Archaeologies Of English Renaissance Literature

Hardcover | March 22, 2007

byPhilip Schwyzer

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This study draws on the theory and practice of archaeology to develop a new perspective on the literature of the Renaissance. Philip Schwyzer explores the fascination with images of excavation, exhumation, and ruin that runs through literary texts including Spenser's Faerie Queene,Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, Donne's sermons and lyrics, and Thomas Browne's Hydriotaphia, or Urne-Buriall. Miraculously preserved corpses, ruined monasteries, Egyptian mummies, and Yorick's skull all figure in this study of the early modern archaeological imagination. The pessimism ofthe period is summed up in the haunting motif of the beautiful corpse that, once touched, crumbles to dust. Archaeology and literary studies are themselves products of the Renaissance. Although the two disciplines have sometimes viewed one another as rivals, they share a unique and unsettling intimacy with the traces of past life - with the words the dead wrote, sang, or heard, with the objects they made,held, or lived within. Schwyzer argues that at the root of both forms of scholarship lies the forbidden desire to awaken (and speak with) the dead. However impossible or absurd this desire may be, it remains a fundamental source of both ethical responsibility and aesthetic pleasure.

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This study draws on the theory and practice of archaeology to develop a new perspective on the literature of the Renaissance. Philip Schwyzer explores the fascination with images of excavation, exhumation, and ruin that runs through literary texts including Spenser's Faerie Queene,Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, Donne's serm...

Philip Schwyzer is Lecturer in Renaissance Literature and Culture in the Department of English, University of Exeter. He is the author of iLiterature, Nationalism and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales/i (Cambridge, 2004) and co-editor of iArchipelagic Identities: Literature and Identity in the Atlantic Archipelago, 1550-1800/i ...

other books by Philip Schwyzer

Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.75 inPublished:March 22, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199206600

ISBN - 13:9780199206605

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Intimate Disciplines: Archaeology, Literary Criticism, and the Traces of the Dead2. Exhumation and Ethnic Conflict: Colonial Archaeology From iSt. Erkenwald/i to Spenser in Ireland3. Dissolving Images: Monastic Ruins in Elizabethan Poetry4. Charnel Knowledge: Open Graves in Shakespeare and Donne5. 'Mummy Is Become Merchandise': Cannibals and Commodities in the Seventeenth Century6. Readers of the Lost Urns: Desire and Disintegration in Thomas Browne's iUrn-Burial/i