Abstract

Abstract:

Despite the extensive critical literature on the practical spatial arts in Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine, little attention has been paid to rhetorical function of number itself in the play's frequent scenes of accounting. This article reads Tamburlaine's steadily advancing figures against contemporary arithmetical narratives of exponential growth, newly popularized in Elizabethan manuals of Arabic computation and operating with particular force in the commercial discourse surrounding New World exploration. Attending to the romance of number in Tamburlaine, I argue, both helps make sense of contemporary responses to the play and suggests ways in which drama participates in shaping the scientific imaginary of its age.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 229-255
Launched on MUSE
2020-07-02
Open Access
No
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