"This is a splendid innovative book that significantly complicates and enriches our understanding of a period in which much innovation was indeed taking place in politics, culture, and literaturea book full of exciting twists and turns, original, challenging observations about canonical authors, and impressive depth and breadth."Renaissance Quarterly
"Diplomacy, the most elaborately theorized mode of early modern contact, is the subject of Hampton's book. As Hampton argues, the simultaneous emergence of new literary genres like the sonnet sequence and new diplomatic practices like the exchange of resident ambassadors was no accident. Literary and diplomatic discourses shared a common origin in humanist rhetorical culture."Clio
"In Fictions of Embassy, Timothy Hampton integrates material from literary fiction and the historical record by examining the function of law in establishing the beginnings of modern diplomacy. His primary focus is on such central questions as the political status of the ambassador, the strategies of persuasion he employs, and his freedom to be himself rather than slavishly follow the king or state he represents. Addressing topics both political and aesthetic, particularly those created by international relations in which the norm is negotiation rather than war, Fictions of Embassy illustrates important developments in early modern statecraft."Constance Jordan, Claremont Graduate University
"Timothy Hampton is the most perceptive and erudite critic of early Modern European literature of our generation, and Fictions of Embassy is his career-defining achievement. This book argues for the rise of imaginative literature out of the practice of diplomacy. It brings together drama, epic, and philosophy, Italy, France, and Iberia. It says something new about all its texts, and, with flair and insight, it illuminates everyone from Machiavelli to Shakespeare."Seth Lerer, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Stanford University
"This book gives a highly original twist to the relation between literature and politics. What happens when early modern states exchange ambassadors in order to avoid violence? This innovative and ground-breaking inquiry shows brilliantly how literature not only represents but also shapes, and helps us to understand, the new diplomacy."Michel Jeanneret, The Johns Hopkins University and University of Geneva.
"At a time of violent conquest and of centralizing monarchies, there was a world of boundaries between nations in which the arts of language flourished, a world both reflected in the epics and tragedies of the late Renaissance and early modern period and influenced by them. Timothy Hampton brilliantly opens this world of the cultural and political 'in-between,' the territory of the messenger, the agent, and the ambassador. Tasso, Shakespeare, Racine and many other authors appear here in a startlingly new light. This is one of those few books that substantially redefines the relationship between literature and political history."John Lyons, University of Virginia
"In an engaging analysis of early modern literary depictions of diplomatic negotiations, Timothy Hampton demonstrates how emerging nation-states developed novel protocols of diplomatic representation, which in turn encouraged the emergence of new literary forms. Viewing the diplomat as both a maker and an interpreter of fictions designed to cross linguistic borders, the book is a major achievement of a vigorously comparative literary criticism, and will have a deep impact in a wide range of disciplines."Michael Schoenfeldt, University of Michigan
"Fictions of Embassy is foundational for early modern literary studies: it concerns an outlookwhat Timothy Hampton calls a diplomatic poeticsthat is everywhere in the period but has somehow escaped a searching examination until now. Conceived by one of our most admired scholars of Renaissance literature, this book must be read by everyone in the field."Roland Greene, Stanford University