Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Oxford, Ornament and Dignity

Turning Beauty Black:

‘Master of Courtship’ Edward De Vere - Intro, Castiglione's Courtier:

For what more difficult, more noble, or more magnificent task has anyone ever undertaken than our author Castiglione, who has drawn for us the FIGURE and MODEL of a courtier, a work to which nothing can be added, in which there is no redundant word, a portrait which we shall recognize as that of a highest and most perfect type of man. And so, although NATURE herself has made nothing perfect in every detail, yet THE MANNERS OF MEN exceed in dignity that with which NATURE has endowed them; and he who surpasses others has here surpassed himself and has even out-done nature, which by no one has ever been surpassed.


DIGNITAS - In Ancient Rome, Dignitas was regarded as the sum of the personal influence that a male citizen acquired throughout his life. It included personal reputation, moral standing, and ethical worth and the man's entitlement to respect and proper treatment as well.
The word does not have a direct connotation or translation in English. Some interpretations include dignity (merely a derivation) and prestige. The Oxford Latin Dictionary defines the expression as fitness, suitability, worthiness, visual impressiveness or distinction, dignity of style and gesture, rank, status, position, standing, esteem, importance, and honor.


Ancient Rome in so Many Words – Christopher Francese

Dignitas refers primarily to the social prestige of office holders and their families, and it has a very positive ring, since such distinctions were, through an ideological trick central to the word, seen as based on worth. Dignus means “WORTHY,” and dignitas is the personal worth that earns high office, or the high office itself. One’s dignitas, in the senses of both career and prestige or honor, had to be maintained and reasserted by winning new offices and distinctions through election or preferment, by the behaviour of the individual, by exercising leadership in the Senate, and through recognition by the voters. The word had a moral content and implied that the man was worthy of such leadership, advancement, and promotion.  There was thus a kind of productively vague slippage between political  prestige, management of the state, and moral worth. It is often impossible to separate the various shades of meaning: the office itself, the rank in society it entails, and the quality of the office holder’s life.
A Roman animal fable about the loss of dignitas casts in the leading role an old lion who has lost his roar and bite. This is fitting, because, unlike dignity, which in theory belongs to everyone to some degree just by being human, dignitas belongs to the lions of the social world. As he is drawing his final breaths, a boar comes up and gores him, avenging an old hut; then a bull attacks with his horns; finally an ass, seeing that the lion is putting u no reistance, kicks him in the head. “I resented being insulted by the brave,: says the dying lion to the ass, “but having to endure you, you shame of nature, I feel I am dying twice.” The moral is that loss of dignitas means being exposed, helpless, to the insults of one’s inferiors.



O! lest the world should task you to recite
What merit lived in me, that you should love
After my death,--dear love, forget me quite,
For you in me can nothing worthy prove.
Unless you would devise some virtuous lie,
To do more for me than mine own desert,
And hang more praise upon deceased I
Than niggard truth would willingly impart:
O! lest your true love may seem false in this
That you for love speak well of me untrue,
My name be buried where my body is,
And live no more to shame nor me nor you.
   For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,
   And so should you, to love things nothing worth.


Conceits, Clinches, Flashes and Whimzies (1639)

One asked another what Shakespeares works were worth, all being bound together. He answered, not a farthing. Not worth a farthing! Said he; why so? He answered that his plays were worth a great deale of mony, but he never heard, that his works were worth any thing at all.


Reviewed Work: The Architectural Treatise in the Italian Renaissance: Architectural Invention, Ornament, and Literary Culture by Alina Alexandra Payne
Deborah H Cibelli reviewer
Payne’s reconstruction of the literary framework informing Renaissance architecture examines the rhetorical function of ornament. As an assessment of ornament Payne’s work is an important addendum to John Onian’s 1988 study of the classical orders, titled Bearers of Meaning. For Payne, ornament becomes the “sign of appropriation” and the “site that offered the most potential for invention.” Nonetheless, in her view ornament was shaped more by convention and decorum than by license. It is Alberti’s commentary regarding the best selection and disposition of ornament that is analyzed to illustrate the application of ideas regarding decorum from literature to building. Payne states, decorum had an impact on ornatus, a category Alberti adapted from rhetoric, when ornatus was seen as a manifestation of dignita. Guided by rhetoric, Alberti is credited with interjecting moral philosophy into architecture.


Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford:

For what more difficult, more noble, or more magnificent task has anyone ever undertaken than our author Castiglione, who has drawn for us the figure and model of a courtier, a work to which nothing can be added, in which there is no redundant word, a portrait which we shall recognize as that of a highest and most perfect type of man. And so, although nature herself has made nothing perfect in every detail, yet the manners of men exceed in dignity that with which nature has endowed them; and he who surpasses others has here surpassed himself and has even out-done nature, which by no one has ever been surpassed. Nay more: however elaborate the ceremonial, whatever the magnificence of the court, the splendor of the courtiers, and the multitude of spectators, he has been able to lay down principles for the guidance of the very Monarch himself.
Again, Castiglione has vividly depicted more and even greater things than these. For who has spoken of princes with greater gravity? Who has discoursed of illustrious women with a more ample DIGNITY? No one has written of military affairs more eloquently, more aptly about horse-racing, and more clearly and admirably about encounters under arms on the field of battle. I will say nothing of the fitness and the excellence with which he has depicted the beauty of chivalry in the noblest persons. Nor will I refer to his delineations in the case of those persons who cannot be courtiers, when he alludes to some notable defect or to some ridiculous character, or to some deformity of appearance. Whatever is heard in the mouths of men in casual talk and in society, whether apt and candid or villainous and shameful, that he has set down in so natural a manner that it seems to be acted before our very eyes.
Again, to the credit of the translator of so great a work, a writer too who is no mean orator, must be added a new glory of language. For although Latin has come down to us from the ancient city of Rome, a city in which the study of eloquence flourished exceedingly, it has now given back its features for use in modern courts as a polished language of an excellent temper, fitted out with royal pomp and possessing ADMIRABLE DIGNITY. All this my good friend Clerke has done, combining exceptional genius with wonderful eloquence. For he has resuscitated that dormant quality of fluent discourse. He has recalled those ORNAMENTS AND LIGHTS which he had laid aside, for use in connection with subjects most WORTHY of them. For this reason he deserves all the more honor, because that to great subjects -- and they are indeed great -- he has applied the greatest LIGHTS AND ORNAMENTS.
For who is clearer in his use of words? Or richer in the DIGNITY of his sentences? Or who can conform to the variety of circumstances with greater art? If weighty matters are under consideration, he unfolds his theme in a solemn and majestic rhythm; if the subject is familiar and facetious, he makes use of words that are witty and amusing. When therefore he writes with precise and well-chosen words, with skillfully constructed and crystal-clear sentences, and with every art of DIGNIFIED RHETORIC, it cannot be but that *SOME NOBLE QUALITY* should be felt to proceed from his work. To me indeed it seems, when I read this courtly Latin, that I am listening to Crassus, Antonius and Hortensius, discoursing on this very theme.

Some Noble Quality - non se che

A History of Six Ideas: An Essay in Aesthetics
W Tatarkiewicz

…Two aesthetic values, the value of structure and the value of ornament , have had their own names since the Middle Ages. The Scholastics called the beauty of structure ‘formositas’ (obviously from ‘forma’) and also ‘compositio’, while they called the beauty of ornaments ‘ornamentum’ and ornatus’; they also used the name ‘venustas’ in the sense of ornamentality , decorativeness.

In Rome there was a known distinction between dignified and comely beauty: dignitas – dignity was beauty, venustas – comeliness was likewise, but each was a different beauty. Cicero writes succinctly in De oficiis (I.36.130): “There are two kinds of beauty, one comeliness, the other dignity; we ought to consider comeliness to be a feminine, dignity a masculine, beauty.”

