattern intensify already powerful effects. This notion of language as corporeally based recurs throughout early modern English writings. In the theater, a medium highly self-conscious about language and its effects on hearers, playwrights frequently identify words with breath. 38 “What is honour?” Falstaff asks in Henry IV, Part One. “A word. What is in that word ‘honour’? What is that ‘honour’? Air.” 39 Gertrude reassures Hamlet that “if words be made of breath, / And breath of life, I have no life to breathe / What thou hast said to me” (3.4.181–183). When Emilia promises Othello that nothing untoward took place between Desdemona and Cassio, she guarantees that she “heard / Each syllable that breath made up between ‘em’ ” (4.2.4–5), and Cleopatra imagines kneeling at Caesar’s feet until “from his all-obeying breath I hear / The doom of Egypt” (3.13.77–78). The relationship between breathing and speaking is so intimate, in these passages, that at times the terms become nearly interchangeable. For some of these speakers, the implications of this link are prosaic—words are built of the air we breathe—but to others, its significance is further reaching. As Gertrude suggests, to equate speech with breath is implicitly to identify language with life itself. The “airy matter” of breath may be the most obviously material aspect of speech, but other moments in early modern drama portray words as affecting the body in a range of different ways. 40 Both written and oral words are imagined as physical objects that can be eaten and drunk. Posthumus, making his goodbyes to Imogen in Cymbeline, tells her that “with mine eyes I’ll drink the words you send / Though ink be made of gall” (1.1.101–102). Ophelia, describing her encounters with Hamlet prior to his madness, laments having “sucked the honey of his music vows” (3.1.155). Elsewhere, words have the violent impact of weapons striking the body. In Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick says of Beatrice that “She speaks poniards, and every word stabs” (2.1.216). Hamlet similarly says, of Gertrude, “I will speak daggers to her, but use none,” and she later confirms that “These words like daggers enter in mine ears” (3.2.366; 3.4.85). And words, of course, as this essay suggests, can also function as cures. “I / Do come with words as medicinal as true,” Paulina says when approaching the frenzied Leontes in The Winter’s Tale; “Honest as either, to purge him of that humour / That presses him from sleep” (2.3.36–39). “Give me leave / To speak my mind,” rants Jacques in As You Like It, “and I will through and through / Cleanse the foul


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body of th’infected world, / If they will patiently receive my medicine” (2.7.58–61). The emotional force of words in these examples—which are themselves spoken aloud in the theater—gives the words themselves a physical impact that is absorbed by the body, for better or for worse. Whether soothing, sharp, or caustic, spoken words promise to alter their hearers’ bodies in immediate and forceful ways. In these and other passages from plays, words occupy a complex status as simultaneously matter and some more rarefied symbolic substance. Yet even in their capacity as symbols, words are linked to the material world through an imagined identification with their referents. This notion is perhaps most explicitly (as well as strangely, and wittily) set forth in Twelfth Night: Feste: To see this age!—A sentence is but a cheverel glove to a good wit, how quickly the wrong side may be turned outward. Viola: Nay, that’s certain. They that dally nicely with words may quickly make them wanton. Feste: I would therefore my sister had had no name, sir. Viola: Why, man? Feste: Why, sir, her name’s a word, and to dally with that word might make my sister wanton. (3.1.10–18) If words and names are understood to not only represent but somehow embody their referents, their malleability is both exciting and threatening: to manipulate them may be simultaneously to manipulate the objects and persons that they name. Words affect matter, then, not only because they are material phenomena, but also because of their perceived connections to the meanings that they represent. Spells, from this perspective, derive their power at least in part from an intrinsic sway held by signs over the natural world. 41 Even apparent nonsense words, such as ABRACADABRA, offer stylized imitations of foreign tongues. As a material medium, words absorb this symbolic power into their physical form, through which bodies absorb and respond to it. These philosophical and literary reflections on the nature of language offer a useful complement to recipes for word-medicines. Contrary to popular impressions, spells are hardly an obscure and archaic phenomenon on the fringes of early medicine. Rather, the belief they illustrate—that words can alter bodies—forcefully calls our attention to pervasive thinking in the period about language as a medium that

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exerts a physical impact on the world. Word-medicines cast important light on early modern thought on both language and embodiment, because their extensive popularity represents the most forceful articulation, and most practical application, of widely held beliefs in the tangible effects of words. Deriving their curative power from their simultaneously material, affective, and representational status, medical spells expose the fragility of the boundaries not only between the body and the world that surrounds it, but also between the categories into which we divide that world.

Acknowledgements For thoughtful comments on this essay, I am grateful to Katharine Craik, Matthew Greenfield, Holger Schott Syme, Gina Bloom, Pam Brown, Bianca Calabresi, Julie Crawford, Nancy Selleck, Cristine Varholy, and Will Stenhouse.

Notes 1. From “Tractatus Magici,” Sloane Mss. 3846, 14v. This spell, like many of the ones in this chapter, was brought to my attention by Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971), 180–181. For more background on this and related verbal medicines, see especially Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 177–211, and Roy Porter, “Medicine and the Decline of Magic,” Cheiron Newsletter: European Society for the History of the Behavioral and Social Sciences (Spring, 1988), 40–46. 2. On the body and its physical environment, see the other chapters in this book, as well as Gail Kern Paster,The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993) and Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); Michael Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Mary Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); and The Body in Parts: Fantasies of Corporeality in Early Modern Europe, ed. David Hillman and Carla Mazzio (London and New York: Routledge, 1997). 3. See Oxford English Dictionary entries on spell. John Aubrey, in his account of word-medicines, offers the etymological note that “Spell is old English for word, so Gospell [is] God’s word” (John Aubrey, Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme [1686–1687], ed. James Britten [London: W. Satchell, Peyton & Co, 1881], 125). 4. On speech acts, see J. L. Austin, How To Do Things With Words, ed. J. O. Urmson and Marina Sbisà (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962, repr. 1975). The possibility that dangerous spells might be activated accidentally,




7. 8.

9. 10.



Spelling the Body when being read aloud or play-acted rather than intentionally executed, was a matter of significant concern in the early modern period; see Holger Schott, “The Trials of Orality in Early Modern England, 1550–1625” (Harvard PhD thesis, 2004), esp. 71–84. Thomas notes, for instance, that the “pronunciation of Catholic prayers in Latin long remained a common ingredient in the magical treatment of illness” (Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 179). Anthropologists have similarly approached the question of spells in other cultures primarily in terms of theories of magic; see, for example, S. J. Tambiah, “The Magical Power of Words,” Man n.s. 3 (1968), 175–208. Robert Scribner, for example, has argued that despite the popular understanding of the Reformation as “desacralizing the world,” in fact Luther’s elevation of language, especially that of the Bible, as the ultimate authority meant that “the Word of God became for him the overwhelming sacramental experience, the sole means through which created humanity could come to knowledge of the divine.” See Scribner, “The Reformation, Popular Magic, and the ‘Disenchantment of the World’,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 23: 3 (1993), 475–494, esp. 483. See also Ramie Targoff, Common Prayer: The Language of Public Devotion in Early Modern England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), on the centrality of public, communal rituals in Protestant prayer and services. From Borthwick, R. VI. A 10, f. 61, cited in Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 179. Aubrey, Gentilisme, 124, and Miscellanies    (London, 1696), 106. The Latin that Aubrey attributes to Bathurst is somewhat garbled, but it is not clear whether the errors are Bathurst’s or Aubrey’s own. I am grateful to Gina Bloom for calling my attention to this detail. Spells that involve the direct consumption of words date back at least to the ancient Greek world. One spell for memory directs the user to “Take hieratic papyrus and write the prescribed names with Hermaic myrrh ink. And once you have written them as they are prescribed, wash them off into spring water from seven springs and drink the water on an empty stomach for 7 days while the moon is in the east. But drink a sufficient amount.” See Hans Dieter Betz, ed., The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, Including the Demonic Spells (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 9. Aubrey, Gentilisme, 125. Although he cannot offer a direct explanation in this latter instance, he suggests, “Perhaps this spell may be the anagramme of some sence or recipe: as Dr Bathurst hath discovered in Abracadabra, which I thought had been nonsense.” The same recipe appears, with less annotation, in Miscellanies, 107. Papers of Sir John Floyer, as quoted in John Hewitt, “Medical Recipes of the Seventeenth Century,” The Archaeological Journal 29 (1872), 75 and 76. Similar recipes for mad dogs were widespread; in 1601 Oliver Den apparently used “to write certain words in a piece of bread which he giveth to dogs bitten with a mad dog, thereby to keep them from it,” and on another occasion “did take apples and cut them into halves and did take the half parts of these apples and wrote certain letters on them, and gave the same to the said hogs [bitten by mad dogs], by which he said he would keep the said hogs from running mad or    . dying.” See Ely D.R., B2/20, f. 48, cited in Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 183.

