The storied achievements of the Renaissance were not simply the result of a cultural rediscovery of shared European classical traditions. A Companion to the Global Renaissance presents a more complex perspective that considers England's commercial and cross-cultural interactions with the New and Old Worlds of the Americas, Africa, and the East, as well as with Northern Europe. By illustrating how English culture and literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were shaped by emerging long-distance mercantile, proto-colonial, and cultural economies of exchange, this innovative collection presents a new history of globalization.
After introducing globalization's theoretical underpinnings, twenty one newly-commissioned essays collectively illustrate how twentieth-century globalization was the result of a lengthy and complex historical process linked to the emergence of capitalism and colonialism. These wide-ranging chapters examine such topics as England's trading companies and the flow of labor and capital; exploration and cartography; travel and empire; domestic consumerism, money, and material culture; East-West relations and Islam; visual representations and aesthetic theories of and by cultural ‘others’; gender and race struggles within the new economies and cultures; the global dimensions of Renaissance literature; and global drama on the cosmopolitan English stage.
With academic rigor and critical authority, A Companion to the Global Renaissance: English Literature and Culture in the Era of Expansion challenges popular notions of Renaissance history and presents fascinating new insights into the roots of globalization.