Grace, in Greek (…), in Latin gratia, played a considerable role in the ancient view of the world. The Charites, its incarnations in mythology, in Latin called the Graces, have also entered modern symbolism and art as personifications of beauty and grace. And under its Latin name grace has entered the modern languages and the theory of beauty.
In mediaeval Latin a different, albeit a kindred sense of the expression gratia prevailed in religious and philosophical speech: namely, divine grace. But in the modern languages, beginning with Renaissance Italian, grazia was once again the old grace. And it was once again something close to beauty. Cardinal Bembo held that beauty is always grace and nothing else, that there is no other beauty than grace. However, other Renaissance aestheticians separated these two concepts. To those who understood it broadly, the concept of beauty included grace, while to those who took it narrowly, it was opposed to the concept of grace. In the influential  Poetics  of Julius Caesar Scaliger we find an interpretation of beauty as perfection, regularity, conformity to rules; in such a beauty, grace did not find a place. Benedetto Varchi already in the title of a book published in 1590 (Libro della belta e grazia) had separated grace from beauty. Beauty in the strict sense is evaluated by the mind, whereas grace is “non so che”. Considerably later yet, Felibien (Idée du peintre parfait, 1707) was to write of grace: “It can be defined in this way: it is that which pleases and which wins the heart without having passed through the mind. Beauty and grace are two different things: beauty pleases only thanks to rules, whereas grace pleases without rules.” In this respect, there was agreement all the way from the Quattrocento to the rococo.
Later came attempts at a more precise definition of grace. Lord Kames argued that grace is accessible only to the eye and manifests itself only in man, in a face, in movement; in music, it is a metaphor. Johann Joachim Winckelmann differentiated varieties of grace: sublime, winsome, childish. Still later, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling would defined grace as “the supreme gentleness and the coordination of all forces”.
In the course of two centuries, a fairly substantial change had after all occurred in the concept of grace. During the Renaissance it had been regarded as conduct and appearance that was natural, free, unforced; its antithesis had been stiffness and artificiality. It had been thought to occur equally in men and in women, equally in the old and in the young. Held to be personifications of grace were the portraits by Raphael, even his portraits of older men. In the age of the rococo, however, grace became the privilege of women and oung people, its special incarnations became the pictures of Watteau, its antithesis – austerity, its basic trait – petiteness of forms. Grace and greatness were opposed (Fr. Yves Marie Andre, Essai sur le beau, 1741); grace, which had been compatible with greatness during the Renaissance, was not compatible with it in the 18th century.


 Aretino and Michelangelo, Dolce and Titian: Femmina, Masculo, Grazia
Fredrika H. Jacobs

Non so che, that indefinable something associated with aesthetic grace (grazia) and charming elegance (leggiadria), was the acknowledged essence of love and beauty. In I libri della famiglia Alberti describes non so che as a "certain something... which attracts men and makes them love one person more than another." Many later critics and theorists, including Lodovico Dolce, agreed. As Cropper, Sohm and other scholars have noted, Dolce's use of non so che may be understood as the ineffable beauty of Petrarch's Laura. Indeed, the indeterminate and unbounded nature of sensible beauty that is part and parcel of non so che is implicit in the term vaghezza, which is related to vagare, meaning to wander or move about without a specific destination. Equicola captures the essence of the allusive indeterminacy in his discussion of the visual apprehension of grazia. (note - Othello - extravagant (wandering) and wheeling stranger)

He begins by repeating the often noted observation that perfect beauty cannot be found in one place: "la singular grazia in una non ritrovarse." It is scattered and, therefore, must be collected and combined or reconstituted.


Because la perfetta bellezza cannot be found in one place, a man of total perfection ("uomo in tutta perfezzione") is a composite whole made of diverst parts. Danti explained the preferred compositional method advocated by Renaissance writers. Seeking the assistance of nature, the artist should "make use of various men, in each of whom some particular beauty is to be seen. And having taken this and that from this and from that man, they have composed their figures with more perfection than is possible in [nature].