Tanya Pollard 185 13. Henry Chettle, Kind-Hartes Dreame (1592), ed. G. B. Harrison (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1966), 32–33. 14. Curiously, spells that feature burning words seem to be peculiarly suited to toothaches. Another example, “To Cure the Tooth-ach, out of Mr. Ashmole’s Manuscript Writ with his own Hand,” cites “ ‘Mars, hur, abursa, aburse / Jesu Christ for Marys sake, / Take away this Tooth-ach.’ Write the words Three times; and as you say the Words, let the Party burn one paper, then another, and then the last. He says, he saw it experimented, and the Party immediately cured” (Aubrey, Miscellanies, 107). 15. William Perkins, A Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft (Cambridge, 1608), 134 and 135. 16. Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584; repr., Arundel: Centaur Press, 1964), 189. 17. On the theories of language implicit in these attacks, see especially Thomas M. Greene, “Language, Signs, and Magic,” in Envisioning Magic, ed. Peter Schäffer and Hans G. Kippenberg (Leiden and New York: Brill, 1997), 255– 272. On theories of language in relation to spells more broadly, see also Greene, “Enchanting Ravishments: Magic and Counter-Magic in Comus,” in Opening the Borders: Inclusivity in Early Modern Studies, ed. Peter C. Herman (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1999), 298–323. 18. John Cotta, A Short Discouerie of the Vnobserued Dangers of seuerall sorts of ignorant and vnconsiderate Practisers of Physicke in England (London, 1612), 49. 19. Ibid., 49–50. 20. Ibid., 50. 21. On epistemological concerns within the academic medical tradition of this period, see Andrew Wear, “Epistemology and learned medicine in early modern England,” in Knowledge and the Scholarly Medical Traditions, ed. Don Bates (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 151– 173. 22. Cotta, A Short Discouerie of the Vnobserued Dangers, 11. 23. Perkins, A Discourse of the Damned Art, 153. Like spells, charms occupy an uneasy position between the material and the symbolic: a charm may be a physical object, such as an amulet, but it may also be a verbal incantation. 24. Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. Thomas C. Faulkner, Nicolas K. Kiessling, Rhonda L. Blair (1989; repr. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 6 vols, vol. 1; I.2.3.2; p. 253. 25. William Fulke, Answers to Stapleton, Martiall and Sanders, ed. Richard Gibbings, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1848), 157. 26. On early modern medicine and its debt to Galen, see especially Nancy Siraisi, Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). On the implications of Galenic thought for body/mind relations in the period’s literature, see especially Paster and Schoenfeldt. 27. Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, I.1.2.7, p. 152. On material consequences attributed to the imagination in the period, see Marie-Hélène Huet, Monstrous Imagination (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), and Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150–1750 (New York: Zone, 1998). On the imagination as a conduit for the power of words, and particularly literature, over the body, see Tanya Pollard, Drugs and Theater in Early Modern England (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), esp. 14–18.


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28. Thomas Fienus, De Viribus Imaginationis (Louvain, 1608), trans. in L.J. Rather, “Thomas Fienus’ (1567–1631) Dialectical Investigation of the Imagination as Cause and Cure of Bodily Disease,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 41 (1967), 349–367, 356. On the emotions and their relationship with the body in early modern thought, see Paster, Humoring the Body, and Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion, ed. Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, and Mary Floyd-Wilson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). 29. Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, I.2.3.2; p. 255. 30. Michel de Montaigne, “Of the Force of Imagination,” in The Essayes of Michel Lord of Montaigne, trans. John de Florio, 3 vols (1613; repr. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Everyman, 1910), 1.93. 31. Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, 254. He refers to Chapter 4 of the De Incantationibus of Pomponatius (also known as Pomponazzi), a sixteenthcentury Italian natural philosopher. 32. John Oberndorff, The Anatomyes of the True Physition, and Counterfeit Mountebanke, trans. F[rancis] H[erring] (London, 1602), 11. 33. Ibid., 16. 34. Marsilio Ficino, Three Books On Life, ed. and trans. Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark (Binghamton, NY: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, 1989), 359. 35. Ficino, 363. 36. Cornelius Agrippa, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, trans. J. F. (London, 1651), I, 152. 37. Ibid., I, 155. 38. Eloquent work on this topic includes Gina Bloom, “Words Made of Breath: Gender and Vocal Agency in King John,” Shakespeare Studies 33 (2005), 125– 155; and Carla Mazzio, “ ‘The History of Air’: Ghosts, Sighs, and the Necessity of Air in Shakespearean Drama,” paper presented at Shakespeare Association of America (Minneapolis, MN, 23 March, 2002), and in revised form as “Elements of Thought: Air and Intellect from Lucretius to Boyle,” at “Inhabiting the Body / Inhabiting the World” (Chapel Hill, NC, 20 March, 2004). 39. Henry IV Part One, in The Norton Shakespeare, eds, Stephen Greenblatt, Walter Cohen, Jean E. Howard, and Katharine Eisaman Maus (New York and London: Norton, 1997), 5.1.133–134. All subsequent quotations from Shakespeare’s plays refer to the Norton edition. 40. This phrase comes from Bloom, “Words Made of Breath,” 125. 41. See especially Brian Vickers, “Analogy Versus Identity: The Rejection of Occult Symbolism, 1580–1680,” in Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance, ed. Brian Vickers (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 95–163.

11 Humanist Habitats; Or, “Eating Well” with Thomas More’s Utopia∗ Julian Yates

Political ecology has nothing at all to do with “nature”—that blend of Greek politics, French Cartesianism, and American parks. Let me put it bluntly: political ecology has nothing to do with nature.    Political ecology.    has to do with associations of beings that take complicated forms—rules, apparatuses, consumers, institutions, mores, calves, cows, pigs, broods—and that it is completely superfluous to include in an inhuman and ahistorical nature. Nature is not in question in ecology: on the contrary, ecology dissolves nature’s contours and redistributes its agents. Bruno Latour, Politics of Nature (2004) 1

One of the signal achievements of recent work on questions of embodiment in Renaissance studies has been the adoption of network-based models of description in order to approach the variety of “ensouled bodies” or “embodied souls” whose traces we encounter in Renaissance texts. Increasingly, critics deploy the figure of an “embodied” or “extended mind,” the figure of a “network,” “ecology,” or some other associative grid to distribute metaphysical singularities such as affect, agency, emotion or memory across the subject/object divide. 2 Boundaries between person and environment blur. We discover that we are all “hybrids” or, as one cognitive scientist puts it, “natural-born cyborgs.” 3 This network-based model offers a descriptive language that appears closer to how Renaissance persons understood or experienced their own bodies as ongoing transactions with a world that possessed them as much as they strove to possess it. 4 Ecology makes us more effective readers of Renaissance texts. We recognize the (now true) strangeness of 187

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the past even as that strangeness is remediated by a superior interpretive model. Critics of science studies and cognitive science have been quick to make the point that the descriptions produced by network-models frequently reinstall a retro-humanist perspective even as they seem to void or question what we understand to be “human.” The sheer “exteriority,” “difference,” or “otherness” of the non-human, animal spirits, say, coursing through our veins, appears only to disappear, domesticated to a logic of attachment and extension that privileges the “transparency” or unproblematic usefulness of technologies that extend the mind over the way our attachment to “things” renders the distinction between different beings confused or “opaque.” 5 By privileging the “transparency” or docility of good “attachments,” the figure of extension threatens to reanimate the old figure of the Burckhardtian humanist as he who simply masters his various attachments and so who detaches himself from “things.” The terms change, but the terrain remains the same. In our case, the credentialing of network-based readings of literary texts as more historically responsible, more akin to the experiences recorded in textual fragments than other modes of analysis, enacts this problem. Our terms change but the protocols by which we legitimate our practices and our readings remain the same. Political or social chronology remains the gold standard. We continue to ratify our procedures in terms of their fidelity to an irrecoverable object we name “past,” rather than inquiring into our role as actors in a network of persons, texts, and readers, named the “humanities,” which we continue to understand as a repository of information about a “past.” The problem these critics identify is one of incomplete or insufficient translation. As a first step, our adoption of ecological models marks an undeniable critical gain. They offer us a very powerful mode of description that refuses dualistic categories and so enables us to recognize key properties of pre-Cartesian texts. We employ them precisely because they enable us to make sense of the “complicated forms” we find in Renaissance texts that binary or dualistic models of self/body regularize too neatly. But, as the quotation from sociologist Bruno Latour that prefaces this chapter signals, the adoption of ecological models ought to transform our object so completely that we are forced to rethink the very ground of our study. In the passage from the negative thesis “political ecology has nothing at all to do with ‘nature’ ” to the positive definition “ecology dissolves nature’s contours and redistributes its agents,” Latour demonstrates how “ecology” so completely deterritorializes its object, the “complicated form” we call the world, that it dissolves all the

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old terms and terminology. Ecology emerges not as a neutral language of description but as a rhetorical model or metaphor that will itself produce new kinds of worlds. Whereas the language of an “environment” narrates the “world” retrospectively, speaking of “subjects” and “objects” or “culture” and “nature” as separate and yet still entangled entities, ecology assumes an inhuman perspective. It regards the things we call “persons” and their “environments” as coproductions, durable if still artificial constellations, in an otherwise non-linear system, which it aspires to represent without reduction. If it seems that this is just a matter of perspective, then that is exactly right. Terms and terminology matter because environmental or ecological metaphors are themselves rhetorical transports allied to material practices. They establish routes which persons, things, and ideas take. For Latour, the quality that makes us “human” is that we “make things [animals, plants, geographical features] into objects that stabilize social relations (e.g. the plate [or table] stabilizes eating arrangements, the weapon formalizes conflict, [the play establishes a script for how to feel]).” 6 Once the network of actors that makes up a “person” or an “environment” is performed, however, it disappears, or, to speak the language of sociology, it is subject to “blackboxing.” Its products become agents or inputs for further acts of making. 7 We “forget” the host of “things” that made us in order to make some “thing” ourselves. What an “environment” forgets in order to cohere around its human subjects, “ecology” attempts to recover or remember. It is a tool for attempting to respond to the “feedback” (positive and negative) we receive from all the “things” we put to use. 8 It aims to overcome the structural forgetfulness that is the necessary condition of our use of the world by assuming an inhuman perspective with regard to the structures we inhabit. Implicit in Latour’s definition of ecology then is a wholesale deterritorialization of terms and an unmooring of all the landmarks (persons, texts, events) that constitute our stories. If we adopt the model but do not rethink the terrain as a whole, there is a danger that, for all our fluency in networks, the familiar old categories, still freighted with the same social and political significance, will remain tacitly in place. While it is tempting, then, to light on Latour’s sidelining of Cartesian terms as the gesture we co-opt, enabling us (finally) to understand or even access pre-Enlightenment somatic practices as such, we should understand that sidelining Descartes means foregoing the mode of historical emplotment that makes him “Descartes.” 9 To truly adopt ecological models would instead require imagining other kinds of traffic with

