Misanthropoetics: Social Flight and Literary Form in Early Modern England [Illustrated] 1496222628, 9781496222626

Misanthropoetics explores efforts by Renaissance writers to represent social flight and withdrawal as a fictional escape

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Misanthropoetics: Social Flight and Literary Form in Early Modern England [Illustrated]
 1496222628, 9781496222626

Table of contents :
Cover
Title Page
Copyright Page
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Models Not to Copy
2. Midas’s Food
3. Retreats of Despair and Devotion
4. “Put This in Latin for Me”
Epilogue
Notes
Works Cited
Index

Citation preview

Misanthropoetics

Early Modern Cultural Studies Series Editors Carole Levin Marguerite A. Tassi

Misanthropoetics Social Flight & Literary Form in Early Modern England

Robert Darcy

University of Nebraska Press  Lincoln

© 2021 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska A portion of chapter 1 previously appeared as “Shakespeare’s Empty Plot: The Epicenotaph in Timon of Athens” in Renaissance Drama, n.s., no. 33 (2004): 159–­79. A portion of chapter 2 previously appeared as “Freeing Daughters on Open Markets: The Incest Clause in The Merchant of Venice,” in Money and the Age of Shakespeare, ed. Linda Woodbridge (New York: Palgrave, 2003), 189–­200. All rights reserved. Library of Congress Cataloging-­in-­Publication Data Names: Darcy, Robert Farquhar, author. Title: Misanthropoetics: social flight and literary form in early modern England / Robert Darcy, University of Nebraska. Description: Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, [2021] | Series: Early modern cultural studies | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: lccn 2020004279 isbn 9781496222626 (hardback) isbn 9781496223814 (epub) isbn 9781496223821 (mobi) isbn 9781496223838 (pdf ) Subjects: lcsh: English drama—­Early modern and Elizabethan, 1500–­1600—­History and criticism. | Misanthropy in literature. | English poetry—­Early modern, 1500–­1700—­History and criticism. | Literature and society—­England—­History—­17th century. | England—­ Social life and customs—­17th century. | Alienation (Social psychology) in literature. | Interpersonal relations in literature. | Manners and customs in literature. Classification: lcc pr653.m565 d37 2021 | ddc 820.9/353—­dc23 lc record available at https://​lccn​.loc​.gov​/2020004279 Set in Garamond Premier Pro by Mikala R. Kolander. Designed by L. Auten. Frontispiece: Caravaggio, St. Jerome Writing, c. 1607, oil on canvas, 46 in. x 62 in., St. John’s Co-­Cathedral, Valletta, Malta.

mis·an·thrope, \ ˈmis·ǝn·ˌthrōp \ n. A hater of mankind; a person who distrusts and avoids other people. Cf. misanthropos n. mis·an·thro·po·et·ics, \ ˌmis·ˈan·thrō·pō·ˈet·ics \ n. The aspect of literary investigation and experiment that deals with the misanthrope as a representational character in form or mode; esp. as related to the contradictions and paradoxes of social life.

Contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction: Definition at the Limits of Form

1

1. Models Not to Copy: Timon of Athens, Knowledge, and the Performance of the Misanthrope 19 2. Midas’s Food: Paternity, Incest, and the Renaissance Economy in The Merchant of Venice and Pericles 56 3. Retreats of Despair and Devotion: Choice, Faith, and Exile in Book 4 of The Faerie Queene 100 4. “Put This in Latin for Me”: Alienated Speech and Phenomenological Discourse in Ben Jonson’s Epicoene 134 Epilogue: Pygmalion’s Image and Misanthropoetics in Coda

173

Notes 183 Works Cited

227

Index 255

Acknowledgments

I marvel at my luck to have landed in a field of study so rich and so boundlessly rewarding as the literature and culture of the English Renaissance, and then to have found such a smart, witty, and congenial horde of people busy at work investigating the same material. This book presents my first opportunity to thank my teachers. Heather James and Lynn Enterline were my earliest teachers of literature as a serious discipline. I owe them each for helping to shape my vocabulary, my idiom, and my thought. In graduate school, Jacques Lezra, Heather Dubrow, Jane Tylus, and David Loewenstein all bestowed their valuable lessons on me, while Susanne Wofford took me on as her advisee with her usual spirited encouragement and optimism. I’m grateful to each of them for teaching me so much of what I know, and especially to Susanne, who has modeled generosity and exuberance, latitude and discipline over these many years, offering me a place that I deeply cherish in her intellectual lineage. I have also received steady encouragement during my time in the profession. I won’t try to name all of the people who have done me good turns over the years, but they are numerous. Their collective generosity has been as a rule so kind and seemingly effortless that I would not be surprised if many of them were not even aware they had helped me in the ways that they have. They can be counted among the habitués at the Shakespeare Association of America annual meeting, the International Marlowe Conference, and the Huntington Library, venues I’ve always found to be inspiring and replenishing. I must single out a core group of supporters who at some point or another took ix

extra responsibility for helping me achieve something meaningful. With Susanne Wofford, they are Alan Stewart, Jeff Masten, Stephen Guy-­Bray, Michael Stapleton, Linda Woodbridge, Robert Logan, Dympna Callaghan, Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook, John Garrison, Kyle Pivetti, Carole Levin, Garrett Sullivan, and Nick Radel. Alan and Stephen both offered me the additional labor of reading this book in manuscript and providing superb, detailed suggestions to make it better. I hope to have the chance to spend many more occasions with such brilliant, stimulating people well into the future. The friends I have found along the way have sustained me most of all, and I hope they will all recognize themselves here in the flourish of a blanket reference—­from childhood, to adolescence, to college, to graduate school (on, Wisconsin!), to the profession, and up to the current moment. Of special relevance here is Rebecca Lemon, my bosom buddy, my comrade, my confidante, my guide, and my better in all things. Without Rebecca, I surely would have succumbed to a professional misanthropy of my own making. Many of my fondest memories both in and out of the profession are with Rebecca, and I cringe to imagine how my life, professional and otherwise, might have taken shape without her. My big sister Sara Darcy Seaborg is also dear to me for having led the way over tricky terrain, cementing early our bond of kinship. I am grateful to my uncle Joe Darcy and aunt Nora for insistently fostering and nourishing me after my father’s death and for giving me a new home to return to. And my entangled other half, Mike Miller, remains my most enlightened interlocutor and sweetest joy. While I could rightfully dedicate the effort of this book to any of these profoundly dear and worthy human beings, I dedicate it instead, in respect of my greatest debt, and with love I can’t measure, to my father.

x Acknowledgments

Misanthropoetics

Introduction Definition at the Limits of Form

Society is all but rude, To this delicious solitude. —­Andrew Marvell, “The Garden”

Thus let me live, unheard, unknown; Thus unlamented let me dye; Steal from the world, and not a stone Tell where I lye. —­Alexander Pope, “Solitude: An Ode”

“Not This” As is perhaps befitting a study of misanthropic flight, this book begins—­like the negative instruction Hamlet offers his mother after cleaving her heart in twain—­with an instruction of what not to do: Do not read Misanthropoetics as the study of a character type or stock template in an arsenal of dramatic or poetic figures. Do not expect an account of the sociopolitical critiques or manifestos of malcontents and revolutionaries, bent on redressing societal wrongs through satire or war.1 Do not expect a diagnosis of melancholia—­the wise, worldly response of the intellectual, or an account of imbalances of the medical humors or more modern articulations of that ailment. Do not expect the portrait of an irrational collapse of cognition as a function of trauma, compulsivity, advanced age, despair, or suicidality. This book is none of those things. While the misanthrope might seem to be a suitable center for a book investigating such categories 1

of inquiry, the misanthrope investigated here is more particularly the symptomatic embodiment of an advanced mode of response to irreconcilable demands routinely visited upon human participants in the cultures that form them. The literary misanthrope is the emergence in concrete characterology of a general human experience of culture. And, as a fantasy of extrapolation, the literary misanthrope is a representational experiment with the process of self-­extraction attempted by human subjects from their own cultures—­subjects who otherwise face paradox and debilitation under the incongruous demands that are endemic and congenital to social formations. The literary misanthropes central to this book have arrived at their conclusions in the negative register, exhausting and opting out of social negotiation as a means of solving contradictions they cannot reconcile and therefore seek to abandon. They do this from within a surprising range of generic forms. Within drama, the misanthrope who might be imagined to belong most naturally to tragedy emerges just as provocatively in comedy and Shakespearean romance. And drama itself shares representational and conceptual misanthropy with various genres of poetic production, too, such as epic, lyric, and satire.2 Though resistant to generic limitation, the literary misanthrope nonetheless conforms to the same single-­minded effort wherever he appears: of finding resolution in flight—­and comfort in hate—­as a complex register of avoidance and revulsion. Misanthropoetics in Drama Surprisingly, drama provides the most direct confrontation with literary misanthropy in the period, despite the unlikelihood of that pairing. In his introduction to Epicoene, a play featuring the noise-­ hating Morose, frustrated in his effort to secure a perfectly silent domicile in the center of noisy London, the editor R. V. Holdsworth muses, “Silence is anticomic.” Whether or not Holdsworth is right in associating comedy with sound, he is at least right in declaring that “without speakers there would be no play” (Epicoene, xxxv)—­at least not in the pre-­Brechtian sense that Ben Jonson’s seventeenth-­century 2 Introduction

audience would have expected.3 While some forms of silence have a place in Renaissance theater—­as dumb shows, affective pauses in action or speech, the wordless choreography of a court masque, or the impressionistic silences that soliloquies can sometimes generate in the way they convey inwardness—­a permanent, intentional silence, like the hard-­sought but never-­reached goal of a figure like Jonson’s Morose, is not only anticomic, but antidramatic. If the stage can endure the presence of a misanthrope, it cannot endure the successful realization of his misanthropy, which is not only a retreat into total silence, but the absenting of all people from his company and himself from theirs. In suggesting that silence is anticomic, then, what Holdsworth refers to is—­rather than allowable or accepted forms of stage silence—­the unlikely success of efforts to pull a silence-­seeking misanthrope, who doesn’t himself wish to be subject to others’ speech, onto the stage. Filling part of the stage with a misanthrope’s presence introduces an aggressive, competing pressure to empty it. In a similar formulation to Holdsworth’s, Gail Kern Paster has suggested in writing about this problem for Epicoene, that, “like nature, the theater abhors a vacuum.”4 And yet the vacuum devoid of other human beings is just the kind of empty space that establishes equilibrium for the misanthrope. Traditional stage malcontents, who are fundamentally different from misanthropes in that they remain social and are crucially sustained by social interaction, facilitate dramatic production by reliably generating the conflict and debate that help propel a plot forward.5 The misanthrope, by contrast, if one understands that figure as escapist (as, in the words of one seventeenth-­century lexicographer, “flying the company of men”),6 seeks rather to disappear from dramatic centers and to slip away beyond even their margins to places so remote that from them usually nothing gets reported back.7 Two problems, then, arise out of the production of dramatic misanthropy in the historical context of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. First, how does a sixteenth-­or early seventeenth-­century dramatist generate intelligible misanthropic presence on the stage Introduction  3

if that presence is antagonistic not merely to the social world of the dramatic fiction but to the very medium of dramatic representation itself ? And, second, what would motivate a culture of mimetic or mannerist theater to undertake such a difficult type of representation in the first place? The first question is one of theatrical form and craft no doubt worthy of a serious inquiry into the history of the stage. The pages that follow will invest much more heavily, however, in the second question, which seeks to understand why the phenomenon of early modern representational misanthropy existed at all, not just in theater but also increasingly in the period’s poetry. In other words, why does the literature of early modernity, record an intense interest in the misanthrope? The answer this book supplies to that question is that the early modern misanthrope as a poetic and dramatic figure came to serve in a representational imaginary as a placeholder for unfinished cultural business, a figure not only of fantasized escape and revolt but of temporary pause in the face of cultural paradoxes highlighting unresolved social disjunctions that were (and perhaps continue to be) crucially destructive in their state of irresolution. But, rather than as an anomaly orbiting the fringes of literary production, the misanthrope is conceived here as generating and making increasingly visible the nihilistic center around which literary production itself had become self-­consciously oriented. The emergence of the misanthrope as a theatrical device, and of misanthropy as a poetic mode, is evidence that the collective consciousness and unconscious of literary production in early modern England had begun to sound and measure the dimensions of its work, which were discovered to chart an ongoing negotiation between the will of the individual and that of her culture—­the single will and the will of the collective. The notion of the “individual” separable from and in threat of being subsumed by a larger society already bespeaks a particular kind of imaginary, the theoretical terms of which would not be firmly established, perhaps, until the twentieth century, when the double edge of subjectivity (where social agency involves a necessary “subjection” to other forces) became the sticking 4 Introduction

point of much postmodern theory from the late 1960s on, but late Elizabethan and Jacobean theater was already heavily invested in exploring and giving certain weight to this particular imaginary of the self.8 To speak of a literary self-­consciousness—­and therefore also of a literary unconscious—­whose absent center is the ever-­recoiling misanthrope is, perhaps inevitably, to echo and import the theoretical premise of Fredric Jameson’s Political Unconscious, with its borrowing of Freudian theories of psychology for illuminating its Marxist argument. By such a schema, the practical demands of social life, steering economic and other forms of one’s unconscious participation in one’s culture might seem to require first and foremost the suppression of the impulse to insist on definitive resolutions. Practical living no doubt teaches its practitioners to adopt a working tolerance for, and even acceptance of, irresolution, understood and rationalized in terms of compromise. And even collective struggles aimed at forcing more definitive idealistic resolutions to what seem unjust contradictions in social life usually cannot avoid harming kindred struggles in the compromises they ultimately make.9 Thus, even at the forefront of heated cultural debates, social life is necessarily repressive of idealized theoretical demands that would allow for no epistemological or structural paradoxes in social organization, even while those demands are constantly resurfacing and reasserting themselves in challenge to the going social order. One of the assumptions of this book is that an important effect of representational narratives in Renaissance theater, prose, or poetry was to supply a space for representing idealisms of form that under everyday constraints were believed to be impossible to realize. Rather than working as a pressure valve, however, through which impeded emotions or intellectual points of view aiming toward various forms of idealism could be harmlessly expelled,10 the experience of the theater, in particular, was one of being confronted with unfulfilled wishes by way of a false positive—­that is, the impossibility of fulfilling those wishes was made palpable in the experience of seeing them fictionally fulfilled.11 If the theater provided a temporary release from the Introduction  5

reality of social contradictions, it simultaneously inspired a crosscurrent of resentment of a social world that could not provide similar satisfaction. Reading therefore against a model of subversion-­containment that has shaped the way a former generation of critics thought through this qualitative function of Renaissance literary production, this book offers a theory about what happens when a literary consciousness (as much that of an audience member as that of a playwright) becomes aware of the theater’s operation of false-­positive critique. What happens when such a viewer or writer, in a mode of metaliterary contemplation, interprets with some bitterness that the project of representational media must continually appear in its most avowed, institutional stance merely to finesse through a representational imaginary what would seem unresolvable in real material organization?12 From that awareness comes a lingering resentment among agents of the theater—­again, both playwrights and spectators—­that, despite the way representational forms allow desire and memory to surface, the function of the repressive structures that a “literary” consciousness reveals must be to engage in sidestepping a serious confrontation with culture rather than preparing for an uncompromising, potentially fatal battle waged in the interest of final satisfaction and resolution. If one normally walks away from a successful experience of the return of the repressed by ameliorating rather than redoubling neurotic tendencies through a commitment not to war but to compromise, representational forms whose public sanction might insist on the same logic of outcome are found, when explored misanthropoetically, to resist that choice by inhabiting a psychological space of withdrawal. To put it simply, theatrical and poetic fictions often urge or embody compromise, but the misanthrope accepts none and chooses flight. This withdrawal, representing the inability either to wage war or to compromise, yields an imaginary of the misanthrope. In terms of the theatrical enterprise, it yields the urge to introduce such a figure into the formal machinery that has been put in place to handle such strenuous experiments of representation. In such cases, this 6 Introduction

misanthropic outcome is representational (i.e., a problem of narrative and of mode), not necessarily a matter of biographical projection on the part of the poet or playwright, or any other agent who may be generatively involved (e.g., an actor or a printer). But the result is nonetheless relevant beyond the representational scenario and does speak to the problem of how one is supposed to imagine a successful negotiation of the theoretical impasse that is created when a culture makes operative two ideologies that seem to cancel or contradict one another. The representational misanthrope registers an interest and investment in this sociophilosophical problem, especially when a dramatic or poetic persona is seen privileging one of those competing ideologies at a time when the other is predominant in the embedding culture. Here, for example, is the formula that makes possible the titular misanthrope of Timon of Athens, where Timon operates on principles of friendship and gift-­giving at a time when the rest of the Athenians are placing new emphasis on capital investment and legal contracts of obligation. The ideological impasse, which only the misanthrope can fruitfully engage by “failing” to negotiate it, is precisely what is dramatically interesting in the representational experiment. Misanthropoetics and the Poem While drama helps illustrate an acute representational challenge for the terms central to this book, examples of misanthropic retreat in poetry compel their own special consideration. If the dramatic misanthrope is constitutionally out of place in the highly social milieu of theatrical performance—­not only in his fictional social world onstage but also in the spectator-­filled space of the theater—­he is quite at home in the conceptual space of poetry, consumed as it usually is by a solitary reader in quasi-­isolation. Unlike its effect on drama, misanthropoetics poses no necessary challenge to the poetry of the book that does not notice or announce itself or grow self-­conscious of its engagement in a mode of social retreat as part of its mechanism of distribution and consumption. The intellectual and cultural challenge misanthropoetics poses to poetry arises only in those moments of Introduction  7

metarepresentation, when the misanthrope and his mode become visible as part of the mechanism or “story” of poetic retreat. Generically, such eruptions occur frequently enough in the tradition of narrative poetry (such as that of the epic), which could be said to function more or less theatrically, involving characters who enter and exit the action on the poetic “stage” of the narrative story. But while most other poetry that is read silently by a solitary reader—­ such as nonnarrative lyric—­draws no special attention to itself as a commodity whose consumption engages in earnest flirtation with misanthropic retreat or flight, stunning examples from the brief-­lived genre of 1590s Elizabethan verse satire qualify as urging an aggressive investigation of poetry’s role in both self-­reflexive and less obvious misanthropic expression. If poetry of any form might otherwise escape notice as a safe harbor for misanthropic feeling, where a misanthropic poet quietly satisfies the secret isolationism of a misanthropic reader, it nonetheless cannot safeguard against formal eruptions that draw attention to an underlying sentiment of social revolt and retreat. In drawing on the romance tradition of the savage man or wild hermit, Edmund Spenser recognized how close his own epic work could come to providing a portrait of misanthropic retreat and intellectual revolt in episodes recognized as the first extended historical allegory of The Faerie Queene, involving Timias and Belphoebe, with their clear allusions to Sir Walter Ralegh and Elizabeth I. Remarkably, the poem’s greatest commitment to a full-­scale portrait of misanthropy seems unable to resist a departure from the enclosure of the poetic space and toward topical biography belonging to the world outside, toward a real-­world configuration not only of the misanthrope as a figure but of misanthropy as a reactionary process—­related in this specific example to the impossible demands of love and loyalty. Spenser’s experiment suggests a special disruption generated by metamisanthropoetics akin to breaking the fourth wall in theater, tumbling into the reader’s life in historical time. The hint narrative poetry might give to understanding its lyric cousin has to do with the way it showcases a natural pull in poetry 8 Introduction

toward centers of conflict, a pull that the lyric often engages even when no narrative circumstance demands it. Andrew Marvell’s “delicious solitude” (line 16, “The Garden,” Poems, 155–­59), in one of the epigraphs to this introduction, refers to such nonnarrative conflict, given that an appreciation of solitary spaces must imply the relief that comes with being unburdened of sociability, however imperfectly defined by the lyric mode. And lyric misanthropoetics can also be seen exploring ways to return the gesture back to narrative, perhaps especially in the more modern poetic imagination such as that of William Butler Yeats, whose “The Second Coming,” whatever else it does, figures its “widening gyre” (1) in clear representation of a busy and self-­destructive human center of activity (Collected Works, 187). Misanthropoetics into Modernity If misanthropoetics lacked organization during the Renaissance, appearing as it does sporadically across genres and forms without clear direction as a cultural project of collective inquiry, it nonetheless develops a striking coherence for more modern minds looking back. The skeptical reception of misanthropoetic forms are themselves noteworthy as perhaps an inevitable part of the experiment. Despite the compelling exploratory work into stage forms that its radical plot enacts, Timon of Athens, for example, is still a relative curiosity in drama and has seemed to enjoy limited success on the stage.13 Despite what may be intriguing about its experiment, the play’s failure to engage audiences has prompted myriad explanations, usually relating to its authorship, coherence, or status as a finished work.14 But rather than see this failure, as so many have seen it, as a problem of craft, the estimation of which would have no strong political dimension, one might just as soon see it as stemming from a politically pointed transgression of the unofficial limits of theatrical form. The general dislike for Timon is no doubt related to the way it denies the wish that the industry of early modern stage representation had implicitly contracted to fulfill in one of its major roles: to convince those Introduction  9

members of the audience who had come to the theater for respite from their difficult and complicated social lives, that things could be better (or, in any case, other) than they actually tended to be in the material experience of life. Timon is a profound failure, then, because its aesthetic fatally strikes at the heart of the fantasy of compromise and reconciliation that keeps audiences and readers in a spirit of hopeful negotiation with their cultures. Timon refuses, in other words, to ratify the implicit agreement struck between agents of literary representation and the audiences who pay the entrance fee to consider their stories. The play has perhaps never enjoyed much popularity at least in part because it may tend to exacerbate the wounds that representational forms have elsewhere helped to heal. In Timon’s stark narrative, the misanthrope is not ultimately reconciled to his culture, and the deeply offensive contradictions internal to Athenian society (between friendship and money, at their most basic, but also between knowledge and authority, more deeply) are not adequately negotiated. The play’s audiences are therefore drawn ever deeper toward a confrontation with their own abstract experiences of discontent rather than being led away from them. Not surprisingly, Timon of Athens was a favorite play of Karl Marx, who saw in it a profound critique of economies of accumulation and their commodification of money and a dramatization of the kind of demystification of social life that is necessary to force complacent members of the proletariat out of the hegemonic structures that bind them.15 In its dramatization, the play is unusual in the way it departs from the normal function of representational aesthetics, at least as Marxist critics have sometimes characterized them. Fredric Jameson, for one, has written in a formulation important to this book that “the production of aesthetic or narrative form is to be seen as an ideological act in its own right, with the function of inventing imaginary or formal ‘solutions’ to unresolvable social contradictions” (Political Unconscious, 79).16 Because it offers no such solution, not even by way of a working imaginary, and instead places emphasis on what is “unresolvable,” Timon arrests its audience in a state of con10 Introduction

flict and irresolution rather than showing it a negotiable path. Of course, as is implicit in Jameson’s claim, many plays do this indirectly or implicitly—­or through their rhetorical complexities—­but it is a different matter to have this irresolution literalized on stage with no scripted escape from it. For, while the misanthrope enacts “flight,” the audience is stuck reliving the dismemberment of what had seemed a believable view of society. The implications of formal self-­exposure here—­of a play actively informing its audiences by means of a negative principle about the way all representational forms may function (i.e., as an apparatus of hallucinatory mystification)—­are profound, and anticipate with a twist Adorno’s historicizing of a similar claim for poetry more than three hundred years later. Adorno’s famous articulation of the diminished possibility of poetry after Auschwitz is expressed as a challenge to philosophical metaphysics that assumes an affirmative principle in its investigations. In a lecture delivered in July 1965, revisiting his earlier formulation, Adorno said: Through Auschwitz—­and by that I mean not only Auschwitz but the world of torture which has continued to exist after Auschwitz and of which we are receiving the most horrifying reports from Vietnam—­through all this the concept of metaphysics has been changed to its innermost core. Those who continue to engage in old-­style metaphysics, without concerning themselves with what has happened, keeping it at arm’s length and regarding it as beneath metaphysics, like everything merely earthly and human, thereby prove themselves inhuman. . . . It is therefore impossible, I would say, to insist after Auschwitz on the presence of a positive meaning or purpose in being. . . . The affirmative character which metaphysics has in Aristotle, and which it first took on in Plato’s teaching, has become impossible. To assert that existence or being has a positive meaning constituted within itself and oriented towards the divine principle (if one is to put it like that), would be, like all the principles of truth, beauty and Introduction  11

goodness which philosophers have concocted, a pure mockery in face of the victims and the infinitude of their torment. (101–­2)17 What became a cathexis for Adorno in his invocation of a place that concentrated all the world’s violence and all its suffering emblematized a moment fixed in history over the course of his life’s work and through his numerous theoretical pilgrimages back to Auschwitz. In the same lecture cited, he would discern that “there can be no one, whose organ of experience has not entirely atrophied, for whom the world after Auschwitz, that is, the world in which Auschwitz was possible, is the same world as it was before” (104). What happened at Auschwitz, in other words, changed the world in a fundamental way, experienced not collectively but at a level of deep individual response: “I believe that if one observes and analyses oneself closely, one will find that the awareness of living in the world in which that is possible—­is possible again and is possible for the first time—­plays a quite crucial role even in one’s most secret reactions” (104). He would eventually modify his earlier claim, however, at least in part: “Perennial suffering has as much right to expression as a tortured man has to scream; hence it may have been wrong to say that after Auschwitz you could no longer write poems” (Negative Dialectics, 362).18 Adorno’s pairing of his earlier claim (that “after Auschwitz one could not write poems”) with a new claim about what “could equally well be said, on the other hand, that one must write poems” (Metaphysics, 110) evinces a sensitivity both to the cathartic quality of literary work, as something that has both expressive and palliative power, and to the attitude of challenge and critique embedded in artistic and literary representational forms.19 Art, for Adorno, becomes an “objective form” of an “awareness of suffering” (110). But this awareness is importantly eventful for Adorno, tethered to a moment of unmistakably historical horror. For Adorno—­and therefore, in his schema, for his immediate contemporaries who could participate firsthand in his logic of before-­and-­after—­the event was Auschwitz. 12 Introduction

This book suggests that early modern theater prepares one for, and propels one toward, the psychological experience of misanthropic horror through its preponderance of representational evasions and false comforts, and its imperfect negotiations of mutually antagonizing ideologies. Such theater does not become equivalent to Adorno’s event of historical horror; it merely gives contour and shape to the historical horror that is always already discoverable as taking place “again,” or “for the first time,” here and now.20 Tudor and early Stuart theater in particular, as well as various poetic strains developing around that industry into the seventeenth century, not only helped design representational narrative to have a strong palliative potential in addition to its other effects, but also established the basis for some branches of subsequent literary experience to be cast expressly in terms of suffering, discontent, and alienation. Misanthropoetics offers its title as a word that might name representational narratives inspired by and organized around basic forms and modes of discontent; it may, therefore, name all modern literature, in one way or another. Just as the world after Auschwitz is really the same world it was before, despite Adorno’s grounding cathexis that makes it (for him) otherwise, so the poetry that both cannot and must continue to be written before, during, and after the horror of history is the same poetry as that which has always been written, sometimes as a moderating force of such horror. “Misanthropoetics” as a term invokes a terrifying shadow play of figure and mode that material history obligingly validates in scaling intervals. This book argues the benefit of presuming that the impulse toward flight and other escapist urges of the misanthrope are some of the motivating principles at work in the explosive contribution Renaissance English culture made to the literary foundations of Western modernity. From that starting presumption, this book obliges some degree of investment in interrogating even seemingly mild representational narratives as records of horrifying violence in the relative context of historical experience. Introduction  13

Drawing Adorno’s claims about poetry away from the specific horror he cites makes possible a more expansive application of his theory to the longer course of Western modernity. This wider-­eyed sweep does not, however, remove misanthropoetics from the interests of historical interrogation: rather, it necessitates the relation of representational aesthetics to the immediate historical conditions of their production and reproduction. The emergence of the misanthrope as an identifiable entity in representational media specific to the Renaissance is not in reaction to abstractions of discontent that are entirely transhistorical. Instead, it is a stalled response to the actual material pressures of social life that could be enumerated by means of a record kept during a walk through London’s streets. The fact that such pressures may nonetheless persist over many hundreds of years in different locales is not a reason to abandon cultural materialist methodologies as a means of explaining them in favor of more metaphysical interrogations. And, indeed, a basic claim of this book is that “metaphysics” as Western modernity has inherited that tradition—­particularly through the vehicle of Descartes—­is to some degree embroiled in material concerns, having first to do with how to procure food and shelter for the intelligentsia. At the same time, this book takes issue with the alternative to metaphysical speculation proffered by pragmatism, where the fact of materiality in the world (specifically in Western social reality) is often taken as a teleological justification for the conditions of ownership and distribution of the world’s material goods, including those of subsistence. Though subject to an early and brief critique in chapter 1, metaphysics enters into this book—­and is ultimately affirmed by it—­by way of an interest in structural epistemology, whose basis is a necessarily imaginary foundation upon which cultural logic must be said to rest. Misanthropic discontent, like discontent more generally, always gestures to an idealized basis beneath the forms, both social and figural. And this book, without affirming the a priori legitimacy of those idealized forms, nonetheless observes and validates the conflict and struggle that such foundational expectations engender, even 14 Introduction

as questions about such expectations are usually found begging in the ensuing debates. Misanthropoetics and Generic Modalities While many texts might supply material for this book, the works included here illustrate the range of ideological issues that the figure of the misanthrope could embody for early modern English writers. An array of material pressures and conflicts of social life are examined over four chapters through the lenses of various genres. In the first chapter, the titular figure of Timon of Athens serves as a representational misanthrope who confronts perhaps most profoundly in all of Renaissance drama the crisis of subjectivity that Descartes would shortly labor to resolve. While Descartes articulates a method for commanding cultural authority through an exertion of one’s own subjective will—­a display of equal parts intelligence and original discovery—­Timon watches as his own impressive effort to earn a place of cultural prominence proves entirely dependent on larger, nonmeritocratic social assignments of authority. The problem that authority is granted by a largely undisclosed social logic, rather than logic that could be termed “scientific” by Cartesian standards, introduces a self-­concealing pragmatism into the center of hierarchical social organization, exposing subjective efforts to be relevant only as performances that help disguise, largely after the fact, the alternative interests of social decision-­making. Timon’s retreat from Athenian society is a radical experiment in misanthropic representation, but his critique ultimately yields, rather than something altogether new, only absence—­figured as the cenotaph, or empty tomb. With a poetic epitaph serving as the only remnant of the missing misanthropic body, literature asserts its primacy over human matter, and what might have begun as a formal failure of literature to generate a representation of misanthropic “presence-­through-­silence” is boldly inverted to signal the misanthrope’s failure to generate his own availability to the world in the form of the absent trace of epitaphic writing. Introduction  15

Chapter 2 has as its endpoint the picture from Shakespearean romance of an unshaven, spiritless Pericles adrift for months in uncommunicative silence. Transformed into a hermit of the sea, Pericles has retreated from his own anguished inability to negotiate a humanist model of paternity in an economic environment whose demands run contrary to that model. After recoiling from the incest at Antioch that begins Shakespeare’s play, Pericles discovers that incest is a logic by which he himself was always already bound in his role as a dynastic patriarch. His failure to deploy humanist ideology merely as a tool of economic manipulation marks a shift from the paternity modeled by the Lord of Belmont in The Merchant of Venice, who secures bonds of loyalty to his daughter Portia in order to ensure a clandestine transfer of wealth to socially endogamous allies under the disarming pretense of open and free market practices. Pericles records the potential for strategies made possible through the manipulation of ideology to be forgotten for their value as mere strategies and then absorbed, to grossly distorting effects, into relations as first principles now at fundamental odds with the original set of principles still insistently at work. This chapter theorizes the affinity of capitalism to the distorting process here outlined because of its discovery that ideological conflict can be assuaged through surrogacies of privacy generated by profit-­seeking markets. In the book’s third chapter, Timias’s retreat from an angry Belphoebe is noteworthy for generating a misanthropic response at the center of book 4 of Spenser’s Faerie Queene, ironically the Book of Friendship. The opposition misanthropy poses to friendship is set alongside its opposition to romantic union, as Timias’s retreat marks the breakdown of his relationship both to Arthur, who fails to recognize him in his secluded wooded retreat, and to Belphoebe, who rejects him on a question of faith. Two literary traditions Spenser consciously draws upon associated with institutional friendship and constitutional fidelity—­the pastoral eclogue and the medieval debate poem, respectively—­both fail in the absence of the dialectical turn necessary for running their mechanism, the turn that would carry 16 Introduction

forward a sense of movement of matter through time. In the timeless stasis of his despair, Timias embodies a silent challenge to the false quality of satisfaction produced by thought shifted imaginatively along temporal and metaphysical scales when no clear material basis for such shifting exists. The mere presence of the friend, however, makes possible Timias’s recovery of movement, and Spenser therefore depicts friendship radicalizing the immaterial potential of human relations and, through this exaggeration, reasserting its legitimacy. That reassertion proves especially useful for stabilizing sexual relationships whose material eroticism operates on a contradictory logic to narratives about the immateriality of emotive bonds. In the book’s final chapter, the question of defining the institutions of friendship and marriage along gender lines is reopened with Jonson’s Epicoene, a play featuring Morose, the aging bachelor limited in his search for a wife by his lack of tolerance for noise of any kind, particularly that of the human voice. The trick played on him—­ presenting him with a silent woman to marry who then becomes boisterously talkative after the ceremony—­is also a joke played on the audience when the woman proves, within the fiction of the play, to be a boy dressed in women’s clothing. Beyond the game of anatomical sex, the boy also presents a complicated problem of language and translation, since “epicene” names not only a dramatic character or a quality of anatomical and cultural sex, but also a category of Latin nouns, ambiguous and distinct from other categories of linguistic gender. Because the play’s final trick exposes a pretense of the English theater itself, where all stage “women” are boys in drag, it generates implications about the manipulation of gender as a category of relation beyond the fictional realm presented on stage. Morose retreats into silence as an escape from the ambiguity of language and its ability to carry and negotiate authority, but he is not allowed to escape such ambiguity—­not merely because his social world refuses to let him do so, but also because the structure of inheritance that Morose would make a move to alter has already saddled him with a legacy of language that he is not free to reject or alter. Introduction  17

Coda: Misanthropoetics and a Sense of Entitlement As a final word of introduction, it seems important to acknowledge that Misanthropoetics (mis-­a n-­thro-­po-­e t-­ics) owes the possibility of its title, and, indirectly, much of its internal formulation, to the poststructural tradition of grafting terms into hybrid composites that serve in their double-­endedness as complexes whose precise definitions are discernible only through allowing the ongoing play between potential meanings. Lee Edelman’s term “homographesis” is an example of such a composite, naming as it does both gay writing in the plainest sense (i.e., writing that is somehow inflected by a gay aesthetic, experience, or politics) and, on the other hand, writing that is itself responsible for constructing through inscription the sexualities understood only through the mediation of language. Jacques Derrida’s concept of différance is clearly an ur-­term for this particular kind of linguistic attention, and a consideration of the sublime heights to which the school of deconstruction elevated the utility of the pun for demonstrating its fundamental tenets is also ancestral to this book’s principal term.21 The title of Barbara Johnson’s book The Wake of Deconstruction condenses in the term “wake” the notion of a vigil for the dead, the towing current marking the path of something moving through water, and the awakening (rather than the death) of a theoretical school hatefully vilified in the decades immediately following its appearance in literary study. The current project seeks, then, to harvest the fruit of an unlikely grafting of deconstruction and formalist poetics onto cultural materialism, heretofore encountered at times as unlikely bedfellows, at others as sworn enemies. Among other things, Misanthropoetics also names this spliced specimen. What follows aims at positive instruction rather than further division and discontent.

18 Introduction

1

Models Not to Copy Timon of Athens, Knowledge, and the Performance of the Misanthrope

If I meet one of them in the street, he passes me by as he might pass the tombstone of one long dead; it has fallen face upwards, loosened by time, but he wastes no moment deciphering it. —­“ Timon the Misanthrope,” Lucian

And on his gravestone this insculpture, which With wax I brought away, whose soft impression Interprets for my poor ignorance. —­the illiterate soldier, Timon of Athens

I know you all. . . . —­Prince Hal, I Henry IV

Malcontents abound in Shakespeare and the drama of his period, and the causes of their discontent are abundantly varied. But only one of these, Timon of Athens, becomes a self-­proclaimed misanthrope, declaring, “I am Misanthropos and hate mankind” (4.3.53) as he departs bitterly from the city whose friendship has so completely failed him.1 Not only is Timon unusual for the overt identity he adopts; his motivation to depart from his social realm—­from negotiating with other human beings—­is also unique as a malcontented response, and the lengths to which he will go to fly from all sociability are considerable in the extreme. While readers are led to conclude that suicide is the misanthrope’s final release, the original title of the play, The Life of Timon of Athens, may serve as the first generic challenge to 19

understanding (and staging) it as a conventional tragedy, given that Timon’s death leaves very little forensic evidence and would not be conclusive for modern crime scene investigators. Absent the exhumation of a corpse, Timon would today be considered a missing person. While Fortinbras, by contrast, faces the cleanup of a quadruple homicide in the royal court of Elsinore, Timon of Athens leaves no blood and no body. And, despite the usual acceptance by audiences of the staged scene on Timon’s own terms—­“Come not to me again, but . . . / . . . / . . . let my gravestone be your oracle” (5.2.99–­104)—­there has been, to the contrary, every clue that Timon’s disappearance fulfills the misanthrope’s fiercest wish, which has never been for death; what Timon craves is to be left alone. His flight from Athens into the wild desert space is frustrated throughout the second half of the play, when he is continuously bombarded by the humanity he wishes to leave forever behind him. It seems the disappearing act Timon performs at the end of his “life” is not through death but through the staging of his death, the performance of finality to stop once and for all the flow of unwelcome visitors who won’t stop bothering him. It matters enormously whether or not Timon is believed to die offstage sometime after the senators receive directions to his future gravesite (5.2.99–­108) and before Alcibiades reads aloud ex situ his reported “epitaph” (5.5.70–­73), because the nature of misanthropic performance at the limits of experience cannot be well understood otherwise. While Timon serves as a fictionalization of an extraordinary experience of total human alienation, his experience must nonetheless be taken to be something imaginable—­even common. For, on some level, it must be common to be a socialized human being and discover that cherished friendships can disappear in a moment’s space of betrayal and disappointment. And though the response to that discovery is not commonly misanthropic flight, the foundational challenge to certainties of expectation must be significant, nonetheless, at a cognitive level—­perhaps not every time, but certainly the first time and every time after when such a betrayal or disappointment is a true surprise and painfully unexpected. 20  Models Not to Copy

It is not surprising that Marx chose Timon as his favorite Shakespeare play, given his thesis that the vast majority of people live in an economic game that is rigged against them, and—­more important—­do not realize it. It is probably accurate to say that Marx read Timon of Athens as the demystification of the commodity fetish experienced on a personal scale.2 As Amanda Bailey has written, “Timon incorrectly assumed that value emanated from his person” (394), rather than from access to his wealth. In Timon’s Athens, the “confused hermeneutics of value” (388) corrupt human affairs in a manner that catapults Timon into a hatred for what he views as a deeply duplicitous hypocrisy.3 But Timon responds histrionically to a vulnerability of friendship and money that everyone else seems to understand: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” Polonius counsels Laertes at the threshold of his adult life, “for loan oft loses both itself and friend” (Hamlet, 1.3.74–­75). If such experience of the world, as Gertrude reminds Hamlet about another matter, is “common” (1.2.72), then what makes it seem so particular with the misanthrope? What might redeem such an extreme response from Timon as something more than simple immaturity or narcissistic vanity? Indeed, Polonius is quintessentially ordinary and unremarkable. His wisdom is painfully common, and Timon should be well informed of it. If his devastation is legitimate, then it must derive from a more profound sense of intellectual violation beyond that of a naïve response to the contradictions embedded in common knowledge. Polonius does not question friendship’s vulnerability to money because he does not believe in friendship as a thing with true and stable properties, or as a thing that operates by its own internal tenets and ideals. In this respect, Polonius is not an academic, because he does not look for deep patterns of predictability and consistency as the basis for knowledge. His practical advice to Laertes is based on experience that comes from participating in loose social truths and fictions rather than core values. What he knows he knows as a function of organismal and social survival, and the “performance” that survival requires.4 Models Not to Copy  21

Timon, however, must believe in a more lofty experiment of socialization, something akin to what Thomas Hobbes would shortly explore as a social contract, falling into a category of “Science, that is, Knowledge of Consequences, which is called also Philosophy.”5 In fact, all Renaissance philosophy was grappling with this question of “consequence,” or cause and effect: that which follows systematically in order, both ultimately predictable but mysteriously unknown before it is discerned. All such philosophy seemed to be predicated on the insufficiency of common knowledge, indifferent as it is to basic contradictions, for the advancement of learning.6 Cartesian Proofs Whatever else it did in the service of establishing a new consequential science in Europe, Renaissance humanism, serving the needs of an increasingly secular patronage system, produced an alternative body of scholarly texts to those cultivated in the traditional monastic centers of medieval learning. The development of humanistic study as a counterpoint to the Church resulted in a new freedom of mind for European students and scholars, pursuing more aesthetic—­and less dogmatic—­notions of experience. Rather than building and ornamenting the scaffold of divine truth, humanism became useful in the service of ends that fluctuated rapidly to keep up with the ephemeral encampments of various political patrons. To the extent that it existed, humanist dogma was marked by a principle of antidogmatism, an early modern rhetorical relativism, and the decentering of clearly defined core sets of values that could grow cumbersome or inexpedient.7 As Renaissance intellectual historian James Hankins observes: All humanists had extensive training in rhetoric and delighted in their ability to argue both sides of a question. If reproached with levity on this score, they might admit (following Cicero) the ultimate duty of the orator to uphold moral virtue, but political consistency and ideological loyalty did not come into their definition of morality. . . . It was more important that speech 22  Models Not to Copy

be appropriate, elegant and effective than that it be strictly true. The rules of decorum in fact called for the celatio (concealment) or suppressio of the truth, even the suggestio of the false, in the appropriate rhetorical situation. (121) What Hankins calls the “cult of sincerity so typical of modern democratic societies” did not hamper the Renaissance humanists, he argues, as they conducted their business. If Hankins sees Machiavelli’s Prince as a radical exemplar of this humanist emphasis on managing appearances apart from ethics, he still sees devout humanists like Thomas More as equally dependent on its basic tenet that political institutions, rather than teleologically productive of a natural or divine plan, are “the work of custom and history . . . and therefore plastic to the hand of human beings” (140). As early modern “knowledge” developed an insistent social dimension, the contrast between what could be considered true versus what was merely familiar seemed to become less visible and more strained as the hidden contradictions inherent in this yoking were quietly tolerated. That the word “knowledge” should unite linguistically such potentially disparate concepts as “factual truth” and “custom” is of special relevance to a study of the misanthrope, who enacts his totalizing rejection of social custom often in the name of some suddenly detected truth about its falsehood and the collapse of knowledge articulated in absolute terms. This historical understanding may serve as a starting point for an investigation of early modern misanthropy, and specifically for investigating Timon of Athens. The development of social culture away from strict ecclesiastical definitions and toward social cohesion based on refined rhetoric and courtesy saw a splintering standard of knowledge, looser in some instances when its uses and outcomes were necessarily variable but stricter in others, especially when handled by those responding to manipulations of knowledge with a new “scientific” urge to fix unwavering truths. With this development, familial and social institutions were unduly perplexing as a subject Models Not to Copy  23

of study or commentary by those applying stricter methodological standards. Institutions of marriage, friendship, and some forms of politics could suddenly seem detached from fixed values guaranteed not to change, now subject instead to a growing dependence on the process of discerning and interpreting the terms of unwritten (or indeed imperfectly written) contracts.8 One response to this flexibility in considerations of what qualifies to a social culture as reasonable—­ rather than indisputably true—­is its wholesale rejection by the injured party whose metaphysical expectations have been dashed by the relativist approach, and who is transformed by the experience into the misanthrope.9 In illustration of this transformation, Timon of Athens opens with several doorways admitting a poet, a painter, a merchant, and a jeweler who have all come to the courtyard of Timon’s home seeking gifts of patronage from their mutual benefactor. In the first few lines of dialogue, the poet greets the painter asking, “How goes the world?” and is answered with a ready cliché: “It wears, sir, as it grows” (1.1.3–­4). The poet confirms the familiarity of this reply: “Ay, that’s well known,” he says, performing with ready agreement the pleasant conversational disposition typically struck toward a professional colleague or social peer. As the second pair of players approaches, the established context of shared knowledge is broadened: the poet confirms of the approaching men, “I know the merchant.” And the painter triumphs: “I know them both: th’other’s a jeweller” (1.1.7–­8). Two sorts of knowledge and knowledge sharing, then, busily join these four artists and merchants in the first few moments of their gathering. Conventional wisdom, or knowledge of “well-­known” things, is traded intermittently with knowledge of social identity, such that knowing aphoristically that “the world wears as it grows” is valued alongside knowing by means of one’s social connections the identities of two figures as they approach. In Spanish, the verbs saber and conocer (the words in French are savoir and connaître, and, in German, Wissen and Kenntnis) distinguish between these two types of knowledge, separating knowledge of information from that 24  Models Not to Copy

of familiarity, syntactically shaping the difference between, say, knowing the capital of Spain and knowing that capital from having walked and lived on its streets.10 In English the single verb “to know” evokes both of these senses at once without causing undue confusion, at least partly because each sense appears very generally to imply the other regardless of the dominant nuance. Becoming acquainted with people and places involves some implicit comprehension of their facts and figures, and, likewise, factual knowledge can yield a sense of familiarity, as when an expert will claim to have “intimate” knowledge of a subject acquired through reading alone. While a focus on the verb “to know” may sound linguistic or philosophical, the fused concept of “knowing” that surfaces so blandly at the start of Timon of Athens may in fact be a preoccupation of the historical English Renaissance and a key problem for this play. In particular, the potential crisis of Renaissance knowledge as a category of thing stretched between accurate information and social ritual, or else between metaphysics and materiality, seems a reasonable concern of the new humanism. Where does knowledge lie, by Renaissance standards—­in the socially familiar, or in the scientifically true? Descartes famously confronts a version of this question when in his first Discourse he rejects academic knowledge, which he views as compromised by the need among scholars to “make a trade of knowledge to supplement . . . fortune,” and turns instead to the “great books of the world”—­that is, to the world itself: “I spent the rest of my youth in travelling, seeing courts and armies, mixing with people of different humours and ranks, in gathering a varied experience, in testing myself in the situations which chance offered me, and everywhere reflecting upon whatever events I witnessed in such a way as to draw some profit from them” (Discourse, 32–­33). Yet even this worldly study based on firsthand sensory experience with the goal of developing an education by direct exposure fails to deliver anything but a lesson in empirical skepticism: “Seeing many things which, although they may seem to us very extravagant and ridiculous, are nevertheless commonly accepted and approved by other great peoples, I learned Models Not to Copy  25

not to believe too firmly those things which I had been persuaded to accept by example and custom only” (33–­34). Descartes, confronted with the flaws embedded in the common knowledge of other nations, and able to see them more clearly as an outsider, comes to doubt his own social education, too, as potentially equally flawed in ways that may escape his notice. Descartes’s realization of the uncertain reliability of common knowledge at the end of his first Discourse leads him directly in the beginning of his second to a scene of introversion, withdrawal, and solitariness: “As I was returning from the coronation of the Emperor to join the army, the onset of winter held me up in quarters in which, finding no company to distract me, and having, fortunately, no cares or passions to disturb me, I spent the whole day shut up in a room heated by an enclosed stove, where I had complete leisure to meditate on my own thoughts” (35). In this room, it would seem, Descartes begins working toward the later conclusions of his Meditations and his famous “cogito.” Shut up in a room by himself, framed in his personal narrative by an emperor’s coronation and by a commitment to enlist for war, Descartes starts work on his original proof that he and God are all that certainly exist. Though patently insufficient for solving the epistemological questions that a scrupulous skepticism raises, Cartesian logic is Descartes’s inventive answer. The fact that Descartes ultimately checks the skepticism he unleashes on the empirical world is not as interesting as where in the process of epistemological annihilation he does so—­namely, at the first-­person accounting for self. Descartes’s assertion of his own individual existence—­literally “indivisible” from the thought that would try to deny it—­is the smallest part in a Cartesian cosmic whole, all that can remain of knowledge and being under the pressure of a voracious philosophical skepticism. As the only remaining entity in creation, Descartes happily rebuilds his empirical world beginning with no less an entity than God. Descartes’s act of re-­ creation profoundly reverses the cosmic hierarchy: from the vast chaos that remains after the implosion of his epistemological uni26  Models Not to Copy

verse, Descartes first acknowledges himself, alone in the void, and only secondly reestablishes a divine entity, the idealized projection of his own cognitive faculty. Descartes exists at the zero hour before Creation, and he becomes the progenitor of God. Setting theological and metaphysical questions aside and ignoring Descartes’s subsequent reordering of God’s existence to a place in the sequence prior to his own, one can see how Descartes’s imaginative creation of God is psychologically readable as what Joel Fineman has identified in his reading of Shakespeare’s sonnets as “the end of self deriving from a perfect identification of ego with ego ideal” (Perjured Eye, 19). The Cartesian self discovers something more perfect than itself, but it also prefigures this discovery in a chain of existence and creation. The imperfect ego is thus the predecessor and progenitor of its own ego ideal and finds its “end” in identifying with this projection. Though God is the most immediate “end point” for the Cartesian self, the ego ideal ultimately takes its fullest form as the restored world. Descartes leaves the coronation of the emperor as a royal subject, but joins the army with self-­authorized subjectivity, having plotted his place in the interim, holed up in a wintry room with only an enclosed stove and his own thoughts, at the origin of Creation. While Fineman’s discussion of Shakespeare’s sonnets may invite criticism for locating the author and creator of modern subjectivity in the canonical person of William Shakespeare, his study is nonetheless quite accurately one of subjectivity in the process of being invented. Whatever Fineman’s larger claims, Shakespeare’s role as “inventor” does not align him in the usual sense with a historical “first.” Rather, the subjectivity Fineman attributes to Shakespeare’s sonnets is “inventive” in that it yields something original: the impression of unique subjectivity. Yet this unique product is itself only one example of a cultural routine or process of inventing subjectivity. Despite its ultimate banality, the subjective process itself involves a methodical dismantling of worldly strictures, here as a function of the sonnets’ sequentialized record of encroaching skepticism whose elements yield what has come to count, in Fineman’s modern vocabulary, as a Models Not to Copy  27

process of subjectivity. What Fineman interprets from Shakespeare’s sonnets, then, is not subjectivity itself but a procedure of generating subjectivity whereby the world is methodically and sequentially reduced to an “I.” Like the Cartesian proof of existence, Shakespeare’s proof—­or Fineman’s reading of it—­is made through a performance of subjectivity that makes assurances of its own originality; it is a dramatization of the process by which one seeks one’s place before the start of Creation, as the author that pre-­dates the text. The difference between Descartes’s subjectivity and that of Shakespeare’s sonneteer, however, is that Descartes’s “whole day” spent shut up in a room in a mode of inventive isolation, a mode evocative of misanthropic retreat, is brief-­lived and, at the time of its telling, part of a personal history that has already moved quickly beyond that room. Shakespeare’s sonneteer, on the other hand, fictionalized to be engaged in an ongoing process of subjectivity, is forever closed off in the little room of the sonnet form, trapped in a mode of creation but never quite able to emerge satisfied: “Why is my verse so barren of new pride, / So far from variation or quick change?” (Sonnet 76). The speaker of Shakespeare’s sonnets, then, in Fineman’s reading, is stuck in a subjectivity loop rotating between a first-­person assertion of self and a resentful retreat from an encroaching world forever challenging that assertion. Unlike the sonnets’ speaker, Descartes claims success in establishing the terms of his own subjectivity, although he cautions against its emulation: My plan has never gone beyond trying to reform my own thoughts and to build on a foundation which is wholly my own. And if, my work having sufficiently satisfied me, I set it out here as a model for you, it is not on this account that I would advise anyone to copy it. Those whom God has better endowed with his blessings will perhaps have more elevated designs, but I very much fear that even mine be too bold for many people. The mere resolve to divest oneself of all one’s former opinions is not an 28  Models Not to Copy

example to be followed by everyone; and the world is made up almost entirely of two types of minds for which this would not be at all suitable: namely, those who, thinking themselves to be cleverer than they are, cannot help judging prematurely and do not have the patience to conduct their thought in an orderly way, with the result that, once they have taken the liberty of doubting accepted principles and of leaving the common path, they would never be able to keep to the road one must take in order to go straight forward and would remain lost all their lives; secondly, there are those who, having enough sense or modesty to know that they are less able to distinguish the true from the false than some from whom they can learn, ought rather to content themselves with following the opinions of these others instead of seeking better opinions themselves. (38–­39) Descartes’s surprising suggestion about the claim to original subjectivity earned through difficult intellectual work is that “the world is made up almost entirely” of people unsuited to having it, and that only a select few should dare undertake to procure it for themselves. In determining who should lead and who should follow in establishing a world epistemology, Descartes helps invent an intellectual aristocracy or ruling elite, the membership for which requires a demonstration of original subjective thought. Given all that is now at stake in undertaking this game of subjectivity, whose rewards include worldly authority and leadership, the patent failure by the standards of radical skepticism of Descartes’s proof “to distinguish the true from the false,” as it pretends to do, looms dubiously over his project.11 Descartes has not secured knowledge so much as he has engaged in a successful performance of securing knowledge. In offering an account of his methods merely as a “model” not to be copied, Descartes partly means to dissuade those without intellectual prowess from retracing his steps, for fear they would “remain lost all their lives” having made the attempt. But he also implies, in calling his “foundation” “wholly my own,” that a methodical duplication of his Models Not to Copy  29

proof would be fruitless because to conclude with Descartes would not help generate one’s own original bid to subjectivity, even if one had followed his account of the process exactly and stood exactly where he had on the precipice of epistemological annihilation.12 To conclude with Descartes is to remain “following the opinions of these others instead of seeking better opinions” for oneself. The model Descartes provides is a process of subjectivity as original discovery, the unique record of which—­in the Discourse and the Meditations, for example—­invalidates it as a process worthy of reproduction. In his reading of Descartes’s second meditation, Jacques Lezra carefully establishes these lessons: “The nature of [the cogito]—­whether it is the self-­subsisting, self-­identical ‘I’ that Kant and Fichte take it to be, or the possibility of individual liberty, or the ground for a definition of thought co-­extensive with its subject—­is less important, in a sense, than the novel and novelistic role of this ‘discovery’” (Unspeakable Subjects, 84). Descartes’s clout, Lezra suggests, comes not from his actual discovery (which is questionable anyway) but from his establishment of that discovery as a narrative of novelty, from an “unprecedented novelizing—­of himself, of his arguments,” affording him a claim to original subjectivity and, therefore, to authority (82).13 Ironically, in view of this analysis of the Cartesian program, Descartes may be said to be a form of early pragmatist, given the way he packages the Discourse and the Meditations as a model for undertaking the performance of original knowledge as an economic guarantor. The irony in this proposition lies in the way Descartes is generally credited with being pragmatism’s greatest antagonizing force. Within the history of philosophy, Descartes has been lamented for sidelining all of Western metaphysics in questions of ontology as opposed to questions of functionality and experiment, such as those Francis Bacon was pursuing in contemporary England. In a passage quoted in Lars Engle’s Shakespearean Pragmatism, Richard Rorty—­one of the premier American neopragmatists—­claims, “Had Bacon—­the prophet of self-­assertion, as opposed to self-­grounding—­been taken more seriously, we might not have been struck with a canon of ‘great 30  Models Not to Copy

modern philosophers’ who took ‘subjectivity’ as their theme. . . . We might thereby see what Blumenberg calls ‘self-­assertion’—­the willingness to center our hopes on the future of the race, on the unpredictable successes of our descendants—­as the ‘principle of the modern.’”14 Yet if Rorty is right in characterizing Descartes as a key figure in so-­called Continental philosophy and its search for essential being, then Descartes has been misread (perhaps in a long tradition of misreading) as doing something other than demonstrating a “willingness to center his hopes on the future of the race, on the unpredictable successes of his descendants,” as Rorty credits Bacon with doing, in line with pragmatist preoccupations.15 For what Descartes organizes through his performance of knowledge is a controlled hierarchy of authority. He clarifies and epitomizes the cultural requirement that a person worthy of authority must first prove a first author, with a demonstrable sequential outline of an original intellectual discovery. And this activity is basically an economic one, in the extended sense of engaging a trade of something for something else in a chain leading to subsistence: here, a trade of intellectual effort for authority, and of authority for patronage or wages that lead to subsistence. The trouble with calling Descartes an early pragmatist, of course, lies in the fact that he does not espouse a philosophy of pragmatism or proselytize on behalf of any of that philosophy’s basic tenets. Descartes does not promote explicitly any ideological view of the antiessentialist, economic imperatives of culture (as Bacon has been said to do), but instead “grounds” philosophical inquiry in the search for essences like subjectivity, as Rorty testily regrets. Yet, within Descartes’s specific task of making a claim to subjectivity, promoting an overt pragmatism while still remaining bound by the principles of that pragmatism would be impossible, since the performance of discovering foundational knowledge depends for its success on appearing to be a genuine acquisition of that knowledge. It cannot look—­at least not except accidentally or indirectly—­like an economic transaction or a play for clout and still have pragmatic effects. Descartes might then qualify as a pragmatist in the deceptive clothing of someone Models Not to Copy  31

else. His attention to his own affairs and those of his immediate community must take on the look and feel of someone other than an economic pragmatist, in order for it to work as needed. In fact, Descartes’s project looks and feels like the opposite of pragmatism, as Rorty makes clear, with one major exception: his declaration of and capitalization on its triumph. The problem with Cartesian performance, or the performance of novel subjectivity, is that it depends upon appearing unrehearsed, unscripted, contingent, and hence genuine—­not only by audiences but, in the best instances, by the performers themselves, sufficiently wrapped up in the performance. While certain performance spaces, like theaters, may seem less likely than others to be mistaken for anything but venues of scripted fiction, the Cartesian model of performing subjectivity is well removed from such self-­signaling theatricality. In addition, because the performance depends on being perceived as an unrehearsed discovery, the pretended knowledge must be retained and shared, postperformance, as a true find.16 Significantly lost in the Cartesian performance of subjectivity is any certain record of who remembers, or who is supposed to remember (in the end, in the middle, or even at the start) that the performance is just that, and not an unrehearsed display. Who remembers to expose, privately or publicly, a novel-­seeming performance of discovery as other than a true or original find because only seeming? At the same time, however, isn’t it probable that an awareness—­of varying degrees of consciousness—­of the duplicity in performances of subjectivity might also exist in some or all members of the audience, who then themselves must perform a lack of awareness in order to preserve the economy of authority signaled there? Doesn’t Spinoza’s sworn allegiance to Descartes’s Meditations, for example, (after smoothing over the logical wrinkles of the cogito) offer a portrait of this kind of audience complicity?17 The complicity in the mutual performance of audience and authorial actor, more than the mistaking of performance by one or both parties for something like true witnessing, marks a distinctly pragmatic commitment to cultural economic forms, by which the exchange is 32  Models Not to Copy

more important than the occasion for exchange, or, to invoke Lezra’s provocative term of emphasis, than the event or “eventful thought” around which the exchange takes place (Unspeakable Subjects, 5). Complicit mutual performance prevents a serious dependence on the legitimacy of the eventual or occasional premise and facilitates a swift exchange as a result. Yet what then would be the need for such a premise if the performance is apparently always to some degree mutual and complicit? If it is apparently the primary element, why should an exchange need the excuse or premise of an event—­except, perhaps, to obscure the illiberality of the cultural exchange in particular, or of exchange in general? The growing emphasis in early modern Europe on the event as occasion for exchange—­on the novelty of Descartes’s discovery, on the originary primacy of authority and the witnessed accession by its keepers of a privileged place anterior to the text—­is no less a commitment to pragmatism even in its disavowal of pragmatic interests, a distancing strategy that has been in the pragmatist’s own best interest up until the wide proliferation and ideological prominence of American capitalism during the last hundred years or more. In effect, modern pragmatism has been operating, ironically, at least ever since Descartes (perhaps even in some ways originating with Descartes, or with his historical moment of proto-­capitalist novo-­culturalism) as an applicable philosophy of local economic needs and exchanges, though self-­referentially silent in its earliest application, with built-­in diversions to prevent its being noticed for what it is. Subjectivity and its essentialist trappings, in other words, have proven a favorite tool of the modern pragmatist. The eventual owning of pragmatism as a self-­announcing philosophy is a historical sign that the reasons for concealing it have shrunk, and the revolutionary strength of Rorty’s neopragmatism is perhaps only possible given what Slavoj Žižec has identified as the global “depoliticization of the economic sphere” over the last few decades (353). Descartes’s insistence on the triumph of his work betrays him as essentially disconnected from the metaphysical claims of Cartesian philosophy even as it generates the celebrity of Models Not to Copy  33

