The Art of Picturing in Early Modern English Literature  book cover
1st Edition

The Art of Picturing in Early Modern English Literature

ISBN 9781032086330
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
264 Pages

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Book Description

Written by an international group of highly regarded scholars and rooted in the field of intermedial approaches to literary studies, this volume explores the complex aesthetic process of "picturing" in early modern English literature. The essays in this volume offer a comprehensive and varied picture of the relationship between visual and verbal in the early modern period, while also contributing to the understanding of the literary context in which Shakespeare wrote. Using different methodological approaches and taking into account a great variety of texts, including Elizabethan sonnet sequences, metaphysical poetry, famous as well as anonymous plays, and court masques, the book opens new perspectives on the literary modes of "picturing" and on the relationship between this creative act and the tense artistic, religious and political background of early modern Europe. The first section explores different modes of looking at works of art and their relation with technological innovations and religious controversies, while the chapters in the second part highlight the multifaceted connections between European visual arts and English literary production. The third section explores the functions performed by portraits on the page and the stage, delving into the complex question of the relationship between visual and verbal representation. Finally, the chapters in the fourth section re-appraise early modern reflections on the relationship between word and image and on their respective power in light of early-seventeenth-century visual culture, with particular reference to the masque genre. 

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Contributors


Introduction. Camilla Caporicci and Armelle Sabatier.

PART I: To Look or not to Look at Pictures?

Chapter 1. Cristiano Ragni.

An Edifying "Pictura Loquens": Alberico Gentili’s Commentatio and his Defence of Drama in Elizabethan Oxford

Chapter 2. James A. Knapp.

Looking At and Through Pictures in Donne’s Lyrics

Chapter 3. Chloe Porter.

"A Painted Devil": The Matter and Making of Images in Macbeth

Chapter 4. B. J Sokol.

Mirrors, Pictures, Optics, Shakespeare

PART II: Confluences: English Texts and European Paintings

Chapter 5. Rocco Coronato.

Over the Edge: Shakespeare, Judith, and the Virtuous Use of Female Indiscretion and Deception

Chapter 6. Fiammetta Dionisio.

"Be Her Sense but as a Monument": Lost Icons and Substitutive Figures in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline

Chapter 7. Raphaëlle Costa de Beauregard.

The Notion of Picturing in Early Modern Literature: The Case of the Miniaturist Isaac Oliver (c.1585-1617)

PART III: Portraits on the Page and the Stage

Chapter 8. Camilla Caporicci.

"Take this picture which I heere present thee": The Art of Portraiture in the Elizabethan Sonnet Sequences

Chapter 9. Catherine Belsey.

Narrative Portraiture

Chapter 10. Armelle Sabatier.

Picturing in Little or in Stone? Miniature versus Monument in The Triall of Chevalry (Anonymous, 1605)

Chapter 11. Emanuel Stelzer.

Performing Portraits: The Portrait as Prop and Its Performative Dimension in Early Modern English Drama

PART IV: The Power of Visual and Verbal

Chapter 12. Rosanna Camerlingo.

Prospero’s Rainbow: Political Miracles in The Tempest

Chapter 13. Keir Elam.

"Picture is the invention of heaven": Ben Jonson and the Paradox of the Visual


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Camilla Caporicci is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Padova, adjunct professor at the University of Perugia, and a former Humboldt fellow at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Among her many publications are The Dark Lady: La rivoluzione Shakespeariana nei Sonetti alla Dama Bruna (2013), the edited volume Sicut Lilium inter Spinas: Literature and Religion in the Renaissance (2018), and the Introduction and Notes to the Bompiani edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (2019).

Armelle Sabatier is Lecturer at the University of Paris Panthéon Assas. She is the author of Shakespeare and Visual Culture. A Dictionary (Bloomsbury, 2016). She has published varied articles on the interrelation of visual arts and early modern drama, and on the representation of colour on the Elizabethan stage.