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the texts we name “past,” constructing alternative maps or routes, alternate chronologies than those premised on a human subject. Ecological or network-based models should lead us to inquire into our own writing practices, directing us back to our institutional home to investigate the nature of our expertise. In network-based terms, for example, an historian or literary critic exists as a relay for managing and disseminating the texts marked as “past” in the archive. He or she serves as a guardian of the great variety of forms, routines, genres, housed in the humanities, which function as operations or technologies for making persons—processes that in another language we have been accustomed to calling ideology. 10 These routines exist in order to bring particular varieties of “self” and “environment” into existence, to create variously humanist “persons” and variously humanist “habitats.” My aim in this chapter is to offer a network-based reading of one of the founding texts of our own humanist habitat, Thomas More’s “Truly Golden Handbook” for producing “The Best State of a Commonwealth” called Utopia (1516). 11 But to do so requires that we adjust our sense of chronology and read Utopia less as a text that belongs to an historical period for which it stands surety than as a formalizing “event” in the story of human making and manufacture. What would it mean to read Utopia as having inaugurated a script which we are still essentially playing out, and which we have in no sense advanced beyond? Following Lisa Jardine and Anthony Grafton, I assume a certain continuity between the pedagogical procedures of Renaissance humanists and the institution we call the “humanities,” and so read Utopia as a set of routines for making persons and forming collectives. 12 My network-based reading will inquire into how this model works, what it may be said to produce—both in the way of insights about how social groups are configured and in the way of “persons.” Book I is animated by concerns very close to our own. It asks how it may be that an ostensibly Christian Tudor England is able to rationalize all the “negative feedback” it produces—that is so many poor, landless, and increasingly criminalized persons alongside all those well-fed sheep and leisured landlords? Book II provides a fictive but ambiguously valorized “answer” by demonstrating one way to model or optimize a collective so as to minimize this kind of social dislocation. 13 In doing so, the text produces a model of inquiry that attempts to open the black box of the social to effect change. Ultimately, my reading of the text will suggest that the function of the text’s descriptions is as much to recruit and manufacture good humanists as it is to model a “perfect Commonwealth,”

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and that there might be something very useful for us to remember in recognizing that, for More, these two “goals” (more readers and a “perfect Commonwealth”) may, in any case, have been one and the same.

I. Eco-topia One of the defining characteristics of Utopia, as Frederic Jameson observes, is that even as it founds a genre it exhausts or completes it— since 1516, in other words, despite all of its reanimations, the trope has been idling. 14 At certain moments its animating power resurfaces, as in 1968, the year that sees the appearance of both Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed and Louis Marin’s Utopics: The Semiological Play of Textual Spaces, but no truly “new” or unscripted move within the genre is possible. Marin refers explicitly to the “revolutionary féte” of Paris 1968 as a moment when “for a few weeks historical time was suspended, institutions and the Law itself in its totality challenged in and by speech, communication circuits reopened between those who near or far were drawn within it.” 15 Time stopped. It was not that Eutopia (the happy place or place of the “well”) came into existence, but that the figure held the force of history at bay, enabling a multiplicity of human actors to inquire into their conditions of existence and speak of them. The elaborated networks that produced the world were available for discussion. The black box of the social was somehow laid open to view. For Jameson, however, this proroguing or retarding effect is part of Utopia’s ambivalent status in Marxist theory as the figure that “accompanies ideological discourse as its converse and designates the still empty place of a scientific theory of society” (Marxism itself). In other words, utopian discourse is a typological pre-figuration of Marxist theory proper. It is productive but also potentially debilitating. For, from this perspective, More’s text might be said to author a script according to which intellectuals tend to “over-emphasi[ze]    the power of rationality in general” and which signals “More’s dawning awareness of the inefficacy of those fundamental humanist instruments and categories which are rhetoric and persuasion.” 16 The text assumes the power of rationality as a by-product of the humanist endeavor and produces a script in which we remain hooked on the illusory hope of achieving immanence to the network or system that produced us, of placing in the hands of one individual the power to know and to change an

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“environment.” 17 Jameson’s suggestion has clear resonance with many of the most influential recent readings of the text—especially with the self-canceling More we receive from Stephen Greenblatt, and the parallel, if less inspiring, figure Richard Halpern gives us of the bourgeois consumer who wishes to achieve a state of equilibrium in his exchanges with the world (input equals output). 18 In Latour’s terms, Utopia might be said to interrupt or momentarily to reroute the procedures we have for shifting “things” into our collectives. The hiatus-effect it generates is what will become the governing trope of ecology itself. 19 The technologies or networks that produce “person” and “environment” grind to a halt. “Things” or ingredients speak, take on faces, and demand the attention of their consumers not in order to extol their usefulness or blazon themselves in terms of their use-values but in order to make a case for their inclusion as citizens in the collective. But what seems startling about these hiatus effects is less their ability to found a new and positive Commonwealth (Book II) than to attract readers. The prefatory letters and materials to the Utopia insist on the efficacy of its techniques, advertising the kinds of transformational experiences readers can expect. Marked generically as a Libellus or handbook, the text announces itself as a guide to the optimization of persons and collectives. It encourages its humanist readers to esteem it in these terms, not only as a self-conscious rhetorical exercise but also as a set of routines by which, despite their canniness, readers find themselves refashioned. In one of the many letters that the text accretes, William Budé writes to Thomas Lupset thanking him for the loan of “the six books of The Preservation of Health by Galen” and a copy of the Utopia. We learn that, though beset with renovation work on his country estate, Budé becomes so caught up in reading the book that “[he] almost neglected and even forsook the management of household affairs” (4/5). Budé’s reading of the text transforms his relationship to “things,” diverts him from everyday concerns, as he “perceived the trumpery in all the theory and practice of domestic economy and in absolutely all anxiety for increasing one’s revenue.” “This model of the happy life and this rule for living” (beatae uitae exemplar, ac uiuendi praescriptum) (12/13), as Budé describes it, alters people. It renders them idle. It possesses them, or at least leads them to claim that it has done so. Moreover, the appearance of More’s otherwise almost wholly unhumoral text in the company of Galen, a Galen valued precisely not for his efficacy as a medical text but for the quality of Thomas Linacre’s translation from Greek to Latin, and the characterization of Utopia as

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a “rule for living well,” marks the text not merely as the record of one man’s “self-fashioning” but as a manual which encourages or engages readers in a conversation about that very practice. Utopia is a text and an activity for perfectly titrated bodies, then, for bodies that seem almost to “forget” the need for continuous selfmonitoring and regulation. In Budé’s case, the text suspends the routines of everyday life, it induces neglect, and with that neglect an ironic or “humorous” awareness of the telos that guides the use of particular technologies—in Budé’s case of the “vain trumperies” of private property. Utopia seems to proceed then from the recognition that what, following Michel Foucault, we have called “technologies of the self,” regimes, diets, somatic routines, literally “recipes” for producing different configurations of persons, are best understood, in nonanthropomorphic terms, as ways of ingesting or introjecting various non-human entities (foods, ideas, words, and routines), so that they are brought to bear on human relations. 20 “Technologies of self” are also techniques for producing “environments.” To study the two products separately is to obscure the fact that both “persons” and “things” are cohabitants in a “complicated form” which we scramble or render unintelligible when we privilege one perspective. The guiding questions of moral philosophy (how to “live well”) and political philosophy (what constitutes a healthy commonwealth, collective or “environment”?) are fragments of a single question. Utopia hybridizes the two. It describes a reformed commonwealth (Book II). And it offers a practical demonstration of humanist rhetorical debate (Book I) which, as Marina Leslie has argued, is “generative,” continually extending itself, continually folding its readers into its world, rendering them bearers of its phrases, mimetic performers of its tropes, which they in turn disseminate. 21 Utopia proves infectious. It naturalizes a script in which knowledge of a network proceeds from a figure of detachment or withdrawal, what Budé represents as a voiding of all matters of business (omnium industriamque oeconomicam) or, elsewhere, “negocia” (negotium), stopping all traffic or transaction with the world. This idling or idleness, this hiatus-effect, takes two forms. In Book I it manifests as a series of anti-mimetic effects that aims to recover missing or occluded actors in the production of Tudor England and More’s own text. In Book II it appears in the way Utopia engineers a society that regulates the pursuit of otium or leisure as a state of productive knowing or knowledge of the system that produces you, a condition unfortunately almost indiscernible from idleness.