Cartesian metaphysics as the firstborn child (and, oddly, progenitor) of modern metaphysical philosophy. Cartesian logic is wrong insofar as it easily deconstructs under the pressure of a consistent skepticism, which is the method Descartes purportedly applies to his investigation. The assumption of the cogito that “I” am right now “thinking”—­that there is an “I” that can be assured of its own existence through the irrefutable function of a cognitive process—­is the sort of assumption that Cartesian skepticism could easily debunk. The special value given to this assumption along with the special protection it receives from Descartes’s meditative skepticism is secured through a grandiose performance that is almost pure fiction, whereby the mercilessly scrupulous Descartes, tearing down all standards of epistemological comfort, confronts the cogito and, faced with the brilliant simplicity of that apparently irreducible gem of a truth, stops cold, mesmerized. He is powerless to discover a way for “his thought” to deny “his existence” (though the irrefutability of the cogito is founded in a semantic formula rather than in philosophical logic), and, having dug through to the foundational bedrock of existence with his machinery of skeptical destruction, he has earned the right to stop and return in triumph to the world he almost destroyed, newly grounded in a world-­affirming epistemology.18 Descartes’s urge is never to imagine “some reform of the State” like those “meddling and restless spirits” who wish to effect political change (38). It is rather to return to the same world that he pretends to reject, with a publishable account of original subjectivity that will help secure his place as one of the intellectual giants of his time. But, having made the successful performance of metaphysical skepticism his livelihood, he fully knows the danger in his model and accounts for it when he warns those of lesser intellectual capacity, those untrained professionals who think themselves “cleverer than they are,” of getting forever lost in the morass of philosophical skepticism without the protection of a deliberately real-­seeming performance. He knows epistemological skepticism cannot be resolved because no cognitive conclusion is groundless—­that is, without some form of assumption 34  Models Not to Copy

vulnerable to skeptical assault. Descartes also warns against a process less specifically philosophical but in which he no less engages: that of performing original subjectivity, which, as a bid for authority, is not restrictively a philosophical performance, though it takes that form for Descartes. In fact, Descartes’s Discourse is especially useful as a model for securing original subjectivity because it formalizes by means of its skeptical method a process already inherent to performing original subjectivity in order to command authority—­the process, that is, of retreating from and rejecting the world in a manner similar to “thinking” its annihilation from inside the performer’s mind. Because retreating as a subject of the king (or of the state, or of language) to return as a self-­authorizing subjectivity involves a performed rejection of the world and all its wisdom, the performance of subjectivity with traditional contemptus mundi involves organizing and following an argumentative logic against that world’s epistemology, at least in performance.19 It involves what Marx would later dub for his own project a “ruthless criticism of everything existing.”20 But the intellectual fragility of the “world” epistemology—­its incessant contradictions, its falsifiable language, its manipulative ideologies—­leaves one engaged in performing subjectivity with the danger of finding the cause for ruthlessness more than seeming real, that is, in the sense of being legitimate or crucial, or requisite, no longer merely staged for subsistence or worldly promotion. A “ruthless criticism of everything existing” can become not only real-­seeming but real (at least in the performer’s mind), no longer merely a play of subjectivity for subsistence. And the failure to perform that work as a performance, to merely pretend a critique but then recover through the trick of some arbitrary but novel-­seeming discovery, may see those less skilled, or indeed less pragmatic, than Descartes “remain lost all their lives.” Homicidal Arguments In demonstration of their hunger for performances of intellectual discovery, more modern minds have grown accustomed to anticipating that the most valuable knowledge as it is learned will contradict Models Not to Copy  35

profoundly what is most familiar. Knowledge that fails to do this, that merely confirms common sense or else, despite its technical novelty, fails for one reason or another to excite one’s sense of surprise, is far less valuable to a culture invested in the marvelous shock associated with discerning new things. From this perspective, the poet’s response to the painter’s platitude about the world in the opening scene of Timon of Athens may resonate as a critique of the response as unoriginal, a critique of the painter for failing to think beyond what is already “well known.”21 While the brief exchange between two acquaintances ends quickly and unremarkably, its mundane mechanism is no less integral to understanding the crisis of acquaintance and friendship that this play will fully dramatize. Through their dialogue, the poet and painter confirm the way in which social banter—­those highly conventional tags of social conversation that make up the bulk of daily speech—­crucially establishes knowledge held in common between two speakers, effectively bonding them in a social kinship. Yet their exchange also begs the question of cultural value, introducing a latent disappointment in the apparent dependence of social cohesion on repetition and cliché, or even on what has been well documented as Renaissance imitation, despite its plagiaristic tinge.22 This disappointment is latent in that its emergence depends on the discriminating listening patterns of any given participant. Only some listeners will hear a cliché with distaste while others will not hear it at all, accepting it uncritically as a direct, even original, form of expression. The opening scene of Timon seems deliberately to excite this latent critical discrimination in its audience. When the painter describes his painting and when the poet recites a few lines from his freshest work, the failure of either to achieve an original vision is made patently clear. Each has failed in trying to perform a Cartesian claim to subjectivity, though neither is apparently aware of or encumbered by that failure. Timon, on the other hand, with his eventual misanthropy can be understood in terms of having undertaken a Cartesian process of subjectivity and insisted on his success even while failing to win a permanent assurance of privilege from the social realm that 36  Models Not to Copy

alone can grant it.23 From Timon’s perspective, the social logic by which he has earned his position in Athenian society, if it has been secured through the Cartesian process, must not attach merely to accidents of wealth and service, which other accidents might see reversed, but to intellectual justifications for privilege and authority that are impervious to contingencies of time and space.24 In parallel to Timon’s expectations about the special rights reserved for him, Alcibiades appeals to the senators for a pardon on behalf of a friend who murdered a man after being goaded into a fight, and the general reveals his anticipation of results based on precisely this cultural economy of privilege: It pleases time and fortune to lie heavy Upon a friend of mine, who in hot blood Hath stepped into the law, which is past depth To those that without heed do plunge into’t. He is a man, setting his fate aside, of comely virtues, Nor did he soil the fact with cowardice—­ An honor in him which buys out his fault—­ But with a noble fury and fair spirit, Seeing his reputation touched to death, He did oppose his foe: And with such sober and unnoted passion He did behoove his anger, ere ’twas spent, As if he had but proved an argument. (3.6.10–­22) Alcibiades seeks to counteract fluctuations of “time and fortune,” ministers of accident that have landed a worthy soldier and friend before the sentence of the law. The law, here figured as a dangerous body of water “past depth, / To those who without heed do plunge into’t,” drowns its foolhardy swimmers as a passive mechanism of capital punishment that redirects responsibility for such serious punitive consequence back onto the sentenced party. In calling on the senators to prevent his friend’s certain death, Alcibiades seeks to rescue him Models Not to Copy  37

by means of a human-­operated form of deus ex machina. Alcibiades reminds the senators of their power to step into a position of divine first authority, to alter the mechanism of the law, and to save a worthy citizen on the basis of his merit, here relayed as a store of virtue that “buys out his fault,” balancing the debt of his crime. Although Alcibiades clearly expects his own record of meritorious service to Athens to influence the senators in granting his appeal, he does not miss the chance to analogize his friend as a philosopher, or accomplished cultural thinker: the passion of the homicide and the ensuing calm resembled the mere proving of “an argument,” settled here by unorthodox but, Alcibiades proposes, principally forensic means. The senators are not so easily persuaded by Alcibiades’s case about his friend’s argumentative style and the judicial latitude they might award its use. They do not satisfy his pleas any more than they agree to forgive Timon’s debt, and the play will see them learning to regret deeply their unwillingness to grant special privileges to those cultural members who have contracted through a performance of subjectivity the right to stand beyond the arm of the law. The senators regret their unwillingness precisely because they learn that Alcibiades can repeat his performance: he returns to conquer Athens, solving arguments and proving his worth again through homicidal acts. The problem for Timon, however, different from that facing Alcibiades, is that he discovers that his own grand act of subjective performance, of transforming culture, through boundless generosity—­a dream of nostalgia, a dream of first authority—­is an empty act. His banquet is an empty feast; his wealth, an illusion. Unlike Alcibiades, Timon does not retain through his experiences a sustained belief in his own subjective powers. He is not merely interested in securing the privilege that comes with performances of subjectivity: he has believed profoundly in the legitimacy of that subjectivity, too, and the play’s audience watches as he is transformed by its irrevocable hollowness into the shape of someone who has been defrauded by his own subjective claims. 38  Models Not to Copy

Timon’s Cenotaph If Timon’s demonstration of first authority is ultimately fraudulent, if his cogito can be reduced substantively to an empty utterance, then misanthropy is his response to those weighty deprivations. The play offers a way for understanding this sequence, leading as it does to a social void figured ultimately as a tombstone and grave. The notion that Timon’s grave may actually be a cenotaph—­the potential for imagining the failure of this hero to die and therein to be unable to inhabit the monument of his death—­inserts a new fiction into Timon of Athens, with a deliberate rewriting of the generally accepted story. In this play (this play called a “life” in its first and only print appearance during the monarchical English Renaissance and only later dubbed a “tragedy”)—­the hero who boasts “I am Misanthropos and hate mankind” (4.3.53) is generally believed to die alone in his hermetic retreat, thereby escaping in a final way the plague of visitors frustrating his bitter wish for solitude. The soldier who discovers Timon’s death, however, does not discover a corpse: he finds instead a burial mound and an etched epitaph atop this mound. Timon would seem to be dead. And modern editors, aligned with the unchallenged look of things, tend to position this play with their classificatory nomenclature as a failed King Lear, a badly constructed and bloodless tragedy.25 If one settles one’s mind, however, not on a dead body but on an empty tomb instead (the staged cenotaph that art historians talk about when surveying the tombs of quattrocento Italy), one reconfigures the terms and stakes of the play. The cenotaph invests this burial mound with a hollowness, an absence in death matching Timon’s failure in life to fill an appropriate space back within Athenian society. In entertaining the possibility of the cenotaph, one can acknowledge that regardless of a general readerly lack of faith in this play’s logical integrity inherited from editors who are bothered by inconsistencies in monetary units and character names throughout, a person nevertheless cannot effect his own burial or position an epitaph atop his own tomb, at least not in any plainly evident way.26 Timon in Models Not to Copy  39

particular has both dramatic and metaphysical motive to stage his own death and thereby end the public pursuit of his private person. If one can accept the reasonableness of the premise that Timon may never actually die in this play—­no one sees him die, after all—­then one is charged with trying to figure out what to do with this new infusion of dramatic irony. If Timon’s tomb does not contain him, then what does it in point of fact contain? The answer circulating here is “nothing,” and “nothing” is no welcome sort of answer—­neither for its nihilism nor its absenting foreclosure of more practical discoveries. But the nothing-­filled cenotaph would nonetheless figure into a collection of similar dramatic props at work throughout the play. When Lucullus, anticipating a gift rather than an appeal for money, asks Timon’s servant what he carries under his robe, the servant tells him, “Nothing but an empty box, sir, which, in my lord’s behalf, I come to entreat your honor to supply” (3.1.13–­14). And later, having been denied the aid of his friends and welcoming them to a false feast set before them on “covered dishes” concealing not food as promised but bowls of warm water, Timon offers an ironic prayer of thanks: “For these my present friends, as they are to me nothing, so in nothing bless them, and to nothing are they welcome” (3.7.77–­79). “Nothing” is both the offending content of Timon’s empty box and the substance of the misanthrope’s revenging feast as he fills his guests’ bowls with that which will fail to fill their hungry stomachs.27 Losing for the play its watery claim to tragedy, the seaside cenotaph should become readable instead as a set design with metatheatrical implications—­a staged scene (staged, that is, within the world of the fiction) that the anonymous soldier, unquestioning discoverer of Timon’s tomb, is too dim to suspect as a form of theater. His inability to read the epitaph is a further clue as he makes for more learned eyes a wax imprint of the chiseled words “whose soft impression,” he says, “interprets for my poor ignorance” (5.5.68–­69). The soldier’s ignorance stems from serving as a poor witness to those who would rely on his report, because, like the wax he carries with him, he is 40  Models Not to Copy

shaped too easily to the scene. In less than ten lines, he will have come and gone, turning in so brief a space into an overhasty messenger of death. Another Timon, from Lucian’s source dialogue for the play, focuses the point: To leave generalities and illustrate from my own case—­I have raised any number of Athenians to high position, I have turned poor men into rich, I have assisted every one that was in want, nay, flung my wealth broadcast in the service of my friends, and now that profusion has brought me to beggary, they do not so much as know me; I cannot get a glance from the men who cringed and worshipped and hung upon my nod. If I meet one of them in the street, he passes me by as he might pass the tombstone of one long dead; it has fallen face upwards, loosened by time, but he wastes no moment deciphering it.28 Discarded on the street, Lucian’s Timon is compared to an old, worn tombstone, inscrutable to a passerby, and, just as no moment is wasted deciphering it, considerations of the tombstone in this later play seem prohibitively brief. The decipherability of the play’s final scenes has perhaps not been appreciated with sufficient care; editorial emendations of the play as a whole, but in particular of these final scenes, are a record of impatience. There appear to be three separate inscriptions, the first at 5.4.3–­4, read aloud by the soldier who discovers it, and the next two combined into one and read by Alcibiades at 5.5.70–­73, engraved in a language or script the soldier cannot read. The problem with the four-­line inscription is that it reads as two stand-­alone couplets that contradict one another. In an apparent effort to clean things up generally, the Wells and Taylor Oxford edition omits the first of these inscriptions entirely from the soldier’s scene,29 and the Riverside and Arden editors explain the later presence of two seemingly contradictory epitaphs dutifully recorded on the soldier’s wax tablet not as a problem within the fiction of the story, but as an artifact of craft—­a sign that the playwright himself Models Not to Copy  41

had been conscious of writing only a draft and had not yet decided which he would ultimately use.30 Despite appearing to be hasty in their decisions and conjecture, editors are always caught up in the difficult task of ordering and making sense of a text. Compared to other plays, Timon of Athens is notoriously hard to read, and the long-­standing notion that the play is not as finished as others appearing in Shakespeare’s First Folio is hard to dismiss.31 But it is important for a sustained participation in the play on its own terms to consider ways of absorbing what are presented as editorial anomalies into a reasonably meaningful understanding of the fiction. Why, for example, should one insist that the inscriptions be clearly intelligible? Why is it acceptable only that the soldier should need an interpreter but not that play’s general audience should be limited by the same necessity? Despite Alcibiades’s confidence in reading aloud the wax letters and in summarizing Timon’s final status, not only as dead but as worthy of a culture’s forgiveness and respect, the crux-­generating double epitaph nevertheless embeds its own interpretive challenges: Here lies a wretchèd corpse of wretchèd soul bereft, Seek not my name. A plague consume you wicked caitiffs left. Here lie I, Timon, who alive all living men did hate. Pass by and curse thy fill, but pass and stay not here thy gait. (5.5.70–­73) “Seek not my name,” the epitaph instructs before making Timon’s name the center of relevance. If this four-­line epitaph is really separable into two unrelated couplets32—­as indeed Plutarch’s source material definitively separates them33—­their presence together in the play has suggested to some that one was an alternate, a substitute or replacement for the other that would not have survived into a fair copy had the play been brought to the stage and adjusted for performance.34 Yet, if one ignores textual issues that have nothing to do with the play’s internal story, the two verses may instead represent a choice Timon had failed to make between drafts of his own epitaph, rather 42  Models Not to Copy

than only pointing to a lapse of the playwright. The failure of puzzling out these four lines into separate drafts should perhaps best be borne by the general Alcibiades, who, at the end of the play, despite proving to be the illiterate soldier’s idea of a gifted interpreter, is nevertheless ready to prove his argument with his sword in a manner that may detract from his status as a sensitive reader. Indeed, the general may have a dramatic interest at this point in accepting Timon’s death on its face, in ignoring the gaps in the soldier’s story or the anomalies in the wax imprint. Moreover, his acceptance should not necessarily govern that of the audience or the reader. From the tombstone identified by the soldier, Timon vacillates widely between suppressing his name and declaring it outright. Rather than the playwright, it is Timon who seems not to have made up his mind: Timon is the one who has been working on a draft. The notion, dramatic or not, that a person should labor over the production of her own commemorative epigraph, even under desperately trying circumstances as those apparently facing Timon, is worth some further meditation. Erving Goffman, a sociologist conducting part of his fieldwork in resort hotels during the 1950s—­not, however, without his own disturbing set of prejudices—­recorded a phenomenon strikingly reminiscent of Timon’s double epitaph. He reported that hotel security learned to anticipate, after a series of isolated incidents, to find in the room of a suicide discarded drafts of the note that was ultimately meant to be found. Crumpled up in the wastebasket, its lines crossed out and words adjusted, one note read: Darling—­ By the time you get this I will be where nothing you can do will hurt me—­ By the time you read this, nothing you can do will be able to hurt. (156) The selection and hesitation between drafts are signs of the seriousness afforded the performance, but they are also surprising given the extremity of the context, which would seem to leave not much room Models Not to Copy  43

for preparation or a preoccupation with details: “The final feelings of a desperately uncompromising person,” Goffman writes, were here proven “somewhat rehearsed in order to strike just the right note and in any case were not final.” The climactic finality of a life brought suddenly to its desperate conclusion is revealed to be a staged event, by evidence of the discarded draft. Writing one’s suicide note or else one’s epitaph, imagining as it does a posthumous readerly moment from a premortem writerly condition, showcases a peculiarity of writing that becomes a major theme in certain kinds of literature and can illuminate an improved interpretation of the ending of this play. As a thoroughly exhausted literary theme, the open-­ended capacity of a literary work to exist beyond the death of its author and its readers had clear implications for Shakespeare’s sonneteer, for example, who in Sonnet 81 could promise immortality to the addressed youth even after introducing the eventuality of the young man’s epitaph. “Such virtue hath my pen,” the sonneteer could boast, waving the instrument of his craft like a magus his wand. The peculiarity here is that the claim about the pen’s power to extend one’s presence beyond death is surely accurate from a particular point of view, as the quotation from a dead man’s sonnet and conjuration of the youth therein addressed may help to illustrate. In claiming to have the power to revive a memory that will call the dead back into presence, the sonnet is a near example of what Freud has called a “permanent memory-­trace,” the memory of a thing preserved in a reliable, static record distinct from the human brain and its vulnerability to neurological and bodily decay (“Mystic Writing-­ Pad,” 227). Yet, as Derrida has suggested in consideration of Freud’s unfolding metaphor for the unconscious mind, one cannot be sure that literature serves merely as a metaphor, or that writing is merely the trace of something that has prior existence, as though merely the trace, say, of the human hand (“Freud and the Scene of Writing”). The mystic writing-­pad upon which Freud imagines one to write and rewrite as part of a subconscious pattern of memory and repression 44  Models Not to Copy

is, troublingly, a metaphor communicable only in terms of the material stylus and wax—­physical implements of writing whose presence overwhelms the concepts they would merely pretend to represent. Derrida’s famous exposure of the irrational bias of Western logocentrism suggests that Freud’s privileging of neurological memory over writing further begs the question of writing’s potential supremacy, not mere utility, in the process of generating human consciousness, or, at any rate, of making that consciousness available to discursive investigation.35 As Derrida suggests, writing overwhelms the scene that attempts to stage something else. If for Freud this “something else” is a psychological process nowhere visible except in the field of metaphorical language, the “something else” for the audience of Timon of Athens’s final scene is the misanthropic body, which is present only through the discursive assertion of the epitaph: “Here lies a wretchèd corpse.” The corpse is present during this final scene only as a written and spoken word, attached to a deictic of location, although the “here” of Timon’s corpse has been further displaced by the soldier’s movement away from the site of the tomb. Characters like Alcibiades (but clearly also generations of audiences and readers of the play who have been uncommunicative about the displacement enacted in this final scene) have been unbothered by this displacement—­not only of the epitaphs, which have been transported from their fixed location by virtue of the soldier’s wax, but also of Timon’s body. The question of Timon’s actual location at the end of the play is absorbed into the rhetorically created space of the epitaph rather than being answered definitively by the material site of his tomb and an exhumation, if necessary, of his purportedly buried corpse. This ability of language to dematerialize physical presence by absorbing it referentially into rhetorical space is also at work in Descartes’s interrogation of presence in his Meditations, when he suggests that “I am here, seated by the fire, attired in a dressing gown, having this paper in my hands and other similar matters.”36 Of this Cartesian presence, now firmly textualized, Judith Butler observes that Descartes’s Models Not to Copy  45

“I” is “here,” ici, because this term in this sentence is a deictic one; it is a shifter, pointing to a “here” which could be any here, but which seems to be the term that helps to anchor the spatial coordinates of the scene and so to ground, at least, the spatial ground of its indubitability. When Descartes writes “here,” he appears to refer to the place where he is, but this is a term that could refer to any “here” and so fails to anchor Descartes to his place in the way that we might expect it to. What does the writing of his place do to the indubitable referentiality of that “here”? Clearly, it is not here; the “here” works as an indexical that refers only by remaining indifferent to its occasion. Thus the word, precisely because it can refer promiscuously, introduces an equivocalness and, indeed, a dubitability that makes it quite impossible to say whether or not his being “here” is a fact as he claims that it is. Indeed, the very use of such an equivocal term makes it seem possibly untrue. (7–­8) Butler objects that “the written status of the ‘I’ splits the narrator from the very self he seeks to know and not to doubt” (8). But, in an unexpected way, Descartes is “here” accomplishing precisely what he set out to accomplish, if indeed he is telling the truth in claiming to demonstrate through his novel discovery that “this I that is thinking is an immaterial substance with no bodily element.”37 “Thus, an ‘I’ emerges,” Butler observes, “narratively, at a distance from its former opinions, shearing off its historicity, and inspecting and adjudicating its beliefs from a care-­free position” (7). If Cartesian subjectivity is accomplished by generating an “I” that is a floating signifier “care-­free” in its reference to “no bodily element,” then Cartesian subjectivity is approached whenever one writes in the first person and abandons all expectation of being named by the pronouns operating therein. Timon’s narcissistic wounding by his fellow Athenians could have been spared him, this new formulation suggests, had he managed to separate his ego from the discursivity of the act and the utterance that generated his cultural prominence 46  Models Not to Copy

in the first place—­had he, in other words, understood more fully the terms of subjectivity as performance. His double epitaph is a confusing negotiation of these lessons, bearing a reluctance in the first draft (the first two lines) to reveal the cultic identity inhabiting the “my” of the author’s command “Seek not my name.” But then the second draft relents on this point, yoking the first-­person pronoun with the name that the earlier draft jealously concealed: “Here lie I, Timon.” The yielding of the name in the second draft, contrary to working as an assignation and reassertion of stable identity, may in fact reveal an abandonment of identity and of any notion of an ideal correspondence of the written first person and proper name to any stable bodily element. Unlike Descartes, who performs the separation of himself from his “I” with aplomb, and taps into the economy by which the discursive “I” might generate the means of subsistence for his bodily self, Timon finally performs such a separation only through the epitaph. Achieving the early terms of Cartesian subjectivity may, after all, constitute a symbolic dying act if it involves abandoning one’s hope of generating authentic subjective presence in one’s own bodily person. Alcibiades’s Glove The hand that discovers Timon’s epitaph is almost as mysterious in its motivation as the one that chisels it into the headstone. This discovering hand is the soldier’s, of course, who is himself but a hired appendage of Alcibiades, general and figurative head of an incorporated army. But it is a surprise that this soldier is equipped well enough with wax and therefore capable of taking an imprint of the lettering on the stone. His inability to read the epitaph may suggest illiteracy, but so may it also suggest merely that the language of the inscription is foreign to the soldier, just as the language of monuments recorded by Renaissance antiquarians would have been, in Latin or Greek, unreadable to anyone trained for little more than soldierly service.38 The soldier says: Models Not to Copy  47

What’s on this tomb I cannot read. The character I’ll take with wax. Our captain hath in every figure skill, An aged interpreter, though young in days. Before proud Athens he’s set down by this, Whose fall the mark of his ambition is. (5.4.5–­10) Like the epitaph, the soldier’s final sentence requires an expert’s gloss. For his own part, the Arden editor knots and then unravels a syntax by which the soldier merely locates his general in space, as “set down,” or camped, before the city of Athens, “whose fall” is his militaristic ambition. But, in this interpretation, the agency of Alcibiades being set down “by this,” cannot, except through an awkward redundancy (by what, then—­by Athens?), be resolved. If, on the other hand, the soldier adheres to a more natural syntax, his words more sensitively predict Alcibiades will be “set down,” or made glum, by this bad news about his friend, even as he stands with all military might before the city he would defeat. The fall, then, is not of Athens; rather, “this” inscription in which Alcibiades will read the epitaphic name of his friend is the fall that forecasts the general’s own inevitable end, the soldier suggests, in the sense that all ambitions necessarily lead to death, tombs, and epitaphs as the ultimate marks of their extrapolated trajectory. The soldier is perhaps more thoughtful than he originally appeared as he plays Cyriacus to this stone,39 recording its figure as on a mystic writing-­pad, in a permanent memory-­trace that will be legible to more learned, more authorized eyes.40 If his own eyes cannot read, his hands at least can record the figure and leave that record so that others may puzzle out the meaning. Yet the play will not produce a sensitive interpreter, despite the soldier’s confidence in his general’s interpretive powers. The memory is preserved through the wax impression, but only as a literary device. Alcibiades addresses his friend after he reads (backward and in wax relief ) the substance of the epitaphic drafts: 48  Models Not to Copy

These well express in thee thy latter spirits. Though thou abhorred’st in us our humane griefs, Scorned’st our brain’s flow, and those our droplets which From niggard nature fall, yet rich conceit Taught thee to make vast Neptune weep for aye On thy low grave, on faults forgiven. Dead Is noble Timon, of whose memory Hereafter more. (5.5.74–­81) The instant forgiveness Alcibiades imagines for Timon’s “faults” is transparently a grant made possible by the misanthrope’s death, which allows the general to begin reclaiming the friend, who cursed and spit at the world, in terms that will satisfy him personally just as it will more generally satisfy the polis, which must continually produce narratives of nobility to authorize its larger, historical presence.41 The problem with Alcibiades’s production of memory, of which “hereafter more,” is that it places that activity of remembrance unsettlingly, though rather accurately, into future time. Memorializing friends no less than cultural heroes is by definition an act not of true remembrance but of invention and future writing, of replacing the missing body with narratives that can only serve as representational traces. Appropriately enough, in correspondence with his reclamation of Timon’s memory, Alcibiades has just agreed to terms of peace with Athens that will similarly transport control of his own memory into narratives of history that will ultimately subsume him, a literary eclipse of his own corporeal presence. Alcibiades participates in his own hollowing out when he first allows the senators to characterize his intent and then capitulates to their terms of agreement. The first offer that the senators make to the general at their gates is one Alcibiades rejects, not because he strikes a hard bargain but because the offer is harrowing in its randomizing terms of justice. The senators claim that the ones responsible for Alcibiades’s anger, for rejecting his appeal for clemency on behalf of a friend, are now dead: “Nor are Models Not to Copy  49

they living / Who were the motives that you first went out” (5.5.27–­ 28). In lieu of these throats, the senators offer others: By decimation and a tithèd death, If thy revenges hunger for that food Which nature loathes, take thou the destined tenth, And by the hazard of the spotted die Let die the spotted. (5.5.31–­35) Let die by the die, the senators suggest, every tenth person in Athens, designated by lottery to satisfy Alcibiades’s militaristic hunger for revenge.42 As proof of his intention not to kill everyone in the city and of his agreement only to slaughter “those kin / Which in the bluster of thy wrath must fall / With those that have offended” (5.5.40–­42), the senators ask the general to “throw thy glove” as a “token of thine honor” (5.5.49–­50). Prepared in any case to reject the premise of random slaughter in Athens, Alcibiades capitulates: “Then there’s my glove” (5.5.54). He attempts to exorcise the specter of the spotted die, calling once again on the ghost of a friend to strengthen his claim: Those enemies of Timon’s and mine own, Whom you yourselves shall set out for reproof, Fall, and no more. (5.5.56–­58) But, in the interest of demonstrating “honor,” a term deeply discursive despite its felt association with action, Alcibiades generates the play’s final container, filled here again (in the absence of his hand) with nothing. Alcibiades’s glove authorizes the hazard, in the dual sense of danger and randomness, that the senators propose and that the general would ultimately make a move to deny. These events are not his to control once they enter into the air as language disembodied, as terms of diplomacy and culture. Alcibiades’s glove hits the ground as 50  Models Not to Copy

the trace of a hand no longer present, the shape of a body unfleshed, and he invokes Timon’s name—­prior to receiving the news from the soldier and his delivery of the wax that filled the empty space of Timon’s chiseled stone—­as though they were commorients, kin who stood to inherit from one another but, instead, by the hazard of circumstance, died at approximately the same time. The play Timon of Athens seems to chronicle occasions for discovering a fundamental emptiness, in institutions of friendship, in economic communities, in the theater, and in performances of subjectivity—­institutions whose monuments are elaborate but may house little or nothing underneath. The epitaph is always potentially an “epicenotaph,” then, an inscription over an empty tomb. Katherine Duncan-­Jones hears an echo of Timon’s epitaph in the one that eventually graced Shakespeare’s headstone: “Blessed be the man that spares these stones, / And cursed be he that moves my bones.”43 That the revered bones are, in fact, removable, or indeed that they may never get properly buried there from the start, engenders a cynicism of misanthropic proportions, jeopardizing what would become Cartesian assurances of metaphysical presence and subjective performance. That the inscription of Shakespeare’s tomb should implicate its own potential failure to be more than an epicenotaph is the impressively inelegant, “final” bequest of bardic wisdom (by virtue of its inscription over WS’s enduringly silent tomb) and the unattractive assertion of the play. But if, in finding this play unattractive, one dismisses it as an unfinished draft that contains and can tell nothing—­about Lear, say, cultural misanthropy, or the hollowness of monuments from the past and of the present—­then perhaps one should feel ready to desist from reading Renaissance texts as a serious attempt, rather than a mere rehearsal, of digging for bones. Coda: Coryate’s Shoes The traveler known as “the most ambulatorie Odcombian Traueller,” Thomas Coryate, born in the Somerset village of Odcombe, was a celebrated, solitary English explorer, an amateur antiquarian whose Models Not to Copy  51

collections consisted of records of faraway lands set down in journals and in letters written to friends and family back home.44 He was not a misanthrope, assuredly, but his solitary journeying might be construed as figurative of social flight. Before actually dying of dysentery in India in 1617, he suffered a premature death in print, having been supposed through the facetious imaginings of fellow traveler and travel writer John Taylor in the year 1613 to have drowned on a voyage to the New World. His epitaph was recorded by Taylor in three forms: two unreadable and a third in readable translation. Of the first two, one was supposed to have been written in the “Barmooda tongue,” and the other in Utopian. The first, recorded with the apparently xenophobic instruction that it be “pronounced with the accent of the grunting of a hogge,” ran as follows:45 Hough gruntough wough Thomough Coriatough, Odcough robunquogh Warawogh bogh Comitogh segh wogh termanatogroph, Callimogh gogh whobogh Ragamogh demagorgoh palemogh, Lomerogh nogh Tottertogh iltemortogh eagh Allequemquogh. Teracominogh Iagogh Iamerogh mogh Carnogh pelepsogh, Animogh trogh deradrogh maramogh hogh Flondrogh calepsogh. The Utopian tongue, with no special instructions for pronunciation, followed: Nortumblum callamunquash omystoliton quashte burashte, Scribuke woshte solusbay perambulatushte; Grekay sons Turkay Paphay zums Ierusalushte. Neptus esht Ealors Interremoy diz Dolorushte. Confahuloy Odcombay Prozeugmolliton tymorumynoy; Omulas oratushte paralescus tolliton vmbroy. Finally, Taylor offers the “translation” of this double epitaph, his particular Rosetta stone made possible by the services of one Caleb 52  Models Not to Copy

Quishquash, a Utopian-­born amanuensis serving as “principall Secretary to the great Adelantado of Barmoodoes,” having apparently learned English, too, somewhere along the way: Here lies the wonder of the English nation Involv’d in Neptunes brinish vasty maw: For fruitlesse trauell, and for strange relation, He past and repast all that ere eye saw. Odcomb produc’d him; many Nations fed him, And worlds of Writers, through the World haue spred him. Taylor’s joke on a living (but absent) friend preceded cause for true mourning by four years, but within the parameters of this chapter, it offers immediate relief to the situation of Timon’s death by filling the space of the cenotaph with humor and wit. In absence of the body, there is at least the joke about it, figuring and rendering at least as well as narrative history. Moreover, Taylor took a risk in publishing his account, since Coryate had embarked on a fantastic, potentially dangerous, and much publicized voyage the year before the triple epitaph was published. Coryate enjoyed a good joke, and he made himself the butt of many. With equal parts pride and self-­parody, Coryate could suggest: “Yea, I hope my generall countrie of England, shall one day say, that Odde-­combe, for one part of the word, may truelie be so called . . . for breeding an odde man, one that hath not his peere in the whole kingdome to match him” (English Wits, 5). Dubbed a “Traueller for the English Wits,” Coryate excited delight and playful ridicule from his friends, among whom were counted Ben Jonson and John Donne.46 In an ode printed at the end of his collected letters (one of which was addressed to his worried mother), the friend identified as “R.R.” begins: Tom Coryates Shooes hang by the Bels At Odcomb, where that Bel-­Dam dwels who first produc’t that monster: Models Not to Copy  53

Monster of men I may him call, In that he is admir’d of all, else mought he me misconster. A misconstruing monster worthy of admiration, Coryate was nothing short of an oddity, traveling alone, and, by his own account, very frugally, in ten months spending “but three pounds sterling” (English Wits, 29), without ambition of wealth or national dynasty. The only thing he managed to bequeath from his travels, before heading out for the journey from which he would not return, were the shoes hanging “by the Bels” at the parish at Odcombe, left by him as an amusing fetish of his celebrity.47 About these shoes, which instantly became part of the lore surrounding the man, Coryate later offered further context:48 I spent in my iourney betwixt Ierusalem & this Moguls Court, 10 moneths and odde daies: all of which way I trauersed afoot, but with divers paire of shooes, hauing beene such a Propateticke, (I will not cal my selfe Peripatetick, because you know it signifieth one that maketh a perambulation about a place, περιπατειυ, signifying to walk about) that is, a walker forward on foote, as I doubt whether you euer heard of the like in your life: for the totall way betwixt Ierusalem and the Moguls court, containeth two thousand and seaven hundred English miles. My whole perambulation of this Asia the greater, is like to bee a passage of almost sixe thousande miles, by that time that in my returne backe thorough Persia afterward also by Babylon and Ninivie, I shall come to Cairo in Egypt, and from that downe the Nylus to Alexandria, there to be one daie (by Gods helpe) imbarqued for Christendome; a verie immense dimension of ground. (English Wits, 19–­20) The shoes that were then hanging in Odcombe’s parish were, like Timon’s cenotaph and Alcibiades’s glove, empty containers failing to enclose the human flesh and bone that they nonetheless contin54  Models Not to Copy

ued to suggest and in a manner replace.49 In Coryate’s shoes, the empty trace vessels of human activity were discarded containers that could not outlast the body they once encased. Coryate walked 2,700 miles “afoot, but with divers paire of shooes,” suggesting the profound durability of the human body, which lasts far longer than an article of clothing put to a lifetime’s test. Coryate’s shoes do not stand as a promise that binds and effaces him, as the glove thrown by Alcibiades must do, nor are they merely the trace of a missing man; they are a record instead of human movement across an “immense dimension of ground.” The misanthrope’s attempt to escape from social containers that control and modify their inhabitants’ subjectivity, his “propateticism” (if we follow Coryate) in a single direction away from a nexus of human constraint, is partly negotiable through humor and through a shift of focus: away from the hollowed, cryptic spaces beneath that immense dimension of ground, toward the odd perambulations taking place above it.

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2

Midas’s Food Paternity, Incest, and the Renaissance Economy in The Merchant of Venice and Pericles

Quand je pourrais me faire craindre, j’aimerais encore mieux me faire aimer. (Even if I could make myself feared, I would much rather make myself loved.) —­Montaigne, “De l’affection des pères aux enfants” (“Of the Affection of Fathers for Their Children”)

Shakespeare’s late play Pericles begins with a vibrant young bachelor prince in search of a princess bride with whom to build a family, and it ends with the same man decades later, now a dislocated king and widower adrift on the open sea in contemplation of a cursed life. He will not speak to his counselors and refuses to make landfall, a misanthrope shaped by circumstances. The single circumstance of Pericles’s life that sends him into such depths of alienation and despair is fatherhood. His status as son, husband, progenitor, and dynast embroils him in a spiral of experience that proves tragic and grotesque, as though from a story somehow written in his name before he was born, as the story of early modern fathers is written well ahead of the births of their sons, who will be positioned to inherit and inhabit their common story. Pericles signals the ancient character of that story with its moldy frame of a fairy-­tale nightmare. The mechanism of filial inheritance—­not merely of title and estate, but also of identification with and emulation of the behavior of the 56

father—­underpins the psychological plight of sons everywhere in Shakespeare, as when Hamlet resists his father’s ghost’s command or Hal bitterly agrees to “pay the debt I never promisèd” (1 Henry IV, 1.2.184).1 But the son’s inheritance is more than that of a local father who himself falls into the tutelage of the larger institution of early modern paternity. And, like more modern models of Western paternity, the Renaissance institution of such may safely be said to have been divided between two irreconcilable cultural obligations: the need to secure filial bonds of loyalty to allow for the arranging of a family’s economic affairs, and the need to sanctify those family ties as somehow free of materialist exploitation or economic consequence. An acute form of the result of the attending pressures of this paternal division emerges in the well-­exercised Renaissance motif of father-­daughter incest.2 Indeed, even when not overtly present, incest circulates broadly as a latent plot element in drama from the period, as Lynda E. Boose has observed, most visibly when daughters are featured interacting with their fathers in the total or near-­total absence of the maternal and connubial go-­between.3 While Stephen Orgel’s investigation of one example of this dramatic phenomenon in The Tempest leaves him urging critics to look for the “wife” instead of allowing the “wise” father to continue to overwhelm her presence, a sustained focus on the father uncovers one of the main reasons for the mother’s persistent suppression.4 Father-­daughter incest as a materially prohibited yet symbolically tolerable mode of relation was useful to the emerging mercantilism of Renaissance England because this contradictory set of cultural imperatives led to an overt condemnation of overly close father-­daughter ties while secretly making possible a way for fathers to secure a requisite level of control over their economic affairs. The vocalized condemnation of something with nonetheless measurable utility engenders a complex of value for incest within strategies of a mercantile economy by opening up an indeterminate middle space, a safe zone where fathers who understand how to use incestuous overture as a surreptitious way of manipulating their daughters remain Midas’s Food  57

free from condemnation while securing a significant measure of economic control. At the same time, those who take the overt cultural condemnation of incest at its word forfeit the advantage they might cull from seeing its prohibition as only partial, and those who foster too much intimacy with their daughters into a covert arrangement of incest stand to forfeit their livelihood and even their lives when culture reacts punitively to the discovery of their offense. Economic advantage therefore comes for those capable of enduring ideological paradox, of negotiating the strict prohibition of something that is also in some senses a dire necessity, and doing so while maintaining a public commitment to only half the ideological story. For literary work exploring the latent contradictions of culture, the erasure of mothers from father-­daughter narratives is a pragmatic solution to the block their presence poses to dramatic investigations of father-­daughter intimacy. While the structural suppression of the mother might urge a Lacanian reading, it just as readily triggers a Marxist one, focused on early modern markets and their power to influence material relations within the family. Indeed, while Bruce Thomas Boehrer’s study of incest in the period, with its Lacanian frame, brilliantly figures incest in the family drama of monarchical power, Boehrer focuses on the highest royal echelons and therefore only weakly accounts for the market energies that much more broadly and steadily must have influenced a general English population whose livelihood depended on commercial enterprises grounded in strategies of subsistence and accumulation. Despite his claims about what monarchical incest narratives can reveal about all English families, Boehrer really reads incest as an isolated relic of patriarchal power excavated from the highly specialized imaginary realm of the monarch.5 In his engaging work on incest, Marc Shell too privileges more rarified social forms debated in religious and intellectual discourses.6 But a more common experience of incest compulsion also exists in everyday material strategies of economic competition and organization that exist far from the royal court, the universities, and the theological centers of debate. Though Shell claims to bridge it, there 58  Midas’s Food

remains an uncertain gap between the intellectual or theological thought of any given period and the general population’s corroboration of that thought in conducting its daily affairs. He tends to read for theoretical and anthropological trends that, due to their long duration (or their perceived duration) in Judeo-­Christian culture, sometimes sound like structural absolutes, impervious to history. In contrast to Shell’s work, this chapter maintains a more material orientation, positioning the period in question at the advent of a modern capitalist era and reading father-­daughter incest as a historical flag for the sort of ideological crisis and resultant misanthropic retreat that the new mercantilist economy was capable of seeding. The drama of father-­daughter incest is seen here as both consolidated by the new merchant economy of the Renaissance and normalized for the capitalist economies that would follow as an unspoken prescriptive method for the paternal organization of capital. Yet, because it functions by limiting the daughter’s sexual autonomy and thereby manipulating the economy of lineage, it also violates one of the professed virtues of mercantile capitalism as a mechanism impervious to prejudice or bias. That one should seek to place and secure one’s wealth deliberately or selectively by arranging the marriage of an obedient daughter confounds a guiding principle of all merchant and capitalist activity: that the world’s wealth is always collectively accessible to everyone and can be drawn on and reinvested through an application of intelligence and market acumen alone. An early merchant capitalism like that operating in Renaissance England would have depended on the premise that wealth lie not in reserve, withheld from circulation, but open and accessible to the market economy. By this logic, a cloistered daughter is an inappropriate vessel of wealth because access to her is restricted, not free. The economic violation of hoarding wealth away from the market’s reach, therefore—­a charge sometimes made of usurers, for example—­finds one of its most radical experimental representations in narratives of father-­daughter incest.7 Even in times of strain, proposed measures of economic protectionism were ideologically tied to Christian principles of equity and Midas’s Food  59

balance. Such is the disposition of Thomas Smith’s Discourse of the Commonweal, written during the inflation crisis of the middle of the sixteenth century: “God has ordained that no country should have all commodities but that that one lacks, another brings forth, and that that one country lacks this year, another has plenty thereof commonly that same year, to the intent men may know that they have need one of another’s help and thereby love and society to grow amongst all men the more” (62). Yet, despite this divine provision for a commodities trade based on human fellowship and cooperation, Smith’s orator warns of a rival mechanism of imbalance, described in xenophobic terms, against which a nation needed to protect itself with due care: “We must always take heed that we buy no more of strangers than we do sell them; for so we should impoverish ourselves and enrich them” (63). In a telling omission, the groundwork Smith lays here for seeing economic protectionism as sometimes necessary against self-­impoverishment refuses to imagine England on the receiving end of such a trade imbalance, when England might profit from the surplus that could come with selling more and buying less on the international market. Framing economic protectionism as essentially a defensive measure against national ruin rather than a means to greater profit has clear strategic value, since the larger rules of transnational trade would have required that British markets prove open and accessible to merchants from other nations if English merchants and wares were to be welcome in foreign ports.8 A notable feature of the merchant capitalism developing during this period in Europe was that it most certainly was not constrained or governed by religious ideology, despite attempts like Smith’s to couch it in religious terms. In its handling of the subplot involving Jessica, The Merchant of Venice targets both Shylock’s usury and Jewish law about marital endogamy as contrary and retrograde to the new economic rules of liberality—­new rules that rich Christians like the Lord of Belmont wished at least to appear to be committed to uphold. 60  Midas’s Food

By the logic of larger international market practices, then, incest as a mode of endogamous protectionism becomes an economically fraudulent activity, disruptive to the liberality of the market and generative of an unwarranted occasion of deliberateness in the placement of resources—­that is, through the arrangement of a daughter’s betrothal. The persistence with which fathers perpetrated this fraud, however, must have excited a mock-­vigorous prohibition of incest as the criminalized form of this market trick, even while it enjoyed prominence as one of the fundamental strategies for insuring protected economic advantage. The ideological contradiction in early modern economic conduct—­which would have required that markets be completely free yet only with assurances that “secret” protectionist exploits remain available for insuring personal advantage—­is exacerbated further by the simultaneous and related work of apologetic humanists who around this time begin substituting affective familial bonds for other colder measures of patriarchal control. In essays such as Montaigne’s “Of the Affection of Fathers for their Children” and Sir Francis Bacon’s “Of Parents and Children,” the humanists ideologically render the notion still prevalent today that parental strategies are founded upon affection and that filial loyalty is an outgrowth of emotive bonds with parents. When the exaggerated early modern prohibition placed on incest bonds levies its indictment not on incest as an economic strategy (which would too closely reveal the motive for the heightened prohibition) but on incest as a sexual perversion, the crime can then become visible, in light of humanist efforts to make the family an emotive unit, as essentially a problem of excessive familial affection. What originally may appear a threatening form of economic fraud becomes ideologically relatable, in its suppression, to a perverse paternal intimacy. The difficulty in seeing any ideological solution to this confusing nexus of strategies and counterstrategies is the principal focus of this chapter. The misanthrope in this chapter, by virtue of his place at the center of Pericles and other Renaissance texts, is the father who discerns his inscription into this complicated paternal effort and recoils from Midas’s Food  61

the paradoxical condition he is expected to play out—­or, rather, he is the representation of this father in dramatic form that figures the experience of this paradox as a central preoccupation. Tellingly, the daughters who also figure into these imagined relationships do not themselves develop misanthropically in the literature, at least not to a notable degree—­an insight into the limits of early modern narratives, which typically endorsed the cultural model of pacified, or “passive-­eyed,” daughters—­“ blanks” who sit like Viola’s complex self-­ idealization as “patience on a monument” (Twelfth Night, 2.4.111), or like “Patience gazing on kings’ graves and smiling,” a figure used by Pericles to describe his own daughter before fully recognizing her (Pericles, 5.1.129–­30). For this reason, the early modern problem of father-­daughter incest is received explicitly as a crisis of paternity. Not all economic exchange in the period depended fundamentally upon the viability of free markets. The period saw an amalgamation of economic practices at work, and the “primitive accumulation” of free-­market mercantilist logic was not necessarily continual or ubiquitous.9 Indeed, incest and father-­daughter intimacy also adumbrate a number of different concerns from those specifically addressed here, and literary scenarios are free to ignore or downplay the humanist project of separating baser economies from more spiritual or ascendant ones. Many of Shakespeare’s comedies, for example, readily position daughters among their fathers’ assets or as political tools useful for securing a family’s social standing. The Taming of the Shrew or Much Ado about Nothing may serve as examples, because they seem to be more or less unconcerned with the humanist ideal in question: “love” as the bonding agent between a daughter and her father or future husband. In material history, too, the marriage dowry skillfully elides the humanist urge to divide loving relationships from material economics, without generating ideological strife. Nevertheless, the literary representation that admits the humanist premise of emotional “bond” and thereafter struggles narratively with the other sense carried by that word, the sense of economic obligation, remains strikingly operational.10 Many period plays that take loving 62  Midas’s Food

father-­daughter bonds for their premise (like Lear or Pericles) are immediately stymied by the introduction of the marriage plot, or a plot that demands the circulation of the daughter that is in some way tantamount to economic exchange. Even abstracting such an exchange to something less overtly economic—­as when a literary marriage yields political reach rather than direct wealth—­can only obscure to a point the problem of the daughter’s commodification: its incomplete concealment ultimately presents a steeper challenge to the position of the humanist devotee, who finds it continually harder to exact a strict separation between economies of exchange and materially unfettered humanist values, a separation amounting to what one might call, borrowing from Marx, a fruitless attempt “to reconcile irreconcilables.”11 For while attempts to abstract exchange values from marriage may hide the immediate economy behind the circumstances of the familial “bond,” its disguise, when it fails, further suggests that far less obvious motivations are always potentially at work beneath a humanist culture’s broadcast of personal and family virtues. Early modern paternity paradoxically blends a humanist identity based on the benevolent love for one’s children and an economic and political identity requiring the father to oversee his family’s social and dynastic affairs with emotional disinterest. Furthermore, the “political” identity of the father is really one based on economic accumulation, the compression of several ideas or positions into one role that is made possible (or necessary) by the reorganization of early modern social logic away from feudalism with its subsistence economy and toward a more modern economy of social and material accumulation and profit. The humanist effort provides the rhetorical framework for translating social politics into economic terms while simultaneously promoting an ethos of social relations that directly contradicts the relations implied by the new economy. The implicit disavowal of this contradiction yields the germ of the paternal misanthrope, who senses the impossibility of the task his social role requires of him. His misanthropic revolt is clearly visible in the period’s dramatic representations of fathers. Midas’s Food  63

Daughters and Ducats Shylock’s famous cry “My daughter! O, my ducats . . . !” (2.8.15), from a father attempting to evaluate a loss of money alongside, or perhaps against, the loss of a daughter, apparently serves as an invitation to critique the failure not just of the father but, more specifically, of the Jew, in his miserliness, to distinguish between a human daughter and material wealth. Yet one should take care to remember, as Katharine Eisaman Maus does, that Shylock’s shouts take place offstage and can only be heard by the aid of Christian witnesses.12 Shylock’s famous line, then, is not technically his line, though it is often remembered as such. Hearing this taunting account from reporting Christians reminds an audience of the interest backing Christian narratives of Jewish difference; forgetting that the account is not delivered onstage by Shylock himself exemplifies the effectiveness of such narratives when memory suppresses the presence of reporters and leaves one instead with the false sensation of having witnessed an event firsthand. This initial investment in establishing Shylock’s excessive difference from others in the play is deepened when in the same scene Jessica’s elopement registers, as the Venetian boys taunt, the loss of Shylock’s “stones.” When Shylock lists “two sealèd bags” and “two rich and precious stones” among his losses (2.8.18, 20), he is naming the pair of jewels and bags of money that Jessica took with her when she eloped. Of course his scrotum and testicles are also under threat here.13 The symbolic significance of Shylock’s stones is manifold: testicles symbolize, beyond simple sexuality, political and social virility, too, and no doubt the Venetians who taunt Shylock see him as lacking the “stones” not merely to perform sexually but also to manage his and his family’s affairs. Yet the explicit sexual resonance maintains a crucial place in this interpretive layering. Shylock’s missing stones invoked on the occasion of his daughter’s elopement suggest, however subtly, a broken devotion, the castrating emasculation of a lover or husband scorned or cuckolded.14 In this case, the broken relationship between Shylock and Jessica is symbolically incestuous—­that is, by the logic of the symbols at work here. The sexual resonance is made even stron64  Midas’s Food

ger for an Elizabethan playgoer who could remember that Shylock’s reported cry “My daughter! O, my ducats!” echoes a scene from Christopher Marlowe’s Jew of Malta, but, strikingly, not its parallel scene of loss. In that play, the exclamatory conflation of daughters and ducats derives from a scene of intense, sexualized joy when Abigail, from the convent window, dutifully throws down to her father the bags of gold he asked her to recover from under the convent floorboards. On having his gold restored by an obedient daughter, Barabas cries, Oh my girle, My gold, my fortune, my felicity; Strength to my soule, death to mine enemy; Welcome the first beginner of my blisse: Oh Abigal, Abigal, that I had thee here too, Then my desires were fully satisfied, But I will practise thy enlargement thence: Oh girle, oh gold, oh beauty, oh my blisse! (2.1.47–­54) Reunited with his bags of money, Barabas’s ecstasy rises to an incestuous jouissance. “Oh Abigal,” he pines as he embraces his gold below his daughter’s window, “that I had thee here too, / Then my desires were fully satisfied.” As has already been observed, the second-­story window would usually separate daughters from their lovers, not their fathers; hence Barabas tropologically occupies the lover’s position.15 Barabas, unable to have Abigal at that moment, contents himself to “practise” the “enlargement” of his daughter with a verbal rather than seminal rapture: “Oh girle, oh gold, oh beauty, oh my blisse!” Barabas’s tumescence at the sight of his daughter and gold is notably reversed in Shakespeare’s version when Shylock’s echoic exclamation “My daughter! O, my ducats!” marks the occasion of his castration, the loss of his bags and stones. Despite this reversal, what gets preserved from Marlowe to Shakespeare—­a transfer by which ecstasy becomes anguish, and tumescence, castration—­is the persistent idea that the Jewish miser is also a father harboring a story of incest. Midas’s Food  65

There is perhaps more than an incidental connection between Shylock’s roles of incestuous father and hoarding miser. When Dionysus grants the legendary Midas his golden touch, he grants him the alchemical fulfillment of every usurer’s wish and every merchant’s dream: the power to make money out of nothing. The wish fulfillment is famously a curse (as fulfilled wishes tend to be) when the king, unable to touch food without transmuting it, begins to starve to death, a lesson that may well serve as a capitalist allegory, registering the need to circulate wealth rather than hoard it in order to access its bounty. In the Politics Aristotle uses the story of Midas to illustrate this very point: “He who is rich in coin may often be in want of necessary food. But how can that be wealth of which a man may have a great abundance and yet perish with hunger, like Midas in the fable, whose insatiable prayer turned everything that was set before him into gold?”16 “Accumulation,” a word whose concept Marx develops from Aristotle’s chrematistikos, involves the acquisition of profit not through hoarding but through a constant recirculatory swelling of wealth.17 “Withdrawn from circulation,” Marx comments in Capital, money becomes “petrified into a hoard” (169). But Midas learns a second lesson, too, that is poignantly embedded in only more modern versions of the tale: that his daughter, and his wish to embrace her, effects a prior and more crucial loss to Midas’s own starvation.18 His need to draw her into the garden (as only more modern versions of the story include) turns her into a petrified statue of gold—­priceless as raw treasure, perhaps, but no longer a living daughter. The classical reference to Midas in the Phaedrus also seems to forecast these lessons. In that dialogue, Socrates (in Plato’s rendering) recites the king’s epitaph: A girl of bronze on Midas’ tomb I stand, As long as water flows and trees grow tall, Remaining here on his lamented tomb, I’ll tell to all who pass “Here Midas lies.” (79) 66  Midas’s Food

