Early Modern Visual Culture
Representation, Race, and Empire in Renaissance EnglandUniversity of Pennsylvania Press New Cultural Studies
An interdisciplinary group of scholars applies the reinterpretive concept of "visual culture" to the English Renaissance. Bringing attention to the visual issues that have appeared persistently, though often marginally, in the newer criticisms of the last decade, the authors write in a diversity of voices on a range of subjects. Common among them, however, is a concern with the visual technologies that underlie the representation of the body, of race, of nation, and of empire.
Several essays focus on the construction and representation of the human body—including an examination of anatomy as procedure and visual concept, and a look at early cartographic practice to reveal the correspondences between maps and the female body. In one essay, early Tudor portraits are studied to develop theoretical analogies and historical links between verbal and visual portrayal. In another, connections in Tudor-Stuart drama are drawn between the female body and the textiles made by women. A second group of essays considers issues of colonization, empire, and race. They approach a variety of visual materials, including sixteenth-century representations of the New World that helped formulate a consciousness of subjugation; the Drake Jewel and the myth of the Black Emperor as indices of Elizabethan colonial ideology; and depictions of the Queen of Sheba among other black women "present" in early modern painting. One chapter considers the politics of collecting. The aesthetic and imperial agendas of a Van Dyck portrait are uncovered in another essay, while elsewhere, that same portrait is linked to issues of whiteness and blackness as they are concentrated within the ceremonies and trappings of the Order of the Garter.
All of the essays in Early Modern Visual Culture explore the social context in which paintings, statues, textiles, maps, and other artifacts are produced and consumed. They also explore how those artifacts—and the acts of creating, collecting, and admiring them—are themselves mechanisms for fashioning the body and identity, situating the self within a social order, defining the otherness of race, ethnicity, and gender, and establishing relationships of power over others based on exploration, surveillance, and insight.
—Clark Hulse and Peter Erickson
1. Imaginary Conquests: European Material Technologies and the Colonial Mirror Stage
2. Mapping the Global Body
3. Second-World Prosthetics: Supplying Deficiencies of Nature in Renaissance Italy
—Harry Berger, Jr.
4. Reading Painting: Holbein, Cromwell, Wyatt
5. Art for the Sake of Dynasty: The Black Emperor in the Drake Jewel and Elizabethan Imperial Imagery
—Karen C. C. Dalton
6. Staging Women's Relations to Textiles in Shakespeare's Othello and Cymbeline
7. Idols of the Gallery: Becoming a Connoisseur in Renaissance England
8. Madagascar on My Mind: The Earl of Arundel and the Arts of Colonization
—Ernest B. Gilman
9. "God for Harry, England, and Saint George": British National Identity and the Emergence of White Self-Fashioning
10. Object into Object? Some Thoughts on the Presence of Black Women in Early Modern Europe
—Kim F. Hall
Harry Berger Jr. (University of California, Santa Cruz) has recently published three books: Revisionary Play: Studies in the Spenserian Dynamic, Imaginary Audition: Shakespeare on Stage and Page, and Making Trifles of Terrors: Redistributing Complicities in Shakespeare. His new book is Fictions of the Pose: Rembrandt Against the Italian Renaissance.
Karen C. C. Dalton (Harvard University) is coauthor of Winslow Homer's Images of Blacks: The Civil War and Reconstruction Years and editor of the final three volumes of The Image of the Black in Western Art, covering the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries.
Peter Erickson (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute) is author of Patriarchal Structures in Shakespeare's Drama and Rewriting Shakespeare, Rewriting Ourselves, and coeditor of Shakespeare's "Rough Magic": Renaissance Essays in Honor of C. L. Barber.
Susan Frye (University of Wyoming) has written Elizabeth I: The Competition for Representation and coedited Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens: Women's Alliances in Early Modern England.
Ernest B. Gilman (New York University) is author of Iconoclasm and Poetry in the English Reformation: Down Went Dagon and The Curious Perspective: Literary and Pictorial Wit in the Seventeenth Century.
Kim F. Hall (Georgetown University) has written Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England as well as essays on teaching the subject of race in Shakespeare's plays.
Clark Hulse (University of Illinois at Chicago), is author of The Rule of Art: Literature and Painting in the Renaissance and Metamorphic Verse: The Elizabethan Minor Epic. He is currently working on a study of Holbein and the age of Henry VIII.
Steven Mullaney (University of Michigan) has written The Place of the Stage: License, Play, and Power in Renaissance England. He is at work on two books, Mourning and Misogyny: Reformation of Affect and Ideology in Shakespeare's England, and Emotions and Its Discontents.
Stephen Orgel (Stanford University) has recently published Impersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare's England and Oxford editions of The Tempest and The Winter's Tale.
Valerie Traub (University of Michigan) is author of Desire and Anxiety: Circulations of Sexuality in Shakspearean Drama and coeditor of Feminist Readings of Early Modern Culture: Emerging Subjects.
"As a picture of what currently might be most profitably studied in the visual culture of early modern England, and of how to conduct scholarship in the field, the volume is exemplary. . . . [It] treats a culture for which there is considerable scholarly interest, but from angles which have been woefully ignored up until now."—Joseph Koerner, Harvard University