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II. Hiatus effects Early on in Book I, Raphael tells the story of a dinner he attended at Cardinal Morton’s table. The content of the scene is important but so also is the way Raphael offers readers a tutorial on how to influence one’s betters, how to ensure that you keep their attention, transforming a conversation or argument into a monologue. In order to rebut the arguments of an objectionable English lawyer who maintains that the poor “might maintain themselves” by “farming” or other “manual crafts,    if they did not voluntarily prefer to be rascals” (60/61), Raphael summons a flock of sheep: “Your sheep,” I answered, “which are usually so tame and so cheaply fed, begin now, according to report, to be so greedy and wild that they devour human beings themselves and devastate and depopulate fields, houses, and towns. In all those parts of the realm where the finest and therefore costliest wool is produced, there are noblemen, gentlemen, and even some abbots, though otherwise holy men, who are not satisfied with the annual revenues and profits which their predecessors used to derive from their estates. They are not content, by leading an idle and sumptuous life, to do no good to their country; they must also do it positive harm. They leave no ground to be tilled; they enclose every bit of land for pasture; they pull down houses and destroy towns, leaving only the church to pen the sheep in. (65–67) Raphael animates the sheep of England as a flock of homicidal, maneating beasts that literally consume the rightful human inhabitants of the land out of house and home, feeding on people-grass in order to fill their owners’ stomach-purses. In a perverse reversal of pastoral (and pastoral care) metaphorical shepherds become wolves, enabling Raphael to make the depredations of enclosure visible to his host. As ecological historians remark, “because cloth production requires exceptional investments of labor and materials, it is always potentially competitive with the agricultural and military exigencies of the polity. [‘Sheep eat men’ was the expression for this in sixteenth-century England].” 22 This sheepy reversal has occasioned much significant commentary— especially from those readers fascinated by the way Utopia enacts a penetrating mode of ideological critique (Book I) while, installing another ideological representation within the host-representation it dereifies (Book II). In his Poetics and Politics of Primitive Accumulation, for example,

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Richard Halpern remarks on how these metonymic sheep perfectly “parod[y] the corresponding metonymy that allows the lawyer to blame [enclosure’s] human victims.” 23 Raphael responds to the lawyer in kind, metonymy for metonymy, revealing the conceptual, which is to say ideological, structure that enables the reduction of persons to things, and here, to what are treated as a species apart, less than human—thieves, vagrants, and the poor. As Halpern continues, “by reproducing the lawyer’s logic on these dummy subjects, Hythlodaeus reveals the purely simulacral nature of the ‘voluntary preference’ for stealing and thus dereifies the lawyer’s ethical discourse.” Likewise, in Marin’s account, this same flock of sheep serves merely as so much “raw material,” 24 presaging the way, for Marin, that Book II constitutes a conservative response to the disclosures of Book I, turning back the clock, to produce a hybridized feudal model of the manor. But what else should we expect? Raphael’s concern is with keeping his audience and with what the ovine figure makes visible. His metonymic tit for tat that produces a flock of wolfish sheep marks a mode of reading that pays attention precisely to this missing or retrospective causation, discovering the missing or occluded agent via the metonymic linkages from which the final result—so many poor people in England— appears detached. This mode of reading deploys a citational ecological perspective, momentarily animating non-human actors in the networks that produce “persons” and “environments.” Here those actors are the rightful citizens of an England that has transformed them into criminals but which claims not to understand how this could be the case. Raphael opens the black box of the social in order to raise Cardinal Morton’s consciousness. And the way he does so is so compelling that he wins the day and is invited to continue speaking over the objections of the said English lawyer. “Even while I was giving this harangue,” Raphael tells us, “the lawyer had been busily preparing himself to reply,” but just as he starts, the Cardinal interrupts him and tells him to “hold your peace” (70/71). The true “product” of this scene then is the sound of Raphael’s voice at a table at which all the talk is now his. And this signals the way, for More, Raphael’s moment of critique serves as a forerunner to an act of making. The disorienting rhetorical hit provided by a flock of homicidal sheep creates two products: an awareness of the structural reasons for a social ill and the sound of a man’s voice, an accomplished, persuasive man’s voice, talking. This is all, of course, to say that Raphael’s sheep are not real sheep at all. They are sheep pressed to service in the zoographics of the text and so, despite their different function, allied to the other

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anti-mimetic effects the text generates: the ape who defaces a copy of Theophrastus and thereby the Utopian library; the servant whose cough obscures the location of the island; or the quibble that More and John Clement have over the actual length of the “bridge which spans the river Anydrus” in Utopia (40/41). The sheep are part and parcel of the redundancy effects that More’s text generates as it ostentatiously kicks over its own traces, stage-managing accidents or contingencies in its textual transmission and asking us to wink, to join him at the table, which he extends toward us, to join him in “eating” the sheep, or whatever other “dummy subjects” or “raw material” we bring with us. For just as Raphael recruits Cardinal Morton, so More’s text recruits us. For, prescient as its critique of Tudor England may be, Utopia is first a machine for producing good humanists and, as Jardine and Grafton caution us, eventually the institution we call the “humanities” itself. 25 “You too can be a humanist,” the text appears to say—but be careful, there are risks. Make sure that you are not merely an idler. Make sure that your leisure has a use.

III. Otium as technique Given everything he wrote, that contemporaries wrote about him, and much that we still write today, it seems almost impossible to imagine that Thomas More was ever bored. Melancholy, listlessness, and indifference were apparently foreign to him. Never, so it seems, did he find himself “abandon[ed] in emptiness” (Leergelassenheit), as Martin Heidegger will describe the experience of “profound boredom” (tiefe Langweile), four centuries later. 26 For Heidegger boredom serves as the constitutive quality of the human, signifying our status as simply “an animal that has learned to become bored; [that] has awakened from its own captivation [by things] to its own captivation.” 27 From this “waking,” this awareness of “being-captivated,” stems the possibility of philosophy, of an inquiry into the nature of the good, of “living well,” and of questioning the relationship between “person” and “environment.” Obviously, More could know nothing of the peculiar experience of waiting for the next train at some “tasteless station of some lonely minor railway” which serves as “a sort of locus classicus of the experience of boredom” and so for theory-making in twentieth-century philosophy. The world of disposable “things” (train timetables, magazines, chocolate bars, cigarette stubs, and fellow passengers) which present themselves to the traveler everywhere, but which fail to “captivate,” was unknown to him.

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When, for example, More does find himself with time on his hands in Antwerp, cut loose from his fellow diplomats while Charles V’s ambassadors head back to Brussels to check with him on several points, his time fills with people and places. While Heidegger finds himself “walk[ing] up and down, just to find something to do,” More fills his time with improving activities. He visits the table of a friend, or rather the friend of a friend (Erasmus), Peter Giles. He attends the “divine service at Notre Dame.” He has his encounter with Raphael Hythlodaeus, and so learns of the island of Utopia. The international humanist networks, maintained by the mutually enabling circuits of friendship and letter writing, ensure that More will never be far from a potential meal or conversation. His associations ensure that he is never idle even when he is idling. But as the mixing of “real” and “fictive” experiences in this brief summary of his “vacation” suggests, even in its account of its own writing, the Utopia already raises a question concerning leisure, “free time,” of that vexed quality named otium which it is so difficult to tell from wasteful idleness. In a letter to Ulrich von Hutten in 1519, Erasmus writes, “More had written the second part [of Utopia] because he was at leisure [per otium],” in Antwerp, “and the first part he afterwards dashed off as opportunity offered [ex tempore per occasionem].” 28 This is the story that most biographers, editors, and critics have followed. Even as the text confuses the relationship between those details it asks us to process as referential or as “reality effects” and those at which it asks us to “wink,” its drive toward naturalizing its own discourse is so strong that, like Budé, we are transported. Like it or not, by the dissemination of Erasmus’s story More becomes the super or supra-humanist figure who achieves perfect detachment from the world, immanence to his environment, and so is able to write the Utopia. In William Roper’s The Life of Sir Thomas More, for example, we find that More is always in transit, always described in relation to the true landmarks of his age—the tables at which one day he will sit, joining the Great in their conversations. Roper patterns More’s life as a move from “this child here waiting at the table,” as Cardinal Morton refers to him, in order to indicate the young boy whose “flair for the theatrical” 29 attracts attention; to an invitation to “supper” with Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon (202); thence to the King visiting him for dinner and a walk at Chelsea (208); and finally to the sad come to pass of a man, still worth 100 pounds a year, unable to find the money to pay for “the meat, drink, fuel, apparel, and such other necessary things” for his family.