Here again Midas is remembered as dead in the midst of a natural world of growth and flux, with only the statue of a girl—­an early rendering of Patience—­rather than a living mourner to speak for his memory. The example is strange, because it functions merely as an illustration of bad argumentative form, yet its content is also densely layered. Both the form and content of Socrates’s example manage to register effectively a sample of something dead, first for failing in its rhetorical composition to embody “its own organic shape, like a living being” (his most immediate point), but, secondly, in the context of the greater Phaedrus, as a written inscription instead of living speech. Derrida’s critique of logocentrism now overwhelms any modern effort to organize the significance of the epitaph (“Plato’s Pharmacy”). But one might simply add that an epitaph is perhaps the deadest form of inscription, and its signatures of death continue to telescope through the narrative content of the allusion: the story of a greedy king made infinitely wealthy at the price of a grave inability to eat. As with Aristotle, this Platonic figure of legendary wealth evokes not wonder or excitement but a somber lesson about immobility and death. The story of Midas—­the one now told to children, with its Hawthornian addition of the daughter at the apex of Midas’s losses—­ draws on related economies from the story of Shylock: both men lose disastrously as the apparent result of their attempts to hoard. Specifically, both lose their daughters through events widely interpretable as, among other things, the loss of lineage. The message seems to be that there is a culturally supported logic of likeness between hoarding money and hoarding one’s daughter, implicated by the taunting Venetian boys (or perhaps only by the men who interpret these boyish taunts) as an urge to commit incest—­an urge thwarted, in this case, by the castrating act of Jessica’s unauthorized elopement and theft of her father’s precious stones. To understand the basis for such an equation, one need only confirm that the culture whose logic is working here is one that demands and depends upon the ready availability of money and, by extension, of marriageable daughters. Shylock is denounced as an enemy to economies of circulation and Midas’s Food  67

exchange, then, making Jessica’s elopement with a store of her father’s money a compound delight to mercantilist Venice. Today, a continuing modern insistence on distinction—­on seeing Shylock as fundamentally unlike others in the play because of his Jewishness—­further obscures other efforts within the play to broadcast similarity instead.19 It is perhaps immediately telling, for example, that the title of the play is commonly confused by people only generally acquainted with it, or by students early in their study of Shakespeare, as naming not the merchant Antonio but the lender Shylock. One may forget, or fail to register, the difference between a lender and a merchant, a difference that, in a modern world where markets have come to imply credit, may indeed get quickly lost. Yet, even in the period, C. L. Barber reminds us, the play was entered in the Stationers’ Register as “a book of the Merchant of Venice, or otherwise called the Jew of Venice,” a double title suggesting the potential sense of synonymy in identifying Christian merchants and lending Jews (Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy, 167). At the very least, early modern economic policy looked favorably on moneylending as a crucial ingredient in national commerce, not just for the merchant’s part but for ordinary citizens, too, as Francis Bacon observes—­ordinary citizens whose “necessities would draw upon them a most sudden undoing” if it weren’t for the services of the lender to prevent desperate liquidations or forfeitures of property (422).20 So, there is room made, however qualified, to group the moneylender with the merchant in a general cultural program of prosperity. Yet the Christian distaste for moneylending in particular over mercantile trade seems tied to the ostentation associated with its profit, indefensible for being the fruit of a seemingly labor-­less harvest.21 Indeed, when Shylock relies on the story of Jacob and Laban’s sheep to explain his interest lending, he falls back on a spiritual mysticism to defend a dubious process—­the process by which money is made to increase apparently of its own accord, defying a basic tenet of classical and medieval logic that “nothing will come of nothing,” as Lear warns Cordelia—­or ex nihilo nihil fit (Norton combined King 68  Midas’s Food

Lear, 1.1.88n3). At the same time that it seems corrupt and illogical, the interest lender’s work excites a very old fantasy of discovering a source of inexhaustible money, as by a money tree or a philosopher’s stone. Tracing the lender’s profit back to the borrower, however (if indeed the borrower works for wages) dispels the magic of Laban’s sheep: the contract can easily be seen as a lien on the laborer’s future earnings. But when a merchant, like Antonio, makes his fortune, or indeed borrows from a usurious lender with the prospect of making back the principal and interest plus a healthy profit besides, the source of the replenishing bounty is once again difficult to trace, coming as it does from across the sea or from the coffers of other rich merchants and serves again as the wellspring for a cultural excitement over the potential in the world for generating through trade a return of more money than one should logically expect. The merchant, as it happens, produces money in a manner similar to Jacob’s trick, by seeming to multiply his fortunes with nothing more substantial than the wave of a wand, or the turn of a ship’s rudder.22 For Marx, of course, there is no magic here—­no more for the merchant than for the lender—­but only an exploitation of labor, an invisible theft of a laborer’s share in the commerce. Even if the laborer is conspicuously absent, or hard to track, the rational proof that all money represents, and can only represent, human labor is enough evidence for Marx to indict not just the lender but also the merchant, whose ventures yield “profit”: that category of money considered to be in surplus of a logical return based on the merchant’s personal labor alone. For Marx, “profit” is the sign of exploitation, an improper or illogical distribution of money, and the merchant and lender who both yield profit are equally culpable as agents of this exploitation. This gesture to Marx comes in the service of examining the play’s potential preoccupation with these very issues and with its related handling of the potential closeness of Shylock to Antonio, as kindred agents of commerce, as Marx would certainly have grouped them. The play itself, as many have noticed, suggests a multitude of ways in which the merchant and the lender overlap in trope and in Midas’s Food  69

effect much as the world of the play attempts to make them appear separate.23 Audiences of the time would have been challenged to hear the similarities that the ideological fiction was working to disavow. In fact, the play continually asserts the closeness of Shylock to his Christian counterparts, usually through subtly ironic claims of difference. In one instance, Shylock needles Antonio for entering into a loan he would normally disdain: “Methoughts you said you neither lend nor borrow / Upon advantage.” Antonio replies, “I do never use it” (1.3.63–­64). While he may casually be heard to confirm Shylock’s thought—­suggesting that, despite the immediate context, he does not make a practice of lending or borrowing “upon advantage,” or at interest—­Antonio’s language is also careful to contain a less differential idea altogether. By claiming not to use advantage, Antonio may admit to a general participation in brokered finances involving interest, but not to what some Elizabethans would denigrate as “usury”: moneylending or borrowing at exorbitant, or illegal, rates of interest.24 Shylock might seem to contradict this understanding of Antonio’s language when, earlier in the scene, he explains as one of his reasons for hating Antonio that “he lends out money gratis, and brings down / The rate of usance here with us in Venice” (1.3.38–­39). Yet, while Shylock apparently suggests that Antonio charges no interest whatsoever in his dealings, his complaint that Antonio forces the interest rate down implies they are in competition with one another. There must be a cost associated with Antonio’s lending if it enters into the arena of competition, and while the easiest presumption might be that the cost to dealing with Antonio is something less tangible than money—­some cultural capital bound up in requesting or bestowing a favor, perhaps—­Shylock’s word “gratis” may, more revealingly, refer to an institutional practice during the Italian Renaissance of dealing in interest under cover of commerce or by a system of “free” interest lending to circumvent laws in Italy that forbade moneylending on religious grounds. As the historian J. L. Bolton describes it, interest payments by Italian banks were thinly disguised as “gifts” of gratitude 70  Midas’s Food

to their patrons (“at about 7–­15 percent annual rate of interest”) for allowing the use of their monies “gratis” (342). In addition, Italian merchants and bankers developed the bill of exchange, a form of money changing that involved borrowing from a remitter in one country and later repaying to a foreign agent the amount’s equivalent in the new local currency. The exchange rate was set at the sale of the bill and was always slightly higher than the standing rate, so the entire process normally (contingent upon unlikely rate fluctuations during the interim of the bill) yielded a payout in surplus of the original sum drawn—­that is, at interest. Furthermore, if the period of repayment for a bill of exchange expired, the foreign agent who anticipated payment could still collect the money by billing the original lender, who would then charge the drawing customer after appending an additional handling fee. As an example of this arrangement, in 1463 two men in Florence drew 500 ducats from the Medici Company to be repaid in English pounds to an agent in London at a rate of 47 sterlings (i.e., silver pennies) per ducat. Six months later when the bill came due, instead of paying the London agent the agreed-­upon sum in pounds, the men paid 535 ducats directly back to the Medici Company to resolve the bill. Despite the clear fact that this transaction amounted to a six-­month loan at an annual interest rate of 14 percent, Bolton reports that this arrangement was perfectly “licit” at the time: “The merchants argued and the theologians agreed that an exchange transaction was not a loan” (343).25 Thomas Wilson’s dialogue A Discourse upon Usury (1572) preserves the legal and ethical debate surrounding this particular form of exchange. In that work, the lawyer, dubbed a “pettifogger” by Wilson’s zealously usury-­damning preacher (214), defends bills of exchange as a crucial component in international commerce, but he condemns their abuse in the form of “dry exchange”: the practice of issuing bills of exchange to drawing customers who, like the Florentine pair in the previous example, have no intention of traveling abroad to resolve the bill. “Thys drye kynde of exchange is utterlye to bee abhorred,” he says, “and yet . . . the merchants wil say that they commit no usuMidas’s Food  71

rie by suche kinde of dealinge, although the lender by exchaunge bee always for the moste parte a verye great gayner,” earning returns “sometime above five and twenty or thirty in the hundred pound for the yere” (300–­306). The offender in these transactions, and indeed the usurious opponent in Wilson’s dialogue, is not the banker or the lender per se, but the merchant, whose defense—­like Antonio’s—­is that “they commit no usurie by such kinde of dealinge.” The subtlety and handling of the difference between traditional lending and transactions of commerce, between the usurer and the merchant, suggest that, even within Shakespeare’s play, Antonio and Shylock are not immediately opposable, may not see themselves as such, but indeed seem to recognize and accept, if only subconsciously, the overlap of their practices, revealing a similarity existing between them by a matter of degrees. Antonio draws the line separating him from Shylock not with the word “advantage” but with its cousin concept “usury,” though such an imagined line of difference, and the basis for this semantic rift, continues to prove difficult if not impossible to fix. The play is stocked with aesthetic examples, too, often subtle in their expression, of Shylock and the Christians showing a dependence on their closeness in order to generate claims of difference. Shylock calls Lancelot “that fool of Hagar’s offspring” (2.5.42), for example, at once distinguishing himself from the Christians as a descendent of Sara while curiously intimating their common forebear in Father Abraham. Lorenzo also depends on the kinship of Jessica and Shylock in order to position their difference: “If e’er the Jew her father come to heaven / It will be for his gentle daughter’s sake” (2.4.32–­33). He renders her a gentile—­“gentle,” in his softened phrase—­in order to divide the daughter from her father while ironically underscoring the intimate familial relationship that makes her Jewish and the ease with which a Jew could prove “gentle.”26 Finally, Shylock’s famous speech beginning with the question “Hath not a Jew eyes?” (3.1.49) must be intended not only to defend the Jew’s right to share in a collocating humanity, in its urges, excretions, and vulnerabilities, but also to remind his audience that there is no escaping the closeness of one 72  Midas’s Food

to the other, of Jew to Christian, and of lender to merchant, despite the persistent cultural fantasy of difference. “Hard Food for Midas” The advantage to establishing similarities between Shylock and the Christian merchants lies not in the way it helps absolve the play of promoting an anti-­Semitic attitude but rather in the benefit gained from asking why the several hints of similarity go generally unobserved. The reasons become clearer in an examination of the play’s daughters. Shylock’s attempt to preserve and ensconce his daughter in his home is tied in the play to a wrongful urge to commit incest and also, more generally, to the refusal of the Jew to engage in economies of free exchange. For the play to endure the logic of its own anti-­Semitism, one might expect that the parallel Christian father-­ daughter pairing in the play—­that of Portia and the dead Lord of Belmont—­would exemplify a reverse configuration to that of Jessica and Shylock. However, there exists only an illusion of reversal. The problem Portia’s situation poses as a father-­daughter relationship is rendered much more subtly, written as such not as a direct strategy of concealment or repression within the play (i.e., something actively or subconsciously shielded from the audience and perhaps even from the playwright), but as a deliberate dramatization of what corresponds beyond the play to a general cultural process of concealment or suppression as a means to a specific public end. The pairing itself is already partially hidden by the fact of the father’s physical absence. In addition, the trial of the caskets is set up to appear to promote a liberal attitude toward difference (i.e., toward foreign suitors) and orchestrates an apparently agreeable outcome, thereby forestalling a critique of its mechanism. Yet Portia’s father issues a directive toward his daughter that not only inhibits her liberal circulation in a marriage market, as Shylock tries to inhibit Jessica’s, but also denies her autonomy with exquisite subtlety by inscribing her without her direct knowledge into a psychological imperative of incest obligation. Midas’s Food  73

In her opening locution, Portia tells her waiting woman, Nerissa, “My little body is a-­weary of this great world” (1.2.1–­2). Nerissa interprets her lady’s weariness as relating to a problem of excess and remarks that many people grow “sick that surfeit with too much” (1.2.5). From Nerissa’s point of view, Portia’s exhaustion is an affliction of plenty, by which she seems to refer to Portia’s new circumstances as the sole heir to her father’s wealthy estate.27 In fact, Portia has a rather physical reason to be weary, too. Along with the money, Portia has inherited the duty of entertaining and managing a surfeit of suitors who have come to Belmont to see if they might stand a reasonable chance of marrying the young heiress. Most are disappointed to learn that, as in a folkloric romance, Portia is one of those daughters for whom a riddling test has been designed to insure a good suit. And most of these suitors cannot bring themselves to pay the trial’s high entrance fee: a promise, if they fail to win Portia’s hand, never to seek another marriage afterward. Rather than facing a living guardian—­as young Prince Pericles will later do—­the suitors who undertake the test face a trial of three caskets, the mechanism of the proleptic will of a dead father arranged as a surrogate for him on the occasion of his daughter’s betrothal. In this famous arrangement, the gold, silver, and lead caskets and their accompanying riddles are designed to appeal differently to suitors possessing varying degrees of wisdom and moral instinct. Ultimately, only the suitor wise enough to choose the inconspicuous lead casket, by the trial’s cryptic logic, is worthy of marrying Portia. The play bears out the fortuitous efficacy of this mechanism when Bassanio—­whom Nerissa calls “best deserving” of all the suitors (1.2.101) and the one Portia favors—­chooses correctly the lead casket and wins Portia’s willing hand. After entertaining a wearying number of hopeful suits, Portia is no doubt relieved that her father’s burdensome mechanism ultimately yields for her the exact husband she herself would have chosen. Yet this occasion for relief raises an important question: If Portia would have chosen Bassanio herself, why was there a need in the first place to test his worthiness by means of the paternal caskets? Or, to 74  Midas’s Food

ask the question more broadly, if fathers can count on their daughters to choose good husbands, why do they try to interfere, and why are they culturally authorized to do so? In the experience of the play, it is not supposed to be surprising that Portia prefers the one suitor capable of solving the father’s riddle. An audience might expect the good daughter’s desire to be governed by the same moral compass calibrating the father’s trial. Portia is bound to choose the right man regardless of the measures her father takes to insure this choice. The paternal caskets, therefore, prove superfluous, except perhaps insofar as they concentrate the seriousness of the suitor before his suit is granted, and, afterward, they ratify the daughter’s instinctive choice with a father’s authority. This model of paternal presence in a daughter’s betrothal—­in which a father erects a purely ceremonial mechanism of paternal will whose effect is really only to affirm and to celebrate a daughter’s own spousal choice—­seems benevolent, if paternalistic, in sharp contrast to the model exhibited by Shylock, raving (we’re told) over his daughter’s unauthorized elopement with Lorenzo. In comparing Portia’s condition to that of Jessica, Marjorie Garber reads the casket arrangement along these lines as evidence of Portia’s freedom: “Her father’s will is finally one of free will, which leaves her sufficient to stand, though free to fall, and the choice of the three caskets is presented in contrast to the absolute tyranny of Shylock over Jessica, in which daughter and ducats are indifferently interchangeable” (Coming of Age, 40). Yet this appearance of liberality is precisely the illusion the play is proffering, along with the secret tools necessary to dispel it. There are, after all, serious problems that belie this positive characterization of the Belmont model: Portia’s body grows “a-­weary” during the process of securing her husband, and indeed the onus on her of admitting so many suitors to her estate to give them audience is taxing both mentally and physically. Her name registers the degree to which she serves as a portal (literally the means of entry to a wealthy man’s estate), which might help explain the weariness she feels as the social opening through whom all suits must go. Midas’s Food  75

Hearing the word “portal” in the name “Portia,” even if only faintly, is a first step toward agreeing with Freud that the play operates partly through a filtering matrix of unconscious logic, a concealed yet interlocking set of subterranean metaphors and symbols. “Portia the portal” finds a home among Freud’s general collection of dream symbols referencing women: “Rooms represent women and their entrances and exits the openings of the body;”28 and, elsewhere, “Doors and gates, again, are symbols of the [female] genital orifice.”29 Yet, even without this psychometaphorical reference in Portia’s name, her caskets, according to Freud’s relentless symbolism, “are also women, symbols of what is essential in women, and therefore of a woman herself—­like coffers, boxes, cases, baskets, and so on.”30 Freud sees a conflation of the caskets in this play with a subconscious metaphor for the female “box” or womb, then, and also with the woman herself. According to this view, the suitors’ many attempts to open Portia’s “casket” are all the more striking as gestures of symbolic sexual advance. Portia’s multiple suitors don’t succeed in gaining special entrance to her body or her treasure through the portal represented by her casket, and this fact forestalls a provisional reading of Portia as someone whose chastity is symbolically compromised by her father’s mechanism. It is also true that the first man to penetrate the right casket is named husband to Portia in the same instant, so the casket trial preserves through its symbols the value of virgin nuptials. Yet, even so, the process of receiving and entertaining numerous suitors has a material effect on Portia’s body rather than one that is purely symbolic. She grows “a-­weary” in her “little body” as she receives her suitors—­not because they are able to penetrate her, but perhaps simply because they are permitted to try. It is probably relevant for an investigation of unconscious signification that Eric Partridge glosses the Shakespearean term “a-­weary” with the definition “wearied by love-­making,” though that definition is offered to decode a line from another play.31 The experience of entertaining numerous suitors leaves Portia room to refer unconsciously to her experience as what one might call a form of liberal sexuality or 76  Midas’s Food

social prostitution, qualified though it must be: “My little body,” she says, “is a-­weary of this great world.” Portia may allude, even without full knowledge of her speech, to the sexual nature and commercial traffic of the service into which she has been conscripted by her father. Yet what benefit can possibly lie in the view that Portia’s dead father, in arranging proleptically the conditions of her pending marriage, is implicated in a prostitution of his daughter? In a loose analogical sense, the relationship between hiring out a prostitute and marrying off a daughter is easy to see. Even from a materialist perspective, much work has been done to show how the Renaissance traffic in women is an act not limited to the brothel, and how in fact daughters are commonly used as commodities of transaction in marriage suits. As Harry Berger has written in relation to this play, “Fathers can use children as money, for example, to pay back their debts” or indeed to preserve their wealth, and “this naturally causes problems for daughters who find themselves assigned the role of commodity in the alliance market.”32 Yet the act of offering one’s daughter to eligible hopefuls is supposed to be visible as a form of callous mercantilism; one is supposed to detect the harshness of this exchange and remark on it discreetly as an unfortunate drawback in the familial arrangement, a coldness in the father. Despite their ostensible love and fondness for them, fathers are implicated in using their daughters for their own commercial ends, and this is an unfortunate necessity, softened though it may be by the many gestures of love and kindness that fathers can make in compensation for their economic machinations. Yet this “reluctantly” admitted story about fathers and daughters suggests that a loving paternity is a front for less feeling designs at the core of that office, a notion Montaigne suggests when he writes of his own effort “by pleasant relations to foster in my children a lively and unfeigned affection and good will toward me.” “Love and affection,” Montaigne says, are the new humanist tools of paternity because “command and fear are no longer its weapons.”33 If fathers err in this chore, it is by cultivating too little devotion in their children, while Midas’s Food  77

a great intimacy would be the sign of an exceptional paternal effort. In either case, the children’s loving response is “lively and unfeigned” under the humanist father’s careful administration. The peculiarity of the casket trial, then, is in its exertion of the Lord of Belmont’s will over Portia from the grave—­a site of ostensible impotence. The exertion of such a will from a living father would be unsurprising in a Renaissance play, but the extremity of its calculation here as to come from beyond the grave in such an elaborate form is persistently curious for the way it preserves a daughter’s sense of duty even in the father’s total and irreversible physical absence. Indeed, the dead Lord of Belmont cannot exert his controlling presence in any secure way, if that is what he wishes to do. A favorite debate in discussions of The Merchant of Venice has been over whether or not Bassanio perceives some hint from Portia that would make the right choice of casket clear to him:34 Tell me where is fancy bred: Or in the heart, or in the head; [Pick the casket made of lead] (3.2.63–­64) The debate exposes just how ineffectual the casket trial would be if Portia chose to intervene. The dead father has not safeguarded his mechanism against tampering, and, more important, he has not created the means necessary to control a daughter who would need controlling in the first place through his trial of the caskets. These circumstances leave one wondering why he goes to such lengths to control Portia’s marriage when the success of his effort depends entirely on the a priori willingness of the daughter to honor and enact his will. Indeed, the only secure control the Lord of Belmont can exert over Portia through the trial of the caskets is psychological.35 He clearly cannot coerce her compliance by physical means, and not even the legal authority behind his will could prevent her from whispering the solution to a given suitor, as many critics have marveled. Nonetheless, Portia feels she is under some bond of consequence. She tells Nerissa: 78  Midas’s Food

“O me, the word ‘choose’! I may neither choose who I would nor refuse who I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father” (1.2.20–­22). For reasons that seem profound and insurmountable to her, Portia believes her own will is cut off from the process of selecting the man she will marry. In Pericles, where a living father conducts the trial for his daughter’s hand, the propriety of paternal control collapses at the exposure of incest. But Pericles’s fear of Antiochus’s secret must in no small part stem from the king’s bloody disruption of the economic exchange that incestuous devotion should normally insure. It isn’t the king’s incest per se but his refusal to yield his devoted daughter to a world economy that generates the row of princes’ heads. Rather than seeing the incest plot as a radical departure from normal father-­daughter marriage arrangement, it might then be useful to consider incest obligation as the muted force of compulsion that makes a daughter dutiful to her father—­even after this father is dead, and despite her own profound wish to be free to make her own sexual choices. After all, the incest obligation in question here is not one that need correspond to a material sexual relationship. In the realm of unconscious logic, Portia’s state of choicelessness and the sexual duty she shows to a father arranging her marriage suit from the grave is clearly not a material gesture of incest compliance but a psychosymbolic one. The degree to which Portia suppresses her own sexual subjectivity is rather startling. She has at least a metaphorical sense that her body has been packaged for distribution through her father’s mechanism. In deciding she loves Bassanio, she expresses her commitment through just such a metaphor of corporeal possession: Beshrew your eyes! They have o’erlooked me and divided me. One half of me is yours, the other half yours—­ Mine own, I would say—­but if mine, then yours, And so all yours. (3.2.14–­18) Midas’s Food  79

Bassanio’s eyes have “divided” his wife-­to-­be, and this apportioning of Portia’s body yields two halves, both of which, after Portia’s relinquishing of her own partial possession of herself, belong to Bassanio. Portia borrows the elements of a wedding prayer here, playing with the metaphor of uniting two separate hearts, two separate bodies. But her language departs significantly from this metaphor in locating division entirely in her own person: the halves correspond not to a bride and groom but to the parts of her own divided body, cut in two by Bassanio’s overlooking eyes. Bassanio both divides Portia and holds the key to her reconstitution, or appropriation of her as a whole, if he can advance beyond the obstacle of the father. What stands in the way of this marital unification—­the reconstitution of an apportioned female body—­is her father’s mechanism, hence the “naughty times” that delay Portia’s wedding: “O, these naughty times / Puts bars between the owners and their rights,” she tells Bassanio, “and so, though yours, not yours” (3.2.18–­20). “Naughty times” is a strangely vexed term for Portia to use in characterizing the quality of her open-­house betrothal. Her word “naughty” carries a full register of meanings. Through the near homonym, one hears the unsettled business of a “knotty” procedure of courtship, one that embroils many lives to unpredictable ends. But there is also the “knot” of marriage, a tethering and inevitable link for a compliant yet defiant daughter.36 Eric Partridge defines “naughty” to mean sexually hungry, a sense deriving from the perceived “worthlessness” of sexual appetites, suggested by the root word “naught,” or nothing (152). Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129 similarly applies this equation of “lust” to worthlessness when it sputters and chokes about “th’expense of spirit in a waste of shame”—­a wasteful expense of resources in and around the human waist. The “worthlessness” of a genital “naught,” or nothing, compounds the misogynistic sense of waste latently associated with Portia’s sexually “naughty” betrothal. After all, Portia’s suitors in particular are in the precarious position of expending much to gain nothing: those who fail to access the right casket are consigned to a fruitless bachelorhood, by the contract of 80  Midas’s Food

the casket trial. Clearly sensitive to the wasteful economy of this trial, Portia reminds Aragon with telling self-­deprecation of the great risk involved in gambling for her: “To these injunctions everyone doth swear / That comes to hazard for my worthless self ” (2.9.16–­17). At least in one material way, the mechanism prescribed by Portia’s father for determining her proper suit imposes on her the task of performing work she might not otherwise choose to perform: of entertaining would-­be husbands and of apportioning herself out to them through this “naughty” entertainment. Portia’s racist stance vis-­à-­vis the Prince of Morocco helps confirm this point. When the prince fails to choose the right casket, Portia swears the private oath “Let all of his complexion choose me so” (2.7.79), signaling through her distaste for a Moroccan skin and associated culture the degree to which she feels obliged to suppress all trace of her own sexual preference during her undiscriminating entertainment: “I could teach you / How to choose right,” she tells Bassanio, “but then I am forsworn” (3.2.10–­11). Her father forces her, in effect, to admit anyone’s suit when he leaves the power over the selection of her husband exclusively to the mechanism of the riddling caskets. Portia is not even free to make a preliminary discrimination of her suitors, to screen her callers according to race or nationality, so that only those she found tolerable might proceed with the test. As a result, a wide range come calling—­a Neapolitan, a Frenchman, an Englishman, a Scot, a German, a Moroccan, and a Spaniard among them. Her apportioned body grows “a-­weary” as she tends to them. Portia’s sexual availability, symbolized by her public betrothal, draws a curious crowd of suitors, who present the occasion for what Annabel Patterson calls the “xenophobic mocking scene” of Portia and Nerissa, in which the women deride the various suitors one by one for their personality flaws, each in confirmation of national stereotypes (17). Marianne Novy calls these suitors “ethnic outsiders” (139), similarly capturing the exogamous character of the suitors drawn to Belmont. Of all of them, Portia picks Bassanio, the Venetian, as her personal favorite. He is a telling choice. Venice is Midas’s Food  81

a city near Belmont, the closest by far of all of the homes of her other suitors and falling within a perceptible cultural border of what the English would generally call “Italian.”37 Bassanio is therefore a clearly endogamous choice for a husband. More important, Bassanio is not a stranger to Portia. He is, in fact, someone her father knew, as Nerissa recalls in reference to him: “Do you not remember, lady, in your father’s time, a Venetian—­a scholar and a soldier—­that came hither in company of the Marquess of Montferrat?” (1.2.96–­98). In choosing Bassanio, Portia chooses someone figuring in a memory she has of her father. And the weariness of her body caused by her public betrothal is relieved when the “choice” of her father’s test sees her wedded to a man close to home. The selection of Bassanio—­or, rather, Bassanio’s selection of the right casket—­puts an end to the apportioning of Portia, and it also yields a consensual, endogamous marriage for a wealthy Christian daughter. The preference Portia expresses for Bassanio might be her own best unconscious approximation of the choice her father would have made for her.38 At the very least Bassanio and the Lord of Belmont are linked in Portia’s memory, both belonging to what Nerissa calls “your father’s time.” The authority of Portia’s father is more present than it first seems in the selection of Bassanio—­even if, or perhaps especially if, Portia inadvertently or irrepressibly tips him off about the lead casket. If Portia controls Bassanio’s selection, she helps pick the man who exists both now and in her “father’s time,” too. If Freud sees the caskets as inevitably signifying in complex fashion the woman Bassanio will marry, with its accompanying register of death, it is equally likely that, looking from the other side, Portia sees in the casket signifying the man she will marry a similar reflection of death in the figure of her dead father. If the casket serves for Bassanio, newly embarking on married life, as a memento mori, as a harbinger of his aging and decline, it serves as a similar reminder for Portia, who remembers her dead father by it and draws from it his proxy in the figure of her husband.39 82  Midas’s Food

Within the fictional world of the play, Portia’s father must know that his daughter will be loyal to him even after his death or else he would have no reason to attempt to control her in such an unenforceable way. At the same time, Portia’s father wishes for some reason to distance himself from the selection process by making it appear to be the work of an objective and unprejudiced mechanism despite the favor it dubiously grants to the only endogamous suitor. The former of these points suggests a significant father-­daughter bond, the latter the father’s disavowal of that intimate bond. By appearing to expose his daughter to a number of undesirable suitors—­such as the Prince of Morocco—­Portia’s father seems willing to compel his daughter to marry any worthy man, even one she dislikes on racial grounds. Yet, despite the appearance of disinterest in the father’s device, it is apparently not a coincidence that Bassanio solves the casket riddles. Why would Portia’s father subject his daughter to petitioners from all over Europe and the Mediterranean if, in the end, the best husband of all is nearby Bassanio, someone already known to the Lord of Belmont and admitted into his home and the presence of his daughter before his death? Here it is important to remember that Shylock’s misery—­the state to which the “miser” is etymologically condemned—­is due in part to the exogamous character of his own daughter’s elopement, as Shylock regrets: “Would any of the stock of Barabbas, / Had been her husband rather than a Christian” (4.1.294–­95). Shylock mourns the loss of his daughter to a Christian husband, its resulting pollution, if not total loss, of his own lineage. One continues to hear the incestuous undertones of this regret when Shylock refers not just to a New Testament Jew, the criminal Barabbas, as a better progenitor for his daughter’s husband, but also, it seems, to his own Marlovian doppelganger, Barabas from The Jew of Malta. As an intertextual reference that would have been immediately audible to contemporary playgoers, Barabas is a name for Shylock himself. “Would any of the stock of Shylock,” Shylock seems to say, “had been her husband.” Again, Shylock’s crime with respect to his daughter is a hoarding Midas’s Food  83

incest, a desire to have her for himself and not share her beyond the boundary of the Jewish community or even the walls of his own Jewish household. Yet, despite the overt critique of Shylock as an incestuous miser, his paternity is not much different from that of the dead Lord of Belmont. The marital conclusion for Portia, safeguarded by a father who appears to have entered his daughter in the free circulation of the world’s marriage market and therein to have shown a willingness to share his wealth liberally, is nevertheless an endogamous and insulating match—­the fulfillment, in other words, of Shylock’s thwarted wish. Portia’s father has managed to secure an enclosing sanctuary for his daughter despite the elaborate show his casket mechanism makes of a liberal “xenophilia,” an openness with respect to his daughter’s betrothal of announcing equal chances of suit for all, equal access to his personal holdings of the world’s wealth. Shylock’s real error in light of these parallel events at Belmont seems not his usurious hoarding and endogamous, or incestuous, wish with respect to his daughter (not, in other words, the overt charges levied against him by the Venetians), but rather his failure to disguise his profit-­seeking and commanding paternity through a contrary show that would effectively disarm any encroaching critiques of the unseemly business of mercantile men.40 Bassanio fully understands—­ w hether consciously or unconsciously—­the basis for such a disguise and has been trained to detect its deployment in a trial like that of Belmont’s caskets. He chooses the correct casket by virtue of his status as an insider, then, a Christian mercantilist in a world full of exploitable resources who recognizes the impossibility of choosing, in a public and ideological ceremony, anything but the lead casket. He knows the pretended curse encoded into an overt choice of gold: “Therefore, then, thou gaudy gold, / Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee” (3.2.101–­2). He knows, in other words, as if by schoolboy’s rote, the threat that a show of a hoarding love of gold poses to one’s chances of success. And he knows to disdain the casket of silver, metal whose symbolic is carried in a metaphor about common coins: “Nor none of thee, 84  Midas’s Food

thou pale and common drudge / ’Tween man and man” (3.2.103–­4).41 Bassanio understands, in other words, that silver carries its own curse of representing, in the figure of the enduring coin never excused or retired from circulation, the laboring “drudge” directed in the course of exchanging other men’s profits. The lead casket appeals to Bassanio instead not because it stands for something other than wealth (this casket, one remembers, holds the key to the Lord of Belmont’s vast fortune) but because it is inconspicuous in its broadcast of that wealth. The lead casket conceals its treasure through a deceptive show of “meagre” modesty (3.2.104) and is therefore superior to “gaudy gold” or to the workaday poverty of silver. This process of disguise would appear to apply jointly, therefore, as a means both to controlling exchanges of wealth in such a way as to escape the reprimand of a disapproving Christian humanist culture and to directing a daughter’s marriage on the authority of a shared secret of incest. Yet the success of this form of filial and economic management is so neatly available in Merchant because the father is dead. In the case of a play representing a living father engaged in the process of such management, the outcome may become narratively strained when the strategy of pretending incest gives way to an active and living emotive bond. Stanley Cavell’s reading of Lear uncovers one such father-­daughter process.42 Most readers of the play assume that Lear grievously misinterprets his youngest daughter’s reticence in proclaiming her love, as though it relayed evidence of its failure or absence. Cavell suggests something different in his famous reading of the opening abdication scene: that Lear’s anger erupts not because Cordelia shows what her father wrongly detects as too little love, but because her refusal to announce her love in the false and calculated language of ceremonial convention actually betrays its authenticity and depth. In Cavell’s reading, Lear with his public demonstration endeavors to disavow a relationship that is too gripping, too intensely intimate, but Cordelia either refuses to help him do this, to defraud their love via public ceremony, or else she is unable to do so in the grip of the powerful feeling she holds for her father. In light of this reading Midas’s Food  85

and in coincidental support of it, Freud draws a provocative connection between the abdication scene in Lear and the casket scenes in The Merchant of Venice. Tellingly, Freud tries to belittle the fact that the trial in Belmont is designed to determine a marriage when he applies the trial’s parameters to Lear’s “choice” from among his daughters: “We must not be led astray by the fact that Lear’s choice is between three daughters; this may mean nothing more than that he has to be represented as an old man. An old man cannot very well choose between three women in any other way. Thus they become his daughters” (“Three Caskets,” 112, emphasis in original). We must not be led astray, Freud says, in pursuing a comparison of these scenes as erotic trials, since doing so would impose an unlikely logic of incest into the relationship between Lear and Cordelia. “In a patient,” Marjorie Garber says of this bargained conclusion, “Freud might well read this as the evasion, or displacement, it appears to us to be” (“Freud’s Choice,” 78). Indeed, Garber points out that Freud’s own father married three women, each of whom was young enough to be the man’s daughter, and that Freud himself uneasily took to conflating the role of wife and daughter, such that, at the end of his life, he was attended by his own dear daughter Anna behaving toward him as dutifully as a wife. Leaving Freud’s own family romance aside, it is enough to detect, as Garber suggests, that “there is considerable slippage between the paternal and the conjugal relationship here” (81), one that implicates Lear’s choice to banish the one daughter he loves as a disavowal of his own strong incestuous feeling, and one that imbues Portia’s betrothal to Bassanio—­the man her father knew, the man picked by the casket trial, the endogamous suitor in a roomful of foreigners—­with an undergirding logic of incest obligation. Cavell’s reading of Lear helps introduce the question of how a culture might weigh the availability of disguised relations for securing strategic advantages against those occasions when the players of such strategies lose their sense of disguise and engage the pretense instead as an uncalculated basis for relations. Or, put another way, Lear’s problem is twofold: he fails to apply the strategy effectively, 86  Midas’s Food

to control all of his daughters by inscribing them into an incestuous obligation of loyalty, and he fails also to remember that his love affair with Cordelia is supposed to be merely a pretense engaged to give him the advantage in directing her marriage and his fortune. Such is the pretense Montaigne promotes in replacing “command and fear” with “love and affection” as the new “weapons” of paternity. Lear may be a play attempting to explore this very problem, in fact, of coping with what concealed strategies of relations can produce in a culture when its subjects fail to execute them properly by falling victim to their pretense. “Now My Thoughts Revolt” Pericles attempts to reverse the literary breakdown of the economy of father-­daughter incest, in a sense to solve the problem so central to Lear, through a complex redirection of the paternal incest urge into the arena of the public market. This play acknowledges the tendency, perhaps the likelihood, of father-­daughter bonds becoming overly emotive under the influence of the pretended relationship, and it therefore undercuts the sexualization of this bond in favor of a more mercantilist resolution. To this end, Pericles arrests fathers and daughters in a state of perpetual sexual suspense while offering a mechanism for release through the application of paternal money toward a commercial rather than familial fulfillment of the incest wish. In complex fashion, the play explores the ability of the market to offer cures for the illnesses it produces over time. And, indeed, having disingenuously labeled as criminally incestuous the original paternal strategy of reserving one’s daughter for private circulation, the market culture now redirects that largely fabricated desire into a “harmless” consumerism by which the paternal fantasy of incest proves purchasable in the form of a daughter-­surrogate played by a prostitute.43 This market corrective does not function smoothly, however, and Pericles offers a portrait of misanthropic revolt in its opening scene that endures throughout the play. While Lynda Boose accurately summarizes the entire post-­Antioch bulk of the play as a “flight Midas’s Food  87

from incest” (339), it is equally a flight from the cultural critique of paternity that Antiochus so memorably stages. Having botched the complicated performance of paternity required of him, Antiochus now rails against it, exposing in exaggerated form the sham of liberal marriage markets, of untainted familial bonds, of the benevolence and meritocracy of riddles attached to unwed daughters. Antiochus violently stops the machinery of patriarchal commerce with a blockade of stakes bearing princes’ heads. Pericles, young and confused by what he learns at Antioch, expresses a contrary misanthropic urge: not to annihilate but to escape a culture whose ideological contradictions are so blindingly visible. Pericles’s flight from Antioch is multilayered, then: he flees to save his life, and also to distance himself psychologically from the violation of a taboo. Yet he also flees his own ability to solve cultural riddles that are better left unsolved, unread. He flees the ideological devastation that his epistemological discernment can effect. He flees, in a sense, his power to read. Because mimetic writing is a common consequence—­or aftereffect—­of reading, the play chronicles Pericles’s reluctant but plodding self-­inscription into the paternal structure that Antiochus exposes through the code of the riddle.44 The incest that Pericles originally flees becomes the encroaching narrative predicament of his own story, climaxing with the violent push he gives his daughter early in their recognition scene when she appears before him as a stranger the exact age of the daughter he believes to be dead, bearing the youthful countenance of his dead wife. Though Mytilene’s initial professional placement of Marina in the brothel has undergone some reevaluation by this point in the narrative (Marina’s duties in the brothel have been relaxed and she now offers lessons in singing, weaving, sewing, and dancing), it nevertheless continues to condense the range of concerns that the play has been airing: Can fathers recognize their daughters through the various economies that obscure them? And what of the many possible paternal responses—­a violent shove? a collapse while weeping?—­would represent a true recognition? 88  Midas’s Food

“Deeds of Darkness” When Marina—­named for the tempestuous sea of her birth and her mother’s death—­reaches the age of fourteen in the care of foster parents, her father travels to meet her. He has been absent all these years and now has arrived too late. The foster mother, jealous on behalf of her own daughter, has paid a servant to murder Marina, so when Pericles arrives for the long-­delayed reunion, he finds not a daughter but a tomb. Marina is not dead, however, as the audience knows: interrupting the attempt on her life, pirates chase away her cowardly assassin, abduct her, and later sell her to a Mytilene brothel across the sea. The daughter’s story of false death coincides here with that of her mother, in a particular way, because the sea on which Thaisa dies in childbirth is also a false tomb for her. The mother is not completely—­or not irreparably—­dead when her body is launched overboard for a water burial. Her sealed coffin washes up on the shore where Cerimon, the healer, manages to resurrect her using medicines and music and sees her “take” herself to a “vestal livery” in holy service to Diana (3.4.9). Like her mother, Marina is similarly buried before her time, so that, over the course of fourteen years, Pericles believes he has lost both daughter and wife, even though both still live. The inverted parallelism of mother and daughter, whose lives move in opposite directions after their parallel crises of near-­death under the negligent handling of their husband and father—­the former backward to a sacred virginity and the latter forward toward prostitution—­stands as a working-­out of a fantasy by which a paternal sexuality overwhelms the conjugal kind. In this fantasy the wife’s sexuality is neutralized and displaced while the daughter’s is inflamed and pronounced. Janet Adelman reads Marina differently, suggesting that her resistance to fulfilling her duties as prostitute is evidence she has been “desexualized,” and that the desexualizing of mother and daughter alike “exorcises” incest anxiety in the play.45 While Adelman, along with a handful of critics before her, helpfully foregrounds incest Midas’s Food  89

as the central phenomenon that the play is seeking to understand, her reading prematurely forecloses Marina’s sexuality to defuse the incest threat hovering throughout the narrative.46 Even as Marina safeguards her virginity, her residency in the brothel heightens nervousness about her potential as a sexual body, especially from the paternal viewpoint that Jeffrey Masten has carefully analyzed as the play’s overwhelming perspective.47 In treating Marina’s sexuality, the play invests her foremost not as an adolescent girl but, more specifically, as a vulnerable daughter. Tests of Marina’s sexual pliability, therefore, are an outgrowth of the tortured psychological imagining of the play’s eponymous hero, whose understanding of brides and daughters is dramatically fraught following the play’s opening scene. There, Pericles’s original ambition to marry ends disastrously when, in an attempt to secure his suit, he confronts a higher-­stakes version of the Belmont casket trial, whose inflated cost, should a suitor fail, is not sworn bachelorhood but death. The riddle attached to the princess of Antioch reads: I am no viper, yet I feed On mother’s flesh which did me breed. I sought a husband, in which labor I found that kindness in a father. He’s father, son, and husband mild; I mother, wife—­and yet his child. How they may be, and yet in two, As you will live, resolve it you. (1.1.65–­72) The surprise of the riddle is its dependence on a half-­literal rather than wholly metaphorical interpretation. The young woman is not figuratively both daughter and bride, as Pericles immediately realizes: she is literally both, cast in these roles by virtue of a material knot of incest. To preserve the secrecy of his crime, King Antiochus has cleverly attached to a daughter whom he can never betroth an unsolvable riddle—­not unsolvable for its degree of difficulty, but for 90  Midas’s Food

its unspeakable solution. To speak the answer before the incestuous King, no less than failing to speak it, is to die on his authority. The play experiments, then, with conflating or substituting brides and daughters. Indeed the most literally incestuous expression of this conflation is the play’s earliest horror at Antiochus’s court. But the play’s punishment for Antiochus and his daughter—­a fire from the heavens that incinerates the pair while they are riding together in a chariot—­does not securely neutralize the question of incest for the play. Later, when Pericles, believing he is bereft of both wife and daughter, meets Marina, he pushes her roughly away from him, as though repulsed. Remembering himself, he remarks: I am great with woe, and shall deliver weeping. My dearest wife was like this maid, and such a one My daughter might have been. (5.1.97–­99) Pericles says that his wife resembled this maid, and that his daughter might have been “such a one.” Marina here plays, in Pericles’s mind, the role bridging the wife and daughter: as a stranger to him, she is neither one, yet she is sufficiently like each to stir a violent reaction from him at the spectacle of their fusion. At its most touching, Pericles’s comparison notices an affinity of mother to child in the tender sense contained in Shakespeare’s third sonnet: “Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee / Calls back the lovely April of her prime.” At its most provocative, the comparison carries a value of replacement, an experimentation with an incest fantasy by which the daughter steps into the body of the mother reconstituted from that remembered time when she was first and foremost a fertile young wife. In support of detecting a latent bargain for incest here, one need only remember that Pericles delays his return to his daughter until she has grown “ripe for marriage rite” at the age of fourteen (4.0.17). Pericles waits to retrieve his daughter, for reasons left unexplained, until she is sexually mature to greet him. Midas’s Food  91

A pair of interrelated textual cruxes further implicates Pericles as engaging in the willful substitution of his daughter for his wife. In the final act when Pericles is reunited with Thaisa, he announces plans to cut his beard that “this fourteen years no razor touched” (5.3.75), even though Gower, the play’s chorus, has told the audience that “he swears / Never to wash his face nor cut his hairs” at a different moment in the plot, i.e., when he hears the false report of his daughter’s death only three months before (4.4.27–­28). The refusal to shave is given value as a ritual of mourning, and the play textually supports a location of the cause to mourn in two very different places in the plot: the first, by Pericles’s own testimonial, on the death of his wife fourteen years before; the second, according to Gower, on the rather recent death of his daughter. While he may easily mourn for both in the same gesture and thereby escape the question of favoring one over the other, he tellingly suppresses the possibility of having mourned for his daughter when speaking to his wife at the end of the play, resetting the clock of sorrow to measure no less than fourteen years. As a solution to this crux, modern editors accept an emendation of a line earlier in the play. The emended line confirms that Pericles does indeed remain unshaven for fourteen years and not the handful of months suggested by Gower. On the joint occasion of his daughter’s birth and his wife’s death, in leaving the infant Marina to be raised by her foster family, Pericles swears, “Till she be married, . . . / . . . / Unscissored shall this hair of mine remain, / Though I show ill in’t” (3.3.28–­31). The line confirms his claim at the end of the play to have stopped shaving or cutting his hair around the time of his wife’s death. Yet the play’s First Quarto offers a fascinating variation of this line, a prior sense whose profound significance Sonia Massai has recovered. Instead of a line about unshorn hair, the Quarto gives Pericles a line swearing a sexually charged oath on behalf of his unsiblinged heir: “Till she be married,” it reads, “unsisterd shall this heyre of mine remain, / Thou I shew will in’t” (emphasis added). If Pericles swears this profoundly altered oath instead, one is left not only with his perplexing lie to his wife at the end of the play about 92  Midas’s Food

the length of his mourning and its direct relationship to her, but with the pressing question about why Pericles intended to remain celibate—­to postpone the generation of new children—­until his first daughter grew old enough to marry. It is obvious why some modern editors prefer the emendation: it forecloses an unseemly interpretive problem for the play. As Massai rightly suggests, an oath by Pericles not to produce more heirs until his first daughter is married would seem to mark “the re-­emergence of the incest motif, conjured by yet another instance of the dangerous dependence of the father’s sexuality on the daughter’s” (513). While the play foregrounds and excites a fantasy of father-­daughter incest, it also translates the stakes of this fantasy specifically from a dynastic to a market economy. While Merchant is a play where Shylock’s crime was his failure to disguise his conflation of his daughter and ducats as equal parts in a secretive dynastic act of incestuous or closed-­market hoarding, Pericles forestalls this dynastic failure by diverting paternal urges out of the home altogether and toward a market whose saleable goods include surrogate daughters in the form of prostitutes. Pericles abandons the implementation of the Lord of Belmont’s casket trial as a reliable mechanism of disguise when fathers are still living—­as in the case of Antiochus—­and instead suppresses the very notion of disguise altogether by normalizing the market’s power to lead the father away from the activities on which the logic of the market is nonetheless based. What one might call the posthumous lives of Pericles’s wife and daughter are strikingly different, and this difference helps ground an understanding of the play as making a serious attempt to confront the problem of the paternal urge to incest, particularly when no longer plausible as a simple strategy of dynastic control. Thaisa’s first words after her resurrection are devotional—­“O dear Diana,” she says (3.2.102)—­and, instead of seeking out her lost husband, Pericles, she embraces her new community with celibacy, eventually rising to become the local high priestess at Diana’s temple. Thaisa’s procreative sexuality as a wife and mother is prematurely foreclosed Midas’s Food  93

here as a result of her husband’s (and the superstitious sailors’) hasty burial of her at sea. Meanwhile, her daughter, as a consequence of her father’s delay in returning to her, faces in her own posthumous life the excessive sexuality of prostitution. Marina is made daughter to yet another foster family: the brothel owners, Bawd and Pander, are her new parents, and the brothel heavy, Bolt, stands in as the assertive brother who hopes to exploit his adopted sister’s sexual body for the family’s profit. The Mytilene brothel serves as a parody of home, a grotesque distortion of normative familial economics.48 This parody helps to reveal deeply grounded similarities: though exaggerated in its materiality, the brothel’s offering of young girls to a market of men can be seen as resembling structurally the more refined parental effort of finding conjugal matches for daughters. The brothel stages a parody of betrothal, and also a restatement of an underlying market logic, in accelerated form, offering a market space for the endlessly repeatable sexual pantomime of the wedding night. In its parody, the brothel presents a parallel but significantly altered setting to the royal bedroom at Antioch. While Antiochus’s daughter is the fulcrum of a scale deciding literal life and death (rigged though it is to tip only one way), the brothel is a fulcrum weighing the dole of venereal disease. But disease is not as immediate as death, nor is it certain to result in death ahead of whatever else might bring about that eventual finality. Brothel houses, though hazardous, are not chopping blocks, and Marina’s transition to such a house disinvests her of the immediate mortal power attributed to Antiochus’s daughter, whose unwitting suitors are doomed to decapitation.49 While Antiochus’s story is certainly demonized by the play, leaving its incestuous pair to die in a divine shower of fire, the larger resolution for the play must lie in finding a livable version of the encroaching father-­daughter incest fantasy. Marina manages to maintain her virginity, but this is only a specific element of the plot. Through her association with the brothel, she represents, as Portia does, the daughter as commodity that can be negotiated, bargained for, tested, and proven ahead of time. She carries a symbolic threat through this interaction with 94  Midas’s Food

her—­no longer the psychological illness of incest but instead the threat of a venereal disease, livable in its affliction. The problem of incest during the course of the play is hereby reduced to a manageable degree through the rise of money as a fully appropriate medium for pursuing desire. This management is central to finding escape from the paternity of Lear and to reinstalling the successful economic strategies of the Lord of Belmont. The language of the brothel relates to the play’s language of incest in that it discusses sex in terms of illness and disease. Pericles has already suggested that incest is a form of diseased sexuality, a notion contained in his epithet for Antiochus’s daughter as a “glorious casket stored with ill” (1.1.78). The brothel, satirizing the play’s fears about incest and diseased sexuality, communicates its parody in part by inverting the fear of sex to a fear of virginity. In the Mytilene brothel, Mother Bawd, Father Pander, and Brother Bolt induct Marina into the service of the house without a thought about her own will, and they are quickly frustrated by Marina’s tenacious frigidity: “Fie, fie upon her,” Bawd stammers after another customer emerges from Marina’s room converted to virtue, “she’s able to freeze the god Priapus, and undo a whole generation” (4.6.3–­4). Ironically, Marina’s power to “undo a whole generation” does not refer to the prostitute’s well-­ documented power to spread venereal disease (as one might otherwise expect, given the context of the brothel), but rather to the chaste woman’s refusal to be sexually exploited or controlled. In an early modern family, the sexual control of daughters literally produces the next generation. In the parodic family of the brothel, of course, the generative legacy in question is a spawn of clients rather than children, and the economic benefit of marriage comes in the form of payment for time with a parodic wife in a parodic wedding bed. The parodic family calls its normative model into question through the exposed lessons of its exaggeration. Marina threatens to destroy the future of the brothel—­as a daughter might disrupt the succession of a family—­when she refuses to participate in its prostitution of her. Pander exclaims, “Now the pox Midas’s Food  95

upon her green-­sickness . . . !” and Bawd responds, “Faith, there’s no way to be rid on’t but by the way to the pox” (4.6.12–­14). Pander curses the anemic “green-­sickness” associated with girls who have just become sexually mature but have no husband, and thus no sexual outlet. Bawd makes literal use of Pander’s curse with the suggestion that infecting Marina with the French pox would actually serve as a curative for her sexual anemia, because the method of infection—­sexual intercourse—­is what the green-­sick daughter needs most. Syphilis, in this case, is part of the parodic cure for a young girl’s frigidity.50 Like the literal illness of syphilis, the figurative illness of incest as a diseased sexuality is also normalized in the brothel as having a practical function. To prevent Marina’s ruining the family business by “undoing a generation” of the brothel’s clients, Bolt takes it upon himself to rape his adopted sister as a way of conditioning her. He swears on his testicles that he won’t allow her to deny sexual service on behalf of the family: “If your peevish chastity . . . shall undo a whole household, let me be gelded like a spaniel” (4.6.110–­13). The sister’s frigidity has begun to challenge her male relatives’ ability to perform sexually. The sister will succeed in preserving her virginity only if her brother proves to have been “gelded like a spaniel”—­to be, like Shylock, missing the “stones” to manage the family’s affairs. In the brothel, this figure becomes literal sexual assault. Bawd endorses this plan like an exasperated mother approving a harsh but necessary cure for an unruly daughter: “Bolt, take her away, use her at thy pleasure. Crack the glass of her virginity, and make the rest malleable” (4.6.129–­30). As the site of literal prostitution, the brothel is a disturbing locus of coercive sexuality. As a parody of a home and family, it suggests something of the way the normative counterparts to the brothel—­the literal home and family—­are implicated in a process of coercing the sexuality of female children, here in the sanctioned form of brother-­sister rather than father-­daughter incest. According to the terms of the play’s parody, then, Pericles, as father to Marina, is also her pander: the overseer of her matrimonial future. He ultimately betroths Marina to Lysimachus, the governor 96  Midas’s Food

of Mytilene, a man Marina tellingly first meets when he solicits her in the brothel. Lysimachus significantly bridges the two worlds—­the world of the brothel and the public place of normative sexual alliances, the world of a parodic family and that of a normative familial order—­because he exists in both and holds the parallel role in both, customer of a prostitute in one, suitor to a daughter in the other. Lysimachus’s epithet for sex as “deeds of darkness” is reminiscent, too, of Pericles’s telling characterization of the affair at Antioch as “blacker than the night” (1.1.135). Yet Lysimachus, as an unabashed john, ushers in the market’s ideological solution to Pericles’s father-­ daughter troubles. He is not, after all, shopping for his own daughter in the brothel. His “deed of darkness” has a different value for him than it does for Antiochus, or even Pericles—­suggesting not a sinful transgression, but a darkened room neutrally representing the now commercially available commodity of privacy. Lysimachus makes his original bid for Marina’s services through a purely economic approach to the matter of desire and its fulfillment. His most important stipulation for his prostitute, as for a wife—­that she be a virgin—­costs extra, as Bawd confirms: “Maidenhead were no cheap thing” (4.2.55). Though compared to shopping for a wife, or crawling into a daughter’s bed, visiting the brothel is still the cheapest route. In Mytilene, desire is sated and fantasies fulfilled according to the weight of one’s purse. Lysimachus inhabits a city where he is a governor, not a king, where formerly perverse forms of intimacy become, in slightly altered form, fair products of the free market. He provides from this position a new economic reworking of the deeply embroiling problem of incest throughout the play. The play’s handling of incest, its repression and its return, is simultaneously a handling of the repression and return of a philosophy of individual want and fulfillment measured now as a degree of one’s purchasing power. Yet, in asserting the connection between desire and its fulfillment in the market, the rhetoric of disease that served before to hamper desire is necessarily tempered, such that disease becomes a livable affliction instead of one with mortal or even moral consequences. Diseases both literal and Midas’s Food  97

metaphorical, whose cures cannot be bought, disrupt the illusion of economic individualism; therefore, the brothel family downplays the problem of illness by treating venereal disease as an everyday matter of course, livable rather than mortal. Incest as a diseased arrangement is brought out of its repressed condition in order to be concealed in a very different way—­as a commercial venture in which privacy is built into the commodity for sale, protected under the philosophy of the free market. The original value of incest in the play as a horrifying psychological event falls away in favor of making it much more simply a private fantasy, costly of gold, not of one’s public reputation or morality, confirming as such a new notion of individual will as answering to economic rather than social or cosmic factors. “Why Do You Weep?” Marina asks her father, “Why do you weep?” (5.1.167) in the long recognition scene moments before he fully grasps his paternity with respect to the girl before him. Pericles does not answer her question directly, but his reasons for weeping are easily imagined. He is overjoyed to be seeing a daughter he thought was dead, and he feels the intense emotion that accompanies a release from terrible pain. Yet he also responds to the psychological pressure of finding his daughter rather like his dead wife. Perhaps sensing this conflict, and already aware that this man is her father, Marina asks, “Whither / Will you have me?” (5.1.166–­67). The Riverside glosses this question as “To what end are you questioning me?” and the Wells and Taylor Oxford replaces this strange question from the First Quarto with a later rendering: “What will you of me?” which the Norton (1st ed.) glosses as “What do you want of me?” But this urge to clarify the text robs it of a fascinatingly dense original query. “Whither” is a profoundly packed adverb carrying a rich variety of meaning (“where”; “to what result”; “to what extent”; “how far”), and Marina’s verb “have” conflates a mild form of protective possession—­as when a parent is said to “have” children, for example—­with a violent, even sexual, seizing or ravaging. In a telling echo, Marina earlier asked the same question 98  Midas’s Food

of Bolt as he made his move to rape her: “Whither would you have me?” (4.6.115). Before the figure of her father, her question ranges in meaning. She means, “At what point, in this long process of recognition, will you finally claim me as your daughter?” but also, “To what degree, and with what violence, will you ultimately possess me?” Indeed, Marina is still wary of being positioned as a prostitute, even as she realizes this man is her father. It is quite by chance, “orderèd / By Lady Fortune” (4.4.47–­48), that Pericles’s ship anchors off Mytilene, the city of the brothel, and Helicanus takes the opportunity to purchase fresh food from the governor: Let us beseech you That for our gold we may provision have, Wherein we are not destitute for want, But weary for the staleness. (5.1.46–­49) Their provisions are not exhausted, they have simply gone stale—­ much like the “stales,” or prostitutes, who are “as good as rotten” in the brothel, prompting Pander to call for “fresh ones” in the form of virgins like Marina (4.2.8–­9). And gold is the means to fresher ends. Marina is fresh for Pericles for complicated reasons—­because she is the picture of his wife restored to life and to youth, or of a daughter no longer merely memorial. But she is simultaneously rotten because she represents the encroaching illness of the urge to incest. The degree to which this illness is successfully evaded by an emphasis on economic individualism in the brothel, and by extension in the marriage market—­sites where illness is a normative, and at times curative, part of life—­eventuates in the play’s final restoration of Pericles’s conjugal relationship with Thaisa and the betrothal of Marina and Lysimachus. For Pericles, translating his relationship to Marina as a paternal lover to that of a paternal pander, a merchant involved in overseeing the exchange of his daughter on an alliance market, is achieved swiftly, if not particularly with his full endorsement. Midas’s Food  99