 The Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi in Early Modern Europe
Richard Scholar

The Case of Shakespeare:

...An entire study of the je-ne-sais-quois could be devoted to Shakespeare's plays. They dramatize its main themes, whether the ghostly apparition of an insensible force in nature, the stroke of a disastrous passion, or the super-subtle artifice of signs of quality; they show the characters who undergo such experiences attempting, with extraordinary sophistication, to come to terms with them; and, at such moments, forms of the English phrase 'I know not what' tend to appear. Shakespeare's place in the present study is marginal, since my criterion of inclusion was that a writer should occupy at least a potential place in the historical rise and fall of the je-ne-sais-quois (n.), and Shakespeare has no place in that history. He stands apart from it, a stranger on its threshold, while effortlessly revealing his mastery of its terms and themes. As with so many of the new approaches and theories that literary critics bring to his plays, one is left with the bardolatrous feeling that Shakespeare saw the whole thing first, that it was in fact he who dreamt up the je-ne-sais-quois.

A Midsummer Night's Dream exemplifies Shakespeare's mastery of the je-ne-sais-quois. A strange force of sympathy falls between certain individuals in the play. The characters discuss the nature of this force obsessively: some attempt to dispel, subdue, and explain it away; others sense that it is something really inexplicable and inexplicably real and, in saying so, they grasp at forms of the phrase 'I know not what'.


...For love, the play reveals, is the stuff of life: an I-know-not-what that appears and vanishes like a dream.


Who taught thee first to sigh, alas, my heart ?
Who taught thy tongue the woeful words of plaint ?
Who filled your eyes with tears of bitter smart ?
Who gave thee grief and made thy joys to faint ?
Who first did paint with colors pale thy face ?
Who first did break thy sleeps of quiet rest?
Above the rest in court who gave thee grace ?
Who made thee strive in honour to be best ?
In constant truth to bide so firm and sure,
To scorn the world regarding but thy friends ?
With patient mind each passion to endure,
In one desire to settle to the end ?
  Love then thy choice wherein such choice thou bind,
  As nought but death may ever change thy mind.
                                            Finis. Earle of Oxenforde.


Steven May,_ The Elizabethan Courtier Poets_
The New Lyricism

During the 1570's a body of courtier verse emerged that revived the emphasis upon love poetry as it had been introduced to the Tudor court by Wyatt and Surrey. Upon this revitalized foundation, amorous courtier poetics developed without interruption to the end of the reign and beyond. Unlike courtier verse of the 1560's, the new lyricism modeled itself primarily upon post-classical continental authors, from Petrarch to the Pl?iade. Attention to the classics remained strong, of course, but the ancients were assimilated into the new poetics almost exclusively in the vernacular. The courtier's immediate experience is often reflected in this poetry, although the exact circumstances behind it cannot always be identified, nor does this later work necessarily grow out of actual experience. From a literary standpoint this is perhaps the most important shift away from the trends of the 1560's. Subsequent courtier verse placed a greater emphasis upon artifice in its treatment of occasional subjects, while it increasingly strayed away from real events as the most respectable inducements for writing poetry. The movement was toward fiction and the creation of poems to be valued for their own sake, not merely for their commemorative function. As courtier poets ventured anew into the realms of fiction, they made possible once again the creation of a genuine literature of the court. Progress toward a golden age of lyricism was slow, especially with regard to form and the technical aspects of composition, but the shift in direction occurred suddenly during the period between roughly 1570 and 1575.

Although Dyer has been considered the premier Elizabethan courtier poet, that is, the first to compose love lyrics there, the available evidence confers this distinction upon the earl of Oxford. His early datable work conforms, nevertheless, to one of the established functions for poetry practiced by Ascham and Wilson. IN 1572, Oxford turned out commendatory verses for a translation of Cardano's _Comfort_, published in 1573 by his gentleman pensioner friend, Thomas Bedingfield. This poem differs from earlier efforts of the kind not so much because it appeared in English (as had Ascham's verses for Blundeville's book), but because his verses are so self-consciously poetic. The earl uses twenty-six lines to develop his formulaic exempla: Bedingfield's good efforts are enjoyed by others just as laborers, masons, bees, and so forth also work for the profit of others. Oxford flaunts a COPIOUS rhetoric in this poem in contrast with the more direct, unembellished commendatory verses of his predecessors. His greatest innovation, however, lies in his application of the same qualities of style to the eight poems assigned to him in the 1576 Paradise of Dainty Devices, pieces that Oxford must have composed before 1575.

