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most learned discourse on early modern Europe

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What interests you about the early modern period? Do you have a favorite text/historical figure/concept/area of study or whatever? (Multiple answers are of course allowed, nay, encouraged.)

Chaucer's Treatise on The Astrolabe makes be very happy. So does Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale and Cymbeline (though the ending of the latter struck me as "OMG! I meant for this to have a happy resolution -- gotta fix it, fast!" Still... as a whole it pleases me).

The current bee in my bonnet is the concept and classification of "monsters" in literature, from Antiquity through to current modern times, particularly in the way concepts of what's "monstrous" vs. "normal" have lingered in society and the way public policy segregates people, even though the scientific and rational explanations have left Early Modern understanding of Order and Disorder behind (The personal is political, and so is the artistic). I am no longer studying any of this in a formal, academic, way, but simply for my own understanding, and to add to my personal "Discourse Toolbox."

How do you feel about the whole Renaissance vs. early modern nomenclature debate?

I don't. Just let me at the poems, plays, essays, graffiti...

We all know nobody really wants to live in a time before sanitation, antibiotics, central air conditioning/heating, indoor plumbing, and so forth. So if you could visit any time/place in the early modern period, what would it be, and why?

I want to nick a TARDIS, and invite Susanna Hall in for lunch... I want to convince her to write something from her own perspective (cue subversive laughter).

Have you read The Faerie Queene? Be honest. ;)

*Hangs Head* Only excerpts... it's on my perpetual "To read" list, though.

Anything else you'd care to share?

And here are my questions: I've recently come across reference to Isidore of Seville's system of classifying monsters by type, thus: 1) Hypertrophy of the body, 2) Atrophy of the body, 3) Excrescence of body parts, 4) Superfluous body parts, 5) Deprivation of body parts, 6) Mixture of Human and Animal body parts, 7) Animal births by human women, 8) Mislocation of organs or body parts, 9) Disturbed growth, 10) Composite beings, 11) Hermaphrodites, 12) Monstrous Races (exotic races of humans).

What I'm particularly interested in/curious about, is how "Disturbed Growth" (Category #9) has been defined through the eras. I've seen it explained as "Being born old," But would the opposite (I.E. not maturing out of "babyhood," despite aging chronologically) be placed in the same category? This is actually of personal interest to me, because I've been labeled by modern doctors as "Developmentally Disabled" -- sans wheelchair I still crawl like an eight-month old. ...If I am going to nab a TARDIS and do a little time surfing, I'd like to know if I need to watch out for torch-wielding mobs... ;-)

Also, any tips on finding early modern illustrations of these monster types, online? I've tried Google searching, and all I've gotten are images of Dungeons and Dragons fan art.
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What interests you about the early modern period? Do you have a favorite text/historical figure/concept/area of study or whatever? (Multiple answers are of course allowed, nay, encouraged.)

I think being able to look at the political/economic/social debates of the time and see how they mirror so many of those taking place in contemporary society is incredibly fascinating.  Besides that, it's GREAT writing!  I am madly obsessed with More's 'Utopia,' and am also a big fan of 'The Faerie Queene' and 'Robinson Crusoe.'  I also LOVE travel narratives in the vein of Mandeville, etc.  Currently, I'm writing about depictions of developing capitalism in 'Utopia' as well as about the discursive construction of identity through naming in Early Modern travel narratives.  I'm hoping to do PhD work on the role of Early Modern poetry in drumming up support for European capitalist-imperialism.

How do you feel about the whole Renaissance vs. early modern nomenclature debate?

I feel FAR more passionate about this than I think I should.  But I'm a strict "Early Modern" person.  Don't ask me why; I'm not sure.

We all know nobody really wants to live in a time before sanitation, antibiotics, central air conditioning/heating, indoor plumbing, and so forth. So if you could visit any time/place in the early modern period, what would it be, and why?

Elizabethan England would be fun to visit.  (Unless I can answer "Utopia.")

Have you read The Faerie Queene? Be honest. ;)

Yep.  Big fan!

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crip_crit is now in existence, for the discussion of portrayals of disability in literature, film and TV. Come and discuss blindness in Lear, Richard III's back problem, or just something interesting you noticed when watching TV last night! You don't have to be disabled to join, just friendly.
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X-posted in france and change_history
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The thirty years' war brewing in the Middle East

ANDREW SULLIVAN

Americans, by and large, are unfamiliar with much of history. Their passion is the future, not the past; and their focus is understandably on their own vast and varied continent, not on the minute details of distant foreign lands. The new chairman of the House intelligence committee cannot tell the difference between Sunni and Shi’ite, and his predecessor was not much better. And I’d wager that no one in the US Congress was forced in school, as I sadly was, to study Europe’s thirty years’ war. But they’d better start, because it may be already upon them. Not in Europe this time, but in the Middle East.