3

Retreats of Despair and Devotion Choice, Faith, and Exile in Book 4 of The Faerie Queene

My own belief is that most of the problems of epistemology, in so far as they are genuine, are really problems of physics and physiology; moreover, I believe that physiology is only a complicated branch of physics. —­Bertrand Russell, “Vagueness”

A day, an houre, a moment, is enough to ouerturne the things, that seemed to haue beene founded and rooted in Adamant. —­Sir Walter Ralegh, History of the World

The faithful squire Timias in Spenser’s darkly metaphorical, religiously obscure, and ambitiously nationalist epic poem The Faerie Queene is thrust by circumstance into a misanthropic retreat in the middle of book 4—­ironically, the heart of the allegorical Book of Friendship. Prior to this complex episode, Timias has been faithfully serving the huntress Belphoebe ever since she found him languishing in the woods with a life-­threatening wound and nursed him back to health. As his physical body heals, however, under Belphoebe’s care, a new wound of love begins to fester, and Timias’s grateful devotion transforms into a deep attachment of connubial love that the sworn virgin Belphoebe can never requite. The crisis moment of the episode arises quite by chance when during a typical hunt they have a surprise occasion to rescue a female victim—­Belphoebe’s unrecognized sister Amoret—­whom they encounter as the object of a sexually violent 100

abduction. As Belphoebe chases and dispatches the abductor, Timias tends to a wound he inadvertently causes Amoret during the physical skirmish of the rescue, and, in a psychologically complex response to her and to the wound left on her by his own hand, he succumbs to a sudden urge to tend her wounds with kisses (4.7.35). On Belphoebe’s return the huntress immediately assesses the squire’s amorous attention to the wounded lady as a betrayal, spurring Timias upon her rejection into a self-­exile from all human company, deep into the solitude of a hermetic retreat, in which not even Arthur can recognize his friend and squire in the figure of the now mute and bearded man. Students of the poem who are interested in the historical dimension of Spenser’s allegory will remember this episode as the one relating Sir Walter Ralegh’s exile from Elizabeth I’s court after his betrayal of her through his secret marriage to one of the Queen’s ladies-­in-­waiting.1 In fact, this is the first extended allegory in the poem mapped clearly onto topical events, and probably the only one to which Spenser might have considered himself an immediate witness. Despite Spenser’s own invitation to look for historical allegory in his work, however—­as when he encourages in his “Letter of the Authors” a collapsing of Gloriana with the “glorious person of our soueraine the Queene” and the “Faery land” with “her kingdome” (lines 32–­34)—­the poem’s commitment to its “historicall fiction” (line 9) is elsewhere largely mythical.2 The episode involving Ralegh/ Timias as topical allegory is not typical of the poem or a representative technique of Spenser’s larger project. It is arguably only one of two such episodes of pronounced topicality in the entire narrative, counted alongside the trial and execution of Duessa as an allegorical stand-­in for Mary, Queen of Scots (5.9.36–­5.10.4). The peculiarity of such an episode may encourage its special compartmentalization, cordoned off from the other allegorical modes and approaches elsewhere in the poem. Consideration of it, in other words, may arrest at its most overt reference to topicality and history. Its special peculiarity, however, may also excite a longer consideration. The Timias episode, after all, is richly layered in its allusion, well Despair and Devotion  101

beyond simply offering a portrait of Ralegh. In his forest exile, Timias also recalls the hermit of the medieval romance tradition broadly considered.3 And Belphoebe’s provocative question at the moment of the episode’s crisis—­“Is this the faith?” (4.7.36)—­may remind the Christian squire of his obligation to God apart from worldly things, in the contemptus mundi tradition exemplified by the Christian anchorite. Belphoebe’s question also introduces, paradoxically and with equal force, the very worldly problem of fidelity in love—­sexual and emotional loyalty to the sworn beloved, generally described and understood in secular terms. Timias, whose condition is chartable along competing narrative and epistemological spokes of reference, would seem to come to rest at the intersection of them all, away from which any one narrative trajectory might be possible but only at an irreconcilable exclusion of one or more of the others. Timias faces the challenge of conceiving himself traveling on one of these narrative spokes, but, because they are mutually incongruous or even exclusive, none seems a clear choice on the trajectory of individual identity. The story of Timias in solitary retreat invites both an easy reading and a hard one. But the easy reading—­that the poem indulges in a brief topical interlude of relatively small importance—­is no less a part of the greater nexus of elements that combine toward something more difficult to unravel. The simple availability of “history” in the poem as a choice, after all, may invalidate its primacy as an interpretive destination. If “history” is only one of many organizing hermeneutics, then the episode forces an accounting of the combined value of alternative trajectories of meaning layered in its allusive accretions. Any readerly impulse to pursue only one such trajectory (e.g., that of history) implicates that reader in a willing neglect of the ethical demands that a religious allegorical epic might make on moral grounds. For Belphoebe’s imperious question “Is this the faith?,” erupting as it does out of the purely fictional world and into the arena of the historically habitable realm of the poet, is arguably cast just as effectively upon the reader as upon the unwitting Timias, who has stumbled into the infraction that earns the interrogative rage of the deified beloved: Is 102  Despair and Devotion

this what you believe about our story? Is this the extent, the limit, the profit of your faith? A truism for scholars, early modern concepts of “history” were not as congealed in their facticity as more modern ones would strive to become. A shallow dive into the definition and usage in the Oxford English Dictionary (oed) serves up a clear sense of the duality by which history was perceived both as a true “chronicle”—­a retelling of past events in sequence—­and a “story,” by which events, true or not, are told in similar fashion.4 The “history” of religion shares this plasticity even into the modern world, resistant to more modern demands of historical truth through its scriptural deployment of storied invention.5 Religion draws into its historical scaffolding a demand upon the personal mind to make a personal decision about faith in historical time, quite apart from any serious adherence to facts. Spenser invests in this personal demand when he crafts the question flung at the betraying squire. “Is this the faith?” compels a decision about belief and knowledge that is suddenly cast beyond the purview of historical facticity, and the consequence of failing to answer immediately and absolutely is swift and unyielding, as the deified beloved enacts total withdrawal from the muted petitioner. Timias experiences, then, alongside any allegorical adumbration of Ralegh’s sordid plight in 1592, the total withdrawal of God, through the allegory of a far different and eternally significant register. That withdrawal is the cost of waywardly searching for a material correspondence—­here, Amoret’s open wound—­of the intangible affairs of the heart and mind with that of the “historical” world. The affairs of the heart and mind, of course, have only tenuous claims to such correspondence. One might draw on science as a cultural project earnestly undertaken to reduce and perhaps eliminate the tenuousness of such correspondences, by which the discipline of observation and record should yield a thoughtful objectivity of the mind, even in affairs of the heart. But one need only remember the dreams of a single night’s sleep to realize that the mind probably does not work like that. Thoughts are flittingly undisciplined occurrences that thrive Despair and Devotion  103

on abstraction (even artifacts of random processes of biochemical physics, perhaps at the quantum level), and so are feelings, in continual defiance of any effort to generate an architecture for them and bring them into clean working order. Still, the consequences on either side are harrowing. When trying to decide whether to invest one’s cognitive endeavor in scientific understanding of the material world, despite what remains ineluctable about lived experience, or to otherwise consign oneself to a faith that cannot endure a scrupulous investigation of facticity, neither option emerges as the obvious choice. The former leads to a wholesale surrender of cognitive access to most human experience that is as yet unquantifiable, and the latter leaves one vulnerable, as a consequence of mortal frailty, to a swift and punitive exile from God. Choice, then, figures as a central problem for the Timias episode of book 4, both within the story and for the readers outside of it seeking an interpretive gloss and understanding. And the misanthropic retreat therein depicted, though temporary, dramatizes a response to the demand that an impossible choice nonetheless be made. The misanthropoetic response to the pressing task of choice for Timias is avoidance and retreat—­a mechanism of refusal to embrace either end of a spoke of polarity and a refusal to reject either, too. At the exact center—­the inmost heart—­of an impossible continuum of choice lies a curious definitional void from which not even the whisper of a preferential leaning toward one end or another can escape. Timias’s solitary retreat will remain theoretical for most readers, as most will seem to pilot their lives in safe clearance of the event horizon of such a choiceless state of being and vocal paralysis. But, for readers invested in cracking the code of the poem, avoiding the aporetic pull of choicelessness only serves to consign for lost the complete hermeneutic vision of meaning. If the poem is roughly an allegory for life and its successful navigation, the reader can glean the significance of Timias’s unwitting discovery of the terrifying epistemological center of the poem, where all and no meanings concentrate in an unknowable singularity. 104  Despair and Devotion

Love, Hate, and the Displacement of the Misanthrope Love—­the catch-­all term in English for a certain Greco-­Christian linguistic trinity—­may seem far removed from a study invested in misanthropic sentiment.6 And yet, as anyone participating firsthand in the more secular forms of love will know, the course of negotiating romantic and friendly feeling can lead to the most stupefying acts of misanthropic retreat and to terms of hatred spurred by deception and betrayal. At the same time, while “hate” is certainly a term in the misanthrope’s vocabulary—­as when Timon rails, “I am Misanthropos and hate mankind” (4.3.53)—­it is also part of the conventional discourse of lovers.7 The polar relationship of love to hate, rather than confounding their mutual consideration, confirms their function as a dichotomous unit or whole, marked by flux and variability in their compound expression.8 The extent to which misanthropic hate can belong to such a dichotomy would seem to introduce temporality and temporariness into the misanthrope’s condition rather than, as in the case of a conclusionary recluse such as Timon, a destination of permanence, or teleological finality. Reference to a Greco-­Christian linguistic triad—­“philia,” “eros,” and “agape”—­as a hermeneutic gloss for “love” is more modern in its organization than Spenser or his immediate contemporaries would have precisely conceived. But its more modern emergence, drawing on an ancient vocabulary and its challenges of translation, usefully illustrates how love and hate figure into the telescoping awareness of such sentiment across historical time. While “eros” (sexual love) and “philia” (friendship) clearly circulate in the terrain of both love and hate, despite the way they each name only one half of this composite, “agape” (divine, perfect love) is not supposed to be subject to the same variability, claiming as it does ontological immunity to the hatred expressed by the demonic counterpart to the divine. And yet, in a surprising formulation, the pursuit of divine love through spiritual devotion is frequently figured in the medieval literary tradition as antisocial and antiamorous—­as, in a word, misanthropic. Despair and Devotion  105

Religious fervor and devotion of a certain type surprisingly rejects both friendship and romantic love, pursuing instead the contemptus mundi that the secular misanthrope also embraces in terms different from those of his anchoritic counterpart. The overlapping coexistence—­the shared desert habitat—­of misanthropy and spirituality in the same conceptual space generates a polarity in its own right, in which spirituality would seek to vie with and overwhelm (indeed, serve as the sublimating gloss to) misanthropic sentiment. In the space of literary history, the sublimating power of that gloss is clear: the turn to private or psychological hermeticism can be expressed far more favorably as a search for closer communion with God, rather than as a misanthropic rejection of human society. For example, the early Christian anchorites, whose stories are embedded in medieval and Renaissance literary forms, could embark on long, solitary retreats without jeopardizing their place or their authority in the social realms they both abandoned and whose greater spiritual purpose they continued to help define and validate. While a full literary history of the successful deployment of religiosity as a sublimating outlet for misanthropy could be written, Spenser invests in a view to its failure, generating its representative episode in the middle of his poem. The crisis of love at the heart of the Book of Friendship eventuates in the dissolution of the secondary bonds of friendship between Arthur and his squire, whose dejected retreat so alters his appearance and behavior that he is no longer recognizable to his bosom knight. Bearded and mute, Timias becomes a rough sketch of the spiritual anchorite as he fulfills the formula of turning from the love of a woman to the love of a Maker. Yet he engages in none of the habits of worship or spiritual enlightenment that would valorize his motivation within a religious tradition. If not a model anchorite, or the “holy Hermit” Arthur mistakes him for (4.7.42), Timias squares only partially better with a tradition of chivalric romance, in which knights like Chrétien de Troyes’s Yvain and Ariosto’s infuriated Orlando become delirious wild men in response to their lovers’ rejection, roughly paralleling Timias in his 106  Despair and Devotion

own dejected state.9 Unlike these earlier models, however, Timias does not apparently lose his mind; rather, he becomes the hermit who in romance narratives generally only arrives as a helpful third party or innocent witness to the knights who errantly traverse their unfolding landscape.10 In Spenser’s formulation the lovesick and society-­shunning Timias gestures toward two aesthetically opposed traditions without reliably representing either one. In trying to understand what happens to Timias, readers will discover that the question posed about his generic place only begins the process of identifying how impossibly in-­between—­how hopelessly trapped at the center of a vast number of intersecting spokes plotting continuums of polarity—­the squire will prove to exist. For it soon becomes clear how difficult it would be to answer a number of other questions of interpretive choice that this episode tends to raise beyond the question of genre: Is Timias a friend to a man, or is he a lover to a woman? Are his needs of the flesh, or are they of the spirit? Does he exist in history or, alternatively, in allegory? Is his story temporal, or is it eternal? Is his plight expressible, or unproductive of narrative? Does he heal, or do his wounds fester? Is he an original, or the repetition of a pattern? Does he harm, or is he harmed? Is he faithful, or is he false? Rather than forging the way toward resolution, these questions generate hesitation as they highlight the difficulty of deciding definitively between the terms on either side of each question’s coordinating “or.” The generic form that perhaps best analogizes Timias’s unapproachable, and hence uncharted, hybridity is the medieval debate poem, a sprawling lyric genre that itself falls between religious and secular life both historically, over the course of its development as a generic form, and internally, as it dramatizes within its own structure the ebb and flow of dialectical negotiation. In the centuries encompassing its historical development, the medieval debate becomes an inseparable mix of secular and religious topoi. Some of the earliest surviving examples of original medieval debate poetry in English involve the moral struggle between the soul and the body, but other Despair and Devotion  107

examples include secular persuasion poetry and treatments of love as a metaphor for political struggle at court.11 Spenser’s own participation in the debate tradition saw him embedding the debate back into the context of the pastoral: his “Februarie” poem in The Shepheardes Calender, a debate between youth and age illustrated in Thenot’s tale of the oak and the briar, reinvigorates the relation of the medieval debate tradition to classical eclogues, the same ones that helped “shepherd” early apostolic metaphors.12 The medieval debate poem, as an evocative association for the runaway Timias who turns hermit in the middle of the Book of Friendship (philia) because of a crisis of sexual (eros) and spiritual (agape) love, generates what Thomas Reed has called “the aesthetics of irresolution” from within its own generic bounds.13 The impasse reached through a topos of irresolution is highly sophisticated as a misanthropoetic form, because it introduces silence and stasis as natural, though unexpected, products of dialogue and of the philosopher’s dialectic. Unless that silence can be remodulated in order to be understood as a paralytic glance into “extatick” sight—­such as the one that afflicts Merlin peering into Britomart’s dynastic future (3.3.50)—­it remains merely a painful reminder of the dissolution and fragmentation of more terrestrial bonds, not only those of friendship and love, but also those of the communal intellect and those that make possible one’s own psychological commitments to material life. Timias’s brief foray into misanthropic isolation is the paralytic result of being unable to negotiate movement in the face of overwhelming oppositional modes—­the ephemeral and the eternal, history and allegory, knowledge and faith. In seeing this episode as a crisis moment that nonetheless recovers from its paralysis, Spenser offers a vision of misanthropic feeling that is spasmodic and palpable within the model of human experience conceptualized as an endless series of bifurcating moments, in which decisions are made, paths are chosen, and movement, above all, is ultimately affirmed. The cultural privileging of movement over stasis has as its only dissenter the misanthrope whose appearance is intermittent and whose protest is mute. 108  Despair and Devotion

Timias’s Choice As faithful squire to the legendary Arthur, Timias has a special and ethical intelligence from the moment he appears in the poem, particularly with respect to female characters.14 In book 1, he engages in a skirmish with the archvillain Duessa, but when she turns to flee, the “light-­foot Squyre her quickly turned around, / And by hard meanes enforc[ed] her to stay” (1.8.25). In delivering Duessa to Arthur, Timias introduces a principle of detention over execution into the Arthurian sphere of justice. Similarly, in book 2, as Arthur fights Maleger, Timias intercedes with the sisters Impotence and Impatience, “snatch[ing] first the one, and then the other . . . , / . . . / And them perforce withheld with threatened blade” (2.11.31). He again prefers to arrest rather than to slay his enemies, even if Spenser will narratively accomplish the deaths of these captives through their suicides a few moments later. The ethic of Timias’s response emerges most pointedly in book 3, where the contrast of his action to that of the other knights is stark. At the beginning of the book, when the frightfully beautiful Florimell speeds on horseback across the path of the surprised group, fleeing rape by the pursuing Foster, Arthur and Guyon both respond to Florimell’s beauty rather than her plight: The Prince and Guyon equally byliue Her selfe pursewd, in hope to win thereby Most goodly meede, the fairest Dame aliue. (3.1.18) Timias, in contrast, correctly targets the assailant, as the same stanza’s moralizing alexandrine underscores: “But after the foul foster Timias did striue.” The squire’s choice separates Timias from Arthur, both figuratively and narratively, and the two will lose each other (apart from their shocking moment of misrecognition) until the poem sees them reunited and explains their reunion over three books later in the middle of book 6. Despair and Devotion  109

This noteworthy ethic from Timias, particularly in respect of women, makes his response to accidentally injuring Amoret all the more compelling as an emotionally heightened moment of particular anguish for the squire. In the skirmish with the “wilde and saluage man”15 (4.7.5), the accidental wound he leaves on Amoret becomes the focal point of his spontaneous amorous devotion, as Belphoebe discovers: There she him found by that new louely mate, Who lay the whiles in swoune, full sadly set, From her faire eyes wiping the deawy wet, Which softly stild, and kissing them atweene, And handling soft the hurts, which she did get. For of that Carle she sorely bruz’d had beene, Als of his owne rash hand one wound was to be seene. (4.7.35) Though multiply bruised and battered by “that Carle,” her abductor, Amoret has one noticeable wound caused by the “rash hand” of her rescuer. Having been delivered by the one who tenderly nurses her now, this single wound is richly evocative of the invisible wound Timias earlier sustained while under Belphoebe’s nursing care.16 In that episode from book 3, after discovering the fallen squire languishing from a leg wound incurred during his battle with the foresters, Belphoebe “his hurt thigh to him recurd againe, / But hurt his hart, the which before was sound” (3.5.42). The figure of the wound of love that the beloved nurse unwittingly causes to fester as she tends to the physical wound is aggressively literalized in this later episode with Amoret, where, instead of existing in the invisible space of metaphor, the wound caused by the rescuing hand is perceived by Timias to be physically present on the affected body.17 While Timias’s kisses may be taken as contrition for the inadvertent harm he caused her, they are also potentially emboldened by a misrecognition of Amoret’s wound as a love wound on the rescued body generated in grateful response to its rescuer. 110  Despair and Devotion

Timias’s misreading of Amoret’s wound as encouragement to love locates amorous feeling where some readers might otherwise defend the squire’s ministrations as sexually innocent.18 Yet, in tending to Amoret’s wound with kisses, Timias seems to be negotiating by means of a psychological strategy his own earlier experience of being deprived of those same kisses from Belphoebe. Through a corrective fantasy involving role reversal, Timias has apparently chanced upon an occasion to reenact the languishing convalescence he earlier endured in Belphoebe’s pavilion (3.5.40–­43). In respect of his incarnation of Medoro from Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, Timias has been waiting for a requiting of his love that, in Spenser’s invented world—­in which Belphoebe is patterned on the Queen—­must be permanently deferred: Spenser’s plot in parallel must ultimately preserve Belphoebe’s legendary virginity.19 The squire’s turn to Amoret seeks an outlet for his frustrated desire, then, as it puts Timias himself in control of the nursing role earlier played by a blocking agent and allows him the fantasy of modulating that role now to different, more fruitful ends.20 The problem with this momentary fantasy is that Timias has overdetermined the physical signs: Amoret’s romantic and marital devotions, readers of the poem know, already lie elsewhere, and the wound he has left on her body is nothing more than a record of his own imperfect performance in battle. Regardless of the error of his projection, the picture of intimacy he manages to generate through it famously incurs Belphoebe’s recognition of it for what it is, and instantly her wrath: Her noble heart with sight thereof was fild With deepe disdaine, and great indignity, That in her wrath she thought them both haue thrild, With that selfe arrow, which the Carle had kild: Yet held her wrathfull hand from vengeance sore, But drawing nigh, ere he her well beheld; Is this the faith, she said, and said no more, But turnd her face, and fled away for euermore. (4.7.36) Despair and Devotion  111

Belphoebe’s initial impulse—­to have her revenge by shooting with a deadly arrow both the inconstant squire and her (unrecognized) twin sister for their intimate display—­makes little sense beyond the fever of an irrational jealousy.21 Yet if her arrow is not meant to kill them, despite its power to do so, but to “thrill” them as the poet says, Belphoebe may then be seen as having been moved to participate (alongside Timias) in a cupid’s game involving flesh and blood, urged to deliver wounds of love from her quiver in an effort to redirect their misguided desire back to her.22 But Belphoebe checks her own impulse to make use of her arrows and thereby rejects a trade in corporeal signs, opting instead for a more ambiguous attack of language that veers toward riddle: before turning heel and fleeing “for euermore,” she asks of the surprised squire, “Is this the faith?” Timias does not have the chance to ask in response, “What do you mean?” And a simple elaboration from Belphoebe could conceivably forestall Timias’s devastating response of total misanthropic retreat. But the reader feels the lack of elaboration just as keenly. What does Belphoebe mean? The personal accusation in Belphoebe’s question may rival its philosophical current, which interrogates the limits of faith in a world dependent on material signs. In a Protestant allegory such as this one, a compelling biblical overlay for this episode, of the apostle Thomas’s doubting response to the news of Jesus’s resurrection with a declaration of his need to touch the man’s wounds before he can believe, clarifies the theological valence of Belphoebe’s question.23 Is this the state of Timias’s faith, that it should seek physical correspondences—­like Amoret’s wound—­before it can be capable of participating in and affirming that which is constitutively immaterial? Or, from Timias’s perspective, in defense of his need, shifting the theological query to a more secular one, how can one participate in “love” if the only way to do so is through faith, the demonstration of a commitment and belief in something that one does not have the capacity to touch or know directly? While the focus on Ralegh and on Elizabeth’s unreasonable demands from her favorites at court remains stubbornly unshak112  Despair and Devotion

able in the critical reception of the episode, Belphoebe’s question to Timias—­“Is this the faith?”—­is also a critique of his inability to remain in figurative understanding of life’s complex narrative, a critique of his fall into the physical gesture and its material comforts.24 In Spenser’s allegorical design, the “faith” of English Protestantism is the overstory darkly figured, and the proper allegorical movement no less for the fictional characters as for the reader is into immaterial understanding: a virtue personified is merely the disguised means to its more perfect ethereal conceptualization.25 Belphoebe’s question draws attention to a break in Timias’s allegorical understanding as she catches him nursing a wounded Amoret and therein satisfying the vulgar urge for a physical sign in correspondence to the figure.26 Such a critique reflexively arcs back upon the reader, who might also try to escape the figurative challenge of this episode in favor of the tangible materiality of history. The urge to find refuge in history, and toward a material correspondence to the figure, can be read as a failure of the allegory, but one that renders itself invisible as a failure through the consequent distractions of its now historically inflected narrative.27 Belphoebe’s questions can too easily be heard as participating in, rather than critiquing, that swerve. The metaphysical pondering of “Is this the faith?” easily fades behind the charged historical drama of an impossibly demanding Queen, aging and without heirs in 1590s London. History becomes the subject of organized interest because Belphoebe’s invocation of faith tends to move readers not toward spiritual abstractions but, instead, into the mundane realm of court politics and sexual infidelity. Readers of the poem are relieved of the burden of the philosophical implications of this episode, then, because of the interpretive convenience, and distraction, of its historical allegory. This episode constitutes one of those memorable moments in the poem when the allegory changes course, directed now not at representing abstract knowledge through a play of the fictional narrative but at mirroring the lives of real people in narrative disguise.28 The radical turn to harnessing allegory as a tool for telling history—­radical, that is, not Despair and Devotion  113

in the tradition of allegorical writing but merely in the difference of effect such a use of allegory has against its more abstract moral incarnation—­is clearly political in its motivation for Spenser, but it may also satisfy a more general desire to escape from a narrative world that is constantly slipping into or gesturing toward abstraction.29 Recognizing Queen Elizabeth in the poem, especially when she is featured in a specifically identifiable historical moment, provides relief from the task of processing a narrative that tends usually toward the conceptual without clear material grounding. In his entry for “Allegory” in The Spenser Encyclopedia, Michael O’Connell sees what is initially only a generally diffuse “historical dimension” in the first half of the poem developing into a full-­scale “historical allegory” in episodes from the later books.30 Rather than speculate about why Spenser, as a historical person, might have adopted as he moved deeper into his project a more historical allegorical mode, one might simply ask why the character of Timias, as one of the first fictional vehicles for that historicizing shift, might express an urge to make physically manifest his own uncertain metaphors in the same moment the poem’s allegory dangles the tantalizing lure of history.31 The turn toward history identified here is really a moment of fracture in which history is only one of several trajectories locating the potential interpretive ends of poetic narrative. The other trajectories launch somewhere else, toward philosophy and theology, perhaps, and toward critical theory. For Susanne Wofford any junction at the fork of such an interpretive path is really a “disjunction”: a locus of conflict where “action and figure” threaten divergence because of the “formal and epistemological difficulties” they pose in combination (Choice of Achilles, 372).32 The conflict that forces narrative into divergence—­ what for Wofford is a “compulsion of trope,” most aptly epitomized by her organizing figure of Achilles’s being asked to choose between a long, peaceful, though unremarkable life at home and an early but unforgettably heroic death at Troy—­is one of constant negotiation rather than resolution.33 It is constantly negotiated, that is, not for a character like Achilles, who makes his choice (or is figured as having 114  Despair and Devotion

made it), but in the actual generation of poetry that invests in its own interpretive potential. The interpretive forking point becomes in such instances an end point, from which a variety of experiments in teleological projection for the narrative can be launched but beyond which none can actually move while action and figure both inhere fundamentally to the production. The reception of the poetry, however, by anyone not necessarily invested in the poem’s interpretive limits, is not similarly stalled. If by “action” Wofford names (in addition to narrative) something like the recordable action of political and material history, and by “figure” the conceptual abstractions and adumbrations of form, then a definitive decision about how to interpret Belphoebe’s tag “Is this the faith?” would seem to require movement, or at least a fantasy of movement, from the forking path in one of these directions or another. For does Belphoebe interrogate the state of an abstract, quasi-­theological devotion to an immaterial ideal, or does she gesture to the fidelity of the flesh? In his inquiry into Renaissance “bodies” and their physiological relationship to Renaissance “selves,” Michael Schoenfeldt explores this arena of apparent interpretive impasse. Juxtaposing the self-­ portrait chosen for his book’s frontispiece—­of Albrecht Dürer looking directly at the viewer while pointing to his spleen—­with the book’s cover art of the apostle Thomas simultaneously pointing to and touching the puncture in the body of the resurrected Christ, Schoenfeldt advances a provocative thesis that supports an equation in the collective Renaissance consciousness of the body with the spirit.34 Illnesses with their humorological associations, Schoenfeldt argues, were affairs equally of the body as of the self, despite what might appear today as a disunion between physical matter and all the spiritual and emotional vagaries and abstractions of “selfhood.” Schoenfeldt’s project, containing his explication of what one might call a fusion theory of metaphysics and physiology, an early modern “metaphysiology,” despite being conceived in part as corrective of earlier New Historicist methods, nonetheless further radicalizes the importance of historical narration without seeming prepared to Despair and Devotion  115

account for what is inexhaustive in either the available documents that make such narration possible or the capacity to probe those documents for the interpretive limits of their content. In accepting Dürer’s self-­portrait as having been drawn “to describe to a physician friend a pain he felt in his side” (1), Schoenfeldt suppresses (in neglecting to discuss) the other possibility that Dürer was not reporting bodily pain at all but was engaged instead in an elaborate communiqué to a friend who happened to be a physician and who would therefore be equipped to read its layered message as a spiritual language of the body. Whatever history might accept or corroborate about this image, that which can never be dispelled through any historical investigation, however exhaustive and deep, is an interpretive reflection upon the intense and dangerous intimacy bound up in the act of drawing one’s own nearly naked torso in a posture at once alluring and Christological, conflating a message of private melancholic longing with an image of the traditional Man of Sorrows, and inviting the finger of a friend to explore one’s own anatomy as a form of intense confirmation of something still as yet unnamed.35 History can fail just as certainly as allegory, and yet where allegory can conceal its failure—­its abandonment of figural abstraction—­ through outlets of history, so history can conceal its own failures to deliver clear and present views of the past (and present) through fantasies of the figure. The historical sketch of Elizabeth’s displeasure with Ralegh is drawn not unlike the image meant to organize and name a constellation of stars, and as such it relies on figural narration for connecting available points of data across what has been lost to the black space of time. Without the figural there can be no history as currently known and employed, and vice versa, which is another way of saying that action and figure are inextricably linked.36 Still, the fantasy of dividing one’s attention discretely between them seems ongoing and ubiquitous. Although hoping to locate a happy marriage of the figural and the material in his study of bodies and selves, Schoenfeldt really grounds a Renaissance consciousness of self in matter: his urge is to history, and his emphasis is on the material.37 116  Despair and Devotion

Timias is faced with a choice that may well prove impossible to make—­not because he is unable to make up his mind, particularly, but because he is unable to negotiate the divergence it would require. His love for Belphoebe is emotively sensible to him but carries no material sign and has no physical outlet. And though Amoret’s bleeding wound seems to Timias, through a distorted allegory in his mind, to correspond to her willingness to receive his kisses (though only because it makes her weak and faint, not because it reveals a feeling of her heart), Timias cannot simply expect to transfer the spiritual love he feels for Belphoebe to this new object and still understand it in the way that he has. The entire premise of spiritual love would be destroyed in such a moment of attempted transfer. If he makes the decision to move to Amoret simply because of what he thinks she can give him physically, he will permanently lose in the process what it means to love spiritually. Timias is trying to negotiate, in other words, the “action” of love and its corresponding “figure,” but they refuse to merge or diverge in a manageable way. He is at odds with the imposition of difference—­of a future time when he might look back on his life and notice the meaningful difference that his decision to favor either the physical or the spiritual had produced in the interim. Timias cannot actually project such a future self that might give him the authority to make a decision in the present, and so he is stymied in the present by being too present-­minded.38 The problem of time becomes applicable to Timias because he exists in a mode that is both in time and outside it.39 A reflection of Ralegh with all his political and historical immediacy and simultaneously an embodiment of an ideal principle of the moral allegory, Timias represents from within the poem an acute crisis attached to Spenser’s larger project, of which Spenser was always to some degree aware. Timias’s figuration in particular, however, becomes acutely demanding in the way that it so immediately and so closely yokes antithetical modes of time: in that he embodies the complexity of writing allegory that is restricted to broadcasting a version of historical time that nonetheless attempts to capture timelessness, he Despair and Devotion  117

becomes a figure allegorical of allegory itself—­that is, of allegory in the moment of its unnavigable bifurcation. Timias is not unique in the way that his characterization points to the potential problems of allegory as a mode, but because of the extremity of his example; his presence in the poem threatens The Faerie Queene with the sort of metaconsciousness that paralyzes rather than liberates. With the paralytic self-­doubt Timias engenders from within the poem on both fictive and metafictive levels, the poem loses momentarily the cognitive modes directly challenged—­namely, those of foresight and hindsight, prophecy and history, those modes that make deliberate movement in the present possible—­and it explores this deprivation from within the fiction as misanthropic retreat.40 Hence, finding a “fit solitary place” in a gloomy wood, Timias builds a cabin and denounces his chivalric arms, vowing Ne euer word to speake to woman more; But in that wildernesse, of men forlore, And of the wicked world forgotten quight, His hard mishap in dolor to deplore, And wast his wretched daies in wofull plight. (4.7.39) Rejecting women on the one hand and men on the other, Timias retreats inward from sexual love and friendship, two points of a pseudopolarity. He also rejects all context for gender identification. In between friendship and sexuality and the gendered poles of different social desires, Timias takes up residence in a spiritual wasteland of misanthropy. The Scale of the Anchorite The “woe” that Timias feels in his desert retreat associates him with the tradition of the love melancholic, as Hamilton notes, and also, because of his new habit and hairiness, with the early Christian anchorite.41 In fact, the two separate figures of the lovesick hermit and the 118  Despair and Devotion

religious devout are something of a composite sketch, as suggested by the position adopted by the Squire of Low Degree in a late fifteenth-­ century romance, whose response to the prospect of an untenable love is an oath of retreat: I wyll forsake both lande and lede, And become an hermyte in vncouth stede; In many lande to begge my bread, To seke where Christ was quicke and dead. (2. 135–­38)42 While the modern editors of this romance point out that the Squire is devoting himself to becoming a pilgrim, not a “hermyte” as he seems to think, the substitution of religious for amorous devotion is here the relevant trade. Indeed, the religious aspect of the retreat is for both squires a direct outgrowth of trying to cope with impediments to love. Sexual feeling and its attendant anxieties seem at least partly the impetus for a move to religious fervor (at least for the fifteenth-­ century Squire of Low Degree, since Timias does not signal religiosity beyond his appearance). Indeed, the early Christian literary tradition included lust and rape as often foregrounding the anchorite’s spiritual trials.43 Yet a fundamental question of time is also at stake, because the anchorite, according to early Christian legend, ultimately manages to transcend physical pressures and needs; his death comes as an eschatological apotheosis, a merging with divine perfection outside of time as physical presence is finally made irrelevant. Physical love is abandoned for spiritual devotion, and materiality is subjected to and ultimately annihilated by spiritual understanding. In trying to escape the flesh and all its complicated pleasures, the anchorites propel themselves within their narratives toward a future that is so perfect, it ceases to exist within historical time. The narratives conflate religious perfection—­teleioi—­with narrative teleology, but, ironically, it is exactly these narratives’ circumscription by history, the fact of their material presence as narratives set down on papyrus in ink, that undermines the narrative telos imagined within them.44 Despair and Devotion  119

The data amassed by Charles Allyn Williams in his source study of the anchorite legend reveal the tendency of history to intrude into the center of discourses that would locate their principal operations outside its reach. Working back from an anchorite legend republished by Martin Luther in 1537 as an attack on the Church, Williams uncovers a telescoping pattern traceable through time by which earlier anchorite legends were debunked as legitimate histories even as they became the basis for new histories told as a means of shifting ideological centers of authority. Luther published Die lügend von Sanct Johanne Crysostomo with the sardonic coinage lügend to suggest both “legend” and “lie” (in the sense of “falsehood”) in order to expose the dubiousness of the Catholic Church’s fostered cult of sainthood (Williams, “Oriental Affinities,” 5 [191]). Luther’s unearthed version of the story of Saint John of the Golden Mouth was, even within the tradition of anchorite legends, ludicrous and inconsistent as a historical record; its publication was designed to discredit the Church’s claims to authority on the basis of its historical association with the saints. Yet, in wresting authority from the Church, here in an attack on fabulist hagiography, Luther came to reflect the similar actions of an early Church father positioning himself in an equally polemical moment of transition. This early figure, Jerome, demoted another anchorite text, Athanasius’s Life of Anthony, on the grounds that it recorded a story that had been embellished over time and no longer related factual events. As Williams reveals, Jerome supplied a new anchoritic record—­of a previously unknown Paul of Thebes—­to take up the historical slack: “In the seventies of the fourth century Jerome was himself living in rigorous penance the life of a solitary in the desert east of Antioch. Inspired by Athanasius’s Life of Anthony, which his friend Evagrius had lately turned into Latin, he composed a story of a hermit still older and more venerable than Anthony: the Vita S. Pauli Thebaei (or Vita Pauli Primi Eremitae)” (94). Jerome’s new Life of Paul of Thebes, relating the new story of the “first hermit” of Christendom, needed defending as a historically true account, and Jerome apparently took pains to provide such a defense.45 120  Despair and Devotion

Needless to say, even the now partially discredited Life of Anthony was originally indebted, fictionally and tropologically, to legends long predating Christ, as the first part of Williams’s essay explores. The telescopic effect of finding in successive discrete moments in time literary influence in historical writing, its disavowal as influence, and the overwriting of old authority through newly fabricated narratives of origin generates as an emerging pattern the impression of infinite regress, and indeed of infinite advance—­something like a fractal—­ even as a thorough probing of this felt infinity could never actually be carried out. The question of real historical time, and the apparent geological and cosmic impossibility of infinite regress or limitless advance in human history and future, becomes irrelevant in the face of temporal perceptions and the way their manipulation may become all that is needed to propose, and make stick, historical and prophetic narratives. Jerome’s concocted Life of Paul, after all, was successful in its aims at locating in the past a man whose life proved the perfection to come, and it became and remained canonical Church history for almost a millennium until the thirteenth century, when attention to it began to wane (Williams, “Oriental Affinities,” 100 [470]), except in such texts as the Golden Legend of Voragine, for example, which William Caxton published in an English translation in 1483. In Spenser’s lifetime January 10 preserved a vestige of the story on the calendar of English holidays as the feast of “Paule first hermite.”46 Surely there is nothing startling or new in understanding history (let alone futuristic narratives) as vulnerable to, and even potentially inseparable from, fiction. But what begs for some accounting is how Jerome could have been living as a hermit in the tradition of Christian asceticism and, from within that life, fabricated an origin story about the first Christian hermit—­the one, that is, who would become the principal model for the activity in which he was then, at the time of his writing, engaged.47 Where can he possibly figure, in his own conscious understanding of himself, within a tradition “dating back” (as he would have it) to his own fictional representation of the first hermit Paul? On what exactly is his life patterned if he Despair and Devotion  121

himself assumes artistic control of that pattern? And where, finally, in historical or future time does the authority for Jerome’s present rest?48 One could easily dismiss the effort as a cynical manipulation of one’s own biography, but Jerome may also be understood as demonstrating the capacity to see himself in multiple places at once, simultaneously grand and insignificant, an author and an inscribed consequence of authorship; he might be able to see versions of himself not only in the present but also in the future and in the past. Jerome may demonstrate the capacity to see in “scale” (to borrow a term from physics), to see the part of a pattern that both contains smaller versions of itself and is itself similarly contained within an identical larger pattern. Perhaps only in this way could Jerome both participate ingenuously in the anchorite tradition even as he appropriated authorial control of it; only in this way could Jerome both foster an unfeigned devotional spirituality in his daily life and simultaneously jeopardize the very question of spirituality by committing religious fraud of impressive reach by means of the deliberate falsification and dissemination of a story whose purpose was nonetheless to preserve the proof and record of spiritual legitimacy. Undaunted by the implications of this material, Williams further speculates that the name “Paul” might have been chosen for this first hermit as a wily bid for favor and patronage, since Jerome dedicated and sent his Vita directly to an elderly friend, Paul of Concordia, “together with a flattering eulogy and an appeal for the loan of some theological commentaries” (94). For so young a religion depending so totally on the truth-­value of stories about its key figures, stories that were necessarily vulnerable for their lack of corroborative material evidence, Jerome—­as a principal caretaker of the early Church—­demonstrated what might seem a reckless degree of risk in giving his fictional hermit a claim to biographical history. The ability of human beings to see and think—­indeed, to hallucinate—­in scale, on the other hand, would seem to moderate this risk and ultimately ensure the inconsequentiality of Jerome’s fraud for the larger narratives of early Christendom while simultaneously saving Jerome, epistemologically speaking, from himself. A consciousness 122  Despair and Devotion

that played games of scale would allow Jerome to be in fundamental self-­contradiction without having to jeopardize his own earnest and instantaneous participation in the competing interests driving him, because it would allow him to project himself into different embodiments, large and small, across expanses of time, forward and backward, correcting and adjusting as he moved. Jerome can figure himself as part of a larger pattern of fluctuating scale and get lost in the faith of that pattern. The Dialectic in Stasis The detour through the anchorite tradition with its somewhat abstruse implications about scale leads back to a picture of Timias in which his faith is called into question even more vigorously than before. If it is not difficult to reconcile conflicting present needs through some engagement with history or futuristic projection, then why does Timias get stuck here? What prevents him from deploying this reliable human mechanism? Timias clearly signals a relationship to despair, which might initially account for his inability to move forward. The poem is concerned generally with despair as a problem of faith no less than of movement, and Arthur articulates this relationship in his discussion with Una as early as book 1: “Despaire breedes not . . . where faith is staid” (1.7.41). Indeed, Una will shortly apply this formula medicinally when the act of removing Redcrosse to the faith-­restoring House of Holinesse seems to her the best method for reversing the ideological harm done to him by Despaire, who introduces the knight to the possibility of suicide as the longed-­for, ultimately static “end of woes” (1.9.47).49 Others in the poem have brushes with the force of metaphysical doubt, too, as in the existentially packed fourth canto of book 3. There, in pursuit of his fleeing object, Arthur loses Florimell to the “griesly shadowes” of night and is vexed by dreams in which his unconscious mind toys uneasily with a substitution of Florimell for the “Faery Queene,” whose elusive presence he has long been seeking (3.4.52–­61). Britomart, ranging far to find her destined husband in “each remotest part,” is confronted Despair and Devotion  123

with the limits of her errantry when, forced to stop where the land gives way to sea, she allegorizes her own uncertainty of ever arriving at her life’s purposeful conclusion (3.4.6–­11). Spenser draws for this episode of Britomart’s lament on a Petrarchan sonnet lacking a formal “turn,” emphasizing how close he comes to associating despair with a breakdown of formal poetics.50 In failing to generate its requisite “turn,” Petrarch’s Rima 189, a sonnet roughly halfway through the Rime Sparse, forecloses its own tropological development, essentially denying its capacity for turning and movement and consigning itself through that denial to an arresting mode of despair and doubt. The threat of metaphysical stasis—­the potential permanence of which is proffered by Despaire through his encouragement to suicide—­does not permanently afflict any of the poem’s heroes. The method by which the threat is neutralized, furthermore, is the same in most of these cases: the reintroduction of another person, specifically a speaking person, to disrupt the metaphysical solitude. As an illustration of this method, Arthur’s reminder to Una about the relationship between despair and faith is worth a longer look. Urged by Arthur to narrate the cause of her grief, Una protests: O but (quoth she) great griefe will not be tould, And can more easily be thought, then said. Right so (quoth he) but he, that neuer would, Could neuer: will to might giues greatest aid. But griefe (quoth she) does greater grow displaid, If then it find not helpe, and breeds despaire. Despaire breeds not (quoth he) where faith is staid. No faith so fast (quoth she) but flesh does paire. Flesh may empaire (quoth he) but reason can repaire. (1.7.41) The stanza is deliberate and controlled as a dialectical process: it is even metadialectical in that it takes as its subject the question of whether dialogue between them is possible. Arthur and Una take turns speaking, honing and altering their responses to one other as 124  Despair and Devotion

they work the question through. Ultimately, Arthur convinces Una that she can do what she initially doubts herself capable of doing—­ that is, that she can tell the tale of her grief and draw it once again into a dialectical mode. The subtle demands of the dialectic, of being forced to put into words that which seems (initially to Una) to have no expressible form (“great griefe will not be tould”), generates an impression of movement, of being turned this way and that, of having the choice presented by the outline of a divergence becoming faintly and then more clearly visible.51 The denial of possibility is somehow itself challenged through nothing more auspicious than a request for an explanation of that denial. In getting Una merely to say, “It is not possible,” Arthur—­for no better reason than that her claim, once articulated, generates the possibility of a dialogical process—­begins moving her toward a narrative that will ultimately generate the impression of choice, possibility, and movement rather than their continued negation. His claims about faith and despair, about the need for “will” to fortify “might,” and about the reparative power of “reason” seem far secondary to the dialectical process itself, here staged exceptionally well in that it moves Una back into an engagement with the past and the future. This general pattern of calling someone back from metaphysical gloom through a strategy of the dialectic works also for Britomart, whom Glauce refocuses with “sharpe repriefe” and reminders of her historical destiny (3.4.11–­12). It also seems to work, more haphazardly, for Arthur, whose sudden encounter with Una’s frantic Dwarf helps displace the narrative of his own restless night (3.5.3). But Timias remains surprisingly mute when Arthur, “by fortune as it fell” (4.7.42), stumbles upon him in his remote habitat. “Saluting him,” Arthur “gan into speach to fall” (4.7.43), presumably to learn what he can about the hermit, But to his speach he aunswered no whit, But stood still mute, as if he had beene dum, Ne signe of sence did shew, ne common wit, Despair and Devotion  125

As one with griefe and anguishe ouercum, And vnto euery thing did aunswere mum: And euer when the Prince vnto him spake, He louted lowly, as did him becum, And humble homage did vnto him make, Midst sorrow shewing ioyous semblance for his sake. (4.7.44) Discovered by chance in his secluded cabin, Timias seems to recognize Arthur, but he cannot speak to him, limited only to soundless gestures of deference and homage.52 Arthur finds this man deprived of “common wit,” in the sense of both the foundational human capacity for speech and also the “common,” or shared and shareable, experience that make community between strangers possible. The episode will see Arthur failing to identify the squire through all the hair and silence of that retreat, and he will—­against bewildering narrative odds—­wander out of Timias’s life again until the middle of book 6. Arthur’s departure signals the end of the poem’s experiment with misanthropy, the point after which misanthropy is too disruptive and arresting for the narrative to suffer its continued presence. Indeed, there is some question about the possibility of narrative enduring its own attempt to represent total isolation and retreat, especially as that retreat is here figured as a failure of movement, a failure of speech, and a failure of the tropes that normally allow literature its usual performances of turn. Arresting Debate As suggested earlier in this chapter, Timias’s hesitation—­between Amoret, whose wound he takes as a palpable sign of love, and Belphoebe, for whom love is strictly a matter of faith—­refashions an old question from medieval debate poetry, between the body and the spirit. Pleasures of the flesh often run contrary to spiritual demands, as religious doctrine generally suggests, but at the same time the flesh has the advantage of an undeniable immediacy and presence that the 126  Despair and Devotion

spirit can only defer, except in abstraction, to future time. Body-­and-­ soul debate poetry (one example of which is among the most widely available debate poems existing in English manuscript)53 is located fictionally, just at the end of the body’s reigning corporeal supremacy and at the beginning of an everlasting (and punitive) spiritual exposure to infinite time.54 The premise is always a soul’s return from the fresh agony of the afterlife to blame and berate the decomposing body for having pursued its desires at the cost of the spirit’s eternal damnation. Debate poems between the body and soul, then, occur in an extreme sort of postliminal space—­not merely between life and death, but at a point just after death, between (for the soul) a memory of life and a new certainty about the eternal torment to come, and (for the body) the paralysis of the flesh and its ensuing decomposition.55 In a Latin version of this style of poem, the Visio philiberti, the uncanny quality of this space is especially acute, as Michel-­André Bossy has brilliantly discussed, because the soul is confronted at the end with the possibility of having been engaged all along in a monologue, a discourse not with its rival counterpart but with a fantasized projection of itself. Through a process of trading charges about who should bear the blame for the soul’s painful predicament, the body is shrewd in its rhetorical position, but never shrewder than in its final claim: Dic mihi, si noveris, argumento claro, exeunte spiritu a carne quid sit caro? movetne se postea cito, sive raro? videtne? vel loquitur? (2.204–­7) (Tell me, if you know, in a clear argument: What does the Flesh amount to when the Spirit leaves it? Does it move soon afterwards? Or does it seldom move? Does it see? Or does it speak?)56 As Bossy suggests, the question is “startling” for the uncannily performed paradox encased in the body’s final question about Despair and Devotion  127

speech. Separated from the spirit, does the body speak? If it does not speak—­as indeed corpses generally do not—­then what is filling the spirit’s ears? Who is participating in this dialectical display? The poem apparently cannot endure the phenomenological paradox that it generates, of having a body remind us that dead bodies do not speak, because the entire dialogue will prove in the end to be only a dream. The dreamer wakes to find he has not undergone that awesome division projected for the moment of death (or alternatively the moment of anchoritic apotheosis), of his body from his soul, of himself from himself. The final revelation for the soul (and, hence, also for the dreamer) is that it has no one to blame outside itself and that its elaborate disputation about the metaphysical facts of life is only an exercise in solitude. The philosophical tenor of this discovery is even graver than the spiritual one, for it mythologizes the dialectic itself as a complex negotiation of a single consciousness in a mode of terrifying stasis. The liminal space initially serving only as a temporal and spatial setting for dispute proves uncanny because it is more accurately a figure for the soul itself, an entity not caught in-­between so much as a totality unto itself with nothing more than the shadows of imaginary disputants with whom to converse. Coda: Ralegh, the Occult, and Quantum Misanthromechanics When Bertrand Russell wrote about “vagueness” in 1923, he was considering a philosophical problem as old as Zeno, the ancient, fifth-­century thinker born on the Italian peninsula whose famous paradoxes drew attention to the problem of vagueness in language: words that are descriptive yet nonetheless incapable of being defined with precision. In building a “heap” of corn one kernel at a time, Zeno asked, when precisely does it become a “heap?” By looking toward modern physics for a solution to this genuine philosophical problem, Russell was thinking at the vanguard of his time: questions posed by Zeno’s paradoxes—­which are in their sum problems of time and space in addition to measurement—­would shortly be contemplated in 128  Despair and Devotion

marvelous new ways as part of the unfolding legacy of investigations into quantum mechanics. In his book for lay readers, published in 1987 and entitled Chaos, James Gleick describes how in 1960 Edward Lorenz, a meteorologist at mit working on a computerized model of the weather, noticed that very small differences in the numerical data entered into his model’s equations generated surprisingly huge differences in the model’s output. What Lorenz soon realized was that only infinitely precise measurements, in certain kinds of dynamic systems like weather, could allow one to have predictive power over that system’s changes over time. But infinitely precise measurements would be insurmountably hard to procure and take infinitely long to derive, and hence certain dynamic systems could apparently never be understood through conventional physics and existing modes of measurement alone. This essential problem of the imprecise nature of measurement is also illustrated by one of Zeno’s famous paradoxes related to movement through time and space. Zeno proposed that because a traveling person must always cover half of the distance between a starting point and an ending point, and because the distance remaining from that halfway mark can always itself be divided into two, the first half of which must also be traveled before the end point can be reached, one faces the prospect of having to cross an infinite number of half-­ distances between one’s origin and one’s destination—­distances that, because infinitely numerous, would take an infinite amount of time to enumerate, and an infinite amount of time to cross if, say, one were to stop at each halfway mark and announce the milestone aloud.57 Though the paradox is not generally felt to describe a real problem, because one can always simply travel between two points to show how movement is possible regardless of how one parses the space conceptually, quantum physics and mathematics teaches us that Zeno was, in fact, right to infer the presence of infinity in spaces we nonetheless tend to think of as limited. As an illustration, one can measure a book’s binding with a ruler and again with the aid of a microscope and micrometer: while the ruler will derive a measure Despair and Devotion  129

of the book in inches, the microscope and micrometer could likely yield a distance in yards or longer, because they are capable of noting a vastly increased surface area, accounting for every groove and nook at the microscopic level. In fact, the length of the book’s binding, if it could be measured to infinite accuracy with infinitely precise tools of measurement, might well prove infinitely long (if such a conventional approach to measurement were indeed possible in quantum space).58 Zeno theorized this endlessly divisible quality of distances and conceived a universe in which infinity was the standard sum in even the smallest of spaces. “Vagueness,” in a sense, intrudes not only into a modern vocabulary, then, but also into efforts to quantify the modern world—­ particularly into the search for predictive power over the phenomena that embroil the lives of human beings. Despite limitations, however, conventional measurements nonetheless remain useful, in a more or less automatic way, for determining what a book’s dimensions meaningfully are, relative to the things with which it interacts. Perceptions of the world, in other words, are conveniently made through decisions of scale. This adjustable act of deciding the proper scale with which to view and understand the world serves well enough, apparently, much of the time, allowing the accomplishment of precision-­intensive feats of construction and engineering as well as management of the vaguely measurable progress of day-­to-­day lives. But the fold of consciousness in which one can momentarily get caught, as though in a space, however infinitesimal, between two possibilities—­between two choices or two entities of a single polarity—­can be enough to reset one’s notion of scale dramatically enough that the moment in which one finds oneself stuck in-­between becomes dilatory and changes the scope and scale of everything perceived from within that space. These moments are, like the vicissitudes of dynamic systems governed by chaos, unpredictable: one is always caught unprepared for their sudden challenge. This is the moment that visits Timias when he is caught, helpless to act, between Amoret and Belphoebe. This is also the moment that, 130  Despair and Devotion

according to Timias’s historical counterpart, “is enough to ouerturne the things, that seemed to haue beene founded and rooted in Adamant.” Ralegh’s quotation, translated from the humanist scholar Isaac Casaubon, broadcasts what might pass as a meditation upon his own surprise-­filled life; once a favorite of the Queen and now condemned (under James I) to die, he wrote his roughly three-­thousand-­page History of the World from the Tower of London, recording epochs of eventful time from within the finite time and space of his prison (Ralegh, xi).59 Writing history must have been ironic comfort for Ralegh as he pondered retrospectively the unpredictable quality of his own life’s unfolding.60 The particular challenge of chaos theory, however, is in the way it first accepts the unpredictable nature of an event in a dynamic system but then notices the emergence of a larger pattern despite the local indeterminacy. If chaos teaches that one cannot know in advance in which direction a given molecule will move even when the possibilities can be narrowed to two, it nonetheless charts that movement within a much larger pattern of unmistakable order. The universe moves as by a chaotic code that cannot be understood until it has completed for view a few thousand or million sweeps within its large-­scale pattern. Unlike a molecule traveling along a bifurcating path, however, Timias gets stuck in the decisive moment. It is unclear what his failure to choose and failure to move would mean for a larger pattern depending on a chart plotting his continued progress. Yet, at the same time, if Timias exists in a dynamic system governed by local chaos but yielding a larger order, his decision should not matter in consideration of the larger pattern. Questioned by Belphoebe about his faith, Timias is in a position to see that his faith is not important, either because he will be forced to choose whatever the deterministic will of the universe demands or because his choice, and the terms by which he would come to it, are of no predictive value. No matter what he chooses, his story will finally only serve at the pleasure of the poem’s Protestant allegory; or else of its aesthetics of chivalric Despair and Devotion  131

romance; or of its subjection to history or religion; or of an isolated reader working out a theory of this-­or-­that poetics.61 As Pandulph says, while swearing an oath of papal resolve against England, “So mak’st thou faith an enemy to faith” (King John, 3.1.189).62 The turmoil and chaos of Timias’s own local story are not enough to alter his place within a larger narrative pattern, whatever it ultimately would prove to be. The misanthrope emerges out of that consequential sense of inconsequence. Ben Jonson, in his poem explicating the elaborate frontispiece to Ralegh’s History of the World, which Ralegh himself designed, summarized in an abstract way the motivations of that work’s famous author: From Death and darke Obliuion (neere the same) The Mistresse of Mans life, graue Historie, Raising the World to good, or Euill fame, Doth vindicate it to Æternitie.63 The syntax of the stanza, on the cusp, the longer one looks, of hopelessly unraveling, turns on the question of the intended referent for the pronoun “it” from the final line, but reading the poem alongside the frontispiece that it faithfully describes clarifies the meaning. History, figured as a sort of female Atlas holding the world above her head toward the single eye of Providence, keeps Death and Oblivion underfoot while raising the earthly globe to a place where it is flanked on either side by “Fama Bona” and “Fama Mala.”64 The world occupies a space, in other words, between two polarities on separate axes—­ between good and evil fame on the horizontal, and on the vertical between Death and Providence, which Jonson calls “Æternitie.” From this place, Ralegh seeks to mediate through vindication. The fact that Ralegh’s “thesis” in his History, as the modern editor summarizes, “is to assert the unity of historical events by an emphasis on the order pervading their entire course since the creation of the world” (20) does not necessarily overpower with its biblical tinge rumors of his atheism,65 but it bespeaks a particular sort of mystical, perhaps even 132  Despair and Devotion

occult, orientation.66 The first thirteen words of Ralegh’s preface, torn from their larger context and curtailed even from their local goal (of reaching a period, or a full stop), might serve well enough at this chapter’s end, and as the surrogate language for the voiceless Timias, unrecognizable and solitary, without friend or acquaintance: “How vnfit, and how vnworthy a choice I haue made of my self.”67