DeVere's eight poems in the _Paradise_ create a dramatic break with everything known to have been written at the Elizabethan court at that time...The diversity of Oxford's subjects, including his varied analyses of the lover's state, were practically as unknown to contemporary out-of -court writer as they were to courtiers.

Oxford's birth and social standing at court in the 1570's made him a model of aristocratic behaviour. He was, for instance, accused of introducing Italian gloves and other such fripperies at court; his example would have lent respectability even to so trivial a pursuit as the writing of love poetry. Thus, while it is possible that Dyer was writing poetry as early as the 1560's, his earliest datable verse, the complaint sung to the queen at Woodstock in 1575, may itself have been inspired by Oxford's work in the same vein. Dyer's first six poems in Part II are the ones he is most likely to have composed before his association with Philip Sidney. ...Yet even if all six (of Dyer's poems) were written by 1575, Oxford would still emerge as the chief innovator due to the range of his subject matter and the variety of its execution. ...By contrast, Dyer was a specialist...Dyer's output represents a great departure from courtier verse of the 1560's, and several of his poems were more widely circulated and imitated than any of Oxford's; still, the latter's experimentation provided a much broader foundation for the development of lyric poetry at court. (pp. 52-54)

Admirable Wit: Deinofēs and the Rise and Fall of Lyric Wonder - James Biester

Abstract: When lyric poets in late Renaissance England responded to the demand for wonder in poetry and all courtly activity by astonishing audiences through style, they drew upon the Greek rhetorical tradition, which presents roughness and obscurity as coordinate methods of making style deinos, or admirable. In the Life of Cowley, Samuel Johnson also sees roughness and obscurity as coordinate qualities in the verse of the "metaphysical poets" he says erred in pursuit of wonder. Before admirable style went out of fashion, poet-critics praised its ability to provoke the audience's inferences and to transcend persuasión by "ravishing" the audience's will, precisely the effects that Demetrius attributes to the charaktēr deinos in On Style. Yet deinolēs is the term used to describe both the most powerful style and the clever style of sophistic epideixis, and this breadth of meaning helps explain both the rise and fall of wit.
     Driven by the increasing identification of wonder as the telos of all poetry, and by Castiglione's demand that the courtier always aim to have "all men wonder at him, and hee at no man," lyric poets in the late sixteenth century astonished readers through style. Because lyric is by definition barred from employing the narrative sources of tragic and epic wonder specified by Aristotle - incredible episodes and marvelous recognitions and reversals - lyric poets focused on the stylistic sources of wonder Aristotle had identified in the Poetics and Rhetoric: unusual diction, metaphor, hyperbole, riddles and epigrammatic brevity. The Greek rhetorical tradition after Aristotle, placing an even higher premium on obscurity and roughness as elements of wonder or deinotes, helped nurture the later development of what seventeenth-century critics called "strong lines" and Samuel Johnson called "metaphysical style."


 Jonson's 1616 Folio and his play _The Alchemist_ bore an epigraph adapted from Horace:
"Neque, me ut miretur turba, laboro: / Contentus paucis lectoribus"
- " I do not expend my efforts so that the multitude may wonder at me: I am contented with a few readers" 


To Mr. Ben. Johnson demanding the reason  why he call’d his playes works,”
Pray tell me Ben, where doth the mistery lurke,
What others call a play you call a worke”

The authors friend thus for the author sayes,
Bens plays are works, when others works are plaies.”


Edward de Vere satirized as Amorphus of Cynthia's Revels:

Ben Jonson's Sacramental Poetics: Manners as Mystery in his Poetry and Drama
Marshelle Woodward

