Theirs was a world of exploration and experimentation, of movement and growth--and in this, the thinkers of the Renaissance, poets and scientists alike, followed their countrymen into uncharted territory and unthought space. A book that takes us to the very heart of the enterprise of the Renaissance, this closely focused but far-reaching work by the distinguished scholar Angus Fletcher reveals how early modern science and English poetry were in many ways components of one process: discovering and expressing the secrets of motion, whether in the language of mathematics or verse.
Throughout his book, Fletcher is concerned with one main crisis of knowledge and perception, and indeed cognition generally: the desire to find a correct theory of motion that could only end with Newton's Laws. Beginning with the achievement of Galileo--which changed the world--Time, Space, and Motion identifies the problem of motion as the central cultural issue of the time, pursued through the poetry of the age, from Marlowe and Shakespeare to Ben Jonson and Milton, negotiated through the limits and the limitless possibilities of language much as it was through the constraints of the physical world.
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About the Author
Angus Fletcher was Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
Table of Contents
1. Galileo's Metaphor
2. The Theme of Motion
3. On Drama, Poetry, and Movement
4. Marlowe Invents the Deadline
5. The Defense of the Interim
6. Structure of an Epitaph
7. Donne's Apocryphal Wit
8. Milton and the Moons of Jupiter
What People are Saying About This
The openness and clarity of Fletcher's argument invites one to think of it not as another literary study but rather as an essay within an American tradition of public intellectual engagement. While Time, Space, and Motion in English Renaissance Poetry illuminates multiple intersections of thought and experience in the early modern period, it also manifests a lifetime of thinking about the challenges of contemporary civilization and the ways in which literature resonates with science.
Kenneth Knoespel, McEver Professor in the Liberal Arts, Georgia Institute of Technology
Angus Fletcher is an Orphic seer, a curious universal scholar of Renaissance vintage, a fusion of the best traits of Northrop Frye and Kenneth Burke, his true peers.... His new book on Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, Milton and so much more is a marvelous demonstration that cosmology, rhetoric and psychology are not three entities but one. Here they fuse together with the magus Fletcher performing his superb critical alchemy.
Harold Bloom, author of The Western Canon
A radically new kind of exploration, Time, Space, and Motion in the Age of Shakespeare is a profoundly original work by a major scholar, with considerable potential resonance for a wide range of contemporary discourse on such matters as science and poetry, imagination and belief.
John Hollander, Sterling Professor of English emeritus, Yale University
This meditation on the relation of literature and science in the late sixteenth and earlier seventeenth centuries is certainly in a class by itself. More than any other living literary critic, Fletcher brings a perspective on the world of letters that we might call Olympian.
John Rogers, Professor of English, Yale University