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4

“Put This in Latin for Me” Alienated Speech and Phenomenological Discourse in Ben Jonson’s Epicoene

Wherfor all gendyrs dysconte[nt] be, the Comyn of ije, the Comyn of iije, the dubyum & the epysyn . . . —­earliest citation in the oed for “epicene,” from the ballad “An Impeachment of Wolsey”

But we need not overestimate the unsophistication of primitive languages. —­J. L. Austin, “Performative Utterances”

Birds sound in chirps. Dogs sound in barks. Homines sapienses sound in ○. —­Bruce R. Smith, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England

Terms of Gender Ben Jonson’s 1609/10 play Epicoene offers an unusual breed of misanthrope—­one who attempts to live out his intolerance of all human sound in the middle of noisy London.1 His misanthropy hinges on gender in that he detests the thought of his arrogant nephew inheriting his fortune, but marriage, his only remedy for bypassing that inheritance, is an equally repulsive outcome to him. As an aging bachelor loath to marry, Morose invites two cultural charges of ridicule: that of the miser and that of the woman-­hater tinged with suspicion of what Mario DiGangi has called “disorderly sexuality” (17), neither of which precisely identifies him and both of 134

which help conceal his true affliction of misophonia, for it is human voices and human noises he can’t tolerate.2 Morose’s misophonia does become inextricably bound to cultural configurations of gender when it leads him to seek a “silent woman” to marry, a supposed rarity presented to him in the form of the enigmatic Epicoene who is actually a disguised boy, the “master-­mistress,” as it were, of his noise-­hating passion.3 The conceptual space afforded the epicene, a category of thing defined as ambiguous in its gender, is a small piece in an expansive collection of evidence confirming the existence of an interest in gender during the Renaissance at least as acute and pronounced as the one that has driven a body of critical work on the early modern stage.4 The period’s self-­consciousness about its own interest in gender ambiguity, clearly visible in the production of plays like Ben Jonson’s Epicoene with their cross-­dressed boy actors—­“agents of indeterminacy,” in Richmond Barbour’s expressive term5—­and the puritanical responses they helped provoke, seemed to prefigure more modern conundrums about sociobiology in the twentieth and twenty-­first centuries, when local theatrical practices of Elizabethan and Jacobean England would come to seem less like rarefied peculiarities of their time and more like enduring markers of an inherent instability built into conceptions of human gender.6 If Timon’s exasperated stage declaration “I am Misanthropos and hate mankind” (4.3.53) can be taken anachronistically as a moment of fantasized speciation, an announcement of biological metamorphosis into something that is no longer kin to humanity, no longer what later nomenclature would call Homo sapiens, Timon must seem to want to escape something biological about himself, something he can denounce only through an insistent act of performative utterance endowed with imagined authority over his own bodily form. Although Timon does not identify gender as the aversive element of his species that he would try to escape, Epicoene’s Morose, who is intolerant of any human sound that is not his own, lives in a social realm acutely fixated on the differences between women and men and on the measure of authority “Put This in Latin for Me”  135

rationalized by those differences.7 Morose negotiates his misanthropic resolve, working within the parameters drawn by his culture that he does not attempt to cross, along lines and in terms of gender. The terms of gender—­rather than whatever those terms putatively identify—­are what this chapter proposes as the impetus for the kind of misanthropic retreat that Jonson imagines for Morose. This chapter investigates, in other words, words themselves as they are made to articulate the language of gender and its erotic corollaries as part of a process for building social order and consensus. While a great deal of overlap and mutual reference must ultimately characterize the relationship between a linguistic articulation of gender as an erotic category on the one hand and a phenomenological experience of socioerotic encounter on the other, Jonson’s Epicoene identifies a disjunction between those two organizing and experiential sites, marking a space where their relationship is misaligned as language proves insufficient for articulating certain socioerotic encounters and developments. This space of disjunction is also exploitable as a space of play and of the play that is theater, ultimately providing nephew Dauphine the room with which to organize the consummate joke of the dramatic plot, when Morose is confronted with his own inexpressible condition of having been married to a boy. In adapting this story from various contemporary and ancient sources—­most directly from Pietro Aretino’s misogynist farce Il Marescalco—­Jonson introduced his own idea of concealing the joke of the plot in the title of the play, for the boy-­wife’s name Epicoene was taken from a brand new usage in English of a term previously known only to Latin grammatists.8 If Morose had remembered his Latin, in other words, he might not have fallen victim to the prank his nephew sets him up to endure. The hint in the name that what initially appears female is actually epicene saves Morose from an unhappy marriage. The illegitimacy of Morose’s marriage to young Epicoene is taken for granted once the boy’s wig has been lifted; by the terms of the play, the dramatic resolution (the presumed dissolution of Morose’s marriage) does not seem designed to signal any 136  “Put This in Latin for Me”

direct problem—­about how cultural operations manage to function under extraordinary tests of circumstance. Yet, in some lasting way, the play does raise the question of what can be said to happen during the ritual enactment of a sacred wedding ceremony when the body of a woman is replaced by that of a boy. Embedded in the play’s surprise resolution is a provocative question about authority: If performative speech duly authorized can fail in its declaration of a marital union, by what overriding authority is it thereby curtailed from its intended performance? The nephew’s friends and coconspirators in the prank, Cutbeard and Otter, in their disguises as scholars of civil and church law, belabor through their travesty the perceived bookishness and tedium involved in rescinding the terms of a marriage once it has been performed by a legitimate parson. The problem underpinning their parody gets its intellectual torque, just as their scene gets part of its humor, in the uneasy braid of God’s law and human law, where mystical and secular authority become twisted into the same complicated design. When human ceremony proceeds in the undetected presence of an imposter, such as a boy in a woman’s bridal clothes, divine authority is apparently felt to countermand the force of that ceremony’s performative power. Yet the potential contradiction between what has been said to have happened (by authorized human mouths) and what has actually happened (in the course of divine sanction) is apparently only humanly discernible—­since it cannot, strictly speaking, be known directly through God—­by means of cultural discourses through which the phenomena that clarify and contextualize those events can be processed into some form of collective cognitive understanding.9 In Epicoene, the phenomenon that annuls Morose’s marriage is Dauphine’s deperuking of the boy bride’s head. Early modern culture provides no discursive possibilities for men to marry boys, not even by anomaly, and so Morose wins his desperately sought divorce by a hair. In fact, to emphasize a key element of the play’s logic, Morose does not win a divorce at all: he learns instead that he was never actually married in the first place. The marriage ritual responsible for “Put This in Latin for Me”  137

earlier joining him to his boy bride, despite its earnest intention, was forestalled in its performative function, predestined by some form of divine reservation not to succeed in its aims even had human witnesses never discovered the boy beneath the wig. At least this is the logic of the play’s resolution, where Otter and Cutbeard are the only authority figures consulted about the new development in Morose’s marriage case, even as they are themselves revealed moments later to have been in disguise all along. Despite their revealed participation in a prank by which they have merely impersonated authority, no further consultation is needed beyond their lawyerly characterization of the impediment posed by the boy’s body as “in primo gradu,” “in the first or highest degree” (5.4.194, 194n), by church and civil law alike, and the marriage is annulled by nothing more substantial than the unanimous agreement about the validity of such law by everyone serving as witness to the scene. The problem with watching consensus being built in this way, through a communal process of applying the method of what might be called “group phenomenology” in the absence of any clear center of authority, is that one may easily forget that those phenomena that are so processed by a given community must be interpreted (or, in any case, authorized) by someone or something usually located somewhere else before they can have their general discursive force. For, just as the appearance of the boy underneath the wig is sufficient cause to generate universal agreement about the illegitimacy of Morose’s marriage, it might just as easily—­under the pressure of a different cultural interpretation—­have posed very different challenges, perhaps relating to gender, without ever touching on the question of the marriage’s continuing legitimacy: Imagine that—­Morose married to a boy. What will he do now? The general satisfaction achieved swiftly and unanimously by the characters in the play in determining that Morose’s marriage must naturally be found defunct—­that he must instantly and retroactively be relieved of his marital predicament—­reveals the presence of a shaping authority that is not physically present but that 138  “Put This in Latin for Me”

nonetheless authorizes those who are present to take their communal phenomenological conclusions for granted. The hypothetical question posed in the previous paragraph about Morose’s marriage, as though drawn from an alternative cultural epistemology, is not, in contemporary Western culture, as hypothetical as all that. This question has, in fact, become part of what gets routinely asked in contemporary social politics, with perhaps a key substitution of “we” for the original “he”: Imagine that—­Morose married to a boy. What will we do now? Because adults marrying children remains unthinkable, the “boy” referred to here, if this question were asked today, would have to be understood as emphasizing gender, not age, thereby focusing the question’s core speculation around what contemporary culture is supposed to do about men who wish to (and in fact do) marry other men—­and women, other women. Lee Edelman has accounted for the shift in cultural phenomenologies over time from those unable to imagine the possibility of same-­sex marriage to those admitting, if only reluctantly, the reasonableness of such a thing as a domestic and erotic configuration. Edelman’s term “homographesis” names the process by which historical attempts to make same-­sex erotic desire legible on the body—­usually in an effort to find, punish, and, most important, differentiate sexual “deviants” from those who conform to culturally sanctioned models of erotic life—­have inadvertently helped jeopardize basic categories of gender difference, with epistemologically weighty results: “Insisting on a second order of visually registered sexual difference, homographesis both responds to and redoubles an anxiety about the coherence of those identities for the solidification of which it is initially called forth. For the recurrent tropology of the inscribed gay body indicates, by its defensive assertion of a visible marker of sexual otherness, a fear that the categorical institutionalization of ‘homosexual difference’ might challenge the integrity and reliability of anatomical sameness as the guarantor of sexual identity.”10 Although Edelman orients his work toward contemporary gay and queer politics, his work can also be harnessed to illuminate gender ambiguity in the Renaissance, so long as male “Put This in Latin for Me”  139

and female Renaissance forms are demonstrably predicated upon efforts toward making categories like the epicene legible. As with the legibility of homographetic marks, the legibility of the epicene can only heighten a broader suspicion that gender does not conform in its “natural” state to discrete categories of orderly difference. As a theoretical term, however, Edelman’s “homographesis” would not be right for historically sensitive examinations of the Renaissance, because it identifies in its modern nomenclature what “sodomy” notoriously could not: the homosexual body as stable, marked, and grounded in a condition of being rather than in a mode of action or behavior.11 Yet, even if the term “sodomite” was largely a behavioral tag loosely dressed up as a noun of identity, the epicene names a thing with properties and characteristics that do not, presumably, change over time. Unlike the acting boys who can lift their wigs to reset their gender, it is simply a mystery of the epicene that its gender is not clearly fixed by any external reference. It is also a revealing theoretical problem that its elusive gender is conceptually tied to and derived from Latin grammar. Epicoene, with its distinctly Jonsonian worldview, helps demonstrate how erotic categories of biological and conceptual gender get inevitably bound up in the Renaissance consciousness with questions of language, specifically the language used to articulate culturally authorized positions the sources for which cannot be consulted directly because of insurmountable obstacles of distance and time. The alienated languages of Latin and Greek (and also of Hebrew) serve in the early modern European consciousness as semiotic systems of fetishistic authority—­authority lost to phenomenological experience and observation but preserved in the auratic and echoic forms of ancient words. As Judith Anderson has observed with respect to one of these languages, “The frequent use of Latin, normally in a distinctive style or typeface, in Renaissance sententiae and inscriptions and in biblical and classical quotations can itself contribute to an impression of their authority and monumentality, their status not only as things but also as fixed and frozen things. . . . In an English environment, 140  “Put This in Latin for Me”

the Latin word, although familiar, has distinction and emphasis; its associations imply learning, tradition, even logic, and it conveys an authority that most English equivalents would lack” (Words That Matter, 43). Ironically, the interest in the vestigial authority granted and preserved by the Latin tag, for example, could only reintroduce and emphasize that language’s fallibility when Latin was exposed as vulnerable to puns and other forms of sense-­level play or syntactic ambiguity. The suspicion that Latin should prove unworthy as a language of authority after earning special status as such seemed to circulate around, more than anything else, a bizarre imaginary about the untenable erotic behaviors it tended to unleash and the relationship of such behaviors to inexpressible categories of gender. Indeed, as has been broadly observed, the scholars and teachers—­both monastic and humanist—­who served as the educational gatekeepers to Latin in medieval and Renaissance Europe, and who held the keys to disseminating its fetishistic power, were often blamed for secretly betraying authorized cultural codes about gender and erotic life.12 Why should these Latin users, entrusted with various real and symbolic repositories of cultural authority, be routinely charged with engaging in sodomy and with the various cultural abuses impounded in that charge? The exclusion of women from knowledge-­holding institutions clearly plays some part in this cultural imaginary, perhaps derived of a deep suspicion that gender is not as determining a factor for erotic activity as has been generally advanced: the exclusion of women—­ from early modern universities, say, or from twenty-­first-­century male prisons—­would only tend to ensure, under broader speculation about the disjunction between gender and eroticism, sexual activity in such places despite the absence of women. Whatever the particular causes, however, homoerotic desire was suspected to exist in the halls of knowledge, and therefore also in the house of authority,13 and the language of authority was felt to share its grammar with the language of the sodomite.14 The fetishistic Latin tag was simultaneously a way of calling authority into presence and a way of gesturing toward key transgressions of authorized social statutes. Ultimately, the routine “Put This in Latin for Me”  141

failure of language and its grammar to govern, or adequately predict, erotic expression in local encounters came to validate the view of a structure of authority that was always already jeopardized and deniable, on grounds of corruption, fallibility, and incompetence.15 Morose rejects the disjointed elements on which his culture bases part of its epistemology: he retreats into a world strictly allowing only of phenomenological experience as he flees the accompanying dicta of a culture of words that deny and contradict the full impress of that unmediated, “wordless” experience.16 Morose retreats from authorized language that orders social life and makes it intelligible, and that simultaneously has no clear claim to articulating the terms of social engagement, erotic or otherwise. Transactive Performatives In Epicoene, as in Renaissance Europe more generally, the authority granted to language to organize and interpret the phenomena of social life finds its most stable expression in the language of learning and religion: Latin. Latin is the language of learning—­marshaled to the cause in Epicoene in the form of word tags and fragments in otherwise English sentences—­upon which Morose is forced to depend in order to discover a way of authorizing his divorce. But Latin speech tags are also consistently a source of humor in the play, as they expose the pretension and limited learning of social upstarts or foolish knights like Thomas Otter or Jack Daw. While the language of the law in England is historically either English or Law French, the characters in the play falsely believe it to be Latin, and none of the Latin users in the play appear to be sufficiently credentialed. As a fetish, then, the Latin speech tag has embedded within it a condensation of cultural authority, activated even when the speaker giving voice to the Latin phrase is not himself an embodiment of that authority. Like Marx’s commodity fetish, which gestures invisibly through the mystery of the commodity to the laborers who produced it but who are now absent, the Latin speech tag is fetishistic in the way it gestures to authority produced in a prior time and place, by prior agents whose 142  “Put This in Latin for Me”

presence is felt even if they are only vaguely remembered or continue to be remembered at all. The tension of Latin-­as-­fetish, then, lies in its carriage of authority on the tongues of only weakly authorized (human) agents. Authority is channeled by such tongues rather than enacted by the physical presence and unique power of the speakers themselves. Henry VIII’s challenge to Latin-­speaking Rome on the matter of his divorce from Catherine of Aragon is an example of what such tensions could be made to yield, as Henry felt within his rights to insist that God’s law was not being properly conveyed in papal Latin.17 Henry’s exploitation of Reformation philosophy, with its deep suspicion of Latin’s fetishistic authority, could only embolden the more radical Protestant movements in England that ultimately sought to supplant Latin altogether as the language of religion. In their turn to the vernacular, the English Protestants were not unlike the Continental poet-­humanists, who for reasons of their own felt the need to negotiate between Latin and their own vernaculars, as Dante’s De vulgari eloquentia, an unfinished treatise on the eloquence and nobility of vernacular Italian, written nonetheless in Latin, fittingly models. Yet, in these cases, the turn to the vernacular was not a way of abandoning authority but of reconsolidating it in different form. For both Dante and Reformation figures like Tyndale, for example, the diminution of Latin’s importance was part of a process of reifying the primacy of pre-­Latinate authority—­namely, the authority of God.18 While Dante claimed to prefer the eloquence of the vernacular over that of Latin (the language that “the Romans called gramatica”)19 because the vernacular is “natural to us, while the other is, in contrast, artificial,”20 he remains clear about conferring ultimate authority for his project on God: Cum neminem ante nos de vulgaris eloquentie doctrina quicquam inveniamus tractasse, atque talem scilicet eloquentiam penitus omnibus necessariam videamus, cum ad eam non tantum viri sed etiam mulieres et parvuli nitantur, in quantum natura “Put This in Latin for Me”  143

permictit; volentes discretionem aliqualiter lucidare illorum qui tanquam ceci ambulant per plateas, plerunque anteriora posteriora putantes, Verbo aspirante de celis locutioni vulgarium gentium prodesse temptabimus. (2) Since I find that no one, before myself, has dealt in any way with the theory of eloquence in the vernacular, and since we can plainly see that such eloquence is necessary to everyone—­for not only men, but also women and children strive to acquire it, as far as nature allows—­I shall try, inspired by the Word that comes from above, to say something useful about the language of people who speak the vulgar tongue, hoping thereby to enlighten somewhat the understanding of those who walk the streets like the blind, ever thinking that what lies ahead is behind them. (3)21 “Verbo aspirante de celis”—­“the Word that comes from above”—­is still Dante’s inspiration, even as he asserts that Latin is no longer a necessary linguistic intermediary in the Word’s translation.22 If Latin can be said to have carried “performative” power by virtue of becoming the agential language of God, Latin’s waning authority in early modern Europe was partly caused by intellectual and religious efforts to return to older, more reliable versions of a divine script that had since been corrupted in the course of its translation into Latin. Erasmus, in performing his own translations of the New Testament, perhaps best epitomized the restorative quality of such efforts, as John Guy has observed: “In 1516 he published the first edition of the Greek text of the New Testament together with a revised Latin translation. The Bible of the medieval church, the Latin Vulgate translation, symbolized the corruption of ecclesiastical tradition and Erasmus added notes in which the Vulgate’s errors were exposed. Scholars and educated laymen were delighted; at last they drank the pure waters of the fountainhead” (118). In his compelling work on fetishism and idolatry in Renaissance England, David Hawkes would identify the kind of commitment that Erasmus makes here—­like the one Dante makes through his gesture to “the Word”—­as a commitment to “telos,” 144  “Put This in Latin for Me”

which Hawkes opposes to the “displacement of telos by ‘the works of men’s hands’” enacted by the newer commodity-­market economies that steadily increased in influence in early modern Europe (7). In following the general argument of Hawkes’s book, which pits “telos” against the idolatrous value of commodity fetishism, one might fairly conclude that Latin’s shrinking authority as a “performative” language, rather than motivated purely by well-­established urges to return to earlier sources nearer to God, was also a consequence of the growing authority of the “transactive” power of commerce, conducted as it was in the vernacular. Less organized and less self-­ conscious than Erasmus or Tyndale in their supplanting of Latin as a fetishistic force capable of channeling teleological authority, transactive authorities nevertheless had an interest in Latin’s continuing ability to commodify knowledge at the place where learning and the market most explicitly intersected: on the printing press. Unlike other sites of commodified transaction, however, books of learning and particularly those books written in the more rarified intellectual languages of Latin and Greek, in continuing to make their gesture to the teleological orientation of knowledge, had ostensible claims to being something other than the commodities that they had, in fact, become. The inherent contradiction of the scholarly book, then, as an example of something both transactive (as a commodity) and performative (as a tome conferring authority and the privileges of scholarly power) may best be identified, following Stephen Greenblatt, as a problem surrounding “The Word of God in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”23 What can be said to happen, in other words, when the authority of “telos” becomes available for purchase and commercially profitable? In direct contrast to the industry of the book in post-­Gutenberg Europe, which commodified knowledge as never before, the industry of the public theater, because it had never been granted full scholarly status, was not constrained by the same problems of self-­contradiction and was in a unique position to expose and ridicule, however gently, the conflict embedded in the commodity of the book. Theatrical “Put This in Latin for Me”  145

representation was, as a commercial venture, more readily “transactive” (at least on its face) and less assertive of its potential to conjure “performative” language or power. Puck’s epilogue in A Midsummer Night’s Dream—­his invitation to the audience members to consider the action they have just witnessed as similar to a dream and not at all like the kind of reality where true performatives, unlike their mimicked likenesses in theatrical performances, could have lasting legal and social consequences—­hints at the theater industry’s willingness to play up its undervaluation as an enterprise with scholarly or philosophical authority even as it simultaneously and more covertly demonstrated a clear interest in foundational truths (in “Bottoms,” as it were) and had the representational power to give shape to existing cultural epistemologies and to give rise to new ones, as well. Without doubt, the early modern theater was potent in its ideological effects, and certain collaborations of playwrights and actors may well have experimented to greater or lesser degrees with representational forms that aimed with some seriousness at investigating social life. But by deemphasizing its authority, the London theater industry could seek refuge in its status as a venue of entertainment and stave off blame for appearing to do something other than attracting paying audiences, by whatever means it found effective.24 Unlike the Latin of a scholarly book, Latin on the stage, at least for Jonson and most certainly for Shakespeare, came to have a lampooning effect. While Latin as a language and scholarly credential clearly mattered to Jonson (apparently more than it did to Shakespeare)—­ Jonson actually translated and supplied dual-­facing Latin text to his English Grammar through the first four chapters—­Latin on the stage, as often as not, signaled pretension to learning; it exposed its speakers as false in their claims to authority. At the same time, however, in lampooning Latin, the theater also inevitably lampooned the authority for which that language once stood—­not in a mode of temporary, topsy-­turvy release, but from a serious, philosophical point of view capable of touching the core of a culture’s epistemology. What became funny and even absurd was a language unstable in its rules, 146  “Put This in Latin for Me”

its referents, and its genders, as well as in its powerlessness to choose its speakers. Authority could be seen as especially ridiculous as a male interest—­both of one man’s interests over and against other men and also, especially in the context of Epicoene, of women’s interests in rival to those of a culture of men, and vice versa. Latin came to cue suspicions of fraudulence in the occupation of authority, and in nothing could this suspicion be aired so immediately or so thoroughly as in sustained attention to the culture’s formal terms of gender. Putting This in Latin In its earliest use, then, the English word “epicene” named an aspect not of biology or of phenotype, but of grammar—­of Latin grammar, in particular.25 As William Lily recited in his school text on grammar, in the same tradition as the ballad serving as one of the epigraphs to this chapter, the gender of nouns numbered seven: “The Masculine[,] the Feminine, the Neutre, the common of two, the common of thre, the Doubtfull, and the Epicene” (Introduction of the Eyght Partes, b1).26 By Jonson’s time, these categories of Latin nouns had gotten caught up in a roaring debate involving not the masculine and feminine of linguistic gender but the socioanatomy of male and female sex; not a third-­category neuter, but the unbreeched child and the male castrato; not the common of two or the common of three, but the go-­between and the ambierotic, the multiserviceable object and the polydesirous subject; not the doubtful and epicene, finally, but the androgyne and hermaphrodite whose clothed exteriors were insufficient markers of the corporeal information underneath. And these gender categories were relevant to English speakers, too: when Jonson wrote his grammar for English, published in the 1640/41 edition of his Workes (paginated to follow his Latin-­English text of Horace’s Art of Poetrie and precede his Timber, or Discoveries), he observed six English genders (rather than Latin’s seven), which he named in the following order: masculine, feminine, neuter, epicene, doubtful, and common of three.27 Yet, even in a culture whose anxieties and debates about gender were loud, public, and socially “Put This in Latin for Me”  147

constructivist, Jonson’s Epicoene remained invested in the function and use of Latin and Latin grammar, alongside whatever else of this cultural nexus it sought to address.28 Such connections between Latin grammar and social realities of gender ambiguity were not polite or nervous circumlocutions; they were a commonplace likely owing to early mistakes made in the Latin classroom. The anonymous 1620 pamphlet Hic Mulier, satirizing the perceived social masculinization of women, begins by way of this formula, relating its Latin rendering of “the Man-­Woman”—­ with its masculine demonstrative adjective (hic) and feminine noun (mulier)—­to an unavoidable violation of the rules of Latin grammar: “Hic Mulier: How now? Break Priscian’s head at the first encounter? But two words, and they false Latin? Pardon me, good Signor Construction, for I will not answer thee as the Pope did, that I will do it in despite of the Grammar. But I will maintain, if it be not the truest Latin in our Kingdom, yet it is the commonest. For since the days of Adam women were never so Masculine” (Henderson and McManus, 265). Emblematic of discipline and order, the sixth-­century Roman grammarian Priscian, serving here as the proverbial teacher of Latin, is confronted with having his head broken—­both the effect of an exasperating violation of his rules of grammar and perhaps also an imagined assault on his physical person by the overly mannish woman responsible for that violation. The Puritan preacher could serve a playwright like Jonson entertainingly enough as the dramatic figure standing counterpoint to the new disorder in social gender roles, as Zeal-­of-­the-­Land Busy does, for example, during his encounter with the sexless puppets in Jonson’s later play Bartholomew Fair: “I am confuted!” (5.5.102) he shouts in resignation, after the puppets answer his charge of cross-­ dressing simply by lifting their smocks. Somewhat less expectedly, so could the grammarian or learned teacher of Latin serve in this basic dramatic formula. This is true in one of Epicoene’s probable sources, Aretino’s Il Marescalco (1533), a play in which a bachelor stable-­hand is arranged to be married against his wishes to a woman 148  “Put This in Latin for Me”

who turns out to be—­to the stable-­hand’s great relief—­a boy page. In Aretino’s play, the Latin-­speaking Pedant, advising the stable-­hand on the virtues of marriage, plays comic foil to this Page, who frustrates the Pedant’s discipline and authority and is consequently cast into another linguistic category of gender ambiguity—­that of the ingle or catamite. Speaking with the Marescalco’s servant, the Pedant brags, with typical Latin seasoning, “E con arma virum, e con libri non cedo a niuno” (2.2.12; “Yes, with arma virum [man’s weapon] and with my books I am second to none”).29 But when the Page drops a firecracker down the schoolmaster’s pants, the Pedant shouts, “Un cinedulo, un presuntuoso capestrulo osa irritare i gravissimi precettori de le grammaticali discipline?” (2.2.22–­23; “A little pansy, a presumptuous little gallows-­bird dares to provoke the gravest of teachers of the disciplines of grammar?”). The Pedant’s epithet for the prankster Page is “cinedulo,” which John Florio translates in his 1598 Italian-­ English dictionary, A Worlde of Wordes, as “a bardarsh, a buggring boy, a wanton boy, an ingle.” The Pedant thereby draws an implicit association between an assault on a serious teacher of grammar and the erotic waywardness of the attacking party, whose gender and concomitant erotic dimension are insufficiently regulated. The assault on the grammarian’s gravity and discipline, however, has the curious effect of drawing the grammarian into, or exposing his participation in, the clandestine erotic life he has been moved to attack. A later scene in Il Marescalco (3.11), depicting another encounter between the Page and the Pedant, who is still angry about the boy’s earlier prank, bears out the erotic dimension of the rivalry working between them, quoted here necessarily in full: pag: Vostra Maestà, vostra Magnificenzia, vostra Signoria ha visto il Signor Cavalier mio Padrone? ped: Ahi forchicula, ahi meretriculo, il precettore de i Mantovani condiscipuli si delude per la platea an? pag: Che forbiculate, e mandragolate voi? diteme se l’avete visto di grazia. “Put This in Latin for Me”  149

ped: Io ti guiro per lo Evangelico sacro che ti farò tante verberature, che sarai exemplo a tutti i cinediculi. pag: Maestro, fatemi questo latino, il mure mi piscia a dosso. ped: Mingere possa tu le interiora, ghiotticidio. pag: La santa Croce, che appartiene a la A. B. C. Maestro. ped: Gran verecundia, che uno sfacciaticulo provochí ad ira un grave litterato, o, o, o. pag: È vero che il K. de lo alfabeto sia stato uomo d’arme? ped: Verum est che io ti do questo. pag: Con i pugni a? ped: Non posso temperarmi da le urbane collere; toglie quest’altro. pag: Al corpo di Cri . . . ped: Pone giusto il lapide. pag: Io dirò ciò che mi . . . ped: Mentiris per gutter. pag: Me ’l voleste pur, Pedante poltrone. ped:Tu fuggi maledictus homo. pag: Io vi ho dove si soffia a la noce, togliete. ped: A me le fica? ecco qui il mio domiculo; e tuguriale albergulo, il cerebro mi giricula. Voglio entrare per requiescere aliquantulum. (3.11) page: Your Majesty, Your Magnificence, Your Lordship, have you seen my master the Cavalier? pedant: Ah, you little gallows-­bird, you little harlot! To poke fun at the preceptor of your Mantuan condiscipuli [fellow students] right out in the streets! page: What are you birding and harlotting about? Will you please tell me if you’ve seen him? pedant: By the Holy Gospels, I’ll have you beaten up so badly that you will serve as an example to all the other little pansies. I swear it! page: Teacher, put this in Latin for me: the wall is pissing on me. 150  “Put This in Latin for Me”

pedant: I hope you urinate on your own entrails, you glutton-­murderer! page: The Holy Cross, which belongs with the abc’s, master—­ pedant: It is most shameful that an impudent little smartass should provoke a serious man of letters to anger, oh, oh, oh! page: Is it true that the letter K was a man of arms?30 pedant: Verum est [It’s true] that I am going to give you this. page: With your fists, eh? pedant: I cannot restrain myself from vulgar anger. Take this, and this! page: By the body of Chr—­ pedant: Put down that stone! page: I’ll tell everybody that you and I—­ pedant: Mentiris per gutter [You lie in your throat]! page: But it was you who wanted it, you good-­for-­nothing pedant! pedant: You’re running away, maledictus homo [damned man]! page: I’ve got you where you fart! Take this!31 pedant: The figs to me? Here is my little house, my squalid hovel. My skull is spinning. I will go inside per requiescere aliquantulum [to rest a little while] (3.11) In this exchange, the Page mocks the Pedant’s authority, makes jokes about the limitations of Latin grammar (“murus urinat super me” absurdly can mean either that the mouse or else the wall is pissing on me), and insinuates that the two have engaged before in erotic activity, initiated by the Pedant: “It was you who wanted it.”32 The Page’s threat, in answer to the Pedant’s beatings, that “I’ll tell everybody that you and I—­” is interrupted by the Pedant’s counterclaim, “Mentiris per gutter” (You lie in your throat). The Pedant’s switch to Latin is also a shift into the language of authority. The boy’s charges, the Pedant seems to say—­should they be made publicly—­would be “Put This in Latin for Me”  151

met with a sophisticated and authoritative defense that the Page’s vulgar Italian could not sufficiently refute. In addition to reasserting the Pedant’s cultural authority, however, these lines—­in which the Page’s threat is interrupted short of its conclusion and simultaneously answered in Latin—­give further erotic dimension to what the Latin tag is capable of condensing or concealing as part of its fetish. As several critics have noticed, Latin would become the favored language for introducing sodomitical testimony into an English-­speaking courtroom, even when the Latin failed to provide more than a vague and suggestive articulation of the facts.33 In his Homosexuality in Renaissance England, Alan Bray has offered memorable account of the English courts’ dependence on Latin for supplying the terms of sodomitical discourse: “A conscious act of the imagination is needed if we are to grasp what is intended when . . . an anonymous clerk in the Middlesex Sessions of the Peace carefully records that the sodomy of which a Hoxton yeoman was accused is ‘contra naturalem ordinem’; or when the far more illustrious Edward Coke warned that a valid indictment for buggery must describe the crime as ‘contra ordinationem Creatoris et naturae ordinem’” (26). Lee Edelman’s investigation into homographetic marks, those written traces of homoerotic activity that have sometimes been perceived as legible to authority only through their strategies of silence and deflection, gestures to the urge in official records to mimic the deflection assumed to be the hallmark of homoerotic engagement in the first place, particularly in refusing to articulate the crime of sodomy except through the mystifying cloak of Latin. The American Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in his 1986 opinion concerning the famous, now-­overturned sodomy and right-­ to-­privacy case then before the Supreme Court, Bowers v. Hardwick, in a citation of Sir William Blackstone’s famous, though commonplace, language from the eighteenth century, suggested the court take its cue from “the delicacy of our English law, which treats [sodomy], in its very indictments, as a crime not fit to be named: ‘peccatum illud horribile, inter christianos non nominandum.’”34 Burger’s substantively 152  “Put This in Latin for Me”

empty gesture to the centuries-­old declarations of an English court is, as Jonathan Goldberg has noted, conflicted in its pursuit of an authorized voice.35 From a conservative American justice’s point of view, should the English, through their long association with ancient learning, know better how to talk, or not to talk, about sodomy? Does Latin, as an ancient language, have ancient insight into sodomy, and is it therefore better able to contend with questions of its articulation or disarticulation? Or, on the other hand, does Latin help preserve the silence and secrecy of sodomy, effectively delivering it over to strictly phenomenological discourses that are unspeakable except through extralingual motions of the body, thereby preventing it from falling under the governing jurisdiction of any court depending on language as the basis for its testimony and rulings?36 It is obviously difficult to supply satisfactory answers to these questions, or to keep other questions from cropping up. But the concept of an ideal court that is not fettered by language for making its rulings is of central importance to the cultural epistemologies at stake here. Dante gestures to that court, the court of divine omniscience, which operates in silence and organizes occasions of consequence without the necessary intermediaries of speech. This is the entity that shapes the circles of hell and grants no special dispensation for skilled rhetoricians and masters of words who arrive for judgment in the same manner as everyone else. The same sixth-­century grammarian, Priscian, whose head is in danger of being broken by the faulty grammar of hic mulier in the seventeenth century, was after all commemorated in Dante’s fourteenth-­century Inferno, not only for his great learning and pedagogy but also for the crime that lands him in the seventh circle of hell, along with the spiritual teacher Dante recognizes there from his own past, Brunetto Latini. In that circle of hell, Priscian resides with other “litterati grandi e di gran fama,” walking in the company of sodomites who together, Dante puns, form a “turba grama”—­an “unhappy band”—­of lettered men: the quality of their band’s wretchedness, expressed in the adjective “Put This in Latin for Me”  153

“grama,” is a poetic echo of the “grammatica” that they apparently supplied as wages for their sin.37 For Leonard Barkan, Dante’s placement of these spiritual teachers and grammarians in the sodomites’ circle is less a historical accounting of particular men and their sexual habits and more a metaphor for the foreboding limits of humanist figural expression. Barkan traces the “transumption” of classical myths into humanist lessons—­in particular, the story of “Ganymede’s flight to heaven.” If this story served for its ancient audience as “the charter for a Plato-­inspired vision of pedagogy, pederasty, and imitation,” in the humanists’ restorative hands it became “an emblem of hermeneutic recuperation of the potentially immoral remains of antiquity, justifying it in the highest terms and making poetry and interpretation a self-­conscious part of the activity of the humanist” (50). According to Barkan’s compelling interpretation, the humanists are punished in Dante’s hell not for their own erotic lives but for being able to read Latin and teach its stories while failing to supply a sufficiently moralizing patina and Christian overlay to undercut the powerful pagan ideologies those stories contained. The proverbial grammarian Priscian is positioned as a sodomite, in other words, because his learning makes him dangerously privy to an un-­Christian concept of gender ideology, in which the genders numbered more than two. Latin ensured that they would continue to number, as Priscian’s successors would rehearse in English, at least seven: the masculine, the feminine, the neuter, the common of two, the common of three, the dubious, and the epicene. Making Legs and Signs If Latin’s flaws are really those of any language, writ large in classificatory detail by educated grammarians in whose school texts genders multiply not through some perverse linguistic design but simply as a function of an accurate record of form, then the struggle to control social gender through authoritative language and its prescribed ideologies is a struggle working against its own linguistic medium. How can one banish the epicene, for example, when it has been integrated 154  “Put This in Latin for Me”

into the structure of the language itself ? How can one insist that the genders number only two when the Latin grammars enumerate a great many more? And how does England persist in exerting control over social gender when it routinely subjects its schoolboys to a grammar and a language “with some room for maneuver on this question,” as Lynn Enterline has noted (Schoolroom, 61)? Morose seems driven to be free of the fundamental cacophony that this struggle produces: “All discourses,” he says, “but mine own afflict me, they seem harsh, impertinent, and irksome” (2.1.3–­5). Yet his misanthropic fantasy of being the only one capable of addressing the world’s phenomenology through speech, to be the only speaker in the world and to be, as it were, the only grammarian, releases a surprising number of corporeal forms and erotic potentialities even as he seems to lose the capacity to identify the epicene—­one of the original potential forms—­when it appears directly before him in the guise of a bride-­to-­be. Morose’s obsessive, misanthropic interest in securing a world narrated by soundless phenomena rather than by spoken words leads him into an arena of absurdity when he nonetheless continues to require reports from his servants, the kind of communication that would seem particularly dependent on basic speech. Instead of making exceptions for such moments, he instructs his servants to communicate with him through a pantomime of gestures, which Jonson conveys in the stage directions as “mak[ing] legs or signs” (2.1.9 s.d.). Morose’s system, though comically absurd in its context, nevertheless relates to a tradition of wordless theater (to which the dumb shows that haunt and punctuate the action in Pericles belong) and also to a further tradition of wordless disputation that Jonson refers to in the preface of his English Grammar: “It is ridiculous to teach any thing for undoubted Truth, that Sense, and Experience, can confute. So Zeno disputing of Quies, was confuted by Diogenes, rising up and walking” (33). Here, Diogenes’s wordless act of “rising up and walking” is the definitive answer to one of Zeno’s mind-­bending paradoxes: Diogenes crosses the room to disprove Zeno’s claim about the impossibility of movement across infinitely divisible distances.38 In privileging “Put This in Latin for Me”  155

sense and experience over what can be learned in contradiction to them, Jonson establishes in the foreground of his grammar a safety mechanism to short-­circuit the power embedded in the system of language he is about to unveil. Mastery in English grammar, he seems to say, may afford one the power to argue for what are claimed as “undoubted” truths that have no clear correspondence to the phenomenology of daily life—­and when it does, Jonson suggests, such arguments are to be dismissed as groundless in the face of the contrary and superior evidence supplied by experience and sense.39 Whether phenomenological experience is felt to override words, as Jonson contends, ingenuously or not, at the threshold to his grammar, or the other way around, the deliberate staging of a confrontation between phenomenological forms and their expression in language is frequently an occasion for accentuating something absurd about their inevitable disjunction. Timothy Hampton has discussed such an occasion in Rabelais’s Pantagruel (1532), where in chapter 19 a debate occurs between Panurge and a celebrated English scholar, Thaumaste, conducted “not with words, but with gestures” (“Languages and Identities,” 1). This unusual method for disputation is proposed by Thaumaste: Je ne veulx disputer pro et contra, comme font ces sotz sophistes de ceste ville et de ailleurs; semblablement, je ne veulx point disputer en la maniere des academicques par declamation, ny aussi par nombres, comme faisoit Pythagoras et comme voulut faire Picus Mirandula à Romme; mais je veulx disputer par signes seulement, sans parler, car les matieres sont tant ardues que les parolles humaines ne seroyent suffisantes à les expliquer à mon plaisir. (210–­11) I don’t want to argue pro and contra, the way these stupid sophists do in this town and elsewhere. Likewise, I don’t want to debate in the manner of the Academics by declamation, nor by numbers either, as Pythagoras used to do and as Pico della Mirandola tried to do in Rome; rather I want to debate by signs 156  “Put This in Latin for Me”

alone, without speaking; for the matters are so arduously difficult that human words would not suffice to explain them to my satisfaction. (trans. Frame, 195) In the ensuing exchange, Panurge communicates to the inquisitive Thaumaste the greatest secrets with gestures that include various manipulations of his fingers (including the thrusting of one into his anus, “un doigt de la gauche [a]u trou du cul” [223]) and spirited contortions of his face and body. For Hampton, the scene comes to prefigure and preparody scholarly activity in Rabelais studies more generally: “It seems appropriate that such a scene of mock disputation should lie at the center of Rabelais’s book. For, to a degree perhaps unequalled by the case of any other writer from the European Renaissance, the reception of Rabelais’s work has involved dispute, critical disagreement, and precisely the type of scholarly wrangling—­often humorous, but just as often bitter—­that seems to be parodied here” (2). Yet, alongside its parody, Rabelais’s scene also endorses in a peculiar way (however briefly in the context of Rabelais’s verbose work) the power of the body to speak more loudly and more clearly than words—­specifically, than those words that would otherwise claim to clarify and hone knowledge in the form of scholarly discourse. The best scholarly discourse, Rabelais seems briefly to suggest, containing the deepest secrets of scholarly investigation, is wordless, whether because it transcends language or because it surrenders back to the body. The body, along with its relentless grotesquerie of smells, liquids, and gestures, is proposed here—­if only provisionally—­as the true site and conveyor of perfect knowledge. In Epicoene, the body and its myriad actions are similarly cast as a repository of knowledge and information that cannot be securely accessed through discussion or dispute, scholarly or otherwise. In the opening scene of the play, when the boy reports his visitor’s status at the lady’s mansion, he claims (intending to place emphasis on his youth) to be “the welcom’st thing under a man.” Clerimont adds, “And above a man too, if the truth were racked out of you” (1.1.9–­11). “Put This in Latin for Me”  157

Through his hungry and unstable wordplay, Clerimont establishes the boy’s “welcom’st thing” as one of the circulating corporeal questions for the play. His innuendo fixes a sudden vision of the boy in both prone and supine sexual service—­his “thing” positioned either “under” or “above,” in whatever way the receiving lady would consider most welcome. But so does Clerimont expand, by virtue of his unstable grammar, the boy’s erotic limits, dispelling the woman and her mansion from the scene long enough to conjure an image of the boy himself as the welcome “thing” in sodomitical dalliance, both “under a man,” and “above a man too.”40 While Truewit all but confirms the substance of this sodomitical dimension to Clerimont’s wordplay by referring to this boy as Clerimont’s “ingle at home” (1.1.23–­24), Clerimont nevertheless does not presume that the boy’s mouth would ever tell its body’s secrets unless “the truth were racked out of ” him. The physical torture of the rack—­its way of putting questions directly to the body—­is the measure Clerimont holds in extreme reserve for compelling a body’s memory to be told (or confessed) by an otherwise silent tongue. In a reverse extreme to Clerimont’s rack, which forces the body’s confession, Morose prefers that the bodies before him be deprived of speech in every instance, not merely when they have secrets to withhold. Yet in requiring strictly nonverbal, bodily conveyances from his servants, Morose opens the way for an unexpected wash of erotic expression from those bodies that suddenly have no way of modifying or mediating their expression through words. To facilitate the choreography of the scene between Morose and his servant, Jonson supplies the stage direction: “At the breaches, still the fellow makes legs or signs” (2.1.9 s.d.). The New Mermaids editor explains that “breaches” means “breaks” and refers to the em dashes (—­) in Morose’s text indicating where the servant Mute must communicate in this exchange using his silent gestures. But the breaks represent “breeches,” too, in that Mute must manipulate his legs to convey the information Morose wants from him.41 Morose orchestrates his servant’s semaphore with instructions rather specific in their demands 158  “Put This in Latin for Me”

on the servant’s body. After asking if Mute has muffled the knocker on the door to the house, Morose commands, “But with your leg, your answer, unless it be otherwise” (2.1.12–­13). And, in response to whether Mute has summoned Cutbeard to come to the house, Morose orders again, “Answer me not but with your leg, unless it be otherwise” (2.1.17–­18).42 When the servant bows or bends his leg to indicate an affirmative response, Morose comments, “Your Italian and Spaniard are wise in these, and it is a frugal and comely gravity” (2.1.19–­20). The Italian and Spaniard may be well trained in high courtly behavior with their deep bows and grave gestures of reverence, according to Morose, but, in the context of a man silently contorting his body before another man, the Spaniards—­and the Italians, in particular—­are perhaps more immediately known to the English in another capacity. Though he is apparently not aware of what he has noticed through his commentary, Morose (or possibly Jonson) draws an unconscious connection between his servant’s making “legs or signs”—­his bending and bowing “at the bre[e/a]ches”—­and an abstract pantomime of sexual gesticulation, the range of which must include at least a shadow play of an engagement in sodomy, an activity to which the Italians particularly, by English stereotype, would have been notoriously “wise.”43 In the same speech, Morose pauses to admire the way he has successfully organized his servants’ cooperation in observing silence in the household, comparing himself to another target for English suspicions of sexual waywardness, the Turk: “The Turk in this divine discipline is admirable, exceeding all the potentates of the earth; still waited on by mutes, and all his commands so executed, yea, even in war, as I have heard, and in his marches, most of his charges and directions given by signs and with silence: an exquisite art!” (2.1.28–­ 33). Morose’s fantasy of emulating the Turk inevitably positions him in a zone of free-­floating sexual signifiers, since in addition to having multiple wives and indulging in prostitutes (according to the Renaissance imagination), the Turks also kept “Catamites, which are their serious loves . . . Boys likely of twelue or fourteene yeares old, some “Put This in Latin for Me”  159

of them not above nine, or ten.”44 Morose unwittingly redoubles his Turkish fantasy when he is spotted wearing, in an effort to block out the noise of the streets, “a huge turban of nightcaps” (1.1.139). Morose’s makeshift turban transports him into another mode of cultural identity and becomes the prop, in blocking up his ears, that helps create the illusion that the silence surrounding him is an emanating effect of his sexual and lingual authority. If those who wait on the Turk, beyond the mutes and dwarfs of the Ottoman court, include boys conscripted into sexual service, the admiration Morose registers for their muteness is also a veiled expression of a fear of their tongues and of what those tongues are capable of telling, whether the bodies they reveal are subject to the rack or not: “I’ll tell everybody that you and I—­” “Mentiris per gutter!”45 Rather than shoring up for a fight to preserve his authority, however, as the Pedant does in turning to his arsenal of Latin in Il Marescalco, Morose wishes instead to prevent all challenges to his authority in the first place by depriving those before him of the negotiating and quibbling power of language. If the Pedant would try to render his boy inarticulate through the unfair challenge of Latin, Morose would bury his boy’s words in the silence of the semaphore.46 In the end, Morose cannot secure the silent world with its freedom from linguistic regulation that he longs to watch, the dumb show whose running commentary he wants sole rights to narrate. And, in his desperation, he allows Otter and Cutbeard’s tag-­team game of Latin to mold and modify his own gender-­erotic corporeality in a manner that might allow him a makeshift escape from the world he has failed to silence or control: otter: And therefore, if he may be manifeste frigidus, sir—­ cutbeard: Ay, if he be manifeste frigidus, I grant you—­ otter: Why, that was my conclusion. cutbeard: And mine, too. truewit: Nay, hear the conclusion, sir. otter: Then frigiditatis causa—­ 160  “Put This in Latin for Me”

cutbeard: Yes, causa frigiditatis—­ morose: Oh, mine ears! otter: She may have libellum divortii against you. cutbeard: Ay, divortii libellum she will sure have. morose: Good echoes, forbear. otter: If you confess it. cutbeard: Which I would do, sir—­ morose: I will do anything—­ otter: And clear myself in foro conscientiae—­ cutbeard: Because you want indeed—­ morose: Yet more? otter: Exercendi potestate. (5.3.209–­26) The inversion effect built into Otter and Cutbeard’s chiastic trade in Latin tags—­what Morose denounces agonistically as “good echoes”—­ dramatizes the peculiar lability of Latin expression. Perhaps this effect along with their mutual conclusion of causa frigiditatis as Morose’s only legal hope for escaping his marriage, the alienation of affection expressed in the form of alienated Latin, leads Morose to make a very surprising declaration, addressed to the women Collegiates, who have been busy instructing Epicoene, incidentally, “in the college grammar” (4.1.26). Declaring his impotence, Morose tells them, “I am no man, ladies” (5.4.41). If Leander’s insistence against the dangerously fluid sexuality of Neptune’s Hellespont in Marlowe’s Hero and Leander—­“I am no woman I!” (676)—­is a stiff assertion of definitive truths about the body, here Morose abandons that rigidity, as it were, in order to melt into a dew of sexual and gender ambiguity.47 The Collegiates’ grammar (or, anyway, their sense of natural order) is confounded by Morose’s confession; in unison, they exclaim, “How!” to his announcement (5.4.42). One calls him a “prodigious creature,” and another a “bridegroom uncarnate” (5.4.45–­46). A suspicion not merely of Morose’s proclaimed impotence but of a new ambiguity about his sex—­of something “prodigious” (in Ambroise Paré’s monstrous sense of the term) on his body—­erupts in their “Put This in Latin for Me”  161

language as they call for a “jury of physicians” (5.4.53) to confirm his prodigious and “uncarnate” corporeal claims.48 Morose is presumed to be lying that he is “no man, ladies” (although it is true that Morose’s potency has apparently never been tested), and suspicion of that lie dislodges the jointure between what language will declare and what phenomenological scrutiny will otherwise bear out. More important, in abstract, the Collegiates object to Latin’s doublespeak, its power to order its words in the discourse of the law forward and backward with equal success. They object that authority should empower itself with the ability to deconstruct its own terms and to invert its own claims, as Morose does in deploying “causa frigiditatis . . . frigiditatis causa” to negate his status as a man and a husband, a self-­negation meant to preserve his authority, not relinquish it. Throughout the play, Morose seems to register what Barbara Johnson has called “muteness envy”: a structure of validation of silence that recurs in Western literature (reaching stylistic apex for Johnson in Keats’s admiration for the Grecian urn), which tends to gender that silence as female, particularly as a property of the idealized female body. The muteness is envied for its apparent effect of concealing that body’s register of either pleasure or violation, which become indistinguishable in the absence of female speech or noise by which one might try to tell the difference. In Johnson’s analysis, “muteness envy” is a desire to have status as a victim—­one who has been “silenced” by authority greater than oneself—­but it is only apparently effective if one retains the greater authority despite claims of relative powerlessness. This is not the silence in store for Morose at the end of the play. If Morose begins as an unattractive admirer of silence in a wife (not to mention servants and nephews), he is moved to being someone who is himself positioned into silence at the very moment the audience would strain to appreciate the level of his pleasure or his pain. Has Morose been granted his wish and saved from his own folly by Dauphine’s stunt, or has he been abused and violated? Morose has no speaking lines following the revelation of the boy beneath the wig, and the audience is told merely by way of an unofficial epilogue 162  “Put This in Latin for Me”

that its applause may “cure” (or “at least please”) Morose, who has retreated from the stage without comment (5.4.237). Had Morose spoken once more—­had he said, “I am confuted,” or indeed, “I’ll be revenged on the whole pack of you”—­the ending would be somewhat clearer, guaranteeing that Morose saw himself in some part engaging in a rhetorical negotiation or abdication of power in response to a circumstantial weakening of his authority.49 But Morose does not speak, and the possibility of his perpetual future silence is left an open question for the play. The silencing of Morose is not merely a quieting of local male authority—­which, incidentally, it is; it is also a modifying force against attempts to reserve or hoard language as a means of controlling phenomenological expression. Yet, even as Morose wishes to stabilize his world by retaining rights to the final word, he falls victim to a male world that is learning to be fluid, that is learning to entertain “ingles” and engage in other forms of male dalliance. This learning does not exclusively liberate from strictures of language and gender; it also produces leverage, as Dauphine skillfully demonstrates. Like Latin, male fluidity flows both ways, for a conservative authority like Morose’s is not the only one silenced by the boy’s disclosure: in addressing the Collegiates, Truewit remarks, “Madams, you are mute upon this new metamorphosis!” (5.4.227–­28). Female authority and its struggle to overcome imposed silences are also targeted, and the Collegiates are warned to “take heed of such insectae hereafter.” Working from Herford and Simpson, the New Mermaids editor, R. V. Holdsworth, notes Jonson’s intentional grammatical blunder in giving the neuter noun insecta a feminine plural ending, insectae—­but Holdsworth takes the word as a reference to the gentlemen who have colluded to bring about this ending, and what he sees as a comment on their general effeminacy.50 What seems more likely and more intelligible for the play is that Epicoene, and the rest of their imagined ilk (to use a modern pronoun), should be the intended referent. The falsely gendered insect, the burrowing grub infecting the center of the female community, is the threat Dauphine identifies and warns the “Put This in Latin for Me”  163

