Forgetting in Early Modern English Literature and Culture: Lethe's Legacy, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Forgetting in Early Modern English Literature and Culture

Lethe's Legacy, 1st Edition

Edited by Christopher Ivic, Grant Williams


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This collection of essays historicizes and theorizes forgetting in English Renaissance literary texts and their cultural contexts. Its essays open up an area of study overlooked by contemporary Renaissance scholarship, which is too often swayed by a critical paradigm devoted to the "art of memory." This volume recovers the crucial role of forgetting in producing early modernity's subjective and collective identities, desires and fantasies.


'This collection is a significant achievment in Renaissance studies.' - Lynne Magnusson, University of Toronto, Renaissance Quarterly

'This is a valuable collection, a fine contribution not only to studies of Renaissance literature and culture but also to the continuing problematice of memory and forgetting. Well-researched, agile and appropriately various in their explorations of a common theme, the essays are informative and engaging.' - Brian Edwards, Deakin University

Table of Contents

Introduction: Sites of Forgetting in Early Modern English Literature and Culture Grant Williams and Christopher Ivic

Part One: Embodiments

1. The Decay of Memory William E. Engel

2. Lethargic Corporeality on and off the Early Modern Stage Garrett A. Sullivan Jr.

3. Pleasure's Oblivion: Displacements of Generation in Spenser's Faerie Queene Elizabeth D. Harvey

Part Two: Signs

4. Textual Crudities in Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy and Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica Grant Williams

5. Off the Subject: Early Modern Poets on Rhyme, Distraction, and Forgetfulness Amanda Watson

Part Three: Narratives

6. Reassuring Fratricide in 1 Henry IV Christopher Ivic

7. 'The Religion I Was Born In': Forgetting Catholicism and Remembering the King Donne's Devotions David J. Baker

8. Legends of Oblivion: Enchantment and Enslavement in Book Six of Spenser's Faerie Queene, Elizabeth Mazzola

Part Four: Localities

9. Nomadic Eros: Remapping Knowledge in A Midsummer Night's Dream Philippa Berry

10. 'Unless You Could Teach Me to Forget': Spectatorship, Self-Forgetting, and Subversion in Antitheatrical Literature and As You Like It Zackariah Long

11. Monuments and Ruins: Spenser and the Problem of the English Library Jennifer Summit

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

From Shakespeare to Jonson, Routledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture looks at both the literature and culture of the early modern period. This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering literature alongside theatre, popular culture, race, gender, ecology, space, and other subjects, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh