Memory and Forgetting in English Renaissance Drama

Memory and Forgetting in English Renaissance Drama : Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster

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Engaging debates over the nature of subjectivity in early modern England, this fascinating and original study examines sixteenth- and seventeenth-century conceptions of memory and forgetting, and their importance to the drama and culture of the time. Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr discusses memory and forgetting as categories in terms of which a variety of behaviours - from seeking salvation to pursuing vengeance to succumbing to desire - are conceptualized. Drawing upon a range of literary and non-literary discourses, represented by treatises on the passions, sermons, anti-theatrical tracts, epic poems and more, Shakespeare, Marlowe and Webster stage 'self-recollection' and, more commonly, 'self-forgetting', the latter providing a powerful model for dramatic subjectivity. Focusing on works such as Macbeth, Hamlet, Dr Faustus and The Duchess of Malfi, Sullivan reveals memory and forgetting to be dynamic cultural forces central to early modern understandings of embodiment, selfhood and social practice.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 196 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 11mm | 300g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reissue
  • 1 Halftones, unspecified
  • 0521117356
  • 9780521117357
  • 1,268,433

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction: planting oblivion; 1. Embodying oblivion; 2. 'Be this sweet Helen's knell, and now forget her': forgetting and desire in All's Well That Ends Well; 3. 'If he can remember': spiritual self-forgetting in Doctor Faustus; 4. 'My oblivion is a very Antony'; 5. Sleep, conscience and fame in The Duchess of Malfi; Coda: 'wrought with things forgotten'; Notes; Index.
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Review quote

'... well-researched and well-written ...' The Times Literary Supplement 'Memory and Forgetting in English Renaissance Drama will interest not only those who also address the intellectual history of memory or subjectivity, but those interested in the early modern body, issues of gender, or performance studies and theater history. Sullivan's meticulous and imaginative scholarship and his original approach provide invaluable instruction to anyone interested in Renaissance drama.' The Shakespeare Newsletter "Where such scholars as Frances Yates, Mary Carruthers, and William Engel have studied the Renaissance artes memorativae, Garrat A. Sullivan Jr. has now undertaken a valuable complementary task. Memory and Forgetting in English Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster, traces the operation of what we might call an ars oblivionis in early modern English theatrical texts..." - Bruce Boehrer, Studies in English Literature "Sullivan is a splendid close reader, with an intelligent fastidiousness so admirably capable of sustaining an argument that the book is a lively read throughout and wholly recommended." --Andrew Scott, Buffalo State University: Renaissance Quarterly Review
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About Garrett A. Sullivan

Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr is Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. A recipient of a National Endowment of the Humanities/Folger Shakespeare Library long-term fellowship, he is the author of The Drama of Landscape: Land, Property, and Social Relations on the Early Modern Stage, is on the editorial board for Renaissance Drama, and is Associate Editor of Shakespeare Studies. He has published articles on Shakespeare, Marlowe, Marston, Spenser and others in a number of journals including ELH, Shakespeare Quarterly and Renaissance Drama, and has contributed to The Cambridge Companion to English Literature, 1500-1600 (1999) and The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe (2004).
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