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More himself fosters this image in his prefatory letter to Peter Giles apologizing for how long it took him to write up this “little book” (38/39), which merely transcribes Raphael’s narration. The problem, writes More, was that his “other tasks left [him] practically no leisure [temporis] at all.” These “tasks” include: the law; courtesy visits to important men. And then, “when [he has] returned home    talk[ing] with [his] wife, chat[ting] with [his] children, and confer[ring] with    servants.” “All of this activity,” More concludes, “I count as business [negocia] when it must be done    unless you want to be a stranger in your own home” (38/39). But “when, then, can we find time to write?” he asks. “Nor have I spoken a word about sleep, nor even of food, which for many people takes up as much time as sleep— and sleep takes up almost half a man’s life.” Utopia was written with whatever time (tempus) More “filch[es]” from sleep and food (40/41). Writing is subtracted from eating and sleeping, from the maintenance of the body, according to a very precise calculus or technology. This technology will produce the “More” who passes into history, the “More” we reproduce from one strategy of reading all the pieces of paper or parchment that he generates. But encrypted here in the relationship between “reality effects” that pass as perfectly mimetic (More was in the Netherlands, visited Peter Giles) and the “fictive” elements we process as imitatio (modesty topos) is an investigation into questions of making and manufacture, into the relationship between inputs and outputs. Indeed, at the end of Book I, just as Raphael is about to describe Utopia proper, the text calls attention to the specific nature of the relationship between negotium and otium. “My dear Raphael,” says More, “I beg    you, give us a description of the island. Do not be brief, but set forth in order the terrain, the rivers, the cities, the inhabitants, the traditions, the customs, the laws    everything which you think we should like to know    . And you must think we wish to know everything of which we are still ignorant” (108/109). In response to this call for a total description—a description, which as several critics have noted, produces something akin to a “white discourse” or which serves as the “very prototype of a narrative without a narrative subject and without characters,” 30 —Raphael asks not for time but for leisure or idleness. “There is nothing,” he declares, “I shall be more pleased to do    but the description will take [leisure] [sed res ocium poscit]”—not time. 31 “In that case,” replies More, “let us go in to dine. Afterwards, we shall take up as much time [tempus] as we like.” More, Raphael, and Giles go into dinner and then return to exactly the same place (“Pransi, in eundem reuersi locum, in eodem sedili consedimus”), and Raphael begins. Book II is a lot to take in

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a single sitting also, so a light supper is provided (“manu apprehendens intro coenatum duco” [244/245])—More takes Raphael by the hand and leads him into supper. The very conventionality of the meal as framing device is the key to its significance. As Michel Jeanneret observes, the use of meals in humanist texts is part of their language of affiliation with Platonic symposia and dialogue traditions. 32 The Erasmian dictum, “eddere et audire” (to eat and to listen) figures the “double pleasure” of “tak[ing] in stories while eating    supper.” 33 It represents one kind of table, one stage in the circuit or training that Roper uses to frame More’s life, waiting at table listening while a boy; sitting at table eating and talking or performing when a man. In the table-talk tradition, the meal itself is usually described, and usually accords with the nature of the conversation because, famously, digestion (ruminatio—“chewing the cud”) serves as the primary metaphor for acquiring humanist learning. The imitatio of traditional forms transforms both the routines and the person who performs them. Both a technology of “self” and the “environment,” this imitatio will produce past-tense products via what Tom Cohen calls a kind of predatory or “pro-active mimesis.” 34 Table talk is the scene of this rehearsal, of pre-performance. The Utopia, however, is a different order of narration. The utopian “res,” the immersion More requests, demands something more than time (“ocium poscit”). It demands leisure understood as a freedom from bodily and worldly concerns. Raphael’s description, his mimesis, requires the satisfaction of the needs of the body, so perfect a regulation of those needs that the body appears to be forgotten. The three men eat and then retire, observing the protocols of the Platonic symposium that requires a structural disassociation of the uses of the mouth. And so, Utopia or Eu-topia unfolds in the interval between dinner and supper. Food appears, but is not described. Food is a given. Utopia, then, is post-prandial: it may only be spoken of or thought of on a full stomach. Eating literally takes no textual time (space). Even though the dialogue figures an exit and re-entrance, the text loses no time to food. While Raphael is given a meal for his story, observing the traditional bonds of hospitality, the figure of exchange seems held at bay, alluded to and fulfilled so that it may be excluded. The men are at rest. Their bodies idle while their minds extend into the fictive space brought into being by Raphael’s descriptive imaging technology. They leave their bodies behind and are transported. The effect is not that of the “profound boredom” which Heidegger describes but it functions in a similar fashion. More and company

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Illustration 3 Hans Holbein, Hortus Conclusus. From Thomas More, Utopia (Basel, 1518). By permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

momentarily exit the world of everyday concerns and routines in order to inquire into the nature of things. In the course of Raphael’s narration in the garden setting, they suspend the usual routines and are treated to a quasi-cartographical description of the island of Utopia. In reading this scene, however, it is important to preserve the extreme neutrality of this figure of retreat, of the hiatus effect that otium signifies for humanist readers. In one sense, the scene registers the ultimate image of conviviality, naturalizing the image of a group of men carrying on a conversation. Then again, the garden setting which Hans Holbein’s 1518 engraving depicts as an hortus conclusus or locus amoenus produces a much less certain signal. As Brian Vickers has shown, the locus amoenus stands in tense relation to the positive quality of “otium honestum” or “otium negotiosum” (leisure with occupation, or application), usually identified with the city, and the negative quality of “otium otiosum unoccupied and pointless leisure.” 35 Book II is coded as the product of an uncertain process, a quality whose heights produce true knowledge and whose depths lead to moral and spiritual degeneration. Taking up this theme, Quentin Skinner reads the debate in Book I between an activist More who valorizes Roman civics and a retiring Raphael who prefers Platonic withdrawal concerning the pros and cons of taking up Royal service as the key to reading the uncertain status of Book II. In Book I Raphael voices the standard Platonic elevation

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of otium as the highest state of being only to be attacked “point for point    not merely from the general perspective of a Ciceronian civic humanist,” but by More speaking exactly the script Cicero provides in De Officiis. 36 For Skinner then, Utopia is an argument for an active life of public service and as he goes on to suggest, the disciplinary structure of Utopia itself, described in Book II, “forbid[s] otium and require[s] negotium from everyone.” 37 In Skinner’s view, the prohibition against private property, against a primary removal of self from public service, makes the text an intervention in a crucial humanist debate, challenging readers such as Budé to re-evaluate the terms by which he conducts his affairs. It is this figure of engaged virtue that produces the model of self-cancellation that we read as structuring the text—structuring, that is, the text understood in homology with the “More” it creates. Following Vickers, however, we might refine Skinner’s argument to suggest that Utopia does not eliminate otium exactly, but seeks to ensure that the only kind of otium possible is otium honestum or negotiosum, and that this positive otium is almost a permanent condition. As Raphael tells us, the Utopians are, after all, “very fond of their gardens” (121). King Utopos is lauded for his very careful urban planning, which ensured a plethora of green spaces all over his cities. “After supper,” as Raphael describes, “they [the Utopians] spend one hour in recreation, in summer in the gardens, in winter in the common halls in which they have their meals. There they either play music or entertain themselves with conversation” (129). Indeed, by their careful social engineering, the Utopians themselves appear to have created a collective that enables them to perfectly regulate their bodies, humoral or not. Their “environment” enables their individual well-being so effectively that, just as humanists read Galen for the beauty of Linnacre’s translation, the Utopians read Galen’s Ars Medica for pleasure. Their lifestyle, the “environment” or “habitat” they have created, the care and attention they pay to eating arrangements, dietetics, and their Epicurean definition of pleasure as the pursuit of good health, of social and physical hygiene, mean that they “live well.” Having “scarcely” any need for medicine, they value Hippocrates and Galen not for their use value but for their own sake, much as More and his fellows valued them for their Greek, as a privileged mode of knowledge. As Raphael tells us, “they regard the knowledge of [medicine] as one of the finest and most useful branches of philosophy.” They use this knowledge to explore “the secrets of nature    [and so] win the highest approbation of the Author and Maker of nature” in so doing. Invoking the figure of the Deus Opifex, they assume a divinity that “has set forth the visible mechanism of the world as a spectacle

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for man, whom alone He has made capable of appreciating it” (183). In doing so, they also, of course, attain the Archimedean point of knowing the rules of their system even as they participate within it. They accede to the fantasy that Jameson identified as the true product of Utopian thinking. In effect, the Utopians permanently inhabit the hiatus-effect that More’s text deploys. As busy as they are, they are always idling. Book II imagines an optimized humanist habitat, a world that eliminates the excesses to which undirected otium tends, answering Raphael’s concerns regarding counsel, by creating a world in which knowledge and praxis are one and the same thing. This is the positive re-engineering that Utopia accomplishes. What it models then is not a fictive place so much as the imagined international community of Renaissance humanism itself. The text does not enact a radical self-cancellation so much as it sponsors a mode of self-actualization. Idleness, finally, finds its usevalue. Otium becomes a perfectly regulated technique that enables the humanist project. 38 But of course there are problems. As so many critics have commented, the vision of Utopia Book II imagines coheres only because it figures a closed system. Utopia’s careful regulation of bodies, its directed otium, is possible only because of its situation. Its geographical peculiarity, a crescent-shaped island approachable only by sea, removed from other landmasses, enables its citizens to control their borders. Likewise, its rigid social structure which uses enslaved persons or mercenaries (non- and criminalized Utopians) to perform all the functions regarded as defiling by the Utopians—waste removal, slaughtering of animals, warfare—sloughs off socially unacceptable work to a class of human actors whom it processes as tools rather than “persons.” How then do we read the text’s advertising of what may be construed as Utopia’s own lacunae, its own problems with “transparency,” that is with all that it appears to “forget” in order to function? The answer lies back with Raphael’s sheep—with all that fails to find a place on or at the humanist table.