Peterson has elucidated the Stoic and Neoplatonic underpinnings of Jonson's distaste for empty forms of fashion, opposed in his works to “full” men whose bodies are “informed” by virtuous souls.31 I argue that Jonson's use of the term “mystery” to heap praise and blame upon these arts suggests an additional sacramental dimension to his treatment of them. Jonson never characterizes weaving, tilling and other “arts that serve the body” as mysteries, despite the fact that they were regularly designated as such in the period (Discoveries 113–15). When not used to describe divine truth, mystery serves an almost exclusively epideictic function in his works, pointing to the noblest and basest forms of human ceremony and labor. In taking it upon himself to dispense the true mystery of manners and destroy the false mystery of fashion, Jonson positions himself as neither Protestant seer nor rude mechanical, but something in between, a priest and craft master for whom the “business of mankind” is itself an efficacious rite.
Indeed, what we find reflected in his distinction between manners and fashion is a conflict in the Early Modern discourse of manners centering on the art's ethical and spiritual merits. As presented in Erasmus's De civilitate morum puerilium (1530), the craft of manners in its most idealistic form was an art designed to reflect and condition one's inner virtue. Both the Protestant and Catholic reform movements embraced the “new manners” as a vehicle for moral reform, seeing in its disciplined behaviors a means of subordinating the animalistic passions of the lower body to the Godlike rationality of the upper.32 However, the new manners' emphasis on external appearances and reliance on the dissimulating practice of sprezzatura simultaneously threatened to undermine virtue. As Harry Berger, Jr. has detailed, Giovanni della Casa's Galateo (1558) depicts the moral degradation of the craft of manners, which it strongly opposes to the art of virtue.33
Jonson's works seek to transform the manners of the English court along Erasmian lines, purging its members of their Galatean fixation with fashion. By attempting to transform fashionable aristocrats into well-mannered nobles, he seeks to lead the court away from a corporeal, ultimately idolatrous mystery towards an art in which virtue and its habitual bodily expression are mutually reinforcing. In this art, as in the poet's craft, human labor is elevated by a “divine instinct” that transfigures an otherwise rote practice into an incarnational rite. Though the conflict between the mysteries of manners and fashion runs throughout Jonson's works, the two are brought into most direct competition in the 1616 folio edition of Cynthia's Revels, or the Fountain of Self-Love. The play pits scholar-poet Crites against fashionable hangers-on at Cynthia's court, dramatizing through their antagonism the tension between the poet's art of manners and the courtiers' false art of fashion. This quarrel erupts in the play's final acts in a standoff between two forms of courtly ritual: the courtiers' trial of courtship, erroneously framed as a mystery, and the revels and penitential rite devised by Crites. In these scenes, Jonson structurally “embattles” the mysteries of manners and fashion, following his own recommendation that the poet embattle virtues and vices in order “to render the one loved, the other hated” (Discoveries 745).

Edward de Vere/Shakespeare/Master of Manners Amorphus

 Gabriel Harvey, Speculum Tuscanismi and 'exemplary' Sidney:

Speculum Tuscanismi (1580)

Since GALATEO came in, and Tuscanism gan usurp,
Vanity above all: villainy next her, stateliness Empress
No man but minion, stout, lout, plain, swain, quoth a Lording:
No words but valorous, no works but womanish only.
For life Magnificoes, not a beck but glorious in show,
In deed most frivolous, not a look but Tuscanish always.
His cringing side neck, eyes glancing, fisnamy smirking,
With forefinger kiss, and brave embrace to the footward.
Large bellied Cod-pieced doublet, uncod-pieced half hose,
Straight to the dock like a shirt, and close to the britch like a diveling.
A little Apish flat couched fast to the pate like an oyster,
French camarick ruffs, deep with a whiteness starched to the purpose.
Every one A per se A, his terms and braveries in print,
Delicate in speech, quaint in array: conceited in all points,
In Courtly guiles a passing singular odd man,
For Gallants a brave Mirror, a Primrose of Honour,
A Diamond for nonce, a fellow peerless in England.
Gabriel Harvey, Speculum Tuscanismi and 'exemplary' Sidney:
'Tell me in good sooth, doth it not too evidently appeare, that this English Poet (note - Edward de Vere) wanted but a good PATTERNE before his eyes, as it might be some delicate, and choyce elegant Poesie of good M. Sidneys, or M. Dyers (ouer very Castor, & Pollux for such and many greater matters) when this trimme geere was in hatching: Much like some Gentlewooman, I coulde name in England, who by all Phisick and Physiognomie too, might as well have brought forth all goodly faire CHILDREN, as they have now some ylfavoured and DEFORMED, had they at the tyme of their Conception, had in sight, the amiable and gallant beautifull Pictures of ADONIS, Cupido, Ganymedes, or the like, which no doubt would have wrought such deepe impression in their fantasies, and imaginations, as their children, and perhappes their Childrens children to, myght have thanked them for, as long as they shall have Tongues in their heades." 

