Marvelous Possessions is a study of the ways in which Europeans of the late Middle Ages and the early modern period represented non-European peoples and took possession of their lands, in particular the New World. In a series of innovative readings of travel narratives, judicial documents, and official reports, Stephen Greenblatt shows that the experience of the marvelous, central to both art and philosophy, was cunningly yoked by Columbus and others to the service of colonial appropriation. He argues that the traditional symbolic actions and legal rituals through which European sovereignty was asserted were strained to the breaking point by the unprecedented nature of the discovery of the New World. But the book also shows that the experience of the marvelous is not necessarily an agent of empire: in writers as different as Herodotus, Jean de Léry, and Montaigne—and notably in Mandeville's Travels, the most popular travel book of the Middle Ages—wonder is a sign of a remarkably tolerant recognition of cultural difference. Marvelous Possession is not only a collection of the odd and exotic through which Stephen Greenblatt powerfully conveys a sense of the marvelous, but also a highly original extension of his thinking on a subject that has occupied him throughout his career. The book reaches back to the ancient Greeks and forward to the present to ask how it is possible, in a time of disorientation, hatred of the other, and possessiveness, to keep the capacity for wonder from being poisoned? "A marvellous book. It is also a compelling and a powerful one. Nothing so original has ever been written on European responses to 'The wonder of the New World.'"—Anthony Pagden, Times Literary Supplement "By far the most intellectually gripping and penetrating discussion of the relationship between intruders and natives is provided by Stephen Greenblatt's Marvelous Possessions."—Simon Schama, The New Republic "For the most engaging and illuminating perspective of all, read Marvelous Possessions."—Laura Shapiro, Newsweek
"Refreshing and gratifying. . . . The epics of the Pueblos' resistance, the Aztec poetry before and after the conquest, and the ritual of "toqui oncoy" show the complexity of the means for survival developed throughout the Americas, from New Mexico to the Andes."--Jaime Concha, University of California, San Diego "Many of these essays form the cutting edge of scholarship on the expansion of Europe and its cultural consequences. Visual evidence, much of it unfamiliar, is deftly integrated into the textual analysis. . . . This work is so solid, so elegantly presented, and at the same time so innovative that the book should attract considerable attention and remain in use for a long time."--Anthony Grafton, author of "Defenders of the Text"
This book opens the debate about German history in the long term – about how ideas and political forms are traceable across what historians have taken to be the sharp breaks of German history. Smith argues that current historiography has become ever more focused on the twentieth century, and on twentieth-century explanations for the catastrophes at the center of German history. Against conventional wisdom, he considers continuities - nation and nationalism, religion and religious exclusion, racism and violence - that are the center of the German historical experience and that have long histories. Smith explores these deep continuities in novel ways, emphasizing their importance, while arguing that Germany was not on a special path to destruction. The result is a series of innovative reflections on the crystallization of nationalist ideology, on patterns of anti-Semitism, and on how the nineteenth-century vocabulary of race structured the twentieth-century genocidal imagination.
The Eucharist in the Reformation: Incarnation and Liturgy takes up the words, 'this is my body', 'this do', and 'remembrance of me' that divided Christendom in the sixteenth century. It traces the different understandings of these simple words and the consequences of those divergent understandings in the delineation of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Catholic traditions: the different formulations of liturgy with their different conceptualizations of the cognitive and collective function of ritual; the different conceptualizations of the relationship between Christ and the living body of the faithful; the different articulations of the relationship between the world of matter and divinity; and the different epistemologies. It argues that the incarnation is at the center of the story of the Reformation and suggests how divergent religious identities were formed.
In this book, William Caferro asks if the Renaissance was really a period of progress, reason, the emergence of the individual, and the beginning of modernity. An influential investigation into the nature of the European Renaissance Summarizes scholarly debates about the nature of the Renaissance Engages with specific controversies concerning gender identity, economics, the emergence of the modern state, and reason and faith Takes a balanced approach to the many different problems and perspectives that characterize Renaissance studies
Law and Empire relates the principles of legal thinking in Chinese, Islamic, and European contexts to practices of lawmaking and adjudication. It shows how legal procedure and legal thinking could be used in strikingly different ways.
