Drawing on a range of works from the English Renaissance, Death and Drama in Renaissance England offers a novel way to understand, in their original contexts, key aspects of Renaissance mental life and letters. Focusing on the classical Memory Arts, William Engel explores issues of death and decline in exemplary dramas, dictionaries, and histories of the period, and demonstrates the ways in which emblems and memory images were used to communicate special meanings. Special attention is given, initially, to select tragedies by Shakespeare and other contemporary playwrights who stages spectacles of silent death. This is followed by a survey of the end to which foreign language phrase-books crafted highly mannered vignettes of daily life, and a discussion of the ways in which metaphors of the stage were translated into a body of work which portrayed the soul of history in terms of an overriding Aesthetic of Decline. The result is a thought-provoking account of the essentially mnemonic principles of design informing and animating a range of works from the English Renaissance.
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(224mm x 144mm x 16mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Author Biography - William E. Engel
William Engel is an independent scholar and freelance tutor; author of Education & Anarchy (University Press of America, 2001) and Mapping Mortality: The Persistence of Memory and Melancholy in Early Modern England (University of Massachusetts Press, 1995). He has been Assistant Professor of English at Vanderbilt University (1988-95), Research Fellow at the Huntington Library, Newberry Library, Folger Shakespeare Library, and Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities; and Visiting Scholar at Harvard University.