Andrew Sullivan’s analogy between what’s transpiring now in the Middle East and the Thirty Years War in 17th century Europe may be brilliant, but he doesn’t go far ENOUGH in his analysis.

WHAT IF FRANCE HAD STAYED OUT?,


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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2508062,00.html

Now, tell me what YOU think of MY analysis of the choices we are shortly to face:
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humour:
contemplative
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Hello everyone!  Just wanted to introduce myself briefly.  I'm currently working on my masters in Shakespeare Studies at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford, and I thought to myself... what do I need a little more of in my day?  Shakespeare, naturally.  I've filled out the survey; it's beneath the cut.  I look forward to chatting with you all!

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Hello (again) everyone!

I know all I ever do in here is ask for help but my goodness do i need it!
After my last post in which i was saying about my essay on Early Modern courts, my tutor decided it would be fun to forget he'd agreed the topic with me and literally sh*t all over my research. I now have a new supervisor and am doing the essay on all kind of fun things to do with the English in Ireland and Virginia.

So basically I'm on a hunt for contemporary sources. I'm fine with Virginia. But for Ireland I've only got Spenser and I could really do with some more. So if anyone can point me in the direction of English writings on Ireland and the Irish (or if you can point me in the direction of any searchable places other than google and eebo) i will love you forever.

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Hi everyone, I'm just starting my first ever MA essay (scary stuff) and we have to pick our own question (within the bound of the course etc). I've decided on looking at the role of Women in the civilizing of courts in the Early Modern period and I just wondered if anyone could recommed any books/articles etc. I've already got Elias and Duiandam (sp?) but I'm having a bit of trouble with the women element of the research, all the books/articles i have so far seem a bit too vague and not really that relevant. So any suggestions would be really appreciated =)
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How did one go about visiting Versailles for an extended period around the time of Louis XIV? Were letters of introduction needed or was there a different way of going about it? Also, was there a head of household at Court (or something similar) in charge of these things? Thanks for your help
Current Location:
21st century
humour:
curious
musick:
Girl with a Pearl Earring sound track
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So the other day I was driving around with my sisters, listening to the Albion Band, and one of the songs on that particular album had an undue emphasis on horns. (Erm. Like, the kind that deer have, not the musical kind.) One of my sisters asked me what the point of this was, and I explained that it was a cuckoldry joke, the idea being that cuckolds supposedly have horns, and that you see this joke a lot in early modern culture.

"But why do cuckolds have horns?" she asked. And it occurred to me that I have no idea -- I've read enough Shakespeare by now that the idea is completely familiar, but I have no idea where it comes from. So why do cuckolds have horns? Anyone know?

humour:
curious
musick:
Toronto Consort -- "Quant ce beau printemps je voy"
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So in my last thread in this community, I asked people to answer three questions in one word. I'll admit that they were all trick questions designed to illustrate the following points:

1. An audience to Merchant of Venice has a very complex relationship with Shylock; our feelings towards him depend on the scene that we are watching and its framing.*

2. An audience has very divided loyalties in the scene where Marc Antony and Brutus deliver their respective speeches. On the one hand, up until this scene, Brutus is the play's de facto protagonist (i.e. the character that delivers monologues to us and the character that is played by the leading actor in the troupe). But, of course, Marc Antony delivers the better speech -- a speech that successfully sways the play's mob, which is an obvious analogue for the mob that is concurrently assembled in a playhouse to watch Julius Caesar.

3. Hamlet continuously behaves as though Christian ethics were somehow compatible with the morality of revenge tragedy. For instance, the Ghost asks Hamlet to revenge his murder in literally the same breath that he demands that his son leave Gertrude to heaven. And consider the various ways that the play considers suicide, and the way in which its final scene darts between varied systems of ethics.**

Thesis: if F. Scott Fitzgerald is correct in saying that the mark of a first-rate mind is its ability to hold contradictory ideas at the same time -- and I believe that he is -- then Shakespeare's plays are vehicles for the production of first-rate minds.


* for more on this, check out "Meaning and The Merchant of Venice" by Norman Rabkin (cf. Rabkin, Norman. Shakespeare and the Problem of Meaning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.)

** for more on this, check out Stephen Booth's essay "On The Value of Hamlet" (cf. Booth, Stephen. "On The Value of Hamlet." Reinterpretations of Elizabethan Drama. Ed. Norman Rabkin. New York: Columbia University Press, 1969. 137-176.)
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