Renaissance Culture and the Everyday / Edition 1

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It was not unusual during the Renaissance for cooks to torture animals before slaughtering them in order to render the meat more tender, for women to use needlepoint to cover up their misconduct and prove their obedience, and for people to cover the walls of their own homes with graffiti.

Items and activities as familiar as mirrors, books, horses, everyday speech, money, laundry baskets, graffiti, embroidery, and food preparation look decidedly less familiar when seen through the eyes of Renaissance men and women. In Renaissance Culture and the Everyday, such scholars as Judith Brown, Frances Dolan, Richard Helgerson, Debora Shuger, Don Wayne, and Stephanie Jed illuminate the sometimes surprising issues at stake in just such common matters of everyday life during the Renaissance in England and on the Continent.

Organized around the categories of materiality, women, and transgression—and constantly crossing these categories—the book promotes and challenges readers' thinking of the everyday. While not ignoring the aristocratic, it foregrounds the common person, the marginal, and the domestic even as it presents the unusual details of their existence. What results is an expansive, variegated, and sometimes even contradictory vision in which the strange becomes not alien but a defining mark of everyday life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A lively and illuminating collection of essays that extends the recent trend away from a concentration on structures of state power and religious authority and toward the domestic, the local, and the ordinary. But the ordinary, in the skillful analyses brought together in this volume, proves to be extraordinarily charged with conflict, strangeness, and dramatic intensity. Fumerton and Hunt have assembled some of the most interesting voices in Renaissance studies today."—Stephen Greenblatt
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812216639
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: New Cultural Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Fumerton is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Cultural Aesthetics: Renaissance Literature and the Practice of Social Ornament. Simon Hunt teaches English at the Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: A New New Historicism 1
2 The "I" of the Beholder: Renaissance Mirrors and the Reflexive Mind 21
3 "Reasonable Creatures": William Cavendish and the Art of Dressage 42
4 "Pox on Your Distinction!": Humanist Reformation and Deformations of the Everyday in The Staple of News 67
5 Homely Accents: Ben Jonson Speaking Low 92
6 Everyday Life, Longevity, and Nuns in Early Modern Florence 115
7 Constructing the Female Self: Architectural Structures in Mary Wroth's Urania 139
8 The Buck Basket, the Witch, and the Queen of Fairies: The Women's World of Shakespeare's Windsor 162
9 Three Ways to be Invisible in the Renaissance: Sex, Reputation, and Stitchery 183
10 Household Chastisements: Gender, Authority, and "Domestic Violence" 204
11 Money and the Regulation of Desire: The Prostitute and the Marketplace in Seventeenth-Century Holland 229
12 Reorganizing Knowledge: A Feminist Scholar's Everyday Relation to the Florentine Past 254
13 "The Catastrophe Is a Nuptial": Love's Labor's Lost, Tactics, Everyday Life 271
14 "Leaving Out the Insurrection": Carnival Rebellion, English History Plays, and a Hermeneutics of Advocacy 299
15 Graffiti, Grammatology, and the Age of Shakespeare 315
List of Contributors 353
Index 357
Acknowledgments 367
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