Archaeologies of English Renaissance Literature by Philip Schwyzer

By Philip Schwyzer

This learn attracts at the thought and perform of archaeology to improve a brand new standpoint at the literature of the Renaissance. Philip Schwyzer explores the fascination with photos of excavation, exhumation, and break 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 learn of the early sleek archaeological mind's eye. The pessimism of the interval is summed up within the haunting motif of the gorgeous corpse that, as soon as touched, crumbles to airborne dirt and dust.

Archaeology and literary reports 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 lines of prior life--with the phrases the useless wrote, sang, or heard, with the items they made, held, or lived inside. Schwyzer argues that on the root of either different types of scholarship lies the forbidden wish to wake up (and converse with) the lifeless. despite the fact that very unlikely or absurd this wish could be, it is still a primary resource of either moral accountability and aesthetic pleasure.

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