Collegiates against. Dauphine teaches Morose and the Collegiates alike to fear gender ambiguity, to shy away from its possibility, and to shore up guarantees against the betrayal and devastation that comes from placing trust in the epicene. Dauphine’s new economy, like the economy of the theater compared against that of the book, abandons static truths and secure categories. The flexibility of gender and language, and the presence of boys who double as ingles and female brides, are aids to enabling Dauphine’s eventual goal of securing his uncle’s estate, even as the deployment of such devices is aimed to discourage others (Puritans, women, teachers of Latin) in one way or another from pursuing the same flexibility. Morose, sensitive to and uncomfortable with the way language can supply such flexibility, attempts to limit its use, and to seek more stable refuge in having exclusive verbal authority over interpreting the phenomenological world. But he is ultimately silenced by a phenomenological anomaly he did not anticipate—­that of a boy successfully passing for a woman—­which imports the flaws of language into phenomenological experience itself. Morose’s disappointment is for a world that is unintelligible not only for the social languages that corrupt through their imperfect translations whatever innate, natural authority might once have engaged in declarative speech, but for the lack of any stable identification of such authority in the first place, regardless of its mediation through language. Gender is both the material embodiment and figural representation of this fundamental epistemological problem of the absent center of cultural authority, dumbfounding Morose and the Collegiates alike at the end of the play. Only Dauphine and his crew are undeterred by such foundational jeopardy as they seek the practical benefits of either a money or authority principle as their ultimate fulfillment: “Cutbeard,” Dauphine promises for his help in the trick, “I’ll make your lease good” (5.4.202), a financial promise he is now in a position to make, having just secured his uncle’s fortunes. To Otter he promises, somewhat more enigmatically, “Your princess shall be reconciled to you” (203–­4). The shared improvements in the men’s financial 164  “Put This in Latin for Me”

arrangement correspond with a reordering of marital harmony in Otter’s household (the means for which are not disclosed), which will involve some form of smoothing over Otter’s earlier claims, mistakenly spoken in earshot of his wife, to have loved his wife’s dowry better than her body. However Dauphine intends to proceed in carrying out his promises, they intimate a general intent as part of the play’s comic ending to position the Collegiates back into established gender and marital roles. It is unclear whether the women Collegiates will lose their particular lexicon of “college grammar” in the reorganization that will certainly take place following the events surrounding their newest initiate, Epicoene, whose revealed sex has compromised the secrets of their institution. Truewit teases, “And let it not trouble you that you have discovered any mysteries to this young gentleman. He is, a’most, of years, and will make a good visitant within this twelvemonth. In the meantime we’ll all undertake for his secrecy, that can speak so well of his silence” (5.4.230–­34). The secrets of the “college grammar” have unwittingly been revealed across gender lines, and the play hints at the Collegiates’ inevitable collapse following such a security breach as a corporation of women. In a related historical reversal, Bruce Smith has recorded Walter Ong’s observation that Latin was gradually dropped from the Western educational curriculum as schools became coeducational in the twentieth century.51 By Ong’s theories, it would appear that learning Latin may have functioned in like manner to learning how to manipulate categories of gender from a privileged male point of view—­not in pursuit of erotic pleasure, strictly, but as a way of organizing and mobilizing authority. The ultimate inclusion of girls and women in that educational process made Latin education irrelevant as a strategy of exclusion drawn along gender lines. In the centuries preceding and including the European Renaissance, scholarly and theological books (excluding the raw material in textbooks on Latin grammar) could only prove an impediment to this authority because they tended to fix what was best left flexible for ongoing negotiation. The English stage, on the other hand, was mobilized “Put This in Latin for Me”  165

to excite in its audiences both titillation for and fear of gender in flux—­flux representing the mobility of authority both social and economic—­even as it reminded its audiences that the winners on stage and in London life were those who managed to secure their fortunes at any gender-­defying cost. Analyzing Morose and the Collegiates as victims in the play does not, however, square with the experience of the play in performance. Dauphine’s trick, after all, is uproariously funny—­a trick he has played equally well on the audience as on Morose and the others. And he is generally felt to be clever and right in having found a way to wrest his eccentric uncle’s hoard from the aging man’s miserly clutches.52 Yet he has also manipulated an economic structure of the family in order to secure a fortune outside of the usual requirements of marriage and primogeniture. The degree of Morose’s displeasure with his nephew’s trick is hard to discern, in part because one senses that Dauphine has given his uncle a world of quiet in exchange for his inheritance. Dauphine has figured out a way to allow Morose to participate in a version of his misanthropic retreat—­which, in the context of urban London, is deep into the domestic isolation of the home—­while still fulfilling the social obligation required of him. He has drawn Morose into a social culture of inheritance that would normally require negotiations with women in a mutual effort to beget heirs, and, in exchange for Morose’s participation, Dauphine has relieved his uncle of having to endure the noisy intrusiveness of a wife or family. As in the discussion of Pericles in chapter 2, where one solution to the misanthropy-­inducing, contrary demands of early modern paternity was the money transaction used to purchase a suitable compromise (there, in the form of the prostitute as a surrogate for the daughter), in Epicoene the punctuating message of the play is that enough money promised in the right way will buy one out of an unfavorable predicament. As the ultimate fetish, one’s fortune alone becomes the final guarantor of authority in the play, even of the authority to pursue one’s misanthropy. In a culture where men might have retained final control over household money, real or symbolic, 166  “Put This in Latin for Me”

the implicit misogyny of this new logic is clear even as the language of the law, and of marital law in particular, with access to its learned tomes in Latin, had grown indifferent to preventing it. Coda: The Fetish of Phenomena In 2002, in a noteworthy project by Mario Cerame, who was at the time an undergraduate at Ithaca College under the instruction of Jonathan Gil Harris, the problem of Timon of Athens was investigated through Timon’s rejection of Athenian gold and his replacement of that commodity with roots. The edible roots Timon digs from the ground in his forest retreat, Cerame argued, are only a material form of the linguistic root he seeks when he declares himself “Misanthropos”—­that figure whose identification (for English audiences) is derived of a regression via Greek toward origins that will somehow, Timon thinks, save and restore him.53 Cerame’s project is powerfully insightful because it isolates in Timon the way in which investments in origins can sometimes seize on material culture for their surrogate satisfaction. In lieu of the metaphysical roots that would adequately satisfy Timon’s struggle to articulate his place and his origin, he settles (or tries to settle) for the material root, which is edible, tangible, and sustaining, and which discourages the skeptical notion that there may be nothing substantive waiting at the end of one’s search for some ultimate foundation. Here is a good example of the fetish of the phenomenon, when the physical act of digging for and discovering roots displaces the metaphor originally signaled by that effort. The gratification of root-­as-­food overwhelms all memory of the root originally sought: the root—­linguistic or otherwise—­of epistemological source and origin. This is, in fact, how the fetish works, in Marx’s sense. The fetish does not record and replay memories of origin; rather, it distracts from those memories and generates abstract gratification as a process of that distraction. One does not buy something of intricate design and think of the myriad laborers who participated in its production. Instead, one marvels in abstract appreciation of the manifest presence “Put This in Latin for Me”  167

of the thing and its availability for purchase. In their investigation into Renaissance clothing, Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass helpfully retrace the genealogical origin of the term “fetish” in English, drawing on the work of William Pietz: The word “fetish” derives from the pidgin fetisso [spoken on the coast of West Africa during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries], which may be traced to the Portuguese feitiço (meaning “magical practice” or “witchcraft”). Feitiço has its root in the Latin facticius, meaning a manufactured as opposed to a natural object. “Fetish,” like “fashion,” is derived from the Latin facere: to make. There was, as Pietz argues, a long history of distrust of the “made”; Pliny used the term facticium to mean “artificial” in the sense of “made to deceive,” “factitious.” The distrust was elaborated and reinforced by the Church Fathers, who associated facticii with idolatry, and hence, by extension, with witchcraft. ( Jones and Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing, 8) In light of this useful etymological history, the terms of this chapter would suggest a metareference in the word “fetish,” as corresponding to an etymological origin in Latin that would eventually identify its own fabricated and substitutive (i.e., its fetishistic) condition. Latin is unavoidably manufactured and superimposed onto a “natural” environment, and it is, therefore, as a function of its manufacture, alienated—­not only from English-­speaking Londoners but also in the same way any language is alienated from a phenomenological experience of the world (if such experience is felt to exist). In this respect, Latin is no different from any other language. But its special antiquity for Western modernity, its position as a prior language, excites reference through it to the words that existed before the terms of the present, words that originally gave rise to the speech that is authorized today—­that is, words of origin. Latin glimmers, therefore, as something that holds the promise of generating, or of being constitutive of, authority, yet it does so only long enough to fail to deliver on its promise by proving little more than a form of fetish, 168  “Put This in Latin for Me”

a “factitious” and manipulable distraction from—­and false ending to—­the pursuit originally intended. Here is a persistent disappointment that is acutely palpable in efforts to conduct surveys of the past as a way of determining the logic of authority. But, as language has proven disappointing for its limitations, phenomenological investigations offer little added consolation. The urge to see as others saw, to eat what others ate, and to think what others thought is an exercise in a similar form of desire for something no longer available, except in the false form of the fetish. Jones and Stallybrass register this desire and its satisfaction, in part, by refusing to accept the critique they think their investigation into Renaissance clothing may invite: that their subject is a fetishistic interest in things rather than in the people who made and traded in those things.54 But the protestations of Jones and Stallybrass, whose project is worthy despite its fetishistic tinge, highlight a difficult struggle within some cultural materialist efforts that displace people with an interest in materials and objects. Jones and Stallybrass are not alone, however, in their interest in the fetish and in disavowing that interest as such; one finds in contemporary critical examinations of Renaissance material culture especially a proliferation of reproduced images and illustrations from the archive. Here is the wish to see as Renaissance subjects saw, to experience in phenomenological fashion what a Renaissance reader would have experienced in opening her book. Book illustrations are surrogates for a Renaissance material reality that present-­ day readers cannot completely access. The late twentieth-­century reproduction of the Globe Theater on the south bank of London is an example of this wish to experience Renaissance phenomenology as though it were part of the present moment. Similarly, Stephen Orgel’s question “Why Did the English Stage Take Boys for Women?” is a wish to understand as those audiences understood: to infer the results of being able to embody a Renaissance cultural consciousness. At their most extreme, fixations on the fetish of phenomenology as a means of replicating certain kinds of past cultural experience have taken as the focus of their study, instead of objects, more immaterial “Put This in Latin for Me”  169

forms of such, as Bruce Smith has done in his absorbing work on the acoustic world of early modern England. The “○” that Smith analyzes throughout his book is first and foremost a sound—­the sound of a human voice making a basic, primordial kind of noise. But, even with this ambitious and profoundly original attempt to recreate within a larger symbolic an audio component of a particular place in a particular moment (Renaissance London, a place that has perhaps more than any other sparked a gnawing desire in modern American culture to know and understand one root of its own cultural ancestry), one is still left with an urge to return to some form of origins, an urge that must inevitably miss its mark. Phenomenological experience is never in itself one of ethical cause and effect: it is, in its tautology, simply what is—­that is, what happens to people and things in their mutual being in the world. The effort to draw phenomenological study into an ethical realm is an effort to turn phenomena into metaphysical signage. Here is the problem Richard Rorty confronts in pointing out that pragmatism cannot guarantee, within its philosophical logic that refuses to supply metaphysical glosses to phenomenology, a safeguard against human cruelty.55 Cruelty is not preventable when one is limited merely to negotiating voluntary agreement around the social and material exchanges already taking place within a cultural setting. Cruelty is an ethical problem that, like exploitation, must be studied in its historical moment to be understood and analyzed against a known standard of ethical action and behavior. Most recent criticism of the literature and culture of the English Renaissance takes as its starting point an investment in noticing “cruelty,” as it were, and understanding why it exists there. But investigations into phenomenological forms that, unlike Rorty’s, are looking for an ethical charting of cause and effect are confronted with the possibility that they are reading fetishistically into things, material or immaterial, endowing them with more than they can mean and doing so in such a way that still fails to find them leading to the origins those forms actively obscure. Jonathan Gil Harris has articulated a version of this critique in his article “Shakespeare’s Hair: Staging the Object of Material Culture.” 170  “Put This in Latin for Me”

In the face of an explosive recent interest within Renaissance studies in objects and things, the commitment of a cultural materialist approach to such investigations must, Harris argues, be mindful that objects exist in time and have their own relevant histories, recording in their production and transport what Harris might have called a “diachronicle.” They must, in other words, relate back to human beings in an effort to describe cultural modes of relation and means of production. Otherwise their study becomes a blind fixation on the fetish.56 Yet the basis for such access is, as Morose discovers, maddeningly elusive as trails to the past inevitably dead-­end with only the fetish to bring hopeful illusions of the possibility for historical and metaphysical recovery of authority and origin. The real story of the fetish, in whatever form it takes—­a reverberating sound wave, a piece of clothing, or a Latin speech tag—­is not that it intrudes upon serious efforts to find a basis for the logic of cultural authority, then, but that it is all there is to offer toward such an effort. No object and no language can return someone to a first place, apparently, except through an illusion of travel that only the fetish can sometimes supply. Perhaps this is why gender—alongside the terms of gender, which heap value and fetishistic authority on the contrast between “things” and “nothings,” between the presence and absence of anatomical parts on the human body—becomes the site of such great contest and debate. For to solve the problem of gender difference would be to solve the puzzle of origins and to have access to those first words that had not yet encountered occasions calling for their translation. Gender is used as often to confirm as to deny the legitimacy of those origins, and sometimes, as on the Renaissance stage and in Jonson’s Epicoene, in particular, it seems to do both at once.

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Epilogue Pygmalion’s Image and Misanthropoetics in Coda

More discontents I never had Since I was born, then here; Where I have been, and still am sad, In this dull Devon-­shire: Yet justly too I must confesse; I ne’r invented such Ennobled numbers for the Presse, Then where I loath’d so much. —­Robert Herrick, “Discontents in Devon”

The Flight into the Book In the poem written to commemorate his firstborn son who died of the plague at age seven, Ben Jonson lovingly calls the child his “best piece of poetrie” (“On My First Sonne,” 10). The poignancy of the sentiment would seem to lie in the way Jonson—­like the speaker of Shakespeare’s procreation sonnets—­recognizes how woefully short a poem comes as an artistic creation when measured against a child, and how poor a copy it serves of human life. But there is also something vaguely unsettling about the comparison of a child to a poem because of the way it references a favorite English trope by which a male literary effort did in fact double as the generation of offspring in omission of the maternal party, what Katharine Eisaman Maus calls the “Renaissance male appropriation of the womb” (Inwardness, 193). In Astrophil and Stella, Sir Philip Sidney figures the work of writing 173

as the labor of childbirth (1), invoking the “hectoring Muse” as his “midwife” (Maus, Inwardness, 185).1 Spenser, in the dedicatory poem to his Shepheardes Calender, sends his poem anonymously to court as a “child whose parent is vnkent” (“To His Booke,” 2). And Shakespeare’s speaker, for all his initial ambivalence, ultimately (and, rather quickly, in the scheme of the sequence) declares triumph in reproducing his beloved addressee in verse: “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, / So long lives this, and this gives life to thee” (18), where “this” references the poem itself, audaciously styled as a living thing.2 The poet’s solitary act of parthenogenesis, resulting in “this” simulacrum of a beloved made anew and newly immortal, has an equally solitary witness in the reader. The “eyes” and “breath” are not of “men” collectively in a crowd, but of a single person at a single future moment: a reader in a mode of solitary imagination and consumption. The “breath” references the function not of sociable speech but of simple respiration—­the merest sign of life. It is an irony of circumstance that Timon of Athens, as James Kuzner has discussed in the context of A. D. Nuttall’s performance guide to the play, may not have been performed before being printed in the First Folio, which, if true, would make it the only closet drama in Shakespeare’s canon.3 The idea that the most misanthropic exploration of Shakespeare’s theater should arrive to the world first as a text to be read rather than as a play to be performed, suggestively amplifies the capacity of the book to contain and communicate misanthropic retreat, and for Timon’s cave to find a modern analog in the reading chair or the silent library carrel. The fantasy at work here—­of the capacity to create life in isolated circumvention of the world—­is misanthropic in nature, and it has been figured in both literary and intellectual traditions. The Pygmalion story is one such fantasy of male parthenogenesis, positing the capacity of the male artist to engender offspring from an encounter with his own artistic imagination. A similar fantasy exists for the occult philosopher, in the arcana of alchemical science—­again, in solitary communion with the antisocial book—­which holds a secret knowledge about generating a homunculus in the surrogate womb 174 Epilogue

of the Hermetic vessel.4 In writing procreatively and neglecting to ascribe credit for their shared offspring to the wife and mother, Jonson eschews the social dimension of origins, calling his son his (not our) “best piece of poetry.” In this respect, the urge to propagate in isolation, to the extent that it coincides with misanthropic retreat, may be termed a “queer” impulse in that it seeks a “reproductive futurism” that bypasses heteronormative mechanisms,5 embracing instead a world in which, as Melissa Sanchez formulates it, “pregnancy is only one instance of a ‘congealing of agency’ across, inside and outside individual bodies that challenges the gendered, sexual and ontological hierarchies that modern thought takes for granted.”6 In any case, the scene prior to the solution of spontaneous poetic generation is an anterior isolation, motivated perhaps (again, like Pygmalion) by the detection of an insufficiency in the populated world that disappoints and repulses. Perhaps for Jonson the flawed world is one without the ability to save a child from the plague; or perhaps the flaw lies with the father unable to save his own human child, who is vulnerable in a way that the printed poem is not. Though his motivation is more mundane, Robert Herrick confirms, in the epigraph to this epilogue, the way discontent serves in some manner as a spur to poetic productivity. His clerical post in Devonshire yields a boredom sufficient to produce his “ennobled numbers,” or the religious “Noble Numbers” published alongside the more secular and erotic poems of the Hesperides. If discontent proves a reliable ingredient of art, how readily might one associate being a writer for the stage or for the press with an expression or negotiation of, or escape from, discontent! Indeed, while this book has focused primarily on stage misanthropes and also on a central moment where the misanthrope was found to occupy the intersection of topical history and metaphysical allegory in Spenser’s experiment with Timias in The Faerie Queene, a casual survey of “press” poetry—­ emerging from a coterie manuscript tradition into a newly formed and growing, permanent national literature from the late sixteenth into the seventeenth century7—­yields a surprising abundance of misEpilogue  175

anthropic expression, especially from those poets writing in extension of the explosion of satirical work that appeared in the 1590s ahead of the Bishops’ Ban of 1599 that forbade this poetry from the press.8 In both the poetry spilling into London from the coterie culture of the Inns of Court and in the sharp-­toothed, lampooning drama that characterized those theatrical installments associated with the war of the theaters, one finds a different kind of misanthropic bitterness being written into experimental genres born out of established classical precedents.9 These genres include the formal verse satire for which John Marston can perhaps claim the dubious distinction of attaining (with his growling, caustic verse) the highest achievement of anyone in his day.10 Marston offers a complex study, however, and a rare occasion of correspondence between genres, because the debut of his satires in print appears as the second part to a book published in 1598, the first part of which was reserved for Marston’s only attempt at a minor epic, The Metamorphosis of Pigmalions Image. In this short narrative poem of thirty-­nine stanzas, Marston recounts the famous story from Ovid in which the artist, disgusted by the loose sexuality and prostitution of the women around him, fashions a woman out of ivory, with whom he then dallies in amorous fantasy. Longing for her animation, Pygmalion prays to Venus, who grants flesh and life to the ivory doll, making it now possible for Pygmalion to sire a child by her (Metamorphoses, 10.243–­97). Because its fantasy centers around a man in lascivious courtship of a doll, expressed in amusingly absurd and borderline pornographic terms, Marston’s epyllion has been evaluated as a parody of more serious forays into that generic form,11 an evaluation that Marston’s larger body of highly satirical work would seem to justify.12 Yet Marston also published a revealing, and unusual, transitional poem to usher a reader between Pigmalions Image and the “Certaine Satyres” that followed it.13 In this poem, called “The Author in Praise of His Pigmalion,” Marston takes a defensive stance against being caught in a misanthropoetic fantasy. Perhaps in response to ridicule 176 Epilogue

his epyllion elicited when circulated in manuscript, or else merely in a preemptive move against criticism he suspected would be forthcoming, Marston writes: Now by the whyps of Epigramatists, Ile not be lasht for my dissembling shifts. And therefore I vse Popelings discipline, Lay ope my faults to Mastigophoros eyne; Censure my selfe, fore others me deride And scoffe at mee, as if I had deni’d Or thought my Poem good, when that I see My lines are froth, my stanzas saplesse be. (c2) Whether or not one wishes to hear Marston’s personal voice in these lines, his poetic persona, embarrassed and aggressive in beating his critics to their merciless critique, himself undergoes a metamorphosis here. The fantasy of the speaker of the epyllion, which involves being able to fashion an idealized piece of art and then find in that work the source of replenishment in the form of progeny, is a fantasy of the male artist and, more specifically, of the parthenogenesis of the male artist. The Pygmalion fantasy involves finding a way to fashion a perfect life and a perfect world, after having found the present world corrupt, through images and forms that can then be populated without the assistance—­and without the intrusion—­of another person whose presence would corrode the artistic vision. But Marston (or his poetic persona) shakes himself from this fantasy and, launching himself with relentless scorn and loathing toward the formal verse satire form, announces his intentions: Thus hauing rail’d against my selfe a while, Ile snarle at those, which doe the world beguile With masked showes. Ye changing Proteans list, And tremble at a barking Satyrist. (c2v) Epilogue  177

Trading in the identity of an erotic narcissist like Pygmalion for that of a “barking Satyrist,” Marston abandons some of the pleasures of poetry for a more malcontented strain of poetic expression. It is difficult to know exactly who is intended by Marston’s reference to the “changing Proteans,” beguilers of the world with their “masked showes,” but they seem to include poets who, unlike Marston, do not realize—­or do not reveal to others—­the fantasy and the inadequacy built into their art. Marston’s deliberate, public rejection of his earliest published work is a complex denunciation, which the presence of satire in the same work only complicates further. But one hears in Marston’s denunciation of his own work the same kind of contemptuous farewell that Timon performs on his way out of Athens. Here, the target of his attack is both the poetry of delusion and fantasy and his own participation in the attempt to find satisfaction in that sort of poetic retreat. The “flight” into the book—­as opposed to the home, in the case of an urban dweller like Morose, to the sea for Pericles, or to the deserted wilds in the case of self-­exiling figures like Timias and Timon—­has excited Marston’s regret and disgust. But his is perhaps a critique of the way poetry is capable of supplying misanthropoetic flight as an alternative to (in Marston’s case) war, or the rhetorical evisceration of a corrupt society. The book of poetry (like a collection of plays, or possibly like a scholarly work) produces a space of ambivalence in a culture that is not sure what it means to invest in and retreat into the activity of either consuming or producing a book. Like the love of a doll of one’s own creation, the love of the book carries its own register of threat, as Leonard Barkan has argued: “At the very least, the love of the book—­worse yet, one’s own book, which raises the prospect of another sexual infraction that is always close to the surface of this subject—­has a fitting relation to a milieu in which unorthodox loves play themselves out” (66). But perhaps unorthodox loves are not always what is precisely at stake, since Pygmalion’s is also an 178 Epilogue

unorthodox hate, an unyielding disgust for the world in which he lives and from which he performs his version of artistic flight. The book has the power to liberate and to excoriate, to inform and to delude, to save and to damn—­thus, the ambivalence toward it. But, when it facilitates misanthropic flight, it also has the power to serve as the cenotaph into which Timon disappears, with only its written epitaph to indicate the missing misanthropic body. It is a surprising and complex problem that a book can replace a tomb, as Jonson claimed it could in the form of the First Folio in his apostrophe to Shakespeare: “Thou art a Moniment, without a tombe, / And art aliue still, while thy Booke doth liue” (“To the Memory,” 22–­23).14 In such a monument, exalted though it may be, the enshrined body is gone. This book has asked the question of the extent to which misanthropoetics is the architecture of such a shrine and serves as the trace of a body that has fled, in one way or another, from the rest of us. English satire certainly existed as a tradition prior to the reign of Elizabeth I, both as an English form and as a recovered genre from classical Rome.15 But the satire that the 1590s engendered in Marston and others, and the new tradition it fueled well into the seventeenth century—­in the satirical works of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift, and, in some fashion, in the poetry of exile and social withdrawal of “solitary” John Milton, as Douglas Trevor has called him—­may have had a different motivation than literary emulation.16 It may have developed out of the same causes for misanthropoetic production, mobilized during a historical epoch of explosive literary production and experiment, that the chapters of this book have explored: those ideological contradictions that disrupt social exchange in economic, sexual, gendered, and epistemological terms. While satire is in some ways self-­announcing in its misanthropoetic investigation, lyric poetry could provide an adequate architecture for the sentiments that such a poetics validates. This book looks ahead and ponders the legacy of early modern misanthropoetics for more modern literary expression, including particularly that of the Romantics. Epilogue  179

Female Misanthropoetics The earliest plan for this book, which focused on social flight, included a chapter on Florimell, a literal fleer of men, chased for her beauty in The Faerie Queene. But it became clear as the book was taking shape that her technical condition of misanthropy was truly different from that of the other misanthropes emerging to view—­all male—­given her unwavering focus on Marinell and on marriage as the desired destination of her flight. With her departure from the book’s plan, the problem of female misanthropy became even more pronounced as a void space, both conceptually and characterologically, in the period’s literature.17 Perhaps owing to a blind spot that keeps them invisible, clear examples of female commitments to total misanthropic retreat are either exceedingly rare or nonexistent in Renaissance literature. Perhaps they simply must be recognized in very different forms of expression than those observed in their male cousins here. Such is perhaps the work of another book by an investigator with a better eye. It is nonetheless tempting to seek a candidate for female misanthropy in the figure of the mystical old hag, for example, or the witch from romance epic and drama, such as the missing Sycorax from The Tempest; or in the woman retreating into cloister, perhaps, such as Pericles’s wife Thaisa, the Abbess from Comedy of Errors, or Isabella from Measure for Measure;18 in the woman in social withdrawal by way of bitter bereavement and protest, such as Richard III’s Margaret or Hermione in The Winter’s Tale; in the woman opting for male disguise before returning to a world symbolically abandoned, such as Viola/Cesario in Twelfth Night or Cordelia when she is imagined to inhabit secretly the role of Lear’s Fool; in the woman metamorphosed and speciated, as is Spenser’s Adicia when she becomes an emblem of pure allegorical rage; or in Milton’s resentful Eve, created dubiously for obedience.19 Yet any of these would have to inhabit a role of misanthropy under deep cover, far from the plain view of a figure like Timon with his open declaration: “I am Misanthropos and hate mankind” (3.4.53). 180 Epilogue

The omission of female characters and voices as central conveyors of misanthropoetics surely does not suggest the lack of appreciable cause for such a response or embodiment that could compare with the irresolution that male characters experience and that male voices articulate. But the Renaissance imaginary does not seem to afford the space to explore total female retreat and revulsion of the kind it does for male counterparts. The reasons are clearly complex but elude this book’s study by existing outside the parameters by which it is belatedly discovered to be bound. In searching for a way out, one might begin with Natasha Korda’s Labors Lost (2011), which recovers how women have been hidden by obscurity within the industry of the early modern theater, or Wendy Wall’s books on domesticity and kitchens, to examine conditions of female life sometimes imagined onstage and elsewhere but under-­theorized because harder to access as the subject of “literature.” In her book on the early modern kitchen, for example, Wall reads recipes as registering “the creative, intellectual, and social exchanges of those in the early modern household who were negotiating ‘life on the ground,’ those people trying to make sense of their worlds” (Recipes, xii).20 It is not hard to imagine—­as Timon does in serving his guests bowls of warm water—­kitchen recipes that preserve in some fashion a conceptual irresolution of the home that could spur a misanthropoetic response.21 Although Misanthropoetics does not accomplish the work of accessing female misanthropy as a conceptual availability, the premise of the book may nonetheless still prove to have utility toward future engagements in special respect of gender. Certainly as women writers start to become more central to the industry of literary production by the end of the seventeenth century and beyond, with greater input and cultural celebrity in the centuries following the Restoration, their contribution to imagining female experiences of paradox grows ever clearer. That great misanthropic creature of Frankenstein, after all, is the literary experiment of a woman.

Epilogue  181

Notes

Introduction 1. For an early example of the well-­established tradition of the malcontent “type,” see Stoll’s 1906 article “Shakspere, Marston, and the Malcontent Type.” 2. The tolerance for misanthropes across literary genres aligns misanthropoetics to other literary modes, such as the pastoral as Alpers has described that mode’s promiscuity with respect to genre; see his What Is Pastoral? 3. For an apt meditation on silence in Brecht and modern performance theory, see Lunberry’s “‘(silence)’: Scripting [It], Staging [It] on the Page, for the Stage.” 4. Paster, “Comedy of Limitation,” 68. 5. Commedia dell’arte is a useful place to begin thinking about stage types, in general, but also about those characters who qualify specifically as malcontents, and for seeing their usually functional place within the larger goals of theatrical production. If stock figures in the commedia—­like “Il Capitano,” “Pulcinella,” or “Roberto” (a miserly version of the “Pantalone”)—­are examples of stage malcontents presenting no formal difficulties to the fictions they inhabit, they help anchor one side of a continuum extending in the other direction toward more mimetic and hence psychological experiments of malcontentedness (like the revenger figure or the villain) and ultimately to the extremity of “true” misanthropic representation. Commedia dell’arte, with its mannerist formulas, helped define the drama of late Renaissance Italy and therefore might be argued to occupy a position historically counterpart to the satirical forms that defined late Renaissance literature in England. The commedia may share with English satire the function of steering literary strategies away from the representational challenges posed by more invested engagements with social discontent. For an actor’s guide to the stock characters and stage conventions of the commedia, see Rudlin, Commedia dell’Arte; see also Oreglia, Commedia. On the development of the commedia in Italy and its relationship to mannerism, see Castagno, Early Commedia. On the influence of the commedia on the English stage, see Lea, Italian Popular Comedy, vol. 2.

183

6. The full entry for “misanthropy” in Phillips’s New World of English Words: Or a General Dictionary (1663) is “a man-­hating, a flying the company of men.” 7. The term “misanthrope” is sometimes used loosely to identify anyone who expresses a strong feeling of discontent with the social order and who shirks social responsibility as a result, and therefore this term tends to get diluted down to proving synonymous, by turns, with the “curmudgeon,” “cynic,” “melancholic,” “narcissist,” and the like. Thus, Konstan can claim in his article “Dramatic History of Misanthropes” that “Molière is the first, so far as I know, to have made the misanthrope a lover” (113), even as the lover quality Konstan correctly identifies in Molière’s Alceste might directly disqualify him as a misanthrope. The definition employed in this book rejects broader application of the term precisely because most malcontents more broadly defined are highly social beings, dependent upon and nourished by their exchanges with others, even when negative. Such figures pose no difficulty to literary form, which is masterful at representing social encounter, though it is nonetheless stymied by the prospect of representing the true misanthrope, who seeks the total absence of sociability. For a discussion of the various “types” belonging to the malcontent tradition, see Babb, Elizabethan Malady, 73–­101. For an argument about the specialized place of the misanthrope within a larger malcontent tradition, see Pauls’s dissertation, “Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens,” 147–­98. 8. For early modern notions of inwardness and selfhood, see Maus, Inwardness and the Theater. 9. Various theoretical schools of social struggle that are similar in the way they talk about equity and justice—­such as feminism, cultural materialism, multiculturalism, and sexuality studies—­nonetheless experience crisis moments when put into dialogue with one another when they discover mutual antagonisms despite common ideological ground. 10. See, for example, Barber’s satisfaction about this role of literary experiment, particularly in his reading of Twelfth Night and its gender inversions, in Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy, 245–­47. The “queasiness” that Barber sees averted by such a mechanism of inconsequential, topsy-­turvy release is, for Greenblatt, a mark of the unavoidable containment of theatrical experiment as an ineffectual political venue (Shakespearean Negotiations, 72). For a retrospective account of New Historicism’s development of the subversion-­containment model, see Montrose, Purpose of Playing, especially 8–­16. 11. As is still applicable to today’s rom-­com movie genre, a consumer of entertainment responding to the representational fulfillment of “what you will” or “as you like it” must ultimately negotiate the almost certain failure of such story resolution eventuating in real life. For critical work on this problem in early modern

184  Notes to Pages 3–5

terms, see Cartelli’s formulation of audience fantasy in the theater, Economy of Theatrical Experience, 9–­37. 12. On the function of the theater as an influencer of social power, see the “collaborative debate” waged between Dawson and Yachnin in their Culture of Playgoing in Shakespeare’s England. Yachnin argues for the limited reach of theatrical power into the material conditions of London, but Dawson, who acknowledges that theatrical spectacles can falsely mystify material life, argues also for their shaping influence in social change. See also Yachnin’s fuller, prior accounting of his position in Stage-­Wrights. 13. Isolated enthusiasts for the play have contradicted the general reception. Knight wrote a brilliant, early piece on Timon that has been routinely criticized for glorifying the plight of the misanthrope. See his “Pilgrimage of Hate,” in Wheel of Fire. More recently, Greene has explored a new critical dimension against the standard psychoanalytic and “moral” interrogations that the play has been prone to draw; see her “You Must Eat Men.” There also seems to be a growing critical interest in the play more recently, with a number of new editions of the play commissioned during the 2000s, and perhaps a not unrelated interest in seeing it staged. The Royal Shakespeare Company staged the play in 1999 and again in 2018 (with a 2006 touring production of the complete works). The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington dc produced the play in its 2000 season, and the Folger Theatre produced it in 2017. For a history of early productions, see Williams’s 1920 article “Some Versions of Timon of Athens.” 14. Timon’s status as a collaborative, unfinished play, is legendary. In his introduction to the Oxford Shakespeare individual edition of the play, editor Jowett writes, “Some critics have speculated that Shakespeare abandoned the play before it reached the stage, perhaps in a state of personal or artistic crisis” (1). Jowett argued at the 2001 meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America for critical consensus to shift authorship of the play more squarely to Thomas Middleton and to include it in collections of that playwright’s works, an effort he helped realize with the 2007 publication of Thomas Middleton’s Collected Works, eds. Taylor and Lavagnino. For a rehearsal of the divided loyalties of Timon’s critics on the authorship question and for a reading about why the play’s status has remained only quasi-­canonical throughout the debate, see Newman, “Cultural Capital’s Gold Standard.” 15. Timon was a favorite literary persona in nineteenth-­century debates over the economic reform of nations. The French activist Louis Cormenin, for example—­ whose pamphlet “De la centralisation” Friedrich Engels admired but also criticized in a letter to the Rheinische Zeitung dated 18 September 1842—­published several of his works under the pseudonym “Timon.” Marx’s affinity for Timon of Athens as one of Shakespeare’s most profound accomplishments is legendary. Notes to Pages 6–10  185

Derrida quotes Marx lauding Shakespeare for the economic philosophy articulated in Timon of Athens (4.3.28–­42, 389–­91): “How little connection there is between money, the most general form of property, and personal peculiarity[;] how much they are directly opposed to each other was already known to Shakespeare better than to our theorizing petty bourgeois” (German Ideology, 247–­48; quoted in Specters of Marx, 42). For Engels’s response to Cormenin, see “Centralisation,” 355–­59. 16. Since the appearance of Jameson’s groundbreaking book, and in extension of his work, a number of critics have investigated claims of literature’s complicity in cultural mystification as well as its transgressive power. See in particular Halpern, Poetics of Primitive Accumulation; and Guillory, Cultural Capital. 17. From “Lecture Thirteen,” Metaphysics. See also the continuation of this discussion in “Lecture Fourteen.” Adorno’s original formulation of the limitations placed on poetry after Auschwitz was made in “Cultural Criticism and Society” (“Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft” [1949]): “The more total society becomes, the greater the reification of the mind and the more paradoxical its effort to escape reification on its own. Even the most extreme consciousness of doom threatens to degenerate into idle chatter. Cultural criticism finds itself faced with the final stage of the dialectic of culture and barbarism. To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric. And this corrodes even the knowledge of why it has become impossible to write poetry today” (34). 18. The editor of Adorno’s Metaphysics notes this revocation (179n13). 19. For another version of this revised argument, necessitating testimony in some form as a way of avoiding collusion with the Nazi effort to obliterate this history as part of its genocide, see Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz, especially 80–­82 and 157. 20. Jameson’s book on Adorno, Late Marxism, expresses the psychological limitations of Adorno’s historical cathexis: “What seems to have happened to Adorno, rather, is not merely the fact of Auschwitz—­which, horrifying as it may be to imagine, includes no foolproof guarantee of a response any more than any other atrocity in history, which we can sometimes grasp and sometimes not—­but the peculiar way in which he experienced that fact” (112). This is, of course, not to equate the horrors of Auschwitz or other kinds of genocide or terror with the intellectual, spiritual, and imaginary horror of realizing that one’s beliefs about the world have been destroyed, but it is also important not to underestimate the force of that latter kind of experience. 21. For this celebrated term, see Derrida’s essay “Différance,” in his Margins of Philosophy.

186  Notes to Pages 10–18

1. Models Not to Copy 1. All references to Shakespeare are to the Norton Shakespeare, 3rd ed., except where otherwise noted. 2. See introduction, note 1. 3. Bailey, “Forms of Payback.” 4. Even idealized friendship, Bray has observed, foregrounds the practical nature of its benefit: “The ethics of friendship were a response to the potential for a peaceful life. Its tactfully enabling gestures were a way of negotiating the dangers of divisiveness” (Friend, 137). 5. This is the topmost, undivided category in Hobbes’s schema for knowledge, appearing on the “Table” after chapter 9 of Leviathan, 40. 6. Common knowledge dependent on the folk wisdom of proverbs or adages for expressing the wisdom of counsel routinely valorize contradictory ideas. While this problem may seem superficial, or a tolerable and navigable simplification of more complex reasoning underpinning the transaction of knowledge, it may assault the challenge of epistemology more profoundly. For a discussion of the manner by which the proverbs of the biblical book of Proverbs fail in their correspondence to “reality” and lead to nothing less than a “crisis of faith,” see Van Leeuwen, “Wealth and Poverty,” 28–­29. 7. In classical history, the sophists are credited with mastering the art of epideixis, or arguing a difficult position convincingly regardless of one’s own convictions. The sophists intellectually occupied a space between the skeptics, on the one hand, who denied the legitimacy of grounded claims, and Plato and (perhaps) Aristotle on the other, for whom ideal truths could not be altered by rhetoric. As this chapter posits, Descartes may be counted among the sophists who occupy this intellectual middle ground. On the conflict between the rhetorical strategies of the sophists and Platonic and Aristotelian “philosophy,” see Wardy, Birth of Rhetoric. 8. For a discussion of the place of unwritten or domestic contracts, or conflicts arising from concepts of household oikonomeia in a world epistemologically bound by humanist education, see Hutson, Usurer’s Daughter. See also Rowe’s attention to the epistemological questions raised when domestic contracts only magnified the inherent “ambidextrousness” of a given party’s interest in the contracted affair (Dead Hands, 86–­110, especially 86–­91). 9. Various critics have understood Timon’s crisis as owing to a misunderstanding of the terms of unwritten social contracts. On flattery as an exchange commodity that, unbeknownst to Timon, wipes the debt of friendship clean, see Skura, Shakespeare the Actor, 195–­202; for Timon as someone who miscalculates the imbrications of friendship and material economies, see Soellner, Timon of Athens, 64–­82. Notes to Pages 19–24  187

10. Alan Sheridan, translator of Lacan’s Écrits, notes that Lacan and Hegel both separately explore this duality of terms of “knowledge.” For Lacan, connaissance “belongs to the imaginary register, while savoir belongs to the symbolic register” (“Translator’s Note,” x). For Hegel, Wissen means “knowledge” and Kenntnis means “information, acquaintance” (Hegel, “Glossary,” in Lectures, 527, 531). 11. For a technical discussion and summary of the professional literature surrounding the “trouble” with Descartes’s cogito, which “is as obscure on examination as it is compelling at first glance” (72), see Curley, Descartes against the Skeptics, 70–­95; see also Judovitz, Subjectivity and Representation in Descartes, 159–­73. 12. The intellectual pretense of the fictional Pierre Menard, who “rewrites” chapters of Don Quixote without deviating from Cervantes’s original language, is Borges’s absurdist meditation on this key problem for Western subjectivity (“Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” in Labyrinths, 36–­44). 13. While Descartes’s cogito was notably unoriginal in its day, having been explicitly set forth already by Augustine, for example, Descartes defended his finding as original based on the specific value he attached to it: “I do indeed find that [Augustine] does use it to prove the certainty of our existence. He goes on to show that there is a certain likeness of the Trinity in us, in that we exist, we know that we exist, and we love the existence and the knowledge we have. I, on the other hand, use the argument to show that this I that is thinking is an immaterial substance with no bodily element. These are two very different things;” quoted in Marion, On Descartes’ Metaphysical Prism, 131. The quotation is from a letter to Andreas Colvius, dated November 14, 1640, translated in Philosophical Writings of Descartes, eds. Cottingham, Stoothof, and Murdoch, 3:159. 14. Rorty, “Habermas and Lyotard on Postmodernity,” 172; quoted in Engle, Shakespearean Pragmatism, 10; see also Blumenberg, Legitimacy of the Modern Age, 184. Dewey (much earlier than Rorty) also called Bacon “the prophet of a pragmatic conception of knowledge” (38); quoted in Thayer, Meaning and Action, 5. For a fuller account of the “demonization” of Descartes as an originary corrupter of modern metaphysics, see Maisano’s cogent analysis and summary in “Descartes avec Milton,” especially 23–­26. 15. Heidegger has helped establish the contemporary emphasis on Descartes’s role in inaugurating Western notions of subjectivity and their lasting legacy for modernity. For a series of essays that proffer a critique of this summary, see the volume edited by Cadava, Connor, and Nancy, Who Comes after the Subject? See, especially, Balibar’s “Citizen Subject,” which pays careful attention to the slippages in linguistic historiography that falsely confer “subjectivity” back into Descartes’s Meditations; see Balibar also for a couching of Heidegger’s claims, along with the Derrida interview from this volume, “Eating Well.” Balibar revisits and narrows his argument in “Subjection and Subjectivation.”

188  Notes to Pages 25–31

16. Contemporary performance theory inherits, and necessarily modifies, the work of social anthropologist Erving Goffman, who explored this set of questions with brilliance and also some regrettable prejudice in the 1950s, in Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. 17. For Spinoza’s adjustment of Descartes’s cogito, embedded within his fervent support of it, see the beginning of his Principles of Descartes’ Philosophy, especially 14–­15. 18. The first-­person pronouns of the cogito help fix the false dependence of thought on existence by linking them to a common constant “I”; the irreducibility of the cogito could be profitably retested (and denied) with a more neutral rephrasing: “Something might be thinking, therefore something (else) might exist.” It is simply unclear to skeptical philosophy what, if anything, is thinking or existing in a first-­person pronouncement of the Cartesian formula. On this and other Cartesian weaknesses, see Kofman’s “Descartes Entrapped.” 19. The medieval tradition of contemptus mundi is reliably formulaic in its satirical pattern. For perhaps the most representative example of such a work, and also the most accomplished, see the twelfth-­century De contemptu mundi, by Bernard of Cluny (elsewhere Bernard of Morlaix). For a late installment closer to the Renaissance tradition, see Erasmus’s work of the same name. 20. For Marx’s phrase, see the letter dated September 1843, to Arnold Ruge, collected under this name in Marx-­Engels Reader, 12–­15. 21. Soellner reads this exchange as having a similarly negative inflection, calling it “casually ominous” (Pessimistic Tragedy, 3). But while Soellner is invested in seeing the aging of the world as the carrier of threat here, he implicitly seems to identify the tension between originality and cliché as a key obstacle to establishing cultural value. 22. See Greene, Light in Troy; and White, Plagiarism and Imitation. See also Kewes, Plagiarism in Early Modern England, a collection of essays that revisits—­and partly revises—­the history tracing the development of Renaissance attitudes about plagiarism. 23. To say Timon engages in Cartesian skepticism in order to derive Cartesian subjectivity is anachronistic, as William Hamlin underscores: “While it may be true that Shakespeare anticipates the hyperbolic doubt of Descartes, . . . the forms of philosophical skepticism to which Shakespeare and Marlowe could have been exposed were principally those derived from the Pyrrhonian and Academic orientations of antiquity” (145). Even without a direct chronological influence, it is still possible to connect Descartes and Shakespeare in a common teleology of a Renaissance history of ideas. See Hamlin’s Tragedy and Scepticism in Shakespeare’s England. Notes to Pages 32–37  189

24. For Jackson, this removal of contingent factors might be expressed as a rejection of “exchange” and its concomitant dynamism in favor of the irreversible moment in which Timon’s “gift” can be given absolutely. What Jackson sees as Timon’s deeply religious core is argued here much less charitably as Timon’s delusions about secular subjectivity, fueled by a wish not for God, or “the infinite,” as Knight has proposed (in an essay pivotal for Jackson), but for cultural authority and clout. 25. The Riverside Shakespeare is conspicuous in advancing this view, but the Arden editor (Oliver), in a revealing defense of the play as “not merely an inferior King Lear” (xli), also brings this resonance home. Charney traces this traditional comparison to Coleridge, who found Timon (in his Shakespearean Criticism) to be “a Lear of the satirical drama, a Lear of domestic or ordinary life . . . a Lear, therefore, without its soul-­scorching flashes, its ear-­cleaving thunder claps, its meteoric splendours” (“Coriolanus and Timon of Athens,” 306). Charney’s reception history of the play, chronicling the numerous efforts by a variety of critics to contradict the dismissal of Timon as unfinished or artistically inferior, is testament to the entrenched status of the original detraction. 26. See Oliver’s section “Inconsistencies and Loose Ends” in his introduction to the play, xiv–­xvi. Kermode, in his own introduction, also notes that “Shakespeare had clearly not made up his mind about the value of the Athenian talent. He uses different values inconsistently” (Riverside Shakespeare, 1442). 27. Much has been made of metaphors of eating in the play, and the method by which Timon himself is eaten. See Chorost, “Biological Finance”; Morse, “Unfit for Human Consumption”; and Ross, “What a Number of Men.” See also Greene’s remarkable analysis of eating as a sexual metaphor in the play, “You Must Eat Men.” 28. Lucian, 32–­33; this English translation of Lucian (by Fowler and Fowler) is quoted in appendix C of the Arden edition of the play. No English translation of the dialogue is known to have existed until that of Thomas Heywood, written in heroic couplets and published in a hefty volume with translations of other Lucian dialogues along with translated dialogues by Textor (i.e., Jean Tixier de Ravisi), and Erasmus, short dramas, forty-­six emblems, speeches, funeral elegies, epitaphs, and translations of Italian and Latin epigrams; in Pleasant Dialogves and Dramma’s (1637). 29. The two cut lines (restored in the New Oxford text), which some have construed to be a third epitaph, written in a language the soldier can read, are: “Timon is dead, who hath outstretched his span. / Some beast read this; there does not live a man” (5.4.3–­4). Rather than an epitaph, the Norton third edition calls this “a notice of some kind” (5.4.n1). For a consideration of the lines’ potential as a third epitaph, see Oliver’s note in the Arden edition.

190  Notes to Pages 37–41

30. The editor of the Riverside, noting the contradiction of the two epitaphs, suggests that “Shakespeare would certainly have deleted or revised in a final version” (1474), and Arden’s editor concurs: “There seems little doubt that Shakespeare copied down from North’s Plutarch two epitaphs, each in a couplet, meaning to omit one or the other (probably the first) in revision” (139–­40). 31. As is frequently noted, Timon of Athens was apparently a late addition to the First Folio, taking the original place in the print run of Troilus and Cressida, whose copyright came under last-­minute arbitration. The Arden editor (Oliver) recites the history and a sufficient bibliography for the issue on page xiii and in the first note of his introduction. For a more recent meditation on Troilus and Cressida’s murky printing history as it relates to Timon’s appearance in the First Folio, see Jensen, “Textual Politics of Troilus and Cressida.” 32. And, indeed, epigrammatic verses that might be chiseled on tombstones were, in Jacobean England, generally limited to two lines, both to spare funerary expense in preparing the stones with their limited surface area and as a challenge imposed by the form on a poet’s skill. For an excellent introduction to the English epitaph as a historical, political, and theoretical literary form of the later Renaissance, surviving into the nineteenth century, see Scodel, English Poetic Epitaph. 33. In his “Life of Marcus Antonius,” Plutarch attributes the first two lines to Timon himself and the second to an apparently more familiar epitaph attributed to the poet Callimachus; North, Plutarch’s Lives, 7:169. 34. Although this chapter seeks ways to incorporate the play’s inconsistencies into a harmonious understanding of its larger fiction, the possibility for treating this play as a single-­or dual-­author draft that had not yet been polished through the process of stage production offers a tentative glimpse at the rough state in which a primary author’s material—­his “foul papers”—­might have arrived into the hands of a theater company before being worked collaboratively into more polished shape. This alternative approach would hold implications for the cult of the single author that some critical work has labored to question; see, especially, Masten, Textual Intercourse. On the other hand, for the suggestion that Timon was both written and performed publicly at least early enough to be parodied in Marston’s Jacke Drums Entertainment, see Billington, “Was Timon of Athens Performed before 1604?” Billington argues, as Jowett does, for Middleton’s coauthorship, based on both topical and circumstantial evidence. 35. In “Freud and the Scene of Writing,” Derrida writes, “Freud first considers writing as a technique subservient to memory, an external, auxiliary technique of psychical memory which is not memory itself ” (221). For the major work establishing Derrida’s critique of Western logocentrism, see his earlier Of Grammatology. 36. This passage is from Butler’s edition of Descartes’s Meditations (Haldane and Ross, 27), different from the source for Descartes cited earlier in this chapter; Notes to Pages 42–45  191

see Butler’s “How Can I Deny,” 7. For a further, deeper discussion of this passage, see, again, Lezra’s Unspeakable Subjects, 102–­13. 37. Quoted in Marion, On Descartes’ Metaphysical Prism, 131. The quotation is from a letter to Andreas Colvius, dated November 14, 1640, translated in Philosophical Writings of Descartes, eds. Cottingham, Stoothof, and Murdoch, 3:159. 38. Indeed, antiquarians themselves were frequently at a loss to read the inscriptions they happened to find. In his journal later selectively published in Samuel Purchas’s Purchas His Pilgrimes (1625), Thomas Coryate, the early seventeenth-­ century world traveler from Odcombe, England, records such an experience at what he believed were the ruins of Troy: “In our iourney to the Pallace, wee found certaine faire peeces of stone, as curiously carued and wrought with exquisite borders and workes as euer I saw. In one great peece, but broken, I found an inscription, which what it ment I could not deuise, it was written in Latine characters, viz. the word Numinid: likewise after I found a stately peece of white Marble of some foure foot long, and two foot broad, on the which was a very ancient inscription in Latine words written with capitall Letters, but they are such exoticke characters, and so worne out with antiquitie, that neither I my selfe, nor any else of my whole Company could perfectly read it” (“Master,” 1815). Elsewhere in the same record, Coryate humorously demonstrates that conclusions can be drawn despite such limitations: “It grieued me to the heart that I could not learne either by inscriptions, or any other meanes, whose Monuments these were: for it is vaine to be induced by coniectures, to say they were these or these mans; onely I hope no man will taxe me of a rash opinion, if I beleeue one of them might just be the Monument of King Ilus, the enlarger of the Citie of Troy” (1813–­14). For a history of English travelers to Greece and the Levant, and for the commentary they generated, see Rice, “Early English Travelers.” 39. Cyriacus of Ancona, an Italian merchant who lived from roughly 1391 to 1455, is famously one of the first collectors of Greek and Latin inscriptions off monuments and reliefs that he would sketch and record in the notebooks from his travels. See Bodnar and Mitchell for a critical edition of a single year’s material from Cyriacus’s collected “commentaria,” in untranslated Latin and Greek, including reproductions of twenty-­four of his sketches and inscriptions. For evidence of English antiquarianism in the period of the sort that would have included sketches or descriptions of Greek and Roman sarcophagi and memorials, see Rice, “Early English Travelers”; and, for a historical survey of British voyages to Crete and the development of antiquarian methods, see Huxley, Cretan Quests. Henry Turner has analyzed the novel aspects of antiquarianism and chorography occurring about and within English borders during this period, pitting its tinge of dilettantism against satirical treatments of it and also against

192  Notes to Pages 46–48

more conservative traditions of chronicling national history; see his “Nashe’s Red Herring.” 40. The child’s toy that fascinated Freud is actually a modern variation of an implement that has a long history in classical and medieval pedagogy and record-­ keeping. Because its surface could be smoothed clean with a thumb or heated stylus, the wax tablet, when not employed for school exercises or as a notebook, was primarily intended for a first composition, or draft, of a legal document, for example, or poetic verse, which could then after inspection be carefully copied onto more expensive and more permanent writing surfaces like papyrus or vellum. See Brown, “Role of the Wax Tablet”; and Rouse and Rouse’s two essays, “Wax Tablets” and “Vocabulary of Wax Tablets.” 41. Collins has written about Venice’s wish during the sixteenth century to secure its place as the “daughter of Rome” by means of epigraphic evidence, though its hopes were dashed by a diligent scholar and Florentine, Vincenzo Borghini. The city of Viterbo, in contrast, reveled in the falsified epigraphic scholarship connecting it to Egyptian origins. Annius, the Dominican friar responsible for fabricating these origins, used a technique that connected cities to historical personages based on likenesses in their names—­a technique interestingly called aequivocatio. See Collins, “Renaissance Epigraphy,” 59–­61. As note 10 of Collins’s article cites, Ligota analyzes the concept of aequivocatio as a factor in epigraphic analysis; see his “Annius of Viterbo and Historical Method.” 42. The playwright could have learned this ancient Roman practice, as punishment for a defeated or humiliated army or populace, from its description in Plutarch’s Life of Crassus, in which Crassus punishes his own army with decimation for their cowardice: “Hereupon Crassus was grievously offended with Mummius [who had acted against his orders], and receiving his soldiers that fled [and in fleeing abandoned their armor and weapons], gave them other armor and weapons, but yet upon sureties that they should keep them better thenceforth than they had before done. Now Crassus of the five hundred that were in the first ranks, and that first fled, them he divided into fifty times ten, and out of every one of those he put one of them to death as the lot fell out, renewing again the ancient discipline of the Romans to punish cowardly soldiers, which of long time before had not been put in use” (North, Plutarch’s Lives, 4:405). 43. “Shakespeare, Scrooge of Stratford,” New Statesman, March 26, 2001, 30–­31. 44. From the mock encomniastic praise of “N.T.” in his prefatory verse to Coryates Crambe, a follow-­up publication to Coryate’s widely successful Crudities, both published in 1611. 45. On the satirical uses of nonsense language as spoken by the colonial “other,” see Brady, “Hubbub and Satire.” 46. This is part of the title to the 1616 collection of letters. Notes to Pages 48–53  193

47. In his article “Field of Bones,” about the location of Coryate’s remains in India, Nicholl reports that the shoes were apparently still hanging in Odcombe’s parish into the eighteenth century. 48. One of the “encomiastic verses” written for Coryats Crambe (b1) begins in homage to the man’s shoes. After recalling the events related by Coryate in his Crudities, it asks, “If this be so, what’s then the newes? / Onely the story of his shoes. / O shoes, no shoes, but monstrous leather, / Inchanted aganst winde and weather! / Not made of any common hide, / But of one necromantiside / Of some Oxe-­hide in Styx long drenched, / Or that had some Granada quenched. / At least (of lice he was so full) / Of some rebellious Irish Bull. / Or if that their Antiquitie / Require a further pedegree; / Perchance (they were so louing fellowes) / That they were made of Vulcan’s bellowes. / Or of that leather bag I find in / Homer, Vlysses kept the wind in” (b1). 49. Melnikoff invests in the cousin figure of “Marlowe’s socks,” arguing that Richard Jones’s 1590 publication of Tamburlaine purges the play of the classical socks associated with comedy, investing rather in the buskins of tragedy and thereby evacuating the play of its more jocular scenes and memorializing it in print as a high-­minded tragedy. Marlowe’s early death in 1594 would leave the question of his empty or missing “socks” very real in terms of his literary reception and posterity. See Melnikoff, “Jones’s Pen and Marlowe’s Socks.” 2. Midas’s Food 1. All references to Shakespeare are to the Norton Shakespeare, 3rd edition, unless otherwise noted. 2. Jeremy Lopez contrasts the “essentially unrepresentable” character of incest against the “uniform and unsettling casualness” with which “it is constantly joked about, leered at, [and] half-­represented” in the period’s drama, “as though it were not hideous at all” (Theatrical Convention, 112). Such ubiquity is consistent with an unspeakable yet open secret. 3. In a remarkably exhaustive article, “Father and the Bride in Shakespeare,” Boose examines the preponderance and significance of father-­daughter pairings in the Shakespeare canon, inclining as they do toward incest. Bueler has also investigated incest as a general stage motif in the period; see her “Structural Uses of Incest.” For work on incest relating to Pericles, specifically, see Thorne, “Pericles and the ‘Incest-­Fertility’ Opposition”; and, on the uses of incest in Pericles’s source, see Donavin, Incest Narratives. On the play’s incest motif as a political metaphor for the Jacobean union of England and Scotland, see Spradley, “Pericles and the Jacobean Family Romance.” 4. Orgel, “Prospero’s Wife,” 63–­64. For the typographical and emendation history behind Orgel’s argument, see also Roberts, “‘Wife’ or ‘Wise.’”

