Mendacity in Early Modern Literature and Culture examines the historical, cultural, and epistemological underpinnings of lying and deception in early modern England, including the political, religious, aesthetic, and philosophical discourses that governed the codes of lying and truth-telling from the sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. The contributions to this collection draw on a wide range of early modern English literature from Shakespeare to Swift, and from travel writing to poetry, in order to explore the extent to which plays, poems, and narrative texts in this period were sites of negotiation, and, at times, of ideological warfare between the moral imperative of truth-telling and the expediency of telling lies. What were the cultural norms of truthfulness and lying, and on what basis were they constructed? What were the consequences when someone did not share the assumed common project of truth-telling? And which forms of communication were exempt from the pragmatic strictures on mendacious discourse? This book was originally published as a special issue of the European Journal of English Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Mendacity in Early Modern Literature and Culture Ingo Berensmeyer and Andrew Hadfield
1. Hiding the Peacock’s Legs: Rhetoric, Cosmetics and Deception in Shakespeare’s Lucrece and Trussell’s Hellen Anna Swärdh
2. Mendacity and Kingship in Shakespeare’s Henry V and Richard III Eric Pudney
3. ‘An Anxious Entangling and Perplexing of Consciences’: John Donne and Catholic Recusant Mendacity Shanyn Altman
4. Truth and Lying in Early Modern Travel Narratives: Coryat’s Crudities, Lithgow’s Totall Discourse and Generic Change Kirsten Sandrock
5. ‘Betrayed My Credulous Innocence’: Mendacity and Female Education in John Milton and the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Anne-Julia Zwierlein
6. Lying, Language and Intention: Reflections on Swift Brean Hammond and Gregory Currie
Ingo Berensmeyer is Professor of English and American Literature at Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany, and Visiting Professor of English Literature and Culture at Ghent University, Belgium. His research interests range from Shakespeare to contemporary literature. His most recent publications are 'Angles of Contingency': Literarische Kultur im England des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts (2007); study guides to Shakespeare's Hamlet (2007) and to Literary Theory (2009) and the co-edited book Perspectives on Mobility (with Christoph Ehland, 2013).
Andrew Hadfield is Professor of English at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, and Visiting Professor at the University of Granada, Spain. He is the author of a number of works on early modern literature, including Edmund Spenser: A Life (2012), Shakespeare and Republicanism (2005), and Literature, Travel and Colonialism in the English Renaissance, 1540-1625 (1998). He is vice-chair of the Society for Renaissance Studies and is currently writing a book on lying in early modern England.