IV. “Eating well” The logic of subtraction that pertains in More’s optimized “humanist habitat”—otium honestum equals a carefully regulated tempus, tempus minus the time it takes to eat, sleep, talk to subordinates, conduct business—is precisely the logic of sacrifice that Jacques Derrida identifies as constitutive of our communities in his 1991 conversation with Jean-Luc Nancy, “Eating Well.” There, he recasts the question of how to “live well” as one of diet. 39 For Derrida, “eating well” becomes a way of

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troubling the boundaries between human and non-human, for opening the question of ontology. What is the status of animals, plants, and other non-human actors? “The moral question,” he says, “is thus not, nor has it ever been: should one eat or not eat, eat this and not that, the living or the non-living, man or animal—but because one must eat in any case and because it is and tastes good to eat    how for goodness sake, should one eat well?” What Derrida signals is that since eating is a necessity we are always at an ethical disadvantage. We are, essentially, always in the wrong. Prior to exchange our bodies are themselves exchangers of matter that must be maintained—which is exactly what the Utopian collective and the humanist body More imagines does so very well. For Derrida, constituting any community places us in an obliged relation to the world. To be human is precisely to have no rightful place at the table, no chair that is properly your own. And when the other comes calling, begging for room, it’s time to bunch up, and make room at the table, buy a new table; reconfigure the room, the boundaries of a country, or the curriculum. For More, however, this kind of ontological questioning serves as a tropic deployment, a rhetorical tool calculated to produce leveling effects that will serve as pre-cursors to the formation of new “environments.” Even as Utopia mounts a prescient diagnosis of private property as the obstacle to the ideological goals of humanism, it remains committed to a sacrificial economy that reckons the “human” as a set of procedures for ingesting all the beings we name “non-human.” This logic of subtraction is the essence of what Giorgio Agamben calls “the anthropological machine    [which] articulates the human through the suspension and capture of the inhuman.” 40 And this figure passes into our history as a series of images, the most powerful of which is that of the humanist conversation, a group of men talking around an essentially empty table. On this table, all the entities we regard as “food” must be an absent presence. As Utopia’s minute attention to the matter of eating signals, food must have been eaten but remains absent from the scene itself, as must be all that it stands for (women, class-marked labor, children, animals, and the body). The condition of the enslaved in Book II is no scandal to the text then, but rather the recognition of a necessary condition that constituting any “world” requires some kind of exclusion. Indeed, whereas the religious ideologies of Tudor England contradict its social arrangements, occulting the reasons why a sub-class exists, in Utopia the rules by which persons are enslaved are publicly acknowledged and even regarded with pride. Utopia is for Utopians—just as the table is for humanists. There are no empty seats. As the conversation

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unfolds, untroubled by the demands of the body, or the world of household affairs, the guests are transported—they enter the world of Book II, the optimized “humanist habitat” in which all may be known. It is this figure of immanence, achieved under very precise conditions, which yields the fiction of the autonomous user proof against what he wears and what he eats. It is important, however, to understand that, even for More and company, this figure was a fiction—possible only as a result of the specific network, the connections that someone like More worked so hard to create. When, for example, Hans Holbein illustrates this scene, he depicts John Clement, More’s servant, re-entering the garden carrying a flask of wine or ale. More, Giles, and Raphael remain where they are, in conversation, while Clement, who More does “not allow    to absent himself from any talk which can be somewhat profitable” (33/34), “catches    ” what he can in between his tasks. By the translation of the text from the verbal sound-scape of a dialogue to the visual regimen of the engraving, Holbein recovers the movement of persons that permits the movement of voices—highlighting the division of labor that produces the luxury of otium and also the figure of the humanist as kind of technique or technology of reason. In the garden, More and company cease, momentarily, to have bodies in this scene, and it is Clement who permits this disembodiedness; it is he who (like the slaves in Utopia itself) performs the work of translation, permitting the creation of More’s “free” time. More places Clement in the garden. Holbein has him moving back and forth. For the unpredictable demands of the body to be answered in advance (voided) Clement must be in two places at once. The dialogue form black-boxes the chain of connections that produce the sound of the conversation—namely Clement nipping in and out and catching what he can between tasks. Of course, Holbein’s recovery of the network is accidental, an artifact of the practice of illustration. It offers no purchase to readers. Clement would go on to marry More’s daughter and become the most popular teacher of philosophy at Oxford. He finds a seat at the table. Utopia, as we know, provides highly effective training.

V. Ruminatio The question then, to return to the concerns voiced by Derrida and those that animate Latour’s investments in ecological thinking, is how to change the script Utopia offers? How do we, in Agamben’s words, “render inoperative the machine that governs our conception of

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[the hu]man?” Agamben asks us to forgo the desire to produce more “authentic    articulations” in favor of demonstrations of the “central emptiness, the hiatus that—within man—separates man and animal.” 41 The point Agamben makes, I think, provides one way of understanding the project of this volume of essays. The figure of the human that emerges in this collection is one void of essence or an essential difference from “things,” but whose “soul” resides in how that difference was and continues to be manufactured. By our re-descriptions of canonical texts, then, the meaning of our conceptual landmarks is rewritten. The “past” that is assumed to have been is changed by our readings. Beyond that, it is hard to tell how to proceed. For us it may mean forgoing the access to the “past” that our fluency in networks or grids appears to grant us, a fluency that threatens to render the past “transparent” by rendering bodies “opaque.” The alternative would be to embark on what Latour calls an “experimental metaphysics,” and re-inhabit the Utopian project understood now as “a search for what makes up the common world”—an inventorying of all the ways of being (human and not) that share an interest in how we transform the world which we have been used to picturing in humanist terms as a table. 42 This entirely putative project would entail imagining different kinds of rhetorical figures than those afforded by the humanist script of ingestion, different ways of asking questions about what might be said to constitute “the Best State of a Commonwealth.” With regard to Utopia at least, the way forward may lie (back) with Raphael’s sheep. Raphael’s ovine summoning enacts one attempt to enlarge the table at which he sits, to make the plight of those who do not sit at the table visible, but the figure of the table itself remains in place as the dominant and determining figure of the collective. What might happen if Raphael granted the sheep of England a little more play, if he regarded them as potential speakers in their own right rather than as rhetorical glove puppets? What might become possible if we violated the humanist discourse of species to ask whether a sheep (not plural sheep standing in for all animals) but a singular sheep might be “interested” somehow in Utopia? Can a sheep experience otium? 43 And if so, what does that do to the status of human otium? Is a sheep capable of rhetorical complexity? And if so, how do we then factor human rhetorical practices? Clearly, I am leaving the orbit of Utopia (1516) but not necessarily of the afterlife of the Utopian project itself, which generates all manner of such counter-factual inquiries. 44 Interestingly, it is also precisely these kinds of questions that drive contemporary investigations into animal behavior, which aim to discover the degree to which

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our understanding of “sheep” may be determined not by their actual behaviors but by the questions we ask of them, the way that we have traditionally modeled them, allowing them to be only so interesting to us. 45 If it turns out that sheep are, for example, rhetorically capable, then a whole new set of pastoral metaphors becomes thinkable. Obviously, such speculations fall beyond the concerns of this present chapter, but what is at issue here is the possibility for adapting or reinventing the metaphors we have for representing human organizations to ourselves and so to imagine alternate ways of being and alternate modes of habitation. What I am working toward, then, is the curious position of arguing that the ethico-political demand that the phrase “Eating Well” entails may lie in trying to imagine what Utopia would entail for sheep. As crazy as this sounds—and materially so given the degree of threat under which much of the world’s human population lives— what Raphael’s temporary promotion of sheep to the head of the food chain in Book I indicates is that “the Best State of a Commonwealth” and a “sheepy” utopia might actually be versions of the same question, largely because what his momentary suspension of the discourse of species reveals is the way the enforcement of the human/non-human divide pre-empts the inclusion of all “humans” as “persons.” 46 No doubt these are “idle” thoughts, but the tropes they seek to imagine are not idling.

Notes ∗

This chapter began life as a paper for a conference titled “Inhabiting the Body/Inhabiting the World) organized by Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett Sullivan at UNC, Chapel Hill, in March 2004. I am especially grateful to both Mary and Garrett for their comments on this chapter along the way. 1. Bruno Latour, The Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004), 4–5 and 21. 2. Signally important readings here include John Sutton, Philosophy and Memory Traces: Descartes to Connectionism (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Michael Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Mary FloydWilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Gail Kern Paster, Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004) and Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion, eds, Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, and Mary Floyd-Wilson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).

Julian Yates 207 3. Andy Clark, Natural Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). 4. As the editors of a recent collection put it, “the passions are not ‘internal objects,’ or even ‘bodily states’: they comprise, instead, an ecology or a transaction,” Reading the Early Modern Passions, 18. On fears of an inhuman nature see Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500–1800 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983). 5. This critique of Clark comes from Adrian Mackenzie, “Has the Cyborg been domesticated? (Or is Lolo a disappointing cyborg?)” Metascience 13 (2): 153–163. (I am grateful to John Sutton for this reference). For a similar critique of science studies, see Tom Cohen, Ideology and Inscription: “Cultural Studies” After Benjamin, De Man, and Bakhtin (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 135–136. 6. This particular formulation comes from Niran Abbas, “Introduction,” Mapping Michel Serres, ed. Niran Abbas (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 2. Latour’s definition of the anthropos as weaver, as he or she who makes, combines, and keeps “things” moving appears in We Have Never Been Modern, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 137. 7. On black-boxing, see Bruno Latour, Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 304. 8. Latour’s provisional answer is what he calls a “Parliament of Things,” an attempt to find a mode of reception that will make all the feedback we receive from “complicated forms” (the ozone layer is his favorite example) audible. Latour announces this concept at the end of We Have Never Been Modern, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 142–145. He develops this notion of assembly further in Pandora’s Hope and Politics of Nature. 9. Key texts with regard to a re-articulation of Descartes are John Sutton’s Philosophy and Memory Traces, and Timothy J. Reiss, Mirages of the Selfe: Patterns of Personhood in Ancient and Early Modern Europe (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 469–487. 10. Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” in Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays, trans. Ben Brewster (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1971), 127–186. 11. The Yale Edition of the Complete Works of St. Thomas More, eds, Edward Surtz S. J. and J. H. Hexter (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1965), vol. 4, 1. All subsequent references appear parenthetically in the text. 12. Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986). 13. On the uncertain status of Book II’s description of the island of Utopia, see Quentin Skinner, “Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and the Language of Renaissance Humanism,” in The Languages of Political Theory in Early-Modern Europe, ed. Anthony Pagden (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 123–158, esp. 125. This essay is revised and reprinted as “Thomas More’s Utopia and the Virtue of True Nobility” in Quentin Skinner, Visions of Politics, 3 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 2: 213–244.