194  Notes to Pages 54–57

5. In Monarchy and Incest in Renaissance England, Boehrer argues for an interdependence between the monarch’s imaginary realm and that of the general population: “Notions of political empowerment rely for their validity upon analogous structures of family relation, and . . . family relations in turn derive their form and pressure from the specular arrangements of political empowerment” (4). Nevertheless, no such mirroring can be perfectly isolated here, especially given the anomalies in the Tudor family arrangement. 6. Conducted around a reading of Measure for Measure as a “dummy” text, Shell’s book End of Kinship argues for the central figuration of incest in a long Judeo-­ Christian tradition. 7. For an example of the easy period connection made between usury and hoarding, see Richard Capel’s 1633 cautionary treatise on temptation, where he warns that covetousness leads naturally to “Vsury, Enclosure, hoarding up of Corne, &c.”; Tentations, 1:143. 8. For examples of the complex motivations driving negotiations of trading rights and privileges, both with overseas companies and domestically, see Bisson, Merchant Adventurers. 9. This term from Marx is conjoined with literary considerations of the period in Halpern, Poetics of Primitive Accumulation. 10. As Paster observes, “Shakespeare plays on the word bond as a tie of fellowship between men and as a formal document specifying terms of financial indebtedness here [in Timon of Athens] as in Merchant of Venices” (Idea of the City, 99). 11. Marx uses this phrase to denigrate the work of John Stuart Mill, whose economic project, Marx implied, was to explain how capitalism is not based on exploitation; from Marx’s “Author’s Preface” Capital, 2nd ed., 20. 12. See Maus’s introduction to the play in the Norton Shakespeare, 1327–­35. 13. Shapiro argues provocatively for an overdetermined site of value in the Renaissance imagination where castration, Jewish circumcision, and the ritual extraction of “flesh” from kidnapped victims all overlap (Shakespeare and the Jews, 113–­30). Both the Norton Shakespeare and Partridge (Shakespeare’s Bawdy, 192) annotate this central pun. 14. For an elaboration of this reading, see Ephraim, Reading the Jewish Woman, 133–­51. 15. See Ephraim, Reading the Jewish Woman, 133–­51; for the incest economy at work for both Shakespeare and Marlowe, see Charney, “Jessica’s Turquoise Ring.” 16. See 1:9, 1257b of the Politics, in Basic Works of Aristotle, 1139. 17. Marx discusses Aristotle’s opposition of the terms “Economic”—­which the editor of Aristotle’s Basic Works explains pertains to exchange for “the necessaries of life and nothing more” (1138)—­and “Chrematistic,” which pertains to the art of making money for its own sake, or capital investment and accumulation. See Notes to Pages 58–66  195

the sixth footnote from the beginning of the section of Capital entitled “General Formula for Capital” in vol. 1, part 2, chapter 4. In the edition cited here, the footnote is on 170. For Aristotle’s word “chrematistikos,” see the Politics 1:9, 1257b. 18. The extant textual history of the story of Midas, following Aristotle’s reference to it, begins with Ovid’s Metamorphoses, 11.85–­193, where there is no mention of the king’s daughter. Lyly introduces this daughter, Sophronia, for the first time in his post-­Armada play, Midas, which was acted before Queen Elizabeth by the Children of Paul’s on Twelfth Night, 1592. The first well-­known version of the story to figure the daughter’s petrifaction as the supplanting climax of Midas’s misfortune is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Golden Touch” from his 1852 collection of children’s stories, A Wonder-­Book for Girls and Boys. There, Hawthorne’s narrator claims to invent the daughter “whom nobody but myself ever heard of,” naming her Marygold and placing her in a suggestive economy of value: “But, the more Midas loved his daughter, the more did he desire and seek for wealth” (40). For other medieval and Renaissance uses of one or both parts of the Midas story (the story of his golden touch and that of his acquisition of ass’s ears on proving a foolish judge), see Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s retelling (951–­76); the first episode of the fifth book of Gower’s Confessio Amantis, 5.141–­427; and “Le jugement Midas” in Christine de Pizan’s Epistre Othea. Geffrey Whitney’s portrayal of Midas as the emblematic figure of perverse justice (“peruersa iudicia”) in the first English emblem book, A Choice of Emblemes, 218, offers contrast to the emblem for “Midas” as a figure both rich and poor (“diusque miserque”) designed by Covarrubias and described in his entry for “Midas” in the Suplemento al tesoro de la lengua española castellana, 386–­87, CLXIII. Erasmus’s dedicatory letter to the fourth poem of his Epigrammata associates Midas proverbially with stupidity as do the poems numbered 21 and 22 in the Collected Works of Erasmus (see Poems). Poem 96 in the same volume figures Midas as destroyed by money, and, following the news of Thomas More’s execution, Erasmus has been credited with writing two lines of mock-­epideictic (numbered 144 under the section heading “Poems Dubiously Ascribed to Erasmus”) summarizing Henry VIII as a combination of Midas and Nero. Thomas Heywood’s Loves Maistresse: Or, the Queens Masque (1636) dramatizes Midas’s incompetence as a judge and his acquisition of ass’s ears. George Sandys’s Ovid’s Metamorphosis Englished, Mythologiz’d, and Represented in Figures (1632) offers a further rendition. For examples of later appearances of the Midas myth, see Thomas De Quincey’s allusion to it in Confessions of an English Opium-­Eater, 68; and Mary Shelley’s closet drama, Midas, unpublished until 1922. In Midas, a remarkably erudite study to which this note is partially indebted, Thiel calls the Midas myth a “Doppelmythe” (“double-­myth”), captured in the two-­personed “Midas aureus / Midas auritus,” or Golden Midas / Long-eared Midas (145,

196  Note to Page 66

161–­68). This dual-­personage, for Thiel, also signals the dual-­reading of the myth which either receives Midas as a prodigious buffoon or else endows him with an everyman quality whose fated suffering is pitiable. 19. Critics have long challenged the underscoring of difference between Shylock and the Christian merchants, though airing such a challenge in the classroom always produces a fresh response. See, especially, Cohen’s classic article, “Possibilities of Historical Criticism”; Halpern’s theoretical and historical survey of the critical reception of the Jew as a figure for the play in Shakespeare among the Moderns, 159–­226; Shapiro, “Which Is the Merchant Here”; Cartelli, “Shakespeare’s Merchant, Marlowe’s Jew”; and Freinkel, “Veil of Glory.” 20. See also Leinwand’s observation that “while one certainly might have been victimized by a usurer, it is probably more likely that one would have been enabled by a creditor” (Theatre, Finance, and Society, 42). 21. Merchant-­retailers, because they served as middlemen, were also criticized for earning profits that were not felt to have been earned through sufficiently hard work. The Lawyer in Thomas Wilson’s Discourse upon Usury calls these middlemen “hucksters, or chapmen of choyse, who, retayling small wares, are not able to better their owne estate but with falsehode, lying and perjurye.” For this lawyer, the “merchaunt adventurer” was the only honorable entity in commercial affairs because of “hys hardye adventurynge upon the seas,” which proved his right to market earnings, and also for his “royall and noble whole sales, that he makes to dyvers men upon hys retourne, when he bryngeth in our want” (203). 22. The relationship between gold and generativity is clearly vexed: if usurers were felt to make money multiply of its own accord through perverse or “unnatural” means, wealthy patrons could nonetheless give “birth” to an embarrassment of cultural riches through the application of their gold alone. In a chapter aptly entitled “Merchant of Florence,” which is also concerned with the conflict between Renaissance Italian commerce and terms of paternity, patronage, and noblesse, Tylus analyzes Cosimo de’Medici’s selection of Perseus for a sculpture commissioned from Cellini as the due subject for celebrating the Duke’s accomplishment. If behind this myth Perseus’s mother, Danae, flies into exile for having been impregnated by Jupiter in the form of a shower of gold, the taint of that perverse siring is removed by its eventual heroic outcome. As Tylus argues, Cosimo is both the Perseus figure—­the heroic child of a banking family infused and “fertilized” with gold—­and also the Jupiter figure capable of showering seed-­bearing gold upon the city’s artists: “‘Impregnated’ by the priceless value of Cosimo’s gold, Cellini, like Danae, will give birth to priceless sons” (Writing and Vulnerability, 36). See also Vickers’s formulation of Cosimo’s patronage as a form of “fathering,” in “Mistress in the Masterpiece.” Notes to Pages 68–69  197

23. For a more historical meditation on similar questions, see Freinkel, “Veil of Glory.” 24. The medieval debate over usury turned on the question of whether all interest lending counted as usury or only that deemed heavy or immoderate—­graves immoderatasve usuras; see Nelson, Idea of Usury, 16. Nelson further records that “moderately latitudinarian constructions steadily exempted novel arrangements, forged by developing business enterprise, from the stigma of usury. By the beginning of the fifteenth century, the [theological and legal] doctors were agreed that increments given on public loans were to be interpreted as compensation for damna et interesse, rather than usura” (24). In his study of the history and morality of interest, Divine explains that “in Roman law, interest (id quod interest) meant the compensation for damage or loss suffered by the creditor resulting from the debtor’s failure to return the loan (itself gratuitous in principle) at the date specified by the contract. . . . Such was the usage until the close of the Middle Ages. ‘Usury’ (Latin usura sometimes also called foenus and in Greek tokos, i.e., ‘issue’ or ‘produce,’ after Aristotle’s designation of ‘breed of barren metal’), on the other hand, signified a payment for the ‘use’ of money itself. . . . Only after the repeal of the prohibition of interest . . . and the establishment of a legal rate, did ‘usury’ receive its present meaning of an exorbitant charge for a money loan or a charge that exceeds the legal rate” (Interest, 3–­4). 25. Bolton takes this example from de Roover’s Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank, 111–­13. For a period description of bills of exchange, see Moryson, “Of the Manner to Exchange Moneys,” in An Itinerary, 275–­81. 26. Metzger has explored this particular problem of difference in the play as one negotiated between the idea of the “unintegrable” Jew, whose difference was considered biological, and the idea of the Jew deliverable to Englishness through religious conversion; see her “Now by My Hood.” 27. In his essay “Of Parents and Children” from the 1625 Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral, Bacon makes a similar valuation of children who discover wealth after their parents have routinely deprived them of money: “The illiberality of parents in allowance towards their children is an harmful error; makes them base; acquaints them with shifts; makes them sort with mean company; and makes them surfeit more when they come to plenty” (352). 28. Freud, On Dreams, 72. 29. Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psycho-­analysis, 192 (emphasis in original). 30. Freud, “The Theme of the Three Caskets,” 111. 31. Partridge generates his definition for line 4.2.8 from Troilus and Cressida. 32. Berger, “Marriage and Mercifixion,” 2. For a discussion of the play with a focus on gift-­giving and the traffic in women, see Newman’s “Portia’s Ring.” The classic critique of this form of political economy is Rubin’s “Traffic in Women.”

198  Notes to Pages 70–77

33. “J’essayerais par une douce conversation de nourrir en mes enfants une vive amitié et bienveillance non feinte en mon endroit. . . . [L]e meilleur acquêt qu’elle [la vieillesse] puisse faire, c’est l’affection et amour des siens: le commandement et la crainte ce ne sont plus ses armes” (Essais, 2.8, 101–­2); “Of the Affection of Fathers,” Complete Essays, 284–­85. 34. In his article “Riddle and Dilemma,” Richard Horwich reopens the question, remembering and responding to C. L. Barber’s irritated assertion that “the notion that [Portia’s song] serves as a signal to warn Bassanio off gold and silver is one of those busy-­body emendations which eliminate the dramatic in seeking to elaborate it. The dramatic point is precisely that there is no signal” (Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy, 174). 35. Sigurd Burckhardt advances this reading of Portia’s psychological compulsion to bondage in “Gentle Bond.” For a contrary view, see Hapgood’s response to Burckhardt, “Gentle Bond,” which sees Portia not as a lover of bondage but as a shrewd handler and careful keeper of the law. 36. The female knight Britomart in Spenser’s Faerie Queene encounters this inevitability in the vision from her father’s closet as she ponders the future husband and the marital “knot” in which “her life at last must lincke” (3.2.23). 37. It is not entirely clear where to place Belmont on a map, but Portia measures the distance between her home and Venice at “twenty miles” (3.4.84) which may or may not include the ferry ride (3.4.53–­54). 38. Masten has noticed a slightly different psychological process with strikingly similar ends in Pericles, when the eponymous prince is chosen by Thaisa for husband, but only after being manipulated by a test of her father’s feigned disapproval: “Thaisa is permitted a ‘peremptorie’ desire, but it is one that pre-­empts only the identical wish of her father; patriarchy seems to allow, benevolently, what it in fact demands” (Textual Intercourse, 83). 39. Lupton and Reinhard describe Freud’s understanding of the casket as “boxing womb and tomb up in each other” (157). See their fuller discussion of the casket motif as “the container of an emptiness, a signifier without a signified” (157), in “Motif of the Three Caskets.” 40. In his study of modern critical receptions of the play, Shakespeare among the Moderns, Halpern notes the myriad political and theoretical complexities in reading Shylock as a mere mirror (Judenspiegel) to his Christian counterparts. Indeed, despite clearly signaled similarities between Jews and Christians in the play, the salient difference that finally stands out is the Christian business of concealing self-­interest so that its mechanisms are invisible. In a sense, the mirror roles are reversed here: the Christians are trying to present an image before Shylock that he is urged to adopt as his own ego-­ideal. They punish him for not adopting their ideological portrait as his own reflection, although it is not Notes to Pages 77–84  199

clear they would ever have allowed him to engage in the surreptitious strategies contradicting the portrait’s face. 41. The Norton editors provide this gloss of the silver “drudge” as a “laborer (in coins).” 42. See Cavell, “Avoidance of Love,” especially 63. 43. Alongside the sex trafficking of daughters in which early modern paternity may be structurally implicated, see also Campana’s larger consideration of the commercial industry of trafficking children generally—­children lost, captured, swapped, and found—­even apart from sexual service, in “Traffic in Children.” 44. On Pericles’s subconscious compulsion to mirror Antiochus in his activity of incest, see Nevo’s chapter “Perils of Pericles,” in her Shakespeare’s Other Language, 33–­61. 45. Adelman, Suffocating Mothers, 196–­97. 46. Besides Boose, see also Pitcher, “Poet and Taboo.” 47. For Masten’s examination of the play’s preoccupation with paternity and authorship—­a nexus of concerns condensed into the spliced composite “author/ity”—­ see Textual Intercourse, 63–­112. 48. See Dubrow’s analysis of parental loss in Pericles and the “distorted surrogacy” such loss might engender in Shakespeare and Domestic Loss, 189–­93. 49. One might view the decapitation of this daughter’s suitors as the symbolic castration Shylock might have performed on Lorenzo had he prevented Jessica’s elopement, preserving through the act his own vulnerable “stones.” 50. For an excellent reading of Shakespeare’s departure from source material in drawing the “pox” into the scenes involving the brothel, the consequences of which he makes “rife and nauseatingly explicit” (95), see Healy’s “Pericles and the Pox.” 3. Despair and Devotion 1. For a concise version of the historical episode in question, see Sorensen, “Ralegh’s Marriage.” Hamilton rehearses the highlights of the critical discussion of the analogy in his gloss at 4.7.36. See also Gilbert, “Belphoebe’s Misdeeming of Timias”; and English, “Spenser’s Accommodation of Allegory.” For a broader discussion of Elizabeth, Ralegh, and their place in Spenser’s imagination of a larger, political England, see Norbrook, Poetry and Politics, 97–­139, especially 103–­5. 2. All references to The Faerie Queene are to Hamilton, 2nd ed. 3. For broad views of this tradition, see Kennedy, “Hermit’s Role”; and Cooper, “Knight and the Hermit.” 4. Sense 1.1.b for “history” delivers this duality of meaning: “A narration of events, esp. (in later use) professedly true ones; a narrative, a story.”

200  Notes to Pages 85–103

5. The oed provides a special Christian meaning for “history” at sense 3. 6. The three Greek words from the New Testament usually translated into English as “love” are agape (perfect love, theoretically applicable only to God), eros (sexual love), and philia (friendship). By C. S. Lewis’s accounting, there is yet a fourth—­ storge (affection, as for animals or children). This linguistic exegesis, which is polemical and was considered as such as early as Augustine, nonetheless draws on a historical tradition in order to illustrate the telescoping quality of invocations of history. 7. All references to Shakespeare are to the Norton, 3rd ed. 8. In her study of The Faerie Queene, when she discusses the plight of Timias and Belphoebe, Williams invokes the tradition which calls this dichotomous unit concord: “From the first century to the nineteenth the literature of destructive love owes its power to its expression, however distorted or partial, of the enduring truth that in intense personal relationships there is an element of hostility. Concord depends upon both Hate and Love, and though Love must be stronger Hate is the elder, and it was said that love between two persons is born in discord, though it is established in concord” (Spenser’s World of Glass, 109). 9. Yvain delays his scheduled return home to his waiting bride beyond the firm deadline she has set as the moment her love for him would turn to hate (l. 2398). When she sends a bondswoman to return his ring as pawned by a thief not a husband, he loses his wits entirely and becomes for a spell a wild man of the forest (1.2522–­664). Orlando goes mad after a night spent anguishing over the unrequited state of his love and when, by a chance discovery of an inscription left by Medoro on a secluded fountain, Angelica’s rejection of him seems finally clear (23.121–­36). 10. A hermit supplies Yvain with bread and water, inspiring the knight, despite his derangement, to bring venison as a counteroffering to the hermit’s home. There is no hermit who helps Orlando directly in his madness, but hermits appear throughout Ariosto’s poem, usually as reasonably sage and peace-­making agents. A hermit, for example, stops the mortal fight between Orlando and Rinaldo (2.13–­15). 11. The earliest form of debate poetry that involves a damned soul returning to its body to argue the folly of corporeal pleasure in the face of eternal judgment may actually find its roots in classical forms: Seneca’s De remedies fortuitorum is an early debate between reason and passion, for example; see Reed, Irresolution, 3. But the specific body and soul formulation probably owes its origins more directly to Christian doctrine. According to New Testament scripture, as Conlee notes in his anthology Middle English Debate Poetry, “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other” (Gal. 5:16–­17). For this and similar New Testament citations, see Conlee, xxiv–­ Notes to Pages 103–108  201

xxv. See also Ackerman’s discussion of early English versions of the debate as particularly indebted to parochial Christianity in “Debate of the Body.” 12. Although a form of love debate dubbed pastourelle—­in which a male speaker attempts to seduce a country maiden—­already brought the classical association home, Spenser embeds an older medieval form of debate between inhuman entities into his “Februarie” eclogue. On the pastourelle, see Conlee, Middle English Debate Poetry, xxxiv–­xxxvi. On the conversion of Vergil to the messianic “Virgil” and the Christianization of the classical eclogue, see James’s cogent summary in “Dido’s Ear,” 364n10. 13. Reed’s term, included in the title of his study, Middle English Debate Poetry and the Aesthetics of Irresolution, does not (as he himself points out) describe the dominant aesthetic of poetry falling into this well-­established genre. Yet, while a majority of debate poems employ a “vertical” structure, involving “an exchange between a naive persona and an authority with obvious claims to moral superiority,” concluding with the naive party’s “conversion,” the vertical debate, Reed suggests, is “less a contest than a measured exposition,” and therefore not theoretically similar to debates in which the fictionalized participants have relative parity (3–­4). 14. For a good discussion of the “micro-­narrative” of Timias and the other squires in the poem, see Dasenbrock, “Escaping the Squires’ Double Bind.” 15. This figure is known in the critical tradition as “Lust,” (earning an entry under that name in the Spenser Encyclopedia) because of the canto’s Argument, in which Amoret is said to be “rapt by greedie lust,” which has been taken as a nominal identification of her abductor (despite the lowercase “l”). Hamilton begins calling this creature Lust in the gloss to 4.7.6, without direct instruction from Spenser and with a disclaimer in the form of Burrow’s commentary in his book, Edmund Spenser, 46, listed in the gloss to 4.7.5. This chapter joins Burrow’s position in its reference. 16. Oram, “Spenser’s Raleghs” (357) credits Gilbert with an early notice of this parallel in Gilbert’s “Belphoebe’s Misdeeming of Timias.” 17. In chapter 7 of Transforming Desire, Silberman reads this episode, especially through its deployment of Amoret, as heavily focused on corporeality and physical matter (117–­24). 18. For a summary of the “double perspective” this episode generates, not only in the critical reception history but also within the poetic fiction (and its historical referents), see Cheney, Spenser’s Famous Flight, especially 128–­33. 19. In Ariosto, the roles are notably reversed: Angelica becomes enamored of Medoro in the process of nursing his arrow wound (Orlando Furioso, 23.119). In a further complication, Orlando goes mad when he believes he has suffered a wound caused not by Angelica’s love but by her scorn and infidelity (23.128). For the

202  Notes to Pages 108–111

generally observed link to Ariosto, see Hamilton’s notes to 3.5.30, 49. See also Crane, who expands potential source material—­with interesting implications for gender—­to the Old French romance Violette, in “Source for Spenser’s Story.” 20. On the figure of Timias’s love wound as a problem captured in Spenser’s construction of a homonymic binary “hole/whole” (3.5.43), a binary expressing an experience of love as something that completes itself through the generation of an empty, gnawing center, see Berger, “Kidnapped Romance,” especially 228–­35. For a somewhat more contemporary psychological reading by which Belphoebe finds sadistic gratification in her hunt for blood while Timias enjoys masochistically his subjection, see Cavanagh’s Wanton Eyes and Chaste Desires, 131–­38. 21. This threat is modified somewhat by the fact that, as Roche points out, Belphoebe may never know that Amoret is her sister, not merely in this fast-­paced episode but also in the larger fiction of the poem (Kindly Flame, 149). 22. In a post to the Sidney-­Spenser Discussion List, Herron has pointed out that “‘thrilled’ is a common variant of ‘drilled,’ as allows the planting of seeds.” His attention to that word, from Glauce’s address to Britomart about her love-­ sickness for Artegall (“Then doth this wicked euill thee infest,/ And riue with thousand throbs thy thrilled brest” [3.2.32]) bolsters a reading of Belphoebe’s intent to “thrill” Timias and Amoret with her arrows as a process blending, in an emotionally conflicted way, mortal threat with generativity and germination. See “Re: Written at Night.” 23. The apostle Thomas’s demands are explicit in how they make belief contingent on material proof: “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” ( John 20:25). Failing to produce linguistic echoes, however, the overlay suggested here would not pass Shaheen’s criteria for claiming a valid biblical reference; see Biblical References, 51–­57. For a more discursive study of Spenser’s use of biblical material, see Kaske, Spenser and Biblical Poetics. 24. For a historical accommodation of these events, see Montrose, “Elizabethan Subject and the Spenserian Text.” While Montrose offers a compelling narrative of the overlapping of rituals of courtship with those of courtiership under Elizabeth—­a dynamic he calls “Petrarchan politics” (326)—­the act of writing a new historical account of such politics is also, at least in part, a reification in critical language of the cultural conditions purportedly under examination. For a feminist critique of the masculinist motivation behind such historicism, especially as it positions Elizabeth as the quintessential female presence in the period, see Woodbridge’s “Dark Ladies.” 25. For a brief but grounding discussion of the formal Renaissance notion of allegory as a fiction whose outward appearance veils an “esoteric sense, or truth,” Notes to Pages 111–113  203

see Nohrnberg, Analogy, 89–­102, whose primary sources include Boccaccio. Spenser’s own conscious participation in constructing such a formal allegory is famously summarized in his “Letter of the Authors,” addressed to Ralegh and published with the 1590 Faerie Queene (Hamilton, 713–­18). This letter also demonstrates Spenser’s participation in a larger Continental tradition in which letters written to friends or patrons doubled as heuristic keys to the allegorical exegesis of one’s epic poem. See Dante’s “Letter to Can Grande,” for example, available in a Latin-­English edition, Dantis Alagherii Epistolae. See also the letters Tasso wrote to friends debating the formal function of his Gerusalemme liberata, first collected and published in 1587 and available in a recent edition, in Italian (Lettere poetiche). While not a letter, Tasso’s “Allegory of the Poem” (414–­19), appended to his Gerusalemme liberata, is generally credited with having served as the model for Spenser’s “Letter of the Authors.” On this influence, see Brand, “Torquato Tasso,” 228–­32; for theoretical attention to allegory’s place in the epic, see Wofford’s “Gendering Allegory” and Choice of Achilles; on Tasso’s “Allegory,” see Tylus, Writing and Vulnerability, 239n48. 26. Guillory reads this process—­where interpretive preferences align with the material over the immaterial—­as a basic function of allegory itself. Guillory’s reading of the etymology of the word “allegory” reveals its effort “to bring sacred mysteries into the marketplace, to make the ‘displacement’ of the sacred a triumph” (Poetic Authority, 44). Allegory may serve as a vulgarizing force, as Guillory suggests, but not without also serving as a means of bringing the marketplace (agora) into contact with the “sacred,” which Guillory does not trace. 27. Before the investments of New Historicism, Roche challenged any preoccupation with the historical analogy of the Timias and Belphoebe episode, ultimately wagering Spenser’s reputation against it: “Whether Spenser intended Timias to refer to Ralegh or not is hardly the primary question to ask about this episode. A more basic question is: does this episode add something to Spenser’s concepts of chastity and friendship, and is the episode integrated to the figure of Belphoebe? If these questions cannot be answered affirmatively, the episode must be regarded as an artistic flaw” (Kindly Flame, 142). 28. The uprisings in Ireland and their violent suppression, figured in the murder of the Egalitarian Giant and scourge of his followers (5.2.49–­54); the sentencing of Mary, Queen of Scots in the figure of Duessa (5.9.38–­5.10.4); the liberation of the Low Countries from the rule of Philip II of Spain, represented as Arthur freeing the Lady Belge from Geryoneo (5.10.6–­5.11.35); and the poem’s treatment of the French King Henry Burbon (5.11.49–­5.12.25) are examples of direct historical outlets for the poem’s allegory. For a survey of the historical allegory at work elsewhere in the poem, see Hankins, Source and Meaning, 200–­227. For a poem exemplifying Spenser’s willingness to give allegory (in pastoral disguise)

204  Notes to Page 113

completely over to history, with clear political ends in mind, see Colin Clouts Come Home Againe. 29. Dante’s Inferno with its topical references establishes the tradition of historical allegory on which Spenser would have drawn, though Fletcher points out that neither Coleridge nor Erich Auerbach (Dante) accepted The Divine Comedy as true allegory, precisely because of its “arbitrary personal exemplifications” (Coleridge, Miscellaneous Criticism, 150; quoted in Fletcher, Allegory, 10n17). With uncharacteristic evasion, Fletcher himself unearths the question of historical allegory only to till it under, characterizing it as not one of his “chief ” concerns: “Personification and topical allusion. The agency here is of two sorts: the agents are intended either to represent abstract ideas or to represent actual, historical persons. The former will be our chief concern, since they are essential to the mode and are more problematic and permanently important (because less topical) than agents representing contemporary or historical persons” (26). 30. Kinney notices a version of this shift, as well: “In the 1596 Faerie Queene, Spenser is increasingly aware that, even as he attempts to figure forth certain abstract goods . . . , his quest narrative may also speak to (and for) the compromised and contingent morality of the world outside the allegorical text” (Strategies of Poetic Narrative, 84). 31. In Mirror and Veil, O’Connell offers as reason for Spenser’s intensified interest in writing historical allegory an “obsessive desire to celebrate and defend the policies of Elizabeth,” perhaps because of “the pressure of events in the 1590s, perhaps because Vergilian promises remained unfulfilled” (13). For an exhaustive note surveying the body of criticism linking Spenser’s diminished attention to abstract, moral allegory in books 4–­6 to the supposed decline of allegory as a popular generic form at the end of the sixteenth century, see Borris, Allegory and Epic, 253n1. In the face of a formidable tradition, Borris argues that the usual claims about this decline are the result of a “misconception” hatched at the end of the nineteenth century, which therefore cannot account for what happens in Spenser’s poem. 32. In Allegory and Violence, Teskey, too, has discussed the relationship of allegory to potential disjunction in terms of its own etymological “division . . . between discourse and meaning” (10): “No one forgets altogether that there are two sides to the problem of allegory, as there are two parts to the word. Nor is it apparent that a correct approach would try to hold them in balance. They cannot be balanced” (12). 33. Wofford introduces Achilles’s choice and what it means as the interpretive motif of her book Choice of Achilles in her introduction (3–­4). See also her summary of Nagy’s precursory framing of this choice (416n7); or consult Nagy, Best of the Achaeans directly (102). Notes to Page 114  205

34. The obscure and mesmerizing Dürer drawing is entitled Self-­Portrait of the Sick Dürer and is housed at the Kunsthalle, Bremen. The art chosen for Schoenfeldt’s cover, stunning in its contrast to the Dürer, is Doubting Thomas by Hendrick ter Brugghen. 35. Schoenfeldt accounts for the Christological associations of Dürer’s self-­portrait, quoting from Joseph Leo Koerner (Moment of Self-­Portraiture, 179), and he emphasizes the spiritual component of “this deeply physical sense of self ” that his work attempts to identify. Though he is aware of the “conflict” that might grow out of such a fusion of religious iconography and secular physiology, Schoenfeldt downplays this clash as merely local, or “particular,” in scope (2). 36. Perhaps it is also another way of declaring what Montrose has called the reciprocal “historicity of texts” and the “textuality of history,” the latter of which expresses “the unavailability of a full and authentic past, a lived material existence, that has not already been mediated by those surviving texts of the society in question—­ those ‘documents’ that historians construe in their own texts, called ‘histories,’ histories that ineluctably and incompletely construct the ‘History’ to which they offer access” (“Elizabethan Subject,” 305). Following Windelband, White has called this New Historicist premise of reciprocity between the literal and the figural “mutual implicativeness” (Figural Realism, ix). For Windelbrand’s term in German, Zusammengehörigkeit, see “Was Ist Philosophie?” in Präludien, 1:29. 37. The stakes of such a move appear to be high and have spurred an implicit conflict stretching back probably at least to the 1980s between the value of historical attention to materiality and that of theoretical attention to atemporal forms. This circulating conflict was brought into sharp relief and sublime articulation in the area of queer studies by Menon and Goldberg, on the one hand, and Traub on the other, in a debate published in the pages of the pmla; see Menon and Goldberg, “Queering History”; and Traub, “New Unhistoricism in Queer Studies.” 38. On the static nature of time quite apart from one’s inability to imagine one’s future, see Maisano’s fascinating meditation on modern physics and temporality via the chorus named Time in The Winter’s Tale, “Now.” 39. Goldberg works out a related theory by which Timias’s place in the episode is deeply textual: “If we recall Timias, who, silent and inscrutable in his transformed and forgotten state, remains nonetheless a text caught in the need for Belphoebe’s word to restore him to himself—­and to her—­we can find a paradigm for this situation, for the text’s relationship to an ‘outside’ of itself, its relationship to ‘another place.’ For, while the episode suggests that ‘another place’ is always another textual situation, it nonetheless does seem to point to an ‘outside’ in another sense, to something ‘outside’ the text that is a nontextual sphere. Its external referent, in most readings of the episode, is the affair of Ralegh and

206  Notes to Pages 115–117

Queen Elizabeth, his disgrace and ultimate pardon. . . . To anticipate what will be demonstrated: this ‘outside,’ as we might by now suppose, is taken ‘inside’; once again, a boundary dissolves when we locate the text” (Endlesse Worke, 123). 40. For a theorization of the relationship between prophecy and history in relation to Spenser, see Fletcher, Prophetic Moment, especially 37–­45. See also Fineman’s understanding of allegory as conjoining history and prophecy—­that is, as “a vivifying archeology of occulted origins and a promissory eschatology of postponed ends” (“Structure of Allegorical Desire,” 30). In his meditative essay that invests in a phonological reading of the beginning of The Canterbury Tales, Fineman plots allegory on a matrix of “spatial and temporal axes” (30). 41. See Hamilton’s gloss to 4.7.40. 42. French and Hale, “Squire of Low Degree,” 725–­26. 43. For thorough summaries of a number of key early anchorite legends, see the remarkably erudite two-­part article by Williams, who detects the precursor for the Christian anchorite in Enkidu from the Gilgamesh epic and also in Esau, Samson, and Elijah (see “Oriental Affinities,” part 1, 4–­56 [190–­242]). The fact that Enkidu brings, among other things, fertility may be a clue to unpacking the rape/lust anxiety built into the Christian anchorite tradition. 44. For the word teleioi, see 59–­60 [429–­30] of Williams, “Oriental Affinities,” part 2, 57–­139 [427–­509]. See also Eisenbaum’s discussion of this term and its implications for the New Testament book of Hebrews: “Perfection (teleiotes, as well its cognates teleioo, teleios, and teleiosis) is one of the author’s [of the New Testament book of Hebrews] favorite terms, and commentators on Hebrews have often found that it provides endless fodder for theological speculation. More recent commentators, however stress that perfection terminology is most commonly used in ancient Greek in a formalistic sense, meaning to complete, to make whole, or, in the words of Aristotle, to bring something to its ‘contemplated end.’ The term appears in so many different contexts in Greek literature—­in discussions of ethics, philosophy, education, and so on—­that its particular connotations can only be determined by the specific context. A few examples illustrate the variety of connotations: When a human being or an animal becomes a fully developed, mature adult, he, she, or it is said to be teleios; an animal ready for sacrifice is teleios; so is any person who is accomplished in a profession; and in ethical philosophy, one can become morally teleios through the practice of virtue. The term teleiosis can be used for the completion of a building, a syllogism, or for the enactment of marriage. The verb is frequently used in the sense of carrying out an action, consummating an event, and fulfilling a prophecy, as well as in all the senses named already” (“Virtue of Suffering,” 342–­43). 45. Williams, “Oriental Affinities,” 95 [465]. Philip Rousseau gives a similar account of Jerome’s actions in Ascetics, Authority, and the Church, 133–­39, though he Notes to Pages 118–120  207

insists inexplicably that “the Life of Paul was not pure fiction. Jerome’s account of Antony’s dream, for example,—­that someone more perfect than himself lived further within the desert,—­rings absolutely true” (133). 46. Achelley, Key of Knowledge, a2r. 47. The painting by Caravaggio chosen for this book’s frontispiece, St. Jerome Writing, captures the paradox if one imagines Jerome engaged there in the act of writing the Life of Paul while he himself lives out the hermetic asceticism epitomized and foregrounded in the fictional biography. Who is Jerome currently being if he consciously invents his own precursory model? And the telescoping challenge redoubles if one considers that Jerome is sainted in the painting, as indicated by the nimbus, while being depicted plausibly in the administrative process of ascribing sainthood to Paul and others as a legitimizing basis for the early Church. 48. These questions similarly are taken up by Philip Rousseau, who generously mediates the problem identified here by suggesting that texts like Jerome’s “helped to create the world they revealed; and the authors regarded not only their interpretations of events but also the literary forms in which it was expressed as the natural culmination of ascetic history. Once again, the pace and pattern of change had encouraged, indeed compelled, those in authority to exercise power and protect their leadership in new ways—­in this case by writing” (Ascetics, Authority, and the Church, 68). 49. In his article “Spenserian Paralysis,” Oram has theorized the threat of stasis facing Redcrosse in this episode and also that facing, among others in the poem, Timias, as a “paralysis motif ” (64). 50. Though it is generally understood that Britomart’s lament takes its “subtext” from Petrarch’s Rima 189 from the Rime Sparse, Wofford has noted that particular sonnet’s lack of a formal “turn” and the inherent conflict such a lack generates for allegory and narrative (see her “Britomart’s Petrarchan Lament,” 36). The lack of a turn is especially evocative of despair because it broadcasts a failure of movement. 51. The dialectic employed here is more about movement than substance, a short-­ circuiting of the mind that has gotten stuck in a looping eddy, through what Levine describes as “collisions” and “rhythms” in her work that at least partially references nineteenth century literature, events that “reroute intention and ideology”; see Forms, 30. For an application of her theory to Renaissance material, see Kerwin’s discernment of similar movement in Jonson, “Motions and Spaces.” 52. Goldberg points out that the voiceless squire has one sure identity as he carves Belphoebe’s name into the trees: “He is a writer” (Endlesse Worke, 50). 53. Desputisoun bitwen Þe Bodi and Þe Soule; see Ackerman’s discussion of this poem in “Debate of the Body and the Soul.”

208  Notes to Pages 121–127

54. To appreciate a medieval European sense of time as simultaneously limited and infinite is no small task, because discussions of “time” as a medieval concept have a philosophically varied and textually obscure history. For an excellent introduction to the matter, see the essays collected by Porro in Medieval Concept of Time. 55. Some debate poetry pursues this latter condition directly, assigning a speaking role not to the soul but to the worms that have begun ingesting the horrified but helpless body. See “Disputation between the Body and the Worms,” in Conlee, Middle English Debate Poetry. 56. The Latin transcription and its translation are both from Bossy, “Medieval Debates of Body and Soul,” 149. 57. Aristotle refutes the premise of Zeno’s paradox in his Physics: “Zeno’s argument makes a false assumption in asserting that it is impossible for a thing to pass over or severally to come in contact with infinite things in a finite time. For there are two senses in which length and time and generally anything continuous are called ‘infinite’: they are called so either in respect of divisibility or in respect of their extremes. So while a thing in a finite time cannot come in contact with things quantitatively infinite, it can come in contact with things infinite in respect of divisibility” (6.2.2). 58. If there existed a smallest atomic unit whose surface area were intelligibly finite, the book’s length would not be infinite, but it would still prove staggeringly large. For a technical illustration of this phenomenon and a mathematical approach to it, see the paper by the mathematician Mandelbrot, “How Long Is the Coast of Britain?” For the historical significance of this article, in general terms, see Gleick, Chaos, 94–­96. 59. Ralegh supplies Casaubon’s Latin: “Dies, hora, momentum, euertendis dominationibus sufficit, quæ adamantinis credebantur radicibus esse fundatæ” (“Preface” a4r; quoted from Casaubon’s “Preface” to Henrico IV, Franciæ & Navarræ Regi Christianissimo, 55). In considering between Ralegh’s histrionic act of writing a massive world history while contending with his own local predicaments, Greenblatt has suggested by way of conclusion that “the grand gesture of projecting the mind beyond the prison walls to embrace the whole history of the world has ended in nothingness; the assertion of human power has turned into a bitter assertion of human emptiness. The bitterness is mingled with a strange, mocking humor, the brittle laughter of a man who has abandoned all faith in human achievement. History itself is no longer possible, and the work simply breaks off, never to be resumed” (Sir Walter Ralegh, 154). 60. Ralegh had, of course, involved himself in writing history—­or at least ethnography—­even before his imprisonment. His record of his travels in Guiana first appeared in Hakluyt’s second edition of his mammoth Principal NavigaNotes to Pages 127–131  209

tions (1599). For a transcription of Ralegh’s text and an extensive introductory essay about its value as an early piece of ethnographic writing, see Whitehead’s edition, Discoverie. 61. In her chapter on a figure rather similar in his fortunes to Ralegh, Lemon qualifies an understanding of the “half-­mad” Earl of Essex storming Elizabeth’s chambers as stemming “not from his overreaching desires but instead from the sudden, violent shift in the Queen’s interpretive practices” (Treason by Words, 51). Lemon’s reading of Essex nicely summarizes the sense discussed here, felt over a decade later by Ralegh—­of having one’s own story embedded in unpredictable ways into a larger, narrative pattern governed by chaos. For a similar theme, see her “Faulty Verdict.” 62. Gleick renders the beginning of Pandulph’s preceding speech, “All form is formless, order orderless” in Morse code: “01 0100 0100 0010 111 010 11 00 000 0010 111 010 11 0100 0 000 000” (King John, 3.1.179; Chaos, 257). This quotation from Shakespeare in binary serves as a loose illustration of how seemingly random local information—­between ones and zeroes—­can prove to render meaningful and even predictable information the further one pulls away from the local event. The unpredictable quality of the local moment nonetheless yields a probabilistic pattern that becomes legible in the broader temporal and scalar circumstance and its longer consideration. In terms of temporality, it is not impossible that Spenser was playing with the fact that Timias’s name gestures phonetically to time, given how temporality is the central crisis of his paralyzing misanthropic retreat from positive choice and deliberate movement. For an astute meditation on Spenser’s engagement with time, relevant especially for the kind of “vacant” time that Timias experiences in the stasis of his misanthropic retreat, see Barrett, “Vacant Time.” 63. Patrides, History of the World, xvi. This poem appears in the unpaginated front matter of the original publication of 1614. 64. In his study of early modern memory, Sullivan reproduces this frontispiece, provocatively observing oblivion’s allegorical opposition to history rather than memory (Memory and Forgetting, 27–­29). 65. Patrides, the modern editor, records: “Significantly, while Ralegh during the trial of 1603 was censured for his alleged ‘heathenish, blasphemous, atheistical, and profane opinions,’ in 1618 he was assured by Sir Edward Montague, the Lord Chief Justice: ‘Your faith hath heretofore been questioned, but I am satisfied you are a good Christian, for your book, which is an admirable work, doth testify as much’” (Ralegh, History of the World, 17–­18). 66. For a book about the occult numerology potentially at work in Spenser’s Faerie Queene, see Fowler’s fascinating if slightly unsettling study, Spenser and the Numbers of Time.

210  Notes to Pages 132–133

67. The full line reads, “How vnfit, and how vnworthy a choice I haue made of myself, to vndertake a worke of this mixture; mine owne reason, though exceeding weake, hath sufficiently resolued me” (Preface, a1r; 45). Although rhetorically and stylistically freighted, the preface foregrounds doubt and debilitation as Ralegh’s premise for managing historical and biographical time. It is difficult not to read Ralegh’s imprisonment as the impetus for his effort to control, in effect, a master narrative of overwhelming scale that contains his own life of comparatively small circumstance.







4. “Put This in Latin for Me” 1. Because of Morose’s misophonia, several recent studies of Epicoene have focused on “the acoustic world” of Jonson’s London, as Smith has styled it; see Curtin, “Dumb Reading”; Stanev, “Ben Jonson’s Eloquent Nonsense”; Foley, “Jonson’s Acoustic-­Oriented Dramaturgy”; and, somewhat more broadly, Wright, “Red Silence.” For a critically thorough and wide-­ranging article that in part considers sound and the spatial arrangement of the home, see Yiu, “Sounding the Space between Men.” 2. See also DiGangi’s discussion of Morose in particular, in Homoerotics, 73–­74. 3. See Shakespeare’s Sonnet 20 and an excellent reading of this and other “cases” of gender and grammar as relating to Jonson’s play in Mann, “Figure of Exchange.” On the misogynist tradition of silent women and their imagined scarcity, see chapter 4, “A Silent Woman Is Hard to Find” in Coronato, Jonson versus Bakhtin, 87-­108. All references to Shakespeare are to the Norton Shakespeare, 3rd ed., unless otherwise noted. 4. There is no shortage of critical work on the role of gender and its ambiguity in Renaissance drama. On theatrical cross-­dressing as a culturally revealing phenomenon, see Orgel’s classic article “Nobody’s Perfect,” reworked and augmented in his book-­length study, Impersonations. For its influence and reach, Orgel’s article is perhaps matched only by that of Howard, “Crossdressing, the Theatre, and Gender Struggle.” For an excellent charting of cultural trends regarding gender in Epicoene and several other plays, see Rackin, “Androgyny, Mimesis, and the Marriage.” A more recent, book-­length examination of similar matters covers more plays in greater depth; see Shapiro, Gender in Play. For a metacritical look at recent attempts to explore gender and sexuality on the Renaissance stage, see Goldberg’s Sodometries, 105–­43. For a more general, historical account of the period’s complicated relationship to gender and gender ambiguity, especially as conceived in the hermaphrodite, see Jones and Stallybrass, “Fetishizing Gender.” Laqueur has written on the place of gender afforded by anatomy and physiology treatises in the period, especially those following the Galenic model, in Making Sex; see also Sawday’s work on Renaissance dissection and dissection metaphors, Notes to Pages 133–135  211











Body Emblazoned. Although not strictly about gender or biological categories of sex, the early modern body has been fruitfully theorized in relation to social operations and material culture, see Paster, Body Embarrassed; and the superb collection of essays edited by Hillman and Mazzio, Body in Parts. 5. See his “When I Acted Young Antinous,” 1007. Barbour’s article on Jonson’s boy-­stocked stage has provided an important foundation for the concerns of the present chapter. 6. For period preoccupations with gender as exacerbated by cross-­dressing on the public stage, see the standard antitheatrical treatises: Stephen Gosson, The School of Abuses (1579) and Playes Confuted in Fiue Actions (1582); Phillip Stubbes, The Anatomie of Abuses (1583); John Rainolds, Th’Overthrow of Stage-­Playes (1599); and William Prynne, Histrio-­mastix: The Players Scourge, or Actors Tragædie (1633). For a discussion of the psychological and ideological source of these antitheatrical rants, see Levine, Men in Women’s Clothing. See also Howard, Stage and Social Struggle, 22–­46. For foundational critical work in this area, see Barish, Antitheatrical Prejudice. The postmodern sociology of nonbinary pronouns and queer identity derives most coherently from transgender visibility and activism. For a pathbreaking socioliterary study, see Halberstam, Female Masculinity (1998). Some relevant modern terms include “transgender” (oed, 1974), “nonconforming,” “nonbinary,” “gender-­expansive,” “cisgender,” (oed, 1997), “gender-­variant,” and “intersex.” 7. Timon’s lack of attention to women has been construed as evidence of a deep misogyny in the play and in any case has been a noted problem in its dramatic and critical history beginning as early as the seventeenth century. As Prendergast notes, Thomas Shadwell’s rewriting of Timon for his Restoration production of the play was motivated, in part, by the original’s “lack of female characters” (207) and the damage this lack seemed to do to the play’s dramatic appeal. On the psychoanalytic significance of Timon’s exclusion of gender to working out its misanthropy, and on the implicit misogyny embedded in that exclusion, see Adelman’s Suffocating Mothers, 165–­92; and Prendergast’s “Unmanly Melancholy.” See also Handelman’s “Rage of Disillusion,” where women are read as fearsome harbingers of loss; and Kahn’s reading of Timon’s seaside tomb as a final embrace of the maternal body and its riches in “Magic of Bounty.” 8. The oed cites 1607 as the earliest adjectival usage of epicene to mean “having characteristics of both sexes, or of neither” (a2a), and it credits Jonson’s play with the first nominalization of the word (b2). 9. In his important work on performative utterances and speech act theory, Austin has called the various inhibitors that may prevent speech acts from achieving their performative aims “infelicities”: “The various ways in which a performative utterance may be unsatisfactory we call, for the sake of a name, the infelicities;

212  Notes to Pages 135–137

and an infelicity arises—­that is to say, the utterance is unhappy—­if certain rules, transparently simple rules, are broken” (“Performative Utterances,” 224). Austin locates those rules in social convention, but he is silent on the question of how divine authority might be felt to overrule speech acts through what one might call absolute knowledge of infelicity, and of how a culture might predicate its own conventions on the struggle to achieve (or conform to) such omniscience. Without making clear gesture to the divine, Wofford nonetheless identifies and characterizes this omission in Austin’s work: “The question of what is the ‘accepted’ procedure and who is the ‘proper’ person to perform it leads into historical obscurity and to a (logically) ever receding origin. . . . The moment of empowerment precedes [Austin’s] theory just as the struggle against disempowerment seems to fall beyond its purview” (“To You I Give Myself,” 152). See also Schalkwyk, Speech and Performance, especially 31–­33. 10. Edelman, Homographesis, 12. In a parallel vein, Foucault has discussed how the illegitimacy of nonheterosexual eroticism when formulated in print—­the legal equivalent of Edelman’s “homographesis”—­makes possible the counterassertion, which before was deprived of a starting point: “There is no question that the appearance in nineteenth-­century psychiatry, jurisprudence, and literature of a whole series of discourses on the species and subspecies of homosexuality, inversion, pederasty, and ‘psychic hermaphrodism’ made possible a strong advance of social controls into this area of ‘perversity’; but it also made possible the formation of a ‘reverse’ discourse: homosexuality began to speak in its own behalf, to demand that its legitimacy or ‘naturality’ be acknowledged, often in the same vocabulary, using the same categories by which it was medically disqualified” (History of Sexuality, 101). 11. In a memorable formulation about the “historical moment” of categorical identity shifts in the late nineteenth century, Foucault has written that “the sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species” (43). The understanding of the Renaissance sodomite as conceptually alien from a modern notion of the homosexual is by now a ubiquitous commonplace in critical inquiries into early modern sexualities, one that is grounded in historical arguments about the development of homosexuality as a category of identity. The sociologist Mary McIntosh launched this historical orientation for investigations of homosexuality in 1968, and her work has since been buttressed by Weeks and, in the work already quoted by Foucault. On this genealogy and for a cornerstone work in Renaissance queer theory, see Bray’s Homosexuality in Renaissance England, 9. 12. On the long-­standing aspersions cast on the monasteries for the sexual conduct they were believed to conceal, and on Henry VIII’s exploitation of such rumors to help manage the dissolution of English monasteries, see Smith—­who is not Notes to Pages 139–141  213

alone in dubbing the relevant set of statutes “Henry’s sodomy law” (45), Homosexual Desire in Shakespeare’s England, especially 41–­47. Stewart chronicles what itself became an enduring tradition of placing schoolmasters under suspicion of erotic engagements with their boy students; see, especially, chapter 3, 84–­121, “Traitors to Boyes Buttockes” in his Close Readers. Because of the groundwork Stewart’s book lays for this chapter’s argument, I return to it more fully in following notes. Though its application to England is uncertain, Rocke’s historical study of Renaissance Florence, Forbidden Friendships, nonetheless demonstrates a cultural bias toward seeing sodomy predominantly in the church and in the schools, despite empirical evidence of its widespread existence elsewhere. In the case of Florence, Rocke argues, the practice of male-­male erotic activity was more widespread than popular stereotypes would seem to attest; see, especially, chapter 4, “Social Profiles,” 112–­47, which includes Rocke’s observation that “the scarcity of teachers among the men accused of sodomy makes one think that Bernardino of Siena was only fueling a popular prejudice when he claimed that the Genoese refused to employ Tuscan teachers in their schools for fear they would corrupt the boys, and it belies the overworked parody of the pedant-­sodomite in late medieval and early modern literature” (140). 13. Stewart has both theorized and historicized a smaller-­scale counterpart to the more broadly abstract “house of authority” named here: Stewart’s “room of authority” is the household “closet,” and the recent metaphor of the gay “closet” can be traced, he argues, to early uses of the term for rooms that conceal not only homoerotic intimacy but the business transactions of the head of household; see Close Readers, 161–­87. 14. Smith captures this sentiment: “As a male code, Latin in the Renaissance was the language of the law, diplomacy, and international trade. It was also the language of sexual knowledge” (Homosexual Desire, 83). See also Wall’s investigation of domesticity on the Renaissance stage in Staging Domesticity, in which she devotes several pages to contextualizing current theoretical approaches to humanist pedagogy as a site of sexuality alongside her original reading of the anonymous Gammer Gurston’s Needle; see Staging Domesticity, 59–­93, especially 78. With Smith and Stewart (100–­101), Wall cites and interrogates Ong’s work on the puberty rites of boys in English grammar schools; see Ong’s “Latin Language Study” and Fighting for Life. 15. Providing one window into this economy, Masten has explored the early modern “fundament” as that part of the anatomy associated with death and waste (the rectum) and also doubling in its etymology as the “seat,” or foundation, of authority. This authorized foundation is peculiarly freighted with its anatomical connection to the site of sodomitical transgression. Here again, one sees conflations of value turn on matters involving Latin and its resurgence through English

214  Notes to Pages 141–142

etymology (see Masten’s “Is the Fundament a Grave?” 129–­45, in Hillman and Mazzio’s Body in Parts, especially 135). 16. Boehrer has analyzed Jonson’s own relationship to the language of his culture and has theorized a way of thinking about Jonson as—­like Morose and the misanthropic figure, generally—­engaged in a form of flight: “This flight from—­and through—­the signifying structures of the dominant social order constitutes the motive behind a certain kind of deterritorialization: a deterritorialization of language that Deleuze and Guattari identify with what they call ‘minor literature’” (Fury of Men’s Gullets, 24; Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka, 16). Boehrer offers a fascinating biographical version of the literary misanthrope in this prominent playwright. 17. Tudor historian John Guy writes of Henry VIII: “He argued that the text of Leviticus that prohibited a man’s union with his brother’s widow was divine law[, . . . and] he argued that the bull of dispensation obtained by Henry VII from Pope Julius II that had authorized his marriage to his brother’s widow had been improperly granted. His marriage had always been forbidden by divine and natural law, and, if Julius II had dispensed with the laws of God and nature, he had exceeded his powers and was no better than another human legislator who had abused his authority” (Tudor England, 117). 18. Greenblatt has written provocatively about the anxieties that produced efforts like Tyndale’s, who translated the Bible in part so that he could urge the unlettered to “get thee to God’s word.” In doing so, Greenblatt suggests, “Tyndale voices that fetishism of Scripture preached by all of the early Protestants” (Renaissance Self-­Fashioning, 94). Agamben has called this process, generally, a “hunt for language,” and he claims provocatively that “the ‘hunt for language’ is both an antidivine arrogance that exalts the calculating power of the word and an amorous search that wants to remedy Babelic presumption. Every serious human effort in language must always confront this risk” (End of the Poem, 125). 19. From the second paragraph of “Liber Primus,” the Latin for which is “quam Romani gramaticam vocaverunt” (2). 20. In Latin, “Tum quia naturalis est nobis, cum illa potius artificialis existat” (2). 21. The translation is taken from Botterill’s dual-­language edition. 22. On Dante’s complex sentiments about Latin, which Agamben has argued he associated with tragedy, grammar, and permanence, in the context of his investment in vernacular Italian, which he associated by contrast with comedy, life, and flux, see Agamben, End of the Poem, especially 50–­61. 23. This phrase, borrowed from the title of Benjamin’s famous essay “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” is the title of chapter 2 in Greenblatt’s Renaissance Self-­Fashioning. Notes to Pages 142–145  215

24. See Yachnin’s interrogation of the “powerless theater,” Stage-­Wrights; and also the counterarguments made by Dawson in the book he cowrote with Yachnin, Culture of Playgoing. 25. See the earliest entry for “epicene” in the oed, the source of which is provided as the first epigraph to this chapter. Mirabelli is generally credited with noticing that Jonson’s extension of the word “epicene” into common parlance, independent of its association to Latin grammar, may have been an original usage, based in part on keeping the truth about the character’s sex a secret from those members of the audience who were ignorant of Latin; see “Silence, Wit, and Wisdom,” 309–­36, especially 312–­13. Though “epicene” is not a term on the tip of the tongue of the contemporary student of Latin, the term has been used in grammar books to the present day, although usually only as a subcategory under the genders now reduced to the major three—­the masculine, the feminine, and the neuter. 26. The ballad quoted in the epigraph, which Lily’s formulation resembles, was first printed in Furnivall’s nineteenth-­century Ballads from Manuscripts, 352–­63, and the two relevant stanzas, addressing Cardinal Wolsey, are: “xxiv. / Also they sey, by þi circumvencion / þou haste suscitate suche A wonderfull dyssencion / Betwyxte þe moste nobyllyste hunc & hanc : / wherfor, by þi diabolicall inducam / yf þe dede folow, all comythe to destruccion, / the devyll þerfor þe thankythe. / xxv. / Wherfor all gendyrs dysconte[nt] be, / the Comyn of ije, the Comyn of iije, / the dubyum & the epysyn Also, / Whose puysaunce cannot [thy oppression] stan[d] ; / Therfor leve thyne enterprice þou hast takyn in hand, / & in hyt no ferther goee” (356). Lily’s full recitation of Latin noun types is as follows “Genders of nouns, be.vii. the Masculine the Feminine, the Neutre, the common of two, the common of thre, the Doubtfull, and the Epicene. / The masculine gender, is declined with this article hic, as, hic uir, a man. / The feminine gender, is declyned with this article hæc, as, hæc mulier, a woman. / The neuter is declined with this article hoc, as, hoc saxum, a stone. / The common of two, is declined with hic & hæc, as hic & hæc parens. / The common of three is declyned with hic hæc & hoc, as hic hæc & hoc felix. / The doubtful gender, is declined with hic or hec [sic], as hic uel hæc dies, a daye. / The epicene gender is declyned with one article, et under that one article, both kyndes be signified, as, hic passer, a sparowe, hæc aquila, an egle, both he et she” (Introduction of the Eyght Partes, b1). 27. English Grammar, 57. On his use of “Epicoene” as the name for his play and its titular character—­problematic given the definition he provides for the term in his Grammar—­see Barbour, “Boy Actors,” 1014. 28. Woodbridge has illuminated the history and cultural foregrounding of these debates and of Renaissance constructions of gender, more generally; see her Women and the English Renaissance, especially 139–­51. For an excellent anthology

216  Notes to Pages 146–148

of primary materials relating to the English controversies surrounding the question of gender, see Henderson and McManus’s chronological collation of texts, Half Humankind. This thorough, well-­edited collection includes the famous Hic Mulier and Hæc Vir pamphlets of 1620. For comparison, see also Austin’s Hæc Homo (1637), an argument of male and female spiritual equivalence, clearly relating to the earlier pamphlets but, though mentioned in their introduction (19), not included in the Henderson and McManus anthology. For a list of works invested in gender identity concentrated around the date of the Hic Mulier and Hæc Vir pamphlets, including a brief discussion of Austin’s contribution, see Clark, “Hic Mulier, Haec Vir,” 157–­83, especially 180–­83. 29. The translation is from the English-­language edition of Sbrocchi and Campbell. 30. As the modern editors explain, the letter “K” was debated as a possible replacement for the hard “C” in Italian—­like the “C” of “cazzo,” the particular word the Page implies here, a vulgar term for “penis.” I have replaced the modern translators’ “P” (for “penis,” or “prick”) with the original “K,” for better comparative effect. For a sense of the Italian use and investment in the word “cazzo,” see Moulton’s uninhibited translation of Antonio Vignali’s raucous sexual dialogue and allegory, La Cazzaria (1525). 31. Sbrocchi and Campbell’s translation of this line is “I’ve got you by the short hairs! Take this!”; but their note explains that the Italian “si soffia la noce,” or “where you blow a nut,” is equivalent to “where you fart” (126n31). I’ve incorporated the more explicit substance of their notation into the translation to draw out the potential sodomitical resonance in the Page’s reference to where he has hold of the Pedant’s body. 32. Sbrocchi and Campbell, 125n26. 33. In addition to Bray and Edelman, whose citations are provided later in this paragraph, Barkan, Goldberg, Smith, Stewart, and most recently Guy-­Bray have all paused in their work to sort through the peculiarly compelling connections to be made between Latin and sodomy, particularly in the pedagogical practices of Renaissance humanist education. As a whole, Barkan’s book, Transuming Passion, addresses these connections. For Goldberg’s analysis of the essential “simulation” enacted in humanist pedagogy, by which a pupil is drawn into emulation of the passive, beloved object featured in the classical poetry of his (or her) schoolbooks, see Sodometries, 63–­104, especially 77–­81; for Smith’s examination of pastoral poetry and its infusion of homoerotic models into humanist education at the same time that historical circumstances surrounding male adolescence would have led predictably to homoerotic activity in schools, see Homosexual Desire in Shakespeare’s England, 79–­115, especially 82–­85; for Stewart’s book-­length study on the matter, presenting fresh evidence and new historical questions, see Close Readers, especially 88–­116. Guy-­Bray, in leading toward his sustained discussion Notes to Pages 149–152  217

of eroticism and pastoral, acknowledges some of this work in the opening pages of his Homoerotic Space (3–­6). 34. Quoted in Edelman, Homographesis, 5. See also Goldberg’s discussion of this case and citation in his Sodometries, 6–­18. Bredbeck has noted similar language recorded at the 1631 trial of Mervin Touchet, the Earl of Castlehaven, for rape and sodomy, spoken by the King’s Attorney General: “As for the Crimen Sodomiticum, in the second Indictment, I shall not Paraphrase upon it, since it is of so abominable and Vile a Nature, (that as the Indictment truly expresses it, Crimen inter Christianos non nominandum) it is a crime not to be named among Christians” (quoted in Sodomy and Interpretation, 5). 35. Drawing on the problem that Renaissance sodomy laws were inconsistent, often to a perplexing degree, in their articulation of the precise quality of that crime, Goldberg calls this confusion in the American courts a “sodometry” in its own right: “The [Supreme Court] justices’ fundamental confusion, iterated in the laws still on the books, about whether homosexuals are a category of persons or a juridical subject of acts, resonates against the Renaissance confusions. The Supreme Court decision enacts a sodometry, affirming an identity on the basis of acts, legitimizing an act in one situation that it stigmatizes in another. This is not all that far from the position of sodomy in the Renaissance” (Sodometries, 25). Incidentally, Bowers v. Hardwick was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003 in the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas, which found all remaining antisodomy laws in the United States unconstitutional. Unlike at the time Goldberg was writing, therefore, today there are no such laws “still on the books.” Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986); Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003). 36. Guy-­Bray affords a space for such articulation, as long as the speakers in question do their articulating in Latin; Homoerotic Space, 4. For Guy-­Bray, Latin is a language of sufficiently limited privilege and therefore grants erotic indulgence to its readers and speakers that is elsewhere prohibited. The objection to judicial uses of that Latin, of course, lies in the way it is nonetheless deployed to “end the discussion” (3), as Guy-­Bray points out, rather than open it up to further discursive elucidation. While Latin is a language that grants an elite space of liberty for its users, it is simultaneously effective for restricting those liberties for others. 37. The quoted passages are from canto 15, line 32 and lines 103–­9; the phrase “unhappy band” is from Robert Pinsky’s superb Italian-­English edition of the poem. Brunetto Latini, according to Nicole Pinsky’s note, “was a prominent Florentine Guelph. He was probably not Dante’s teacher in the strict sense of the word, but he may well have been a mentor” (328n28). On Priscian’s presence in Dante’s poem, and on the association it draws between educators and sodomy, see Rocke, Forbidden Friendships, 135.

