The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature

Overview

This dynamic volume explores the differences that separate man from other forms of life. Building on the increased attention paid in recent criticism to both plant and animal life in the Renaissance, as well as the instability of categories such as 'human' and 'animal,' the essays in this engaging collection argue for recognition of the persistently indistinct nature of humans, who cannot be finally divided ontologically or epistemologically from other forms of matter.

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The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature

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Overview

This dynamic volume explores the differences that separate man from other forms of life. Building on the increased attention paid in recent criticism to both plant and animal life in the Renaissance, as well as the instability of categories such as 'human' and 'animal,' the essays in this engaging collection argue for recognition of the persistently indistinct nature of humans, who cannot be finally divided ontologically or epistemologically from other forms of matter.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature is a brilliantly conceived collection that challenges the apparent stability of categories we have come to assume are fundamental to the ordering of the cosmos—animal, vegetable, mineral, and, most of all, human. Its individual essays are scintillating: on every page we find a new revelation, a fresh reading of an old standard, a surprising juxtaposition, an original, and provocative argument. These essays will profoundly influence how Renaissance scholars perceive relationships between culture and environment in the period.' —Karen Raber, professor of English, University of Mississippi

'A wonderfully deep and diverse collection on what may be the most important problem ecocriticism can now address: the culturally constructed boundary between human and other forms of life. With insightful essays on sea-creatures, plant-grafting, wooden legs, stony hearts, and many other topics, The Indistinct Human in Renaissance Literature
deploys Renaissance literature to recover valuable lost perspectives on the collective vitality of our planet.'—Robert Watson, Distinguished Professor of English, UCLA and author of Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230340473
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Series: Early Modern Cultural Studies Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean E. Feerick is an assistant Professor of English at Brown University. She is the author of Strangers in Blood: Relocating Race in the Renaissance (2010), as well as of articles in jourbanals such as ELR, Renaissance Drama, South Central Review, and Early Modern Literary Studies.

Vin Nardizzi is an assistant Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of the forthcoming Wooden Os: Shakespeare's Theatres and England's Woods and co-editor, with Stephen Guy-Bray and Will Stockton, of Queer Renaissance Historiography: Backward Gaze (2009).

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Table of Contents

C on t e n t s
List of Figures vii
Series Editors' Foreword ix
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction: Swervings: On Human Indistinction 1
Jean E. Feerick and Vin Nardizzi
Part I The Head-Piece
1 The Eight Animals in Shakespeare; or,
Before the Human 15
Laurie Shannon
Part II Modes of Indistinction
Crossings
2 'Half-Fish, Half-Flesh': Dolphins, the Ocean, and
Early Modern Humans 29
Steve Mentz
3 Royal Fish: Shakespeare's Princely Whales 47
Dan Brayton
Bodily Ingestion
4 You Are What You Eat: Cooking and Writing Across
the Species Barrier in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair 69
Jay Zysk
5 'A Bett'ring of Nature': Grafting and Embryonic
Development in The Duchess of Malfi 85
Erin Ellerbeck
Technologies of Conjunction
6 Bastard Grafts, Crafted Fruits: Shakespeare's
Planted Families 103
Miranda Wilson
7 The Wooden Matter of Human Bodies: Prosthesis and
Stump in A Larum for London 119
Vin Nardizzi
Part III Indistinct Bodies
(Un)Sexed Bodies
8 Vegetable Love: Botany and Sexuality in
Seventeenth-Century England 139
Marjorie Swann
9 On Vegetating Virgins: Greensickness and the Plant
Realm in Early Modern Literature 159
Hillary M. Nunn
Stony States
10 A Heart of Stone: The Ungodly in Early
Modern England 181
Tiffany Jo Werth
11 Of Stones and Stony Hearts: Desdemona, Hermione,
and Post-Reformation Theater 205
Jennifer Waldron
Soiled Bodies
12 Groveling with Earth in Kyd and Shakespeare's
Historical Tragedies 231
Jean E. Feerick
13 The Politic Worm: Invertebrate Life in the Early
Modern English Body 253
Ian MacInnes
Notes on Contributors 275
Index 279

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