Shakespeare, dedication Venus and Adonis:

But if the first HEIRE of my INVENTION proue DEFORMED, I shall be sorie it had so noble a god-father : and neuer after eare so barren a land, for feare it yeeld me still so bad a haruest, I leaue it to your Honourable suruey, and your Honor to your hearts content, vvhich I wish may alvvaies ansvvere your ovvne vvish, and the vvorlds hopefull expectation.


Jonathan Gibson, _Sidney's Arcadias and Elizabethan Courtiership_,

Oxford University Press

"One aspect of the Alencon dispute that, rather surprisingly, has been neglected in discussions of Sidney is the relationship between his own work and the writings of his court rival Edward DeVere, seventeenth earl of Oxford. The _Arcadias_ can plausibly be read as using their opposition to a specifically 'Oxfordian' literary aesthetic to trigger a more general meditation on the problems of Elizabethan courtiership. As Steven W. May has shown, French-influenced 'new lyricism', closely associated with Oxford, was the dominant poetic form at the Elizabethan court at the time of the composition of the old _Arcadia_.

Early Elizabethan court poetry had been largely religious and didactic but during the 1570's Oxford pioneered a revival of courtly Petrarchan lyric in the tradition of Wyatt and Surrey. I have argued elsewhere that this was connected with Oxford's advocacy of the French match, forming a key element in what H.R. Woudhuysen has called the 'wholesale importation of FRENCH CULTURE AND MANNERS to England' which occurred in the wake of the marriage negotiations. The arrival of 'new lyricism' meant that the Petrarchan language of love became part of the lingua franca of English court life. The complicated overlap at the Elizabethan court between the language of early modern patronage negotiations and the language of Petrarchanism has been much discussed. The blurring of the two was greatly heightened - and arguably set in place, in its specifically Elizabethan manifestation - by Oxford's literary programme.

Much Ado about Nothing, Act III, Sc iii -


Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this
fashion is? how giddily a' turns about all the hot
bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty?
sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers
in the reeky painting, sometime like god Bel's
priests in the old church-window, sometime like the
shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten tapestry,
where his codpiece seems as massy as his club?


All this I see; and I see that the fashion wears
out more apparel than the man. But art not thou
thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou hast
shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion?


Second Watchman

Call up the right master constable. We have here
recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that
ever was known in the commonwealth.

First Watchman

And one Deformed is one of them: I know him; a'
wears a lock.


Masters, masters,--

Second Watchman

You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.


Jonson figured as suppressing 'Popular' Fame:

Cartwright, William, Jonsonus Virbius

...Blest life of Authors, unto whom we owe
Those that we have, and those that we want too:
Th'art all so good, that reading makes thee worse,
And to have writ so well's thine onely curse.
Secure then of thy merit, thou didst hate
That servile base dependance upon fate:
Successe thou ne'r thoughtst vertue, nor that fit,
Excluding those from life in after-time, 
Who into Po'try first brought luck and rime: 
Who thought the peoples breath good ayre: sty'ld name 
What was but noise; and getting Briefes for fame 
Gathered the many's suffrages, and thence 
Made commendation a benevolence: 
THY thoughts were their owne Lawrell, and did win
That best applause of being crown'd within..