218  Notes to Pages 152–154

38. See the discussion of Zeno in the “Coda” to chapter 3. 39. Zucker analyzes this tension as a question of “cultural competence” under the pressure of an “emerging dynamism”—­a historical development of early modernity—­marked by the contestation/preservation of “the structure of social hierarchies” (“Social Logic,” 42). 40. On Clerimont’s wordplay, see Brown’s informing article on boy players, the culture of the theater, and Epicoene, “Boyhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines,” 243–­63, especially 254–­55. As a way of facilitating an understanding of gender slippage here, see also Berry’s relevant discussion of the indeterminate gender of anatomical nether regions (what may be “under a man”): “The body’s ‘nether’ regions . . . may signify either the female genitals, or the backside, or both; in observing that, by the end of the sixteenth century, ‘arse’ carried vaginal overtones, Gordon Williams reminds us of the period’s frequent elision of one sexual opening with another, and of heterosexual with homoerotic—­and sometimes, sodimitical—­desire” (Shakespeare’s Feminine Endings, 11; Williams, Dictionary of Sexual Language, 42). 41. It is worth noting that Mute’s name does not accurately describe him, given his capacity for speech, much to Morose’s comic exasperation. Rivlin’s work on early modern servants poses a provocative question applicable to Epicoene: How do masters like Morose “distinguish between a servant who fully inhabits his socially subordinate role and a servant who disguises an insubordinate will behind a duplicitous, convincing performance of service,” even going so far as to adopt (or acquire from Truewit at 2.1) a misleading name, such as Mute? See Rivlin, Aesthetics of Service, 14. 42. On the performance of disability—­here, muteness—­that Morose demands from his servant, see Coker’s analysis of the “double-­feigning” so pronounced in Epicoene, a duplicity that relentlessly exposes through its metatheatrical fiction of feigned disability the core falseness of the theater itself. In Coker’s scheme, Mute becomes another Epicoene, in other words, whose figurative “wig” of disability is repeatedly lifted throughout the course of the play. See her “Boy Actors,” 6. The silence of Mute’s “legs” as a marker of his “disability” can be read against Love’s analysis of the phonology of disability—­of the “sound of [a] prosthetic [leg’s] movement across a wooden stage,” for example—­as part of the theater’s sonic “paratext” (Early Modern Theatre, 97). See also Nardizzi’s immediately related work “Wooden Matter,” and his more theoretical discussion “Disability Figures in Shakespeare,” which joins Fisher in expanding the concept of the early modern prosthesis in the “discourse of disability” to include “instruments of writing” and “affectations of style” into which Mute’s “legs” might fall; Nardizzi, “Disability Figures,” 459; Fisher, Materializing Gender, 28. Notes to Pages 155–159  219

43. Such silent bodies nonetheless engaged in gesticulation and ritual poses may resemble a similar challenge of communication found in painting, as Hammill has explored in Caravaggio’s works: “The straightforward signification supposedly promised by [the painter’s] iconographic mode is immediately complicated” by elements in the composition designed to conceal, such as a drape or a shadow. In Caravaggio’s painting Victorious Cupid, for example, Hammill observes that “while the boy projects his right side forward, he withholds his left side, draws it back into the shadows, hiding his left arm and the lower half of his left leg, a dynamic of exhibitionism and withdrawal most forcefully located in his exhibited genitals and shadowy perineum” (Sexuality and Form, 86). The description is a tempting overlay for Mute’s own potentially erotic contortions as he “makes legs” in an iconographic pantomime before Morose. 44. For this quotation from Henry Blount’s Voyage into the Levant (1636), see Parker’s investigation into the robust Renaissance association of Turks with sodomy, “Preposterous Conversions,” 10. The bibliography of Parker’s article in conjunction with that of Vitkus (“Turning Turk in Othello”) provides an indispensable survey of critical examinations of the Turk in the early modern English consciousness. 45. See Sebek’s study of Morose and her connection of his servant Mute to the “mutes” of the Sultan’s seraglio, “Morose’s Turban” (36n2); Sebek cites Miles, “Signing in the Seraglio.” For period English interests in deafness and muteness through an early lens of disability studies, Bloom quotes Kenelm Digby (1644) and George Sibscota (1670) writing about “mute persons who communicate through gesture” (Voice in Motion, 102–­3, 224n104). 46. As Mazzio observes in her study of inarticulate speech marked by “shame, awkwardness, alienation” (9), “silence often can serve as a powerful cover story for otherwise discomforting, because inchoate, if not always dark and stormy, forms of expression” (Inarticulate Renaissance, 4). In this case, however, the cover story and the inchoate narration—­bound as they are by the terms of eroticized gender—­belongs to the silencer. 47. The number assigned to this line in modern editions is 676; p. E in the 1598 edition. For a superb reading of this line, see Miller, “Death of the Modern,” 757–­87, especially 763–­64. 48. Through the work of various critics, most notably Greenblatt, Paré has become well known in recent criticism as a sixteenth-­century French surgeon and anatomist, whose translated Workes (1634) included a section on “Monsters and Prodigies,” anomalies of nature that included the hermaphrodite. In the Workes of That Famous Chirurgion Ambrose Parey (1634), the translated text joins “prodigious” to both “monstrous” (8.318) and “strange” (25.1026), and names its twenty-­fifth book “Of Monsters and Prodigies.” See Greenblatt, “Fiction and

220  Notes to Pages 159–162

Friction,” Shakespearean Negotiations, 73–­86; and Jones and Stallybrass, “Fetishizing Gender.” 49. The imagined alternatives are Zeal-­of-­the-­Land Busy’s response to the puppets’ missing anatomy under their frocks in Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair (5.6.102) and Malvolio’s dark parting words after his mishandling in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (5.1.365). 50. Though not sourced in Holdsworth’s note, Partridge seems to have popularized this oft-­repeated view of Epicoene’s male characters, in his influential reading of the play from Broken Compass: “When Daw and La Foole prove themselves so frightened that they allow themselves to be publicly humiliated rather than act on their valiant words, we think of them as somewhat less than the men they appear to be. . . . Of the men, only Clerimont, Truewit, and Dauphine are not warped by the Amazonian natures of these epicene women. Yet even these apparently normal men are somewhat ambiguous, sexually” (170). And Maus, in quoting Partridge, has remarked that “comments on the ‘epicene’ quality of the various male characters are endemic to the criticism of the play” (Inwardness, 149n21). In related work, Benet, in her article “Master-­Wit Is the Master-­Fool,” has argued that more recent attempts to revise Partridge’s declarations about the play’s gallants in order to see them as playfully decadent rather than hopelessly effeminate have been tied to efforts to soften Jonson’s reputation as more genial and less moralistic, an effort whose reading she refutes. 51. In Smith’s paraphrase of Ong, “The whole social premise of education from antiquity well into our own century was competitiveness. It was not until the late 1960s, when coeducation finally conquered the last bastions of male exclusivity in British and American colleges and universities, that teachers dropped the role of friendly adversary for the role of friend, that physical punishments and dormitory regulations disappeared, that competitive debates gave way to political rallies celebrating partisan unity, that handshakes after the ‘defense’ of a dissertation were replaced by a receipt from the dean for the completed typescript—­and that Latin was dropped as a required subject” (Homosexual Desire, 83). 52. As a general voice for humanism providing a basis for disliking Morose, Bacon encourages the economic liberality of one generation toward the next, urging parents to give money to their children who have need of it in young adulthood against withholding it until the parents’ deaths: “And therefore the proof is best, when men keep their authority towards their children, but not their purse” (352). See his “Of Parents and Children” in Essays or Counsels. On the difficulty built into the play for determining whose side the audience is supposed to take in the final scenes, Leggatt has suggested that “just as Morose’s misanthropy is a twisted version of something positive—­the intelligent criticism of society—­so the debased Notes to Pages 163–166  221

marriages and feasts of the play can be seen as perversions of an ideal social life. Truewit’s clarity of vision, though it may provide no final answer, has at least provisional value: it is a necessary first step towards ‘seeking an end of wretchednesse’ [1.1.54–­55]. The creative ingenuity he and his fellows display in finding ways of tormenting Morose gives pleasure, and helps to offset the cruelty of their jokes, though it cannot do so entirely” (“Morose and His Tormentors,” 230). 53. As Cerame astutely suggests, “As a language of scholarly study and the linguistic root of many English words, Greek language suggests a source of meaning. The play is digging for stability the same way that Timon digs for a root to stabilize his universe.” Cerame graciously allowed me to read, and to cite, the text of his paper entitled, “Root of Misanthropy,” which was delivered at the 2002 Ithaca College English Symposium. 54. See the section called “Fetishism” in Jones and Stallybrass’s Renaissance Clothing, 7–­11. 55. Rorty tackles the problem of cruelty in his Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, and concludes that, barring any ontological basis for ethical community, people should simply agree not to be cruel to one another, a function of what he calls “solidarity” based on “we-­intentions.” His philosophy jettisons identification with others on their terms as a group—­what he calls a “public”—­effort, something he equates to “a philosopher’s invention, an awkward attempt to secularize the idea of becoming one with God” (198). 56. While Jones and Stallybrass remark that Marx was not embarrassed to invest in an analysis of things (Renaissance Clothing, 8), even his stance vis-­à-­vis culture was not content merely to observe and trace histories. His investment was in an idealized, ethical end, one that inferred an idealized origin as well. Epilogue 1. In his analysis of this moment, Guy-­Bray recalls an earlier position in Defense of Poesie, where Sidney “preempts the reproductive metaphor. For him, a poet is not like a person giving birth to a child, but rather like a god creating all of humanity” (Against Reproduction, 142). It seems a short enough leap from a fantasy of parthenogenesis to that of divine genesis, as Guy-­Bray charts for Sidney, albeit in reverse. 2. For an erudite catalog of the trope of the poem (and book) as child, extending to classical sources, see Curtius, European Literature and the Middle Ages, 131–­34. For a study of the trope in the period’s poetry and drama, see Plummer’s excellent structuralist dissertation “Generative Poesis.” See also Spiller’s summary of the more recent critical attention to the “book/child topos,” in which she delightfully remembers that Thomas Nashes also refers to his own first book as an “Embrion” (Science, Reading, and Renaissance Literature, 71–­72, 195n44).

222  Notes to Pages 167–174

3. Kuzner draws on Nuttal’s introduction to Timon of Athens in his Shakespeare as a Way of Life (144). Billington speculates, however, about an early staging of the play; see her “Was Timon of Athens Performed before 1604?” 4. Jung analyzes some of the iconography of seventeenth-­century English alchemical tracts, to include the growth of the homunculus in the Hermetic vessel (also referred to as the “philosopher’s egg” or “stone”), in Psychology and Alchemy; for images, see 238 and 301. Plummer references these images and others in which the homunculus is sometimes replaced by the peacock (“Generative Poesis,” 54, 254–­56). For a period example of such a treatise, see the work of the Elizabethan occultist Edward Kelley (Tractatus, 1676), who was a friend of John Dee. 5. Sanchez uses this term in relation to Edelman’s argument in No Future, which introduces the “sinthomosexual,” a queer figure—­part-­real, part-­imagined—­ who is antithetical to biological reproduction and indifferent to the future of humanity (“Antisocial Procreation,” 264). 6. Sanchez takes the term “congealing of agency” from Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway, 151; in “Antisocial Procreation,” in Stanivukovic’s Queer Shakespeare, 264, 266–­67. 7. On this tradition, see Marotti, Manuscript, Print. 8. On this explosion of satirical work and its political and cultural meaning, see Greenfield’s dissertation, “Damaged Agency”; and Kernan’s much earlier, formalist study, Cankered Muse. See also Gibbons, Jacobean City Comedy; and Kaplan, Culture of Slander. For recent work advancing a new motivation behind the still mysterious Bishops’ Ban, along with a useful summary of previous critical views of it, see Keener, “Tofte’s Of Mariage and Wiuing,” 506–­32, especially 506–­7, 506n1, and 507nn2–­6. 9. For an overview of this well-­known epoch in Renaissance stage history, see Gurr, Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London, 158–­64. 10. His only true rival for the title—­based on the sheer volume of satirical verse that he produced—­is Joseph Hall, whose six-­volume Virgidemiarum was printed shortly before Marston’s Certaine Satyres. But Hall’s verse demurs from the tonal invective and excoriation that Marston unleashes in a uniquely harsh poetic sound. See Davenport’s discussion of Hall’s work vis-­à-­vis Marston’s (Hall, Poems of Joseph Hall, xxviii–­xxxiv). 11. Although the form is marked generally by a certain tone of airy playfulness, poems like Chapman’s continuation of Marlowe’s Hero and Leander and Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, for example, probably qualify as poems that are not aiming for comedy. For a collection of this brief-­lived, generic category of poem, see Donno’s Elizabethan Minor Epics. 12. Enterline, in the best extended study of the poem to date, has called it “one of the most biting satires in the tradition that Ovid inspired” (125), and she sees Notes to Pages 174–176  223

Marston investing this satire with an “evident interest in the rhetorical and libidinal economies of Ovid’s pornographic imaginary” (127); see her Rhetoric of the Body. See also the briefer discussion of the poem in Finkelpearl, John Marston, 95–­104. 13. See Allen, who takes this poem, which he calls a “device for transition,” as the most salient cue to read Pigmalions Image as a satire (Satire of John Marston, 89–­90). 14. Quoted in James, Shakespeare’s Troy. For James’s discussion of these lines in the context of their echo of Horace’s Ode 2.20, and for the way the book comes to serve as the foundation for national identity, see her chapter, “Shakespeare and the Troy Legend,” 7–­41, especially 8–­9. 15. The question of whether or not a fully developed tradition of medieval satire existed has not been answered authoritatively. Peter, for example, sees a confusion of satire with the medieval complaint, which he argues operates differently from classical and Renaissance satire and from rarer medieval examples of the same (Complaint and Satire). In his study of Skelton’s participation in what he identifies as a medieval tradition of satire, Heiserman nonetheless defines Skelton’s satiric body of work as merely “those poems . . . which attack objects”—­“objects,” in other words, like Cardinal Wolsey and other members of the court—­which, if a reasonable beginning for a definition of satire, is still impressively general (Skelton and Satire, 4). On the other hand, Pepin has argued in the preface to his Literature of Satire for acknowledging a neglected but no less “extraordinary outpouring of satiric genres” during the twelfth century, and he cites Thomson’s article on the same subject for support. 16. “Solitary Milton” is the title of Trevor’s chapter investigating Milton’s denial of the pathology that humoralism appended to melancholic retreat, positing instead a “scholar-­poet’s favorable attitude toward solitariness” (Poetics of Melancholy, 150). For the medical tradition Milton was working against, see Kerwin’s Beyond the Body, especially 194–­231. Somewhere between the Elizabethan pathology and Miltonic reformation of melancholy, Kitzes locates John Donne as someone who “not only makes a career out of his melancholy, but who most consistently identifies the disease metaphorically as a form of rebellion” (Politics of Melancholy, 17). 17. One might equally note the absence of child misanthropes, or animal misanthropes. And, indeed, it is conceivable to extend the question to the nonsentient world of plants and the earth itself—­life, generally, as a force opposed to entropic destruction—­as a deeply conflicted “hater” of men. Might Marvell’s speaker, for example, in “The Garden”—­which supplies one of the epigraphs to the introduction of this book—­be heard as a voice for the planet, contemplating not an Eden that is Adam’s alone, “while man there walked without a mate” (line 58), but an Eden preceding both Eve and Adam, “beyond a mortal’s share” (line 61, Poems,

224  Notes to Pages 176–180

158)? Is the “delicious solitude” there conceivably that of an ultimate misanthropic space absent all humankind with its insidiously pervasive contradictions and paradoxes? See, for example, Theis’s examination of the human contradiction between “law” and “commonwealth” and its concomitant “onslaught of destruction” on the forests leading up to the English Civil War, in Writing the Forest, 157–­58. On human exceptionalism and the violence it brings to bear on the lives of animals, see Shannon, “Poor, Bare, Forked”; and Raber, for whom the question emerges (via Wolfe) whether “speciesism is the first principle from which all other forms of oppression and exploitation grow,” Animal Bodies, Renaissance Culture, 10; for poststructural theory on the subject, one of the premier thinkers is Wolfe, What Is Posthumanism?; on the related subject of the “posthuman,” see also the collection by Campana and Maisano, especially their introduction and Campana’s epilogue, Renaissance Posthumanism, 1–­36, 283–­316. 18. It is equally tempting to contemplate the Madonna’s hortus conclusus, a space of enclosure and withdrawal, as a female version of the male hermit’s contemptus mundi. Although she does not invest in its female resonances per se, Picciotto’s chapter “Digging up the Hortus Conclusus” may offer a point of departure; Labors of Innocence, 31–­128. 19. See Fox’s reading of Adicia in The Faerie Queene, a figure whose rage in exile is so utterly denied she “must be excised from the poem’s action” through her intensified allegorization; Ovid and the Politics of Emotion, 103. 20. See also Leong’s work published shortly after Wall’s, on the historical and social relevance of recipes, Recipes and Everyday Knowledge. 21. One might be tempted—­though perhaps in a misguided search—­to look for misanthropy in Procne’s kitchen, where the infanticidal recipe she prepares for her husband is a violent and definitive protest and prelude to flight, perhaps a female misanthrope’s answer to her male counterpart’s fantasy of parthenogenesis. In annihilating her own necessarily social generativity and by turning her husband into a child-­eater, she may discover a means for escaping a domestic and familial sociability she can no longer abide. For Procne as a feminist emblem of critique, see Perry, “Procne’s Song,” 83. Earlier readings of Virginia Woolf ’s incorporation of the myth in Between the Acts include Marcus, “Liberty, Sorority, Misogyny”; and Barret, “Matriarchal Myth.” Ovid tells his version of Procne’s story in Metamorphoses, 6: 619–­52.

Notes to Pages 180–181  225

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Index

Page numbers in italics indicate illustrations. absence: of authority, 138; of dead body, 15, 39, 53; of dialectical turn, 16; of fathers, 73, 78; of genitalia, 171; of hands, 50; of language, 162; of love, 85; of mother and wife, 57; of sociability, 184n7; of variability among misanthropes, 224n17; of women, 141 Ackerman, Robert W., 201n11, 208n53 Adelman, Janet, 89, 212n7 Adorno, Theodor, 11–­14, 186n17, 186n20 Agamben, Giorgio, 186n19, 215n18, 215n22 allegory, 8, 101, 103–­4, 107–­8, 112–­14, 116–­18, 131, 175, 200n1, 203n25, 204n26, 204n28, 205n29, 205nn31–­ 32, 207n40, 208n50; etymology of, 204n26; and history, 113–­14; as unnavigable, 118 Allen, Morse S., 224n13 Alpers, Paul, 183n2 anchorites, early Christian, 106, 118–­ 20; and hermits, 16, 120–­23, 125 Anderson, Judith, 140 antiquarianism, 47, 51–­52, 192nn38–­39 antitheatrical treatises, 212n6

Aretino, Pietro, Il Marescalco, 136, 148–­ 52; Page and Pedant, 149–­52 Ariosto, Ludovico, Orlando Furioso, 106, 201nn9–­10, 202n19 Aristotle, 66–­67, 195n17, 209n57 Astrophil and Stella (Sidney), 173–­74 Athanasius, Life of Anthony, 120–­21 Auerbach, Erich, 205n29 Augustine, Saint, 188n13 Auschwitz, 11–­14, 186n17, 186n20 Austin, J. L., 134, 212n9 authority: absent centers of, 138, 141, 164; of anchorites, 106; of commerce, 145–­46, 164; in culture, 10, 15; of the father, 75, 82, 221n52; as fetish, 142–­43, 166, 171; of future selves, 117, 122; of gender, 135–­36, 147, 165–­66; of God, 137, 143, 145, 212n9, 215n17; in impersonation, 138; and Latin, 140–­42, 144–­47, 151, 160, 165, 168; in law, 78; and originality, 31; of origins, 169, 171, 214n15; of performative speech, 135, 137; and phenomenology, 138, 140, 164; of scholarship, 33, 145, 149, 151, 165, 208n48; of secrecy, 85, 91, 152, 214n13; shifting centers of, 120–­21,

255

authority (cont.) 162; and silence, 17, 160, 162–­63; of subjectivity, 29–­33, 35, 37–­39. See also transactive authority Babb, Lawrence, 184n7 Bacon, Francis, 30–­31, 68, 188n14, 198n27, 221n52 Bailey, Amanda, 21 Balibar, Étienne, 188n15 Barad, Karen, 223n6 Barber, C. L., 68, 184n10, 199n34 Barbour, Richmond, 135, 212n5, 216n27 Barish, Jonas A., 212n6 Barkan, Leonard, 154, 217n33 Barret, Eileen, 225n21 Barrett, J. K., 210n62 Bartholomew Fair ( Jonson), 148 Benet, Diana, 221n50 Benjamin, Walter, 215n23 Berger, Harry, Jr., 77, 203n20 Bernard of Cluny, 189n19 Berry, Philippa, 219n40 bifurcation: in allegory, 118; in physics, 131 Billington, Sandra, 191n34, 223n3 Bishops’ Ban of 1599, 176, 223n8 Bisson, Douglas R., 195n8 Bloom, Gina, 220n45 Blount, Henry, Voyage into the Levant, 220n44 Blumenberg, Hans, 188n14 Boehrer, Bruce Thomas, 58, 195n5, 215n16 Bolton, J. L., 70–­71, 198n25 book: as commodity, 145; as empty monument, 179; misanthropic flight into, 178; as perversion, 178–­79; as space of exile, 179 Boose, Lynda E., 57, 87, 194n3

Borges, Jorge Luis, 188n12 Borris, Kenneth, 205n31 Bossy, Michel-­André, 127–­28 Bowers v. Hardwick, 152, 218n35 boys: as actors, 135; and cross-­dressing, 137, 211n4; erotic limits of, 157–­60, 163, 220n43; Ganymede, 154; Leander, 161; as sons, 56–­57, 173, 175 Brady, Andrea, 193n45 Brand, C. P., 203n25 Bray, Alan, 152, 187n4, 213n11, 217n33 Brecht, Bertolt, 2 Bredbeck, Gregory W., 218n34 Brown, Michelle P., 193n40 Brown, Steve, 219n40 Bueler, Lois E., 194n3 Burckhardt, Sigurd, 199n35 Burger, Warren E., 152–­53 Burrow, Colin, 202n15 Butler, Judith, 45–­46, 191n36 Callimachus, 191n33 Campana, Joseph, 200n43, 224n17 Campbell, J. Douglas, 217nn30–­31 Capel, Richard, Tentations, 195n7 capitalism: in America, 33; and exploitation, 57, 69, 195n11; and hoarding versus circulation, 66; and ideological crisis, 16, 59–­60; and profit, 16, 60, 63, 66, 68–­69, 84–­85, 94, 145, 197n21. See also Marx, Karl Caravaggio, v, 208n47, 220n43 Cartelli, Thomas, 184n11 Cartesian subjectivity, 28, 32, 45–­47; cynicism about, 51; as failed performance, 38; and narcissism, 45–­46; skepticism in, 34–­35 Casaubon, Isaac, 131, 209n59 Castagno, Paul C., 183n5 castration, 64–­66, 96, 200n49

256 Index

Cavanagh, Sheila, 203n20 Cavell, Stanley, 85–­87 cenotaph, 15, 39–­40, 54, 179 Cerame, Mario, 167, 222n53 chaos theory, 129–­31 Charney, Maurice, 190n25, 195n15 Chaucer, Geoffrey, 196n18 Cheney, Patrick, 202n18 choice: of Achilles, 114–­15; and bifurcation, 108; and choicelessness, 104; and ethics, 109; and interpretation, 102, 104, 107; between matter and spirit, 104, 113, 119 A Choice of Emblemes (Whitney), 196n18 Chorost, Michael, 190n27 chrematistikos (accumulation), 66, 195n17 Chrétien de Troyes, Yvain, 106, 201nn9–­10 Christine de Pizan, 196n18 cliché, 24, 36, 189n21. See also originality Cohen, Walter, 197n19 Coker, Lauren, 219n42 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 190n25, 205n29 Colin Clouts Come Home Againe (Spenser), 204n28 Collins, Amanda, 193n41 commedia dell’arte, 183n5 Confessio Amantis (Gower), 196n18 Confessions of an English Opium-­Eater (De Quincey), 196n18 Conlee, John W., 201n11, 202n12 contemptus mundi, 35, 102, 106, 189n19; and hortus conclusus, 225n18 Cooper, Helen, 200n3 Coronato, Rocco, 211n3

Coryate, Thomas, 51–­55, 192n38, 193n44; false epitaph for, 52–­53; shoes of, 53–­54, 194nn47–­48 Covarrubias, Sebastián de, 196n18 Crane, Clara W., 202n19 Crassus, 193n42 culture: and contradiction, 7, 58, 88, 142; and economies, 31, 67, 87, 166; and gender, 136–­37, 139, 147; and negotiation with individuals, 4, 10, 23, 166; and repression, 5; and xenophobia, 81 Curley, E. M., 188n11 Curtin, Adrian, 211n1 Curtius, Ernst Robert, 222n2 Cyriacus of Ancona, 48, 192n39 Dante Alighieri: Inferno, 143–­44, 153–­ 54, 205n29, 218n37; “Letter to Can Grande,” 203n25 Dasenbrock, Reed Way, 202n14 daughters: as economic tools, 57, 62; as emblems of patience, 62, 67; and green sickness, 96; and incest, 57–­62; obedience of, 82–­83; and prostitutes, 93, 166; as substitutes for wives, 91–­92 Davenport, Arnold, 223n10 Dawson, Anthony B., 185n12, 216n24 debate poetry, 16, 107–­8, 126–­27, 201n11, 202nn12–­13, 209n55; classical, 201n11; medieval, 107–­8, 127, 201n11, 209n55; pastourelle, 202n12 decimation: in Plutarch, 193n42; in Timon of Athens, 50 deconstruction, terms of, 18 Defense of Poesie (Sidney), 222n1 Deleuze, Gilles, 215n16 De Quincey, Thomas, Confessions of an English Opium-­Eater, 196n18

Index  257

Derrida, Jacques, 18, 44–­45, 67, 185n15, 188n15, 191n35 Descartes, René, 14–­15, 25–­35; and cogito, 26, 30, 32–­33, 39, 188n11, 188n13, 189nn17–­18; and displacement, 45–­46; and ego ideal, 26–­28; and God, 26–­28; letter to Andreas Colvius, 188n13; and pragmatism, 30; as sophist, 187n7 Dewey, John, 188n14 dialectic: as cure for despair, 17, 124–­ 25, 208n51; and paralysis, 16–­17, 118; within a single consciousness, 128 DiGangi, Mario, 134, 211n2 disability, 220n45; as performance, 219n42 A Discourse of the Commonweal (Smith), 60 A Discourse upon Usury (Wilson), 71, 197n21 Divine, Thomas F., 198n24 Donavin, Georgiana, 194n3 Donne, John, 224n16 Donno, Elizabeth Story, 223n11 Dubrow, Heather, 200n48 dumb shows, 3, 155, 160 Duncan-­Jones, Katherine, 51 Dürer, Albrecht, 115–­16; as Man of Sorrows, 116, 206nn34–­35 Edelman, Lee, 18, 139–­40, 152, 213n10, 217n33, 218n34, 223n5 Eisenbaum, Pamela, 207n44 Elizabeth I, 8, 101, 111–­14, 206n39, 210n61 endogamy: and insiderism, 16, 82–­84; and Jewishness, 60, 83; and matrimony, 81–­82; in opposition to liberality, 16, 60 Engels, Friedrich, 185n15

Engle, Lars, 30 English, H. M., Jr., 200n1 The English Grammar ( Jonson), 146–­ 47, 216n27 Enterline, Lynn, 155, 223n12 Ephraim, Michelle, 195nn14–­15 epicene: as category of suspicion, 140; as gender of Latin noun, 134, 147, 154–­55, 216nn25–­26; as word in English, 135, 212n8, 216n25 epicenotaph, 51 Epicoene ( Jonson), 2–­3, 17, 134–­40, 142, 147–­48, 155, 157–­67; Clerimont, 157–­58, 219n40; Cutbeard and Otter, 137–­38, 160–­61, 164–­65; Dauphine, 136, 162–­66; Morose, 2–­3, 17, 134–­38, 142, 155, 158–­66; Mute, 158–­ 59, 219nn41–­42, 220n45; Truewit, 158; women Collegiates, 161–­66 epideixis, 187n7 epitaph: and epigrams, 191n32; and logocentrism, 67; of Shakespeare, 51; as substitute for the body, 15, 20, 40–­ 42, 45; of Thomas Coryate, 52–­53 Erasmus, Desiderius, 144, 189n19, 196n18 The Faerie Queene (Spenser): Adicia, 180, 225n19; Amoret, 100–­101, 110–­ 12, 117, 126, 130, 203n21; Arthur, 16–­ 17, 101, 106, 108, 123–­26; Belphoebe, 8, 16, 100–­102, 110–­13, 115, 117, 126, 130–31, 203nn20–­21; Britomart, 108, 123–­25, 199n36, 203n22; Despaire, 123–­24; Duessa, 101, 108; Dwarf, 125; Florimell, 109, 123, 180; Glauce, 125, 203n22; Gloriana, 101; Guyon, 109; historical allegory in, 204n28, 205nn29–­31; “Letter of the Authors,” 101, 203n25; Merlin, 108; Timias,

258 Index

8, 16–­17, 100–­102, 104, 106–­14, 117–­19, 123, 125–­26, 130–­33, 203n20, 203n22, 210n62; Una, 123–­25 faith: ambiguity of, 113, 123; and choice, 131; and despair, 123–­25, 209n59; and the dialectic, 123–­24; as interrogative, 16, 102–­3, 111–­13, 115; and knowledge, 104, 108, 187n6; and love, 126; and material signs, 112; and service, 100, 109; and sexual fidelity, 102, 107, 113; and spirituality, 16, 113, 132 fathers, 16, 56–­59, 61–­65, 67, 73–­ 88, 93–­99, 166, 197n22, 200n43, 200n47 fetish, 142; of money, 166; of origins, 167–­71 figure: and action, 114–­15, 117; and history, 116, 117–­18; and materiality, 113, 115; and mode, 13 Fineman, Joel, 27, 207n40 Finkelpearl, Philip J., 223n12 Fisher, Will, 219n42 Fletcher, Angus, 205n29, 207n40 flight, social, 2, 6, 8, 11, 13, 20, 52, 88, 215n16; into the book, 173, 178–­79; from incest, 87–­88; prelude to, 225n21 Florio, John, 149 Foley, Christopher D., 211n1 Foucault, Michel, 213n11 Fowler, Alastair, 210n66 Fox, Cora, 225n19 Frankenstein (Shelley), 181 Freinkel, Lisa, 197n19, 198n23 Freud, Sigmund, 44, 76, 86, 191n35, 193n40 friendship, 7, 187n4; and betrayal, 20; and immaterial relations, 17; and love, 105, 106, 108, 118; and money, 10, 21, 51, 187n9; as philia, 105, 108,

201n6; and social cohesion, 36; stability of, 24; vulnerability of, 20–­21 Ganymede, as emblem of humanist learning, 154 Garber, Marjorie, 75, 86 “The Garden” (Marvell), 1, 9, 224n17 gender: and confirmation of origins, 171; debates over, 147; and disjunctive terms, 136, 171; and identity, 118; instability of, 135; insufficiency of language for, 136; in Latin nouns, 17, 134, 147, 154–­55; and monstrosity, 161–­62; postmodern terms of, 212n6 genre: allegory, 8, 101, 103–­4, 107–­8, 112–­14, 116–­18, 131, 175, 200n1, 203n25, 204n26, 204n28, 205n29, 205nn31–­32, 207n40, 208n50; debate poetry, 16, 107–­8, 126–­27, 201n11, 202nn12–­13, 209n55; minor epic, 176, 223n11; rom-­com, 184n11; satire, 8, 176, 179, 224n15; and suitability to misanthropes, 2, 9, 15, 183n2 Gibbons, Brian, 223n8 Gilbert, Allan H., 200n1, 202n16 Gleick, James, 129, 209n58, 210n62 Goffman, Erving, 43–­44, 189n16 Goldberg, Jonathan, 153, 206n37, 206n39, 208n52, 211n4, 217n33, 218nn34–­35 Gower, John: as character in Pericles, 92; Confessio Amantis, 196n18 grammar: and ambiguity, 148, 151, 155; The English Grammar ( Jonson), 146–­ 47, 155–­56, 216n27; and gender, 140, 155; in Latin, 140, 148, 215n22, 216n25; and Priscian, 148, 153–­54; and sodomy, 141, 154, 158; and vagueness, 128, 130; of William Lily, 147; of women, 161, 165. See also epicene; Latin

Index  259

Greenblatt, Stephen, 145, 184n10, 209n59, 215n18, 215n23, 220n48 Greene, Jody, 185n13, 190n27 Greene, Thomas M., 189n22 Greenfield, Matthew, 223n8 Guattari, Félix, 215n16 Guillory, John, 186n16, 204n26 Gurr, Andrew, 223n9 Guy, John, 144, 215n17 Guy-­Bray, Stephen, 217n33, 218n36, 222n1 Hakluyt, Richard, Principal Navigations, 209n60 Halberstam, J[ack], 212n6 Hall, Joseph, Virgidemiarum, 223n10 Halpern, Richard, 186n16, 195n9, 197n19, 199n40 Hamlin, William M., 189n23 Hammill, Graham L., 220n43 Hampton, Timothy, 156 Handelman, Susan, 212n7 Hankins, James, 22–­23 Hankins, John Erskine, 204n28 Hapgood, Robert, 199n35 Harris, Jonathan Gil, 167, 170–­71 hate: of the misanthrope, 2, 105; as mythical figure, 201n8; and temporality, 105, 201n9 Hawkes, David, 144–­45 Hawthorne, Nathaniel, A Wonder-­ Book for Girls and Boys, 196n18 Healy, Margaret, 200n50 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 188n10 Heidegger, Martin, 188n15 Heiserman, A. R., 224n15 Henderson, Katherine Usher, 216n28 Henry VIII, 143, 196n18, 215n17; and dissolution of monasteries, 213n12

hermits, 16, 120–­23, 125; as anchorites, 106, 118–­20 Hero and Leander (Marlowe), 161, 223n11 Herrick, Robert, 173, 175 Herron, Thomas, 203n22 Heywood, Thomas, 190n28; Loves Maistresse, 196n18 Hic Mulier (anonymous), 148 history: in allegory, 204n27, 205nn29–­ 31; Christian definition of, 201n5; as dependent on figure, 116, 117–­18, 200n4, 206nn36–­37; as escape from figure, 113; as source of horror, 11–­ 14, 186n20 History of the World (Ralegh), 131–­32, 209n59, 210n65, 211n67 Hobbes, Thomas, 22 Holdsworth, R. V., 2–­3, 163 homographesis, 18, 139–­40, 152, 213n10. See also Edelman, Lee homunculus, 174–­75 hortus conclusus, 225n18 Horwich, Richard, 199n34 Howard, Jean E., 211n4, 212n6 human exceptionalism, 224n17 humanism: and ideologies of family, 61, 187n8; and monasticism, 22; paganism in, 154; and patronage, 22 Hutson, Lorna, 187n8 Huxley, Davina, 192n39 ideology: and art, 10; and gender, 154; manipulation of, 16, 22; and religion, 60 incest: and anthropology, 59; for controlling daughters, 57, 78–­79, 90–­ 91; as culturally negotiable, 57–­58; and economics, 57, 59; and liberality, 61; literary crisis of, 85–­87; misan-

260 Index

thropic revolt from, 16, 87; mock-­ prohibition of, 61; and monarchy, 58, 195n5; as obligation, 73, 78–­79; as open secret, 194n2; as paternal strategy, 61; as protectionist, 61; as reconstituted by market, 87, 98–­99; and usury, 59; and venereal disease, 94–­95. See also The Merchant of Venice; Pericles Inferno (Dante), 143–­44, 153–­54, 205n29, 218n37 irresolution, 2, 4–­6, 10–­11; aesthetics of, 108; within domesticity, 181; of identity, 102; as ideological paradox, 57, 59, 61–­63, 88; and narrative, 102 An Itinerary (Moryson), 198n25 Jackson, Ken, 190n24 James, Heather, 202n12, 224n14 Jameson, Fredric, 5, 10, 186n16, 186n20 Jensen, Phebe, 191n31 Jerome, Saint, v, 120–­23, 207n45, 207n47 Jew of Malta (Marlowe), 65; Abigal, 65; Barabas, 65, 83 Johnson, Barbara, 18, 162 Jones, Ann Rosalind, 168–­69, 211n4, 220n48, 222n54, 222n56 Jonson, Ben: Bartholomew Fair, 148, 163, 221n49; The English Grammar, 146–­47, 216n27; frontispiece poem to Shakespeare’s folio, 132; “On My First Sonne,” 173; Workes, 147. See also Epicoene Jowett, John, 185n14, 191n34 Judovitz, Dalia, 188n11 Jung, Carl, 223n4 Kahn, Coppélia, 212n7 Kaske, Carol V., 203n23

Keats, John, “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” 162 Keener, Andrew S., 223n8 Kelley, Edward, 223n4 Kennedy, Angus J., 200n3 Kermode, Frank, 190n26, 191n30 Kernan, Alvin, 223n8 Kerwin, William, 208n51, 224n16 King John (Shakespeare), 132, 210n62 King Lear (Shakespeare), 39, 51, 63, 68–­ 69, 85–­87, 95, 180, 190n25 Kinney, Clare Regan, 205n30 Kitzes, Adam, 224n16 Knight, G. Wilson, 185n13, 190n24 knowledge: and the body, 156–­57; common, 21–­26, 36, 187n6; and cultural epistemology, 146, 153; flexibility of, 23–­25; linguistic divisions of, 24–­25, 188n10; and novelty, 30, 32–­ 33, 35–­36; as performance, 29–­35, 38; scientific, 22–­23, 25; and skepticism, 25–­26; of social identity, 24 Koerner, Joseph Leo, 206n35 Kofman, Sarah, 189n18 Konstan, David, 184n7 Korda, Natasha, 181 Kuzner, James, 174 Lacan, Jacques, 58, 188n10 language: alienated (Latin, Greek, and Hebrew), 140, 145, 168; performative, 137–­38; and phenomenology, 136–­37 Laquer, Thomas, 211n4 Latin: and authority, 140–­42, 144, 218n36; as commodity fetish, 142, 167–­69; grammar of, 140, 148, 215n22, 216n25; and law, 142, 152, 167, 218n34; onstage, 146; and proliferation of gender, 147–­48; and sodomy, 141, 149, 152–­53, 217n33;

Index  261

Latin (cont.) speech tags, 142, 161; suspicion of, 143, 147, 154, 156; and vernacular, 143; and women, 141, 165 Latini, Brunetto, 153, 218n37 law, divine vs. human, 137–­38, 143 Lawrence v. Texas, 218n35 Lea, K. M., 183n5 Leggatt, Alexander, 221n52 Leinwand, Theodore, 197n20 Lemon, Rebecca, 210n61 Leong, Elaine, 225n20 Levine, Caroline, 208n51 Levine, Laura, 212n6 Lewis, C. S., 201n6 Lezra, Jacques, 30, 33, 191n36 Life of Anthony (Athanasius), 120–­21 Ligota, Christopher, 193n41 Lily, William, 147, 216n26 logocentrism, 45, 67, 191n35 Lopez, Jeremy, 194n2 Lorenz, Edward, 129 love: in binary with hate, 105, 201nn8–­ 9; in humanist ideologies, 62–­63, 77; in linguistics, 105, 108, 201n6; and loyalty, 8; as mythical figure, 201n8 Loves Maistresse (Heywood), 196n18 Lucian, 19, 41, 190n28 Lunberry, Clark, 183n3 Lupton, Julia Reinhard, 199n39 Luther, Martin, 120 Lyly, John, Midas, 196n18 Machiavelli, Niccolò, 23 Maisano, Scott, 188n14, 206n38, 224n17 malcontents: as a category, 19; and misanthropes, 3; as sociable, 3, 184n7 Mandelbrot, Benoit, 209n58

Mann, Jenny C., 211n3 Marcus, Jane, 225n21 Il Marescalco (Aretino), 136, 148–­52; Page and Pedant in, 149–­52 Marion, Jean-­Luc, 188n13 Marlowe, Christopher: Hero and Leander, 161, 223n11; Jew of Malta, Abigal and Barabas, 65, 83; Tamburlaine, 194n49 Marotti, Arthur F., 223n7 Marston, John, 176, 223n10 Marvell, Andrew, “The Garden,” 1, 9, 224n17 Marx, Karl, 10, 21, 35, 58, 63, 66, 69, 142, 167, 185n15, 195n17 Mary, Queen of Scots, 101 Massai, Sonia, 92–­93 Masten, Jeffrey, 90, 191n34, 199n38, 200n47, 214n15 materiality: and emotion, 17; and figure, 94, 113; of history, 113; and metaphysics, 25; and phenomenology, 169–­70; and spirituality, 119; and theory, 14, 206n37 Maus, Katharine Eisaman, 64, 173, 184n8, 221n50 Mazzio, Carla, 211n4, 220n46 McIntosh, Mary, 213n11 McManus, Barbara F., 216n28 Melnikoff, Kirk, 194n49 Menon, Madhavi, 206n37 merchant capitalism, 59–­60; and bills of exchange, 70–­72; and Christianity, 59–­60; and moneylending, 68; in opposition to hoarding, 59; and profit, 69; and prostitution of daughters, 75–­77; and protectionism, 60 The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare): Antonio, 68–­70, 72; Bassanio, 74, 81–­82, 84; casket trial in, 73–­86, 90;

262 Index

comparison of Jews to Christians in, 64, 68–­73, 84, 197n19, 199n40; and covert interest-­lending, 70; daughters and ducats in, 64–­68, 93; Jessica, 64, 67, 73–­74; liberality in, 60–­61, 75; location of Belmont, 199n37; Lord of Belmont, 16, 60, 73–­74; Nerissa, 74, 82; Portia, 16, 73–­82, 94; Prince of Morocco, 81, 83; Shylock, 60, 64–­70, 72–­74, 83, 93, 96 Metamorphoses (Ovid), 176, 196n18, 223n12, 225n21 metaphysics, 14, 32–­33 Metzger, Mary Janell, 198n26 Midas (Lyly), 196n18 Midas (Shelley), 196n18 Midas, story of: in Aristotle and Plato, 66; as capitalist allegory, 66; as epitaph, 66–­67; in Hawthorne, 67; as miser, 66; textual history of, 196n18; as warning against gold, 84 A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare), 146 Miles, M., 220n45 Mill, John Stuart, 195n11 Miller, David Lee, 220n47 Milton, John, 179, 180, 224n16 Mirabelli, Philip, 216n25 Le Misanthrope (Molière), 184n7 misanthropoetics: and choice, 104; definition of, v, 3, 18; female, 180; and genre, 2, 9; and literary unconscious, 4–­6; in poetry, 7–­9; and Romantics, 179; as term, 13 misanthropy: and compromise, 6; definition of, v, 184n6; in drama, 3; female versions of, 180–­81, 225n21; and inconsequence, 132; literary, 2, 4; as missing in children and

animals, 224n17; as mode, 4; and parthenogenesis, 173–­78; and paternity, 63; and religiosity, 106; and response to gender, 118, 135–­36; and solitariness, 26, 118; and speciation, 135; as wasteland, 118 misophonia, 17, 135, 211n1 Molière, Le Misanthrope, 184n7 Montaigne, Michel de, 56, 61, 77–­78, 87 Montrose, Louis Adrian, 184n10, 203n24, 206n36 More, Sir Thomas, 23, 196n18 Morse, Ruth, 190n27 Moryson, Fynes, An Itinerary, 198n25 Moulton, Ian Frederick, 217n30 movement, privileged over stasis, 108 muteness envy, 162 Nagy, Gregory, 205n33 Nardizzi, Vin, 219n42 Nelson, Benjamin N., 198n24 Nevo, Ruth, 200n44 Newman, Karen, 185n14, 198n32 Nicholl, Charles, 194n47 Nohrnberg, James, 203n25 Norbrook, David, 200n1 Novy, Marianne, 81 Nuttall, A. D., 174 O’Connell, Michael, 114, 205n31 “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (Keats), 162 Oliver, H. J., 190nn25–­26, 191nn30–­31 Ong, Walter, 165, 214n14, 221n51 “On My First Sonne” ( Jonson), 173 Oram, William A., 202n16, 208n49 Oreglia, Giacomo, 183n5 Orgel, Stephen, 57, 169, 194n4, 211n4 originality: and cliché, 24, 36, 189n21; and novelty, 30, 33, 36; performance of, 30–­31

Index  263

Orlando Furioso (Ariosto), 106, 201nn9–­10, 202n19 Ovid, Metamorphoses, 176, 196n18, 223n12, 225n21 Pantagruel (Rabelais), Panurge and Thaumaste, 156–­57 Paré, Ambroise, 161, 220n48 Parker, Patricia, 220n44 parthenogenesis, male, 173–­75; female answer to, 225n21; in the occult, 174, 223n4; by poets, 173–­75, 177; as queer reproduction, 175 Partridge, Edward B., 221n50 Partridge, Eric, 76, 80, 195n13 Paster, Gail Kern, 3, 195n10, 211n4 pastoral, 16, 108, 183n2, 204n28 paternity, 16, 56–­59, 61–­65, 67, 73–­ 88, 93–­99, 166, 197n22, 200n43, 200n47 Patrides, C. A., 210n65 Patterson, Annabel, 81 Paul of Thebes, Saint, 120–­22, 207n45 Pauls, Peter, 184n7 Pepin, Ronald E., 224n15 performance: audience complicity in, 32–­33; of Cartesian subjectivity, 28, 31–­35, 38, 47, 51; of death, 20, 43; of dialectic, 126; of disability, 219n42; falsity of, 31; of knowledge, 29–­31; and pragmatism, 15; for social survival, 21; of speech acts, 137; theory, 183n3, 189n16; of transactive theater, 146 Pericles (Shakespeare), 16, 56, 61, 63, 87–­99, 155, 166; Bawd, Bolt, and Pander, 94–­96, 99; brothel in, 94–­99; Cerimon, 89; dumb shows in, 155; fatherhood in, 56; filial inheritance in, 56–­57; Gower, 92; Helicanus, 99; and incest, 16;

King Antiochus, 88, 90–­91, 94–­95; Lysimachus, 96–­97; Marina, 89–­90, 94–­98; parody of family in, 94–­98; and paternity, 16; Pericles (character), 16, 56, 62, 74, 79, 88–­93, 95–­99; and rape, 96; recognition scene in, 98; riddle in, 88, 90; textual crux in, 92; Thaisa, 89, 93, 199n38; venereal disease in, 94–­95, 200n50 Perry, Donna, 225n21 Peter, John D., 224n15 Petrarch, Rime Sparse, 124, 203n24, 208n50 phenomenology: and consensus, 138–­ 39; control over, 163; errors of, 164; of gender, 139; of the past, 169–­70 Picciotto, Joanna, 225n18 Pietz, William, 168 Pinsky, Nicole, 218n37 Pitcher, John, 200n46 Plato, 66–­67 Plummer, Denis, 222n2, 223n4 Plutarch, 42, 191n30, 191n33, 193n42 Pope, Alexander, 1, 179 pragmatism, 14–­15, 30–­32, 170 Prendergast, Maria Teresa Michaela, 212n7 Principal Navigations (Hakluyt), 209n60 Priscian, 148, 153–­54, 218n37 Procne, 225n21 Purchas, Samuel, 192n38 Pygmalion, 174–­77 quantum mechanics, 129 queer reproduction. See parthenogenesis, male Rabelais, François, Pantagruel: Panurge and Thaumaste, 156–­57

264 Index

Raber, Karen, 224n17 race, 52, 81. See also Turks Rackin, Phyllis, 211n4 Ralegh, Sir Walter, 8, 100–­102, 112, 117, 128, 130, 132–­33, 206n39, 209nn59–­ 60, 210n61, 210n65, 211n67; History of the World, 131–­32, 209n59, 210n65, 211n67 recipes, 181 Reed, Thomas, 108, 201n11, 202n13 Reinhard, Kenneth, 199n39 Rice, Warner G., 192nn38–­39 riddles: in The Faerie Queene, 112; in The Merchant of Venice, 83–­85; in Pericles, 88, 90 Rime Sparse (Petrarch), 124, 203n24, 208n50 Rivlin, Elizabeth, 219n41 Roberts, Jeanne Addison, 194n4 Roche, Thomas P., Jr., 203n21, 204n27 Rocke, Michael, 213n12, 218n37 Rorty, Richard, 30–­33, 170, 222n55 Ross, Daniel W., 190n27 Rouse, Mary A., 193n40 Rouse, Richard H., 193n40 Rousseau, Philip, 207n45, 208n48 Rowe, Katherine, 187n8 Rubin, Gayle, 198n32 Rudlin, John, 183n5 Russel, Bertrand, and vagueness, 100, 128, 130 Sanchez, Melissa, 175, 223nn5–­6 Sandys, George, 196n18 satire: formal verse, 8, 176, 179, 224n15; and parody, 176; of Pope and Swift, 179 Sawday, Jonathan, 211n4 Sbrocchi, Leonard G., 217nn30–­31 scale, 122–­23, 130

Schalkwyk, David, 212n9 Schoenfeldt, Michael, 115–­16, 206nn34–­35 Scodel, Joshua, 191n32 Sebek, Barbara, 220n45 “The Second Coming” (Yeats), 9 Shadwell, Thomas, 212n7 Shaheen, Naseeb, 203n23 Shakespeare, William: and forensics, 19–­20; sons in the works of, 56–­57; suppression of mothers in the works of, 57–­58 Shakespeare, William, works of: Comedy of Errors, 180; Hamlet, 1, 20–­21; 1 Henry IV, 19, 57; King John, 132, 210n62; King Lear, 39, 51, 63, 68–­69, 85–­87, 95, 180, 190n25; Measure for Measure, 180; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 146; Much Ado about Nothing, 62; Richard III, 180; The Taming of the Shrew, 62; The Tempest, 57, 180; Twelfth Night, 62, 163, 180, 221n49; Venus and Adonis, 223n11; The Winter’s Tale, 180. See also The Merchant of Venice; Pericles; Sonnets; Timon of Athens Shannon, Laurie, 224n17 Shapiro, James, 195n13, 197n19 Shapiro, Michael, 211n4 Shell, Marc, 58–­59, 195n6 Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein, 181; Midas, 196n18 The Shepheardes Calender (Spenser): “Februarie,” 108, 202n12; “To His Booke,” 174 Sheridan, Alan, 188n10 Sidney, Sir Philip: Astrophil and Stella, 173–­74; Defense of Poesie, 222n1 Silberman, Lauren, 202n17

Index  265

silence: as anticomic, 2–­3; of body, 157–­60, 220n43; and divine omniscience, 153; in drama, 3; of dumbfounding, 163–­64; as effect of Latin, 151–­52; as escape from language, 17; of misanthrope, 3, 15, 16, 126; of muteness, 158, 162–­63, 219n42; and pantomime, 155; of semaphore, 160; as vocal paralysis, 104, 220n46; and women, 135, 162–­64; and wordless disputation, 156–­57, 160 Skelton, John, 224n15 skepticism, Cartesian, 34–­35 Skura, Meredith Anne, 187n9 Smith, Bruce R., 134, 170, 211n1, 213n12, 214n14, 217n33, 221n51 Smith, Thomas, Discourse of the Commonweal, 60 Socrates, 66–­67 sodomy, 140, 152–­54, 158–­59, 213nn11–­ 12, 217n33, 218nn34–­35 Soellner, Rolf, 187n9, 189n21 Sonnets (Shakespeare), 27–­28, 44, 80, 91, 135, 173–­74, 211n3 sons, 56–­57, 197n22 Sorensen, Fred, 200n1 speech act, failure of, 136 Spenser, Edmund: Colin Clouts Come Home Againe, 204n28; “Februarie” in The Shepheardes Calender, 108, 202n12; “To His Booke,” 174. See also The Faerie Queene Spiller, Elizabeth, 220n2 Spinoza, Baruch, 32, 189n17 Spradley, Dana Lloyd, 194n3 Squire of Low Degree, 119 Stanev, Hristomir A., 211n1 Stanivukovic, Goran, 223n6

stasis: as opposed to movement, 108; as paralysis, 108, 208n49 Stewart, Alan, 213n12, 214nn13–­14, 217n33 Stallybrass, Peter, 168–­69, 211n4, 220n48, 222n54, 222n56 stock characters, 183n5, 184n7 Stoll, Elmer Edgar, 183n1 subjectivity: as act of creation, 26–­29; and novelty, 29; as product of culture, 4–­5; in Shakespeare’s sonnets, 27–­28; as tool of pragmatism, 33. See also Cartesian subjectivity subversion-­containment, 6; in effect, 99, 164–­65 suicide notes, 43–­44 Sullivan, Garrett A., Jr., 210n64 syphilis, 96 Tamburlaine (Marlowe), 194n49 Tasso, Torquato, Gerusalemme liberata, 203n25 Taylor, John, 52–­53 telos, 144–­45; narrative teleology, 119; teleioi (religious perfection), 119, 207n44 The Tempest (Shakespeare), 57 Tentations (Capel), 195n7 ter Brugghen, Hendrick, 206n34 Teskey, Gordon, 205n32 Thayer, H. S., 188n14 theater, and false idealism, 5–­6, 10, 184n11 Theis, Jeffrey S., 224n17 Thiel, Anneke, 196n18 Thomas, the apostle, 112, 203n23 Thorne, W. B., 194n3 time, 117; foresight and hindsight, 118; and infinity, 209n57; medieval

266 Index

concept of, 209n54; and perfection, 119; and the present, 118; and timelessness, 117 Timon of Athens (Shakespeare), 7, 9–­10, 15, 19–­25, 36; admiration of, 10, 185n15; Alcibiades, 20, 37–­38, 41, 45, 48–­50; as Cartesian anachronism, 189n23; cenotaph in, 15, 39–­40, 53–­54, 179; as closet drama, 174; as collaborative and unfinished, 185n14, 191n34; empty containers in, 40, 50–­52; epitaphs in 39–­45, 47–­49, 190n29; in First Folio, 42, 174, 191n31; Lucullus, 40; poet, painter, merchant, and jeweler in, 24, 36; presumption of suicide in, 19–­20, 39–­43, 45; recent production and publication of, 185n13; roots in, 167; senators in, 49–­50; soldier in, 39–­42, 47–­48; Timon, 19, 36–­43, 46, 135, 180; and women, 212n7 tomb: as cenotaph, 15, 39–­40, 53–­54, 179; as substitute for daughter, 89 transactive authority, 142; and performative authority, 144, 146; of theater, 146; in translation, 143–­44 Traub, Valerie, 206n37 Trevor, Douglas, 179, 224n16 Turks, 159–­60, 220n45; and sodomy, 220n44 Turner, Henry, 192n39 Tylus, Jane, 197n22, 203n25 Tyndale, William, 145, 215n18 types, literary, 183n5, 184n7 unconscious: and cathexis, 12–­13; and complicity, 186n16; and compulsion, 88, 200n44; and displacement, 86; in dreams, 123; and ego ideal, 27;

Freudian metaphor for, 44–­45; and ideology, 84; of literary production, 4–­6; and Portia’s name, 76; and psychological horror, 13; and return of repressed, 6, 97–­98; and self-­ consciousness, 5; and sexuality, 79, 159; and symbolic logic, 76–­77, 79, 82, 84; wax tablet as, 44–­45 Van Leeuwen, Raymond C., 187n6 Venus and Adonis (Shakespeare), 223n11 Vickers, Nancy, 197n22 Vignali, Antonio, 217n30 Virgidemiarum (Hall), 223n10 Visio philiberti, 127–­28 Vitkus, Daniel, 220n44 Wall, Wendy, 181, 214n14, 225n20 Wardy, Robert, 187n7 wax: imprint of, 40–­43, 45, 47–­48, 51; tablet of, 44–­45, 193n40 White, Hayden, 206n36 Whitehead, Neil, 209n60 Whitney, Geffrey, A Choice of Emblemes, 196n18 Williams, Charles Allyn, 120, 207nn43–­45 Williams, Gordon, 219n40 Williams, Kathleen, 201n8 Williams, Stanley T., 185n Wilson, Thomas, A Discourse upon Usury, 71, 197n21 Windelband, Wilhelm, 206n36 Wofford, Susanne Lindgren, 114–­15, 203n25, 205n33, 208n50, 212n9 Wolfe, Cary, 224n17 womb, male appropriation of, 173

Index  267

A Wonder-­Book for Girls and Boys (Hawthorne), 196n18 Woodbridge, Linda, 203n24, 216n28 Woolf, Virginia, 225n21 Workes ( Jonson), 147 Wright, Laura Jayne, 211n1 xenophobia: disguised as liberality, 83–­ 84; and economic protectionism, 60; under pretense of xenophilia, 84; and race, 52, 81

Yachnin, Paul, 185n12, 216n24 Yeats, William Butler, “The Second Coming,” 9 Yiu, Mimi, 211n1 Yvain (Chrétien de Troyes), 106, 201nn9–­10 Zeno, 128–­30, 155, 209n57 Žižec, Slavoj, 33 Zucker, Adam, 219n39

268 Index

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