In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 141 All these essays are worthy of attention in themselves, but what of the far-reaching implications claimed for the assemblege as a whole? The essays indeed illustrate that 'eschatological attitudes changed over time', if not always why. They bring into sharper focus 'divergent eschatological assumptions . . . and the conflicts or incompatibilities among them'. The essays dealing with literature and art, in particular, also raise questions of 'how eschatological understandings hovered over human experience, inflecting the ways people spoke about values and hopes' (p. 1). However, the main presence which seems to hover over the eschatological understandings of many ofthe present writers is that of Professer Bynum herself, frequently mentioned in text and footnotes. Indeed, the student who wants a more coherent and measured introduction to such topics might do well to consult her extensive writings on the subject, such as Fragmentation and Redemption (1992), and The Resurrection of the Body (1995), before tackling this more diffuse offering. Sabina Flanagan Department ofHistory University ofAdelaide Carrithers, Gale H. Jr, and James D. Hardy Jr, Age ofIron: English Renaissance Tropologies of Love and Power, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Louisiana State University Press, 1998; cloth; pp. xviii, 314; 1 b/w illustration; R R P $95AUD, US$55. The title of this book is quite deceptive, though it describes quite fairl coverage. Readers accustomed to the frequently rehearsed tropes of new historicism will be drawn to the keywords here: 'iron', 'tropology', 'love', 'power', and expect perhaps a Renaissance survey written under the influence, say, of Hayden White's historical analysis and Louis Montrose's elegant depictions of the functions of pastoral at Elizabeth I's court. They would be wrong, for this is emphatically not a book of that kind. Carrithers and Hardy aim rather to redress the materialists' balance of criticism over the last twenty years. They argue that 'the Renaissance English saw their lives and society and civilization in religious terms . . . Religion, therefore is not merely a topic to be studied, like Parliament, the Jacobean stage, colonization, or the draining of the 142 Reviews fens, but is the matrix within which all the others occurred and within which contemporaries understood subjects n o w seen as essentially secular' (Preface, n.p.). Colonisation, the place of the stage, and fen drainage, of course, have been prime sites for recent scholarship. The authors do not argue that studying such things is wrong; rather that all such topics must be subsumed by the master narratives of Protestantism which dominate the period. The 'tropologies' are four key tropes which they see as dominating all the texts they study: the 'journey toward ultimate justice and mercy'; 'the differentiating and defining moment' (or epiphany); 'calling' to be a 'Pauline ambassador of the good'; and 'theater' (Preface, n.p.). These tropes are not used merely as rhetorical terms borrowed, say, from George Puttenham, but rather as prime sites where language turns to 'transcendance' (Preface n.p.). Thus they present not the material force ofwords, as you mightfind,say, in work by Patricia Parker. They look instead for the divine in every part. Unsurprisingly, they focus on texts which are explicitly religious: the Book of C o m m o n Prayer (which they rightly see as having been neglected as a forceful text in the period); Ben Jonson's poems (though they deal briefly with his irreligious plays as well); Donne's sermons; Milton's tracts and poems and Marvell's apocalyptic, Cromwellian poems. The book concludes with a briefnote on 'tropologies of love and power' in Shakespeare, which evidently foreshadows a sequel where the authors will trace their chosen paradigm through all his works. Doubtless they will glean much from the Bard. This is a curiously limited yet oddly useful book. Carrithers teaches English and Hardy History at LSU. The book arose out of an interdisciplinary course they taught on the history and literature of seventeenth-century England. The course and the book thus form part of what is clearly a long conversation the authors have been fruitfully having on the meaning of the English Renaissance. Even for a scholarly monograph the book is very extensively annotated. These notes seek to provide background for many of the issues...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 141-143
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.