Archaeologies of English Renaissance Literature by Philip Schwyzer

By Philip Schwyzer

This examine attracts at the idea and perform of archaeology to boost a brand new point of view at the literature of the Renaissance. Philip Schwyzer explores the fascination with photos of excavation, exhumation, and smash that runs via literary texts together with Spenser's Faerie Queene, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, Donne's sermons and lyrics, and Thomas Browne's Hydriotaphia, or Urne-Buriall. Miraculously preserved corpses, ruined monasteries, Egyptian mummies, and Yorick's cranium all determine during this examine of the early glossy archaeological mind's eye. The pessimism of the interval is summed up within the haunting motif of the attractive corpse that, as soon as touched, crumbles to dirt.

Archaeology and literary stories are themselves items of the Renaissance. even supposing the 2 disciplines have occasionally considered each other as opponents, they percentage a special and unsettling intimacy with the strains of previous life--with the phrases the lifeless wrote, sang, or heard, with the items they made, held, or lived inside. Schwyzer argues that on the root of either sorts of scholarship lies the forbidden wish to wake up (and converse with) the lifeless. although most unlikely or absurd this wish can be, it is still a primary resource of either moral accountability and aesthetic pleasure.

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