Volume 67, Issue 1 | March 2006

Special Issue: Genre and History

Author Title
Barbara Fuchs Forms of Engagement
Author Title
David Quint The Tragedy of Nobility on the Seventeenth-Century Stage  
A dominant strain of Renaissance and Neoclassical tragedy depicts the collision of noble subject and king, and explores that subject's various relationships of self-assertion and deference, opposition and dependence. Topical allusions suggest the connection of these tragic dramas to a real experience of aristocratic crisis. Racine's Phèdre, Corneille's Suréna, Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, Daniel's Philotas, Chapman's The Conspiracy and Tragedy of Byron, and Tirso de Molina's El Burlador reshape the individual extinction whose prospect may be basic to tragedy into the loss, in changing historical and political circumstances, of a particular high noble identity. In the demise of noble greatness, the plays depict history both conditioning and foreclosing upon the very possibility of the genre of tragedy.
David Harris Sacks Richard Hakluyt's Navigations in Time: History, Epic, and Empire  
Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations of the England Nation (1st ed. 1589; 2nd ed. 3 vols., 1598-1600), a massive collection of document and texts by different authors and from different periods, is notoriously a work of ambiguous genre. Writing in 1852, J. A. Froude called it the "prose epic of the modern English nation." More recent commentators have seen it as conforming to the new model of travel literature exemplified by Giambattista Ramusio in his monumental Delle navigationi e viaggi (Venice, 1550-59). But John Foxe, famously the author of the Acts and Monuments of England's martyrs stands prominently among the English models Hakluyt himself identified. Foxe identified his work as an ecclesiastical history, an historiographical genre treating the providential history of the Church and of the civilization of which it was a part through the careful recovery of primary sources. This present essay argues that Hakluyt's debt to this form led him to compose a book of the kind Francis Bacon would designate as "history of cosmography," a "History manifoldly mixt," but one that also showed "the accomplishment" of divine prophecies and the "excellent correspondence…between God's revealed will, and his secret will."
Marina Brownlee Intricate Alliances: Some Spanish Formulations of Language and Empire  
The specificity of history, and its appropriation for political expression is strikingly apparent in post 1492-Spain. The definitive Muslim surrender of Granada to the Catholic monarchs after nearly eight centuries of occupation provides a thought-provoking wealth of responses to the possibilities of genre and history, of language and empire-from the hegemonic to the politically dissident. At times explicit, other times subtle articulations are formulated, addressing the inevitable issues of cultural hybridity to which empire gives rise. This essay considers two intriguing mid-sixteenth century-examples of racial and ethnic pressures, diverse responses to empire, in the "Kaida de Granada" and the Abencerraje. The first of these two responses, an aljamiado lament by the Mancebo de Arévalo, dramatizes the cultural dissolution that resulted from the expulsion of Spain´s Moors. The second text, an anonymous composition presumed to be written by a Jew who also underwent forced conversion, presents the interaction of Moors and Christians not as trauma, but in a subtly disturbing utopian manner, one which could satisfy Christian reader as well as the dispossessed Moor and Jew. By their radically appraisals, these two texts offer testimony to the strikingly divergent possibilities for cultural hybridity and its representation.
Timothy Hampton The Diplomatic Moment: Representing Negotiation in Early Modern Europe  
This article analyzes the representation of diplomatic negotiation in a variety of Sixteenth-Century texts by such authors as Machiavelli, Guicciardini, Montaigne, and Rabelais. It argues that the scene of diplomatic encounter offers a site for thinking about the relationship between political representation and aesthetic representation in Renaissance culture. And it suggests that the constraints of genre provide strategies for both controlling the instability of the diplomatic moment and giving it meaning.
Heather James The Poet's Toys: Marlowe, Erotic Elegy, and the Liberty of Speech
Roger Chartier Genre between Literature and History

Modern Language Quarterly | Department of English, Box 354330 | University of Washington | Seattle, WA 98195-4430