Cultural Aesthetics: Renaissance Literature and the Practice of Social Ornament

Overview

A brilliant postmodern critique of Renaissance subjectivity, Cultural Aesthetics explores the simultaneous formation and fragmentation of aristocratic "selfhood" in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Patricia Fumerton situates the self within its sumptuous array of "trivial" arts—including the court literatures of chivalric romance, sonnet, and masque and the arts of architecture, miniature painting, stage design, and cuisine. Her integration of historicist and aesthetic perspectives makes this a...

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Overview

A brilliant postmodern critique of Renaissance subjectivity, Cultural Aesthetics explores the simultaneous formation and fragmentation of aristocratic "selfhood" in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Patricia Fumerton situates the self within its sumptuous array of "trivial" arts—including the court literatures of chivalric romance, sonnet, and masque and the arts of architecture, miniature painting, stage design, and cuisine. Her integration of historicist and aesthetic perspectives makes this a provocative contribution to the vigorous field of Renaissance cultural studies.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Fumerton (English, U. of California) argues that the aristocratic engagement with trivial and superficial decoration--in clothing, architecture, literature, and even cuisine--masked on unsettling apprehension about the relation between the private sphere and the emerging collective, national identity. A postmodern treatment. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226269535
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 287
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
1. Introduction: A Still Life: Clock, Jewel, Orange
The Paradigm
The Paradigm of Truncation: Culture as Fragment
From the Fragmentary to the Peripheral and Ornamental
Cultural Aesthetics
2. Exchanging Gifts: The Elizabethan Currency of Children and Romance
The Ring of Gift
The Ring of Elizabeth
The Threat of the Irish
The Poetics of Exchange: Spenser's Garden of Adonis
At the Poem's Periphery: The Dedication
Toward the Interior Cosmos
3. Secret Arts: Elizabethan Miniatures and Sonnets
Publishing the Miniature: "In small volumes, in private matter"
Hilliard's Secret Art of Limning
Publishing the Sonnet: "Such Secret thoughts as fit not euery sight"
Sidney's "Ground" of Poetry
After Hilliard and Sidney: "Within the loue-limn'd tablet of mine heart"
4. Consuming the Void: Jacobean Banquets and Masques
Rooms Apart of Sweet Conceits: Toward an Aesthetics of Detachment
The Void of Self
James's Banqueting House and the Masque
Oberon in Perspective: The Annunciation of Self
Tearing Down the Masque: Toward an Aesthetics of Consumerism
5. The Veil of Topicality: Trade and Ornament in Neptune's Triumph
Strange Trade: Foreign Currency and the East India Company
Eating Interests: Ormuz
Dressing up Trade: Neptune's Triumph for the Return of Albion
Curtain Call: The Veil of Topicality
Notes
Index

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