This study on New World-utopian politics in The Tempest traces paradigm shifts in literary criticism over the past six decades that have all but reinscribed the text into a political document. This book challenges the view that the play has a dominant New World dimension and demonstrates through close textual readings how an unstable setting at the same time enables and effaces discursively over-invested New World interpretations. Almost no critical attention has been paid to the play's vacuum of power, and this work interprets pastoral, utopian, and 'American' tensions in light of the play's forever-ambiguous setting as well as through a 'presentist' post-1989 lens, an oft-neglected historical and political paradigm shift in Shakespeare criticism.
Here is an intriguing exploration of the ways in which the history of the Spanish Conquest has been misread and passed down to become popular knowledge of these events. The book offers a fresh account of the activities of the best-known conquistadors and explorers, including Columbus, Cort?s, and Pizarro. Using a wide array of sources, historian Matthew Restall highlights seven key myths, uncovering the source of the inaccuracies and exploding the fallacies and misconceptions behind each myth. This vividly written and authoritative book shows, for instance, that native Americans did not take the conquistadors for gods and that small numbers of vastly outnumbered Spaniards did not bring down great empires with stunning rapidity. We discover that Columbus was correctly seen in his lifetime--and for decades after--as a briefly fortunate but unexceptional participant in efforts involving many southern Europeans. It was only much later that Columbus was portrayed as a great man who fought against the ignorance of his age to discover the new world. Another popular misconception--that the Conquistadors worked alone--is shattered by the revelation that vast numbers of black and native allies joined them in a conflict that pitted native Americans against each other. This and other factors, not the supposed superiority of the Spaniards, made conquests possible. The Conquest, Restall shows, was more complex--and more fascinating--than conventional histories have portrayed it. Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest offers a richer and more nuanced account of a key event in the history of the Americas.
Religion and empire were inseparable forces in the early modern Atlantic world. Religious passions and conflicts drove much of the expansionist energy of post-Reformation Europe, providing both a rationale and a practical mode of organizing the dispersal and resettlement of hundreds of thousands of people from the Old World to the New World. Exhortations to conquer new peoples were the lingua franca of Western imperialism, and men like the mystically inclined Christopher Columbus were genuinely inspired to risk their lives and their fortunes to bring the gospel to the Americas. And in the thousands of religious refugees seeking asylum from the vicious wars of religion that tore the continent apart in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, these visionary explorers found a ready pool of migrants—English Puritans and Quakers, French Huguenots, German Moravians, Scots-Irish Presbyterians—equally willing to risk life and limb for a chance to worship God in their own way. Focusing on the formative period of European exploration, settlement, and conquest in the Americas, from roughly 1500 to 1760, Empires of God brings together historians and literary scholars of the English, French, and Spanish Americas around a common set of questions: How did religious communities and beliefs create empires, and how did imperial structures transform New World religions? How did Europeans and Native Americans make sense of each other's spiritual systems, and what acts of linguistic and cultural transition did this entail? What was the role of violence in New World religious encounters? Together, the essays collected here demonstrate the power of religious ideas and narratives to create kingdoms both imagined and real.
Medievalia et Humanistica has won worldwide recognition as the first scholarly publication in America to devote itself exclusively to Medieval and Renaissance studies.
This provocative analysis of American historiography argues that when scholars use modern racial language to articulate past histories of race and society, they collapse different historical signs of skin color into a transhistorical and essentialist notion of race that implicates their work in the very racial categories they seek to transcend.
"Important anthology marking, but not celebrating, the Columbian Quincentenary, directing attention to indigenous cultural responses to the Spanish intrusion in Mexico and Peru, utilizing as much as possible native documents and sources, and exploring men
Tudor explains how many African peoples came to think of themselves as descendants of the ancient tribes of Israel. Pursuing medieval and modern race narratives over a millennium in which Jews were cast as black and black Africans were cast as Jews, he reveals a complex interaction between religious and racial labels and their political uses.
Science and Empire in the Atlantic World is the first book in the growing field of Atlantic Studies to examine the production of scientific knowledge in the Atlantic world from a comparative and international perspective. Rather than focusing on a specific scientific field or single national context, this collection captures the multiplicity of practices, people, languages, and agendas that characterized the traffic in knowledge around the Atlantic world, linking this knowledge to the social processes fundamental to colonialism, such as travel, trade, ethnography, and slavery.