208 Humanist Habitats 14. Frederic Jameson, “Of Islands and Trenches: Naturalization and the Production of Utopian Discourse” Diacritics 7: 2 (Summer 1977): 2–21, esp. 21. Note: “Naturalization” is a misprint. The title should read “Neutralization.” 15. Louis Marin, Utopics: the Semiological Play of Textual Spaces, trans. Robert A. Vollrath (Atalntic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1984), 3. For this translation, see Jameson, “Of Islands and Trenches,” 4. 16. Jameson, “Of Islands and Trenches,” 19. 17. Jameson returns to exactly this problem in the conclusion to the Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981), 281–299. 18. Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning From More to Shakespeare (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 11–73 and Richard Halpern, The Poetics of Primitive Accumulation: English Renaissance Culture and the Genealogy of Capital (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 136–175. 19. On the relationship between Utopia and ecology, see Elizabeth McCutcheon, “(Eco) Utopian Fictions in Early Modern England,” in Critical Approaches to English Prose Fiction, 1520–1640, ed. Donald Beecher (Ottowa, Canada: Dovehouse Editions, 1998), in which she makes the fine point that in Book I “More makes a systems analysis that exposes the injustice of sixteenthcentury society” (279). See also her “More’s Utopia, Callenbach’s Ecotopia, and Biosphere 2,” in More’s Utopia and the Utopian Inheritance, ed. A. D. Cousins and Damian Grace (Landham, MD: University Press of America, 1995), 69–88. 20. Michel Foucault, “Technologies of the Self” in Technologies of the Self, eds, Luther H. Martin, Huck Gutman, and Patrick H. Hutton (London: Tavistock, 1988), 16–49. 21. Marina Leslie, Renaissance Utopias and the Problem of History (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998), 14. 22. Jane Schneider, “The Anthropology of Cloth,” Annual Review of Anthropology 16 (1987): 409–448, esp. 419. 23. Halpern, The Poetics of Primitive Accumulation, 154. 24. Marin, Utopics, 143–150. 25. Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities, 210– 217, where it becomes clear that the “perfect orator” of humanist imagining is none other than a “becoming Cicero” and that the preferred pedagogical regime is the one that will produce one via a pro-adaptive, metamorphic mimesis. 26. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 93. Quoted in Giorgio Agamben, The Open: Man and Animal, trans. Kevin Attell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 63. 27. Agamben, The Open, 70. 28. Opus Epistolarum Des. Erasmi Roterdami, ed. P. S. Allen et al., 12 vols, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1906–1958), 4: 21. Quoted in The Complete Works of Thomas More, xv. 29. William Roper, The Life of Sir Thomas More in Two Early Tudor Lives, eds, Richard S. Sylvester and Davis P. Harding (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962), 198. All subsequent references appear parenthetically in the text. 30. Jameson, “Of Islands and Trenches,” 4. On “ ‘white’ discourse,” see Halpern, The Poetics of Primative Accumulation, 151.

Julian Yates 209 31. The Yale translation renders “ocium” as “time.” Moreover, throughout this passage, the preference for modern English word order means that the various conjugations of the Latin verb prandere in More’s original text, indicating the passage of time in terms of eating and the relation to the table, are rendered instead as conjunctions. The effect is that the insistence in More’s text on eating and the time devoted to food is erased. 32. Michel Jeanneret, A Feast of Words: Banquets and Table Talk in the Renaissance, trans. Jeremy Whiteley and Emma Hughes (Cambridge: The Polity Press, 1991), 114. 33. Jeanneret, A Feast of Words, 112. Jeaneret quotes Erasmus, Convivium fabulosum in Colloquies, trans. C. R. Thompson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), 257. 34. Cohen, Ideology and Inscription, 11. 35. Brian Vickers, “Leisure and Idleness in the Renaissance: The Ambivalence of otium (Part I),” Renaissance Studies 4: 1 (March, 1990): 1–31, esp. 5–6. See also Part II in Renaissance Studies 4: 2 (June, 1990): 107–154. 36. Quentin Skinner, “Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and the language of Renaissance Humanism,” 132, and 131–135 more generally. 37. Ibid., 143. 38. My sense of how otium serves as a technique is indebted to Timothy Reiss’s discussion of the philosophical subjectum as what he names a “passage technique” in René Descartes’s On Method. See Reiss, Mirages of the Selfe, 470–471. 39. “ ‘Eating Well,’ or the Calculation of the Subject: An Interview with Jacques Derrida” in Who Comes After the Subject, eds, Eduardo Cadava, Peter Connor, and Jean-Luc Nancy (New York and London: Routledge, 1991), 115. 40. Agamben, The Open, 83. On Agamben’s definition of the “anthropological machine,” see also 33–38. 41. Agamben, The Open, 92. 42. For Latour’s definition of “experimental metaphysics,” see Latour, The Politics of Nature, 241–242. 43. My insistence on the singularity of the sheep against the generic use of any animal to figure all animals derives from Jacques Derrida’s “The Animal that Therefore I Am (More to Follow),” trans. David Wills, Critical Inquiry 28: 2 (Winter, 2002): 369–418, esp. 374–375. The ambiguity of the word “More” in Derrida’s title is, of course, purely fortuitous. 44. For a sense of where this mode of reading may lead, see Julian Yates “Counting Sheep: Dolly does Utopia (Again),” Rhizomes 8 (2004), http://www.rhizomes.net/issue8/yates2.htm 42 paragraphs. 45. On the reduction of the complexity of sheep behavior, see Vinciane Despret, “Sheep Do Have Opinions” in Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, eds, Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005), 360–368. 46. On the discourse of species, see Cary Wolfe, Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 5–6.


Some frequently occurring terms such “humors,” “body,” “mind,” “soul,” “environment,” “macrocosm,” “microcosm,” and “travel” are not indexed. Adams, Abigail, 100 Adams, Frank, 17 Agamben, Giorgio, 143, 203, 204–5 Agrippa, Cornelius, 180–1 animals, 4, 8, 11, 18, 48, 55–68 passim, 137–50 passim, 158, 179, 180, 189, 202, 203, 205 Aquinas, Thomas, 37 Aristotle, 59, 158, 164 Armstrong, Nancy, 100 Ascham, Roger, 125–6 Aubrey, John, 173, 174 Bacon, Sir Francis, 49, 137–50 passim Baker, David, 9 Baker, William, 131 Barbour, Philip L., 103, 108 Barbour, Richmond, 123, 124 Barrington, Sir Thomas, 17 Bartholomaeus Anglicus, 57, 59–60 Båthory, Zsigmond, 110 Batman, Stephen, 57, 59–60 Bentley, Nancy, 95 Berger, Harry, 1 Blau, Herbert, 82 blood, 3, 4, 18, 19, 64, 110, 141–7 passim, 149, 150 body–environment relations, models of, 3–6 counteraction, 5, 9, 10 dispersion / distribution, 6, 7–8 exchange, 4, 5, 8, 9–10 similitude, 4, 5, 8 Boorde, Andrew, 90, 91 Bowers, Fredson, 83 Boyle, Robert, 48 brains, 4, 7–8, 14–30 passim Browne, Sir Thomas, 46–7 Bruster, Douglas, 92

Budé, William, 192, 193, 197, 201 Bulwer, John, 90 Burton, Robert, 38, 140, 177, 178 Camden, William, 122, 129 Carruthers, Mary, 26, 27–8 Carscallen, James, 148 Catherine of Aragon, 197 Cavendish, Margaret, 100 Cecil, Robert, 40 Chakrabarty, Dipesh, 79 Chapman, George, 62, 90–100 passim Charles I, 123 Charles V, 197 Charleton, Walter, 41, 43, 49 Chaucer, Geoffrey, 98 Chomsky, Noam, 45 Cicero, 163–4, 201 Clark, Andy, 14, 16, 20, 25, 150 Clement, John, 204 clocks, 47–8 clothing, memory and, 8, 24, 25, 28, 29 Coeffeteau, Nicolas, 138 cognition, 6–9 passim, 14–30 passim, 93 cognitive science, 6, 8, 14, 15, 16, 29, 38, 50, 187, 188 Cohen, Tom, 199 Colie, Rosalie, 42 Collinson, Patrick, 72, 78 Corns, Thomas N., 123 Coryate, Thomas, 9–10, 118–33 passim Cotta, John, 175–83 passim Cotton, Sir Robert, 105, 106 Craik, Katharine, 10 Crane, Mary Thomas, 8, 9 Croll, Oswald, 4 Crooke, Helkiah, 39, 148 210