Die deutsche Geschichtswissenschaft ist in weiten Teilen von einer nationalgeschichtlichen Perspektive gekennzeichnet. Die in diesem Band gesammelten Aufsätze sind als Einspruch gegen diese einseitige Prägung zu verstehen. Jürgen Osterhammel behandelt zwischen den Polen Vergleich und Beziehungsgeschichte verschiedene Themen der Weltgeschichte, wobei der Begriff »Beziehung« sich nicht auf dem Bereich der internationalen Politik beschränkt, sondern andere Arten von Beziehungen wie etwa Kulturtransfers in gleicher Weise einbezieht. Auch geht es in diesem Band nicht um »Außereuropäische Geschichte« – letztlich eine Kategorie einer auf Europa zentrierten Historie – sondern vielmehr darum, Amerika, Asien, Afrika und Ozeanien in den Horizont einer »normalen« Geschichtswissenschaft zu integrieren. Neben eine nationalgeschichtliche und eine auf Europa zielende Historie könnte so eine Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht treten. Dabei geht es nicht um Antworten von globaler Gültigkeit, sondern um Fragen in einem universalen Horizont.
Coinage and currency—abstract and socially created units of value and power—were basic to early modern society. By controlling money, the people sought to understand and control their complex, expanding, and interdependent world. In Making Money in Sixteenth-Century France, Jotham Parsons investigates the creation and circulation of currency in France. The royal Cour des Monnaies centralized monetary administration, expanding its role in the emerging modern state during the sixteenth century and assuming new powers as an often controversial repository of theoretical and administrative expertise. The Cour des Monnaies, Parsons shows, played an important role in developing the contemporary understanding of money, as a source of both danger and opportunity at the center of economic and political life. More practically, the Monnaies led generally successful responses to the endemic inflation of the era and the monetary chaos of a period of civil war. Its work investigating and prosecuting counterfeiters shone light into a picaresque world of those who used the abstract and artificial nature of money for their own ends. Parson's broad, multidimensional portrait of money in early modern France also encompasses the literature of the age, in which money’s arbitrary and dangerous power was a major theme.
Shows how Renaissance writers and artists struggled to reconcile past traditions with experiences of 'discovery'.
In the traditional narrative of American colonial history, early European settlements, as well as native peoples and African slaves, were treated in passing as unfortunate aberrations in a fundamentally upbeat story of Englishmen becoming freer and more prosperous by colonizing an abundant continent of "free land." Over the last generation, historians have broadened our understanding of colonial America by adopting both a trans-Atlantic and a trans-continental perspective, examining the interplay of Europe, Africa, and the Americas through the flow of goods, people, plants, animals, capital, and ideas. In this Very Short Introduction, Alan Taylor presents an engaging overview of the best of this new scholarship. He shows that American colonization derived from a global expansion of European exploration and commerce that began in the fifteenth century. The English had to share the stage with the French, Spanish, Dutch, and Russians, each of whom created alternative Americas. By comparing the diverse colonies of rival empires, Taylor recovers what was truly distinctive about the English enterprise in North America. He focuses especially on slavery as central to the economy, culture, and political thought of the colonists and restores the importance of native peoples to the colonial story. To adapt to the new land, the colonists needed the expertise, guidance, alliance, and trade of the Indians who dominated the interior. This historical approach emphasizes the ability of the diverse natives to adapt to the newcomers and to compel concessions from them. This Very Short Introduction describes an intermingling of cultures and of microbes, plants, and animals--from different continents that was unparalleled in global history. Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing brings together specialists from anthropology, history, literary and cultural studies to offer a broad and vibrant introduction to travel writing in English between 1500 and the present. This comprehensive introduction to the subject features specially commissioned contributions, including six essays surveying the period's travel writing; a further six focusing on geographical areas of particular interest - Arabia, the Amazon, Tahiti, Ireland, Calcutta, the Congo and California; and three final chapters analysing some of the theoretical and cultural dimensions to this enigmatic and influential genre of writing. Several invaluable tools are also provided, including an extensive list of further reading, and a detailed five-hundred year chronology listing important events and publications. This volume will be of interest to teachers and students alike.
What was the impact of the Norman Conquest on the culture of medieval and early modern England? Deanne Williams answers this question by contending that not only French language and literature, but the idea of Frenchness itself, produced England's literary and cultural identity. Examining a variety of English representations of, and responses to, France and 'the French' in the work of Chaucer, Caxton, Skelton, Shakespeare and others, this book shows how English literature emerged out of a simultaneous engagement with, and resistance to, the pervasive presence of French language and culture in England that was the legacy of the Norman Conquest. Drawing upon theories of gender and postcoloniality, this book revises traditional notions of English literary history by inserting France as a primary element in English self-fashioning, from Chaucer's Prioress to Shakespeare's Henry V.