Index Daston, Lorraine, 36–7, 40, 42, 43 Davies, Sir John, 59, 65, 91 Davis, John, 131 Davis, Natalie Zemon, 76 De Caus, Salomon, 42 Deacon, John, 126 Deacon, Terrence, 50 decapitation, 108, 110–11, 113, 140 Derrida, Jacques, 202–3, 204 Descartes, René, 19, 37, 48, 189 Digby, Kenelm, 60 digestion, 9, 65, 121–33 passim, 155, 161, 171, 199 Dixon, James Hunt, 40 Donne, John, 8, 55–68 passim, 130 Drayton, Michael, 129, 130 Du Bartas, Guillaume de Salluste, 39, 46, 47, 129 eating, 121, 128, 189, 196, 198, 199, 201, 202–3, 206 ecology, 187–206 passim Edward VI, 76 Egan, Jim, 9 Elias, Norbert, 67, 77, 79–80 Elizabeth I, 71–87 passim, 116, 125, 127, 133 Elizabeth Stuart, Princess, 123 embodied mind(s), 6, 8, 9, 50 Emerson, Everett, 104 emotion(s), 71–87 passim, 187 see also passions Empedocles, 164 Engle, Lars, 92 Erasmus, 197 Erickson, Robert, 142 extended mind, 6, 14–30 passim fancy, 18, 176 see also imagination female inconstancy, 90–100 passim Ficino, Marsilio, 180 Fienus, Thomas, 177 Fisher, Philip, 100 Floyd-Wilson, Mary, 5, 14, 97 Floyer, John Sir, 173 forgetting, 19, 27, 63, 77, 100, 131, 189, 193, 202 Foucault, Michel, 50, 79, 193


Foxe, John, 80–1 Freud, Sigmund, 56, 84 Fulke, William, 177 Galen, 79, 177, 192, 201 gardens, 6, 7, 8, 35–51 passim, 56, 67, 133, 200–1, 204 Geertz, Clifford, 78, 79 genre, 6–7, 9, 73, 92, 100, 190, 191 geohumoralism, 5 Giddens, Anthony, 79 Giles, Peter, 197, 198 Grafton, Anthony, 190, 196 Greenblatt, Stephen, 44, 192 Gross, Kenneth, 62 Gyfford, John, 131 Hadfield, Andrew, 129, 132 Hall, Joseph, 126–7 Halpern, Richard, 192, 194–5 Harington, Sir John, 154 Harris, Jonathan Gil, 5, 28–9 Harvey, Elizabeth D., 8 heart(s), 18, 38, 39, 46, 59, 78, 84, 94, 110, 140–8 passim, 153, 180 Heidegger, Martin, 196, 197, 199 Helgerson, Richard, 161 Henry VIII, 197 Henry, Prince of Wales, 125, 126, 129–30, 132, 133 Herring, Frances, 178 Hippocrates, 201 Holbein, Hans, 200, 204 Hole, William, 118, 129, 130, 132, 133 Holinshed, Raphael, 90 Holland, Philemon, 66, 153 Homer, 62 Horace, 154, 165 Howell, James, 15 human, category of, 4, 8, 11, 55–68 passim, 137–50 passim, 187–206 passim humanism, humanists, 11, 49, 55, 61, 187–206 passim Hume, David, 19 Hutten, Ulrich von, 197

212 Index imagination, 18, 39, 58, 154, 162, 166, 171–83 passim see also fancy Islam, Muslims, 103–16 passim Jackson, John, 131 James I, 116, 125, 126, 128, 133 Jameson, Frederic, 191–2, 202 Janson, H.W., 55 Jardine, Lisa, 190, 196 Jeanneret, Michel, 199 Jones, Ann Rosalind, 24–5, 29 Jones, Inigo, 130 Jonson, Ben, 129, 130, 132, 133 Klein, Kerwin Lee, 28–30 Kuriyama, Shigehisa, 138 Kyd, Thomas, 72, 78, 84 Lacan, Jacques, 86 Latour, Bruno, 7, 25, 187–206 passim Le Guin, Ursula K., 191 Leach, Sir Edmund, 78 Leslie, Marina, 193 Linacre, Thomas, 192, 201 Lipsius, Justus, 5 Lupset, Thomas, 192 Lupton, Julia Reinhard, 143 Lutz, Catherine, 91 MacKinnon, Catharine, 95 magical healing, 171–83 passim Malebranche, Nicholas, 38 Marin, Louis, 191, 195 Marlowe, Christopher, 72, 83–4, 85 Marston, John, 17, 18, 21 Martin, Richard, 130–1 Marvell, Andrew, 8, 9, 35–51 passim Marx, Karl, 79 Mary I, 78 Mayr, Otto, 47, 48, 49 memory, 7, 14–30 passim, 55–68 passim, 76–7, 91, 93, 163, 187 memory, arts of, 25–8 Mildmay, Grace, 77–8 Milgate, Wesley, 56, 62 Milton, John, 35, 158 Montaigne, Michel de, 61, 177, 178 More, Henry, 19

More, Thomas Sir, 11, 187–206 passim Muldrew, Craig, 91 Mullaney, Steven, 8–9, 15 Nancy, Jean-Luc, 202 negotium, 41, 193, 198, 201 nervous system, 16, 18, 38–9 Nicolson, Marjorie Hope, 44 non-naturals, 2, 7, 19 Oberndoerffer, Johannes, 178–9 otium, 41, 187–206 passim Ovid, 62 Paracelsus, 177 Park, Katherine, 36–7, 40, 42, 43 passions, 4, 5, 6, 10, 21, 36, 39, 41, 45, 46, 56–9 passim, 80, 90–100 passim, 137–50 passim, 153, 154, 162, 166, 177, 180 Paster, Gail Kern, 2, 3, 4, 10, 19–20, 39, 121–2, 123 Pawlet, John, 131 Perkins, William, 23, 175, 177 Philips, Sir Edward, 129 Pico della Mirandola, Gianfrancesco, 55, 177 pirates, piracy, 115–16 Plato, 55–68 passim, 164 Pliny, 66 Plutarch, 61, 153–4, 155, 160 Pollard, Tanya, 10 Pollock, Linda, 77 Poole, Henry, 131 Primaudaye, Pierre de la, 57, 59, 60–2, 65, 66–7 Purchas, Samuel, 108, 109 Puttenham, George, 10, 153–66 passim Pythagoras, 55–68 passim quantitative verse, 161 Rabelais, Francois, 22 Raleigh, Sir Walter, 129 reason, 19, 26, 39, 55–68 passim, 144, 162, 163 Rees, Christine, 45 regimen, 2, 15, 20

Index Reiss, Timothy, 10, 138–9 Ricoeur, Paul, 27, 28 romance, 90–100 passim Roper, William, 197 Rosaldo, Michelle, 81–2 Rowe, Katherine, 9 Sawday, Jonathan, 38–9, 50 Schneewind, J.B., 25 Schoenfeldt, Michael, 3, 4, 6, 10, 128, 132, 149 Scot, Reginald, 175 Segar, Sir William, 109 Seneca, 38 Shakespeare, William, 3, 9, 71–87 passim, 90–100 passim, 144, 181–2 sheep, 11, 60, 66, 138, 187–206 passim see also animals Sidney, Sir Philip, 140, 153–66 passim signatures, doctrine of, 4, 140 Silver, Victoria, 44 Sinfield, Alan, 75 Singh, Jyotsna, 124 Skinner, Quentin, 200–1 Smith, Bruce, R., 3, 6, 74 Smith, John, 9, 103–16 passim Smith, Nigel, 35, 45 Socrates, 164 somatic ecology, 2–3, 7, 11, 19, 21, 137–50 passim, 187–206 passim soul, animal or sensitive, 8, 55–68 passim, 138, 144 soul, rational or intellective, 8, 55–68 passim soul, vegetative or vegetable, 8, 41–3, 46, 49, 55–68 passim spells, 171–83 passim Spenser, Edmund, 1–3, 6–7, 10, 65, 137–50 passim spirits, animal, 16, 18, 19, 26, 38, 39, 47, 65, 188 spirits, nervous, 19, 27, 39 sponges, 14–30 passim Stallybrass, Peter, 14, 17, 22, 24–5, 29, 133


Stanyhurst, Richard, 160–1 Stow, John, 76–7 Strong, Roy, 40, 126 subjectivity, subjects, 1–11 passim, 19, 20, 25, 26, 30, 36, 55, 90–100 passim, 121, 131, 139, 149, 155, 156, 160, 187–206 passim Sullivan, Garrett, 6 Sutton, John, 6, 7–8 Sydenham, George, 131 Sykes, James, 172–3, 174 Sylvester, Joshua, 39, 47, 129 temperance / intemperance, 1–2, 115, 137–50 passim, 161, 162 Tertullian, 59 Thomas, Keith, 77, 172 Tillyard, E.M.W., 44 Topsell, Edward, 57 Tragabigzanda, Charatza, 113–14 Tribble, Evelyn, 6, 14, 23–4 Tyler, Moses Coit, 104 Vernant, Jean-Pierre, 73 Vickers, Brian, 200, 201 Virgil, 49, 160 Walkington, Thomas, 146, 147 Wallerstein, Emmanuel, 79 Warneke, Sara, 126 Weber, Max, 79 Webster, John, 90–100 passim Wentersdorf, Karl, 56–7 Whitaker, Laurence, 130, 132, 133 Whitaker, Richard, 17 Wilkins, George, 90–100 passim Williams, Kathleen, 145 Williams, Roger, 71–2, 75, 76 Willis, Thomas, 60 winds, 137–8 wonder, 35–51 passim Wright, Thomas, 39, 45–6, 144 writing-tables, 8, 17, 22 Yates, Julian, 11