 Jonson, On Shakespeare:

Yet must I not give Nature all: thy art,
My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
*His ART doth give the FASHION*; and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same
(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame,
Or, for the laurel, he may gain a scorn;

The dangers of beauty/ornament:



Hobbes's sense of his place in cultural history is key to understanding the character and the contradictions of Leviathan. Early and late in his long writing career, he represents his philosophical life as a battle against monstrous texts. De cive's "Preface to the Reader" narrates a Hobbesian myth of the fall, in which a golden age of power and authority enjoyed by sovereigns is destroyed by the "disputations" of private men. 1 To illustrate his point, Hobbes cites the classical fable of Ixion's adulterous courtship of Juno: "Offering to embrace her, he clasped a cloud; from whence the Centaurs proceeded, by nature half men, half horses, a fierce, a fighting, and unquiet generation" (2:xiii). His allegorization of the fable is Baconian both in its method -- its derivation of philosophical truths from mythology -- and in its attribution of the origins of political sedition to seditious language and seditious desires: "private men being called to councils of state, desired to prostitute justice, the only sister and wife of the supreme, to their own judgments and apprehensions; but embracing a false and empty shadow instead of it, they have begotten those hermaphrodite opinions of moral philosophers, partly right and comely, partly brutal and wild"
Hobbes is fond of metaphors of the monstrous, and his employment of them, especially in crucial accounts of his own vocational ambitions, is recurrent and revealing. His claim to having spent a career battling the metaphorical monsters of false systems of knowledge complements his lifelong attacks, I will argue, against the monsters of metaphor. Viewed from a broad historical perspective, Hobbes's attack stands as one characteristic, albeit especially fierce, expression of hostility to metaphor on the part of the seventeenth century's new philosophers. Monsters, as marvels of nature, have their verbal counterparts in metaphors, the marvels of speech. As Paul de Man argues, within metaphors, as inside the most violent catachreses, "something monstrous lurks." 4 (The very word catachresis means an "abuse" of language.) Metaphors can appear dangerous, even monstrous, because "they are capable of inventing the most fantastic entities by dint of the positional power inherent in language. They can dismember the texture of reality and reassemble it in the most capricious of ways, pairing man with woman or human being with beast in the most unnatural shapes." 5 As a consequence, de Man argues, metaphor has been "a perennial problem and, at times, a recognized source of embarrassment for philosophical discourse." 6 That embarrassment becomes especially acute during the seventeenth century because of metaphor's association with subjective imagination, passion, and the monstrous, with all that contrasts with objective judgment, reason, and the natural. As a result, the opposition between the literal and the figural underlies many of the crucial polarities of the century's discourse: the divide between truth and falsehood, natural philosophy and poetry, philosophical discourse and rhetoric, to name only a few. 7 Especially in the civil war years, a hostility to metaphor becomes acute, too, because as a monstrous rebel to linguistic law, metaphor is associated with the monstrous rebels of mob rule. To attack metaphor is to attack the monstrous mother of all seditious philosophies, and a monstrous breeder of sedition itself.

...Within the tradition of the seventeenth-century's new philosophies, his [Hobbes'] condemnation of metaphor is among the most uncompromising. For Hobbes, metaphors and other "senseless and ambiguous words," are mere ignes fatui proceeding from the errancy of impassioned imagination (3:37). Note the materialist's pun: words that do not adequately cohere with things are "sense-less." To reason upon metaphors "is wandering amongst innumerable absurdities; and their end, contention and sedition, or contempt" (3:37). Verbal chaos leads to cultural chaos. (The association of metaphor with natural marvels, ignes fatui, is telling and characteristic.) Among the four kinds of language abuse, Hobbes gives metaphors a primary place, describing them as words used "in other sense than that they are ordained for; and thereby deceive others" (3:20). Deceit and equivocation are main themes in his opposition. Counsellors to the sovereign are forbidden to employ tropes because they "are useful only to deceive, or to lead him we counsel towards other ends than his own" (3:246). In matters of demonstration, counsel, and "all rigorous search of truth," Hobbes admits that "sometimes the understanding have need to be opened by some apt similitude.... But for metaphors, they are in this case utterly excluded" (3:58-59). The same judgment appears in his statement that "in reckoning, and seeking of truth, such speeches ['the use of metaphors, tropes, and other rhetorical figures, instead of words proper'] are not to be admitted" (3:34). At the end of an early chapter on speech, Hobbes deems "metaphors, and tropes of speech... less dangerous" forms of "ratiocination" than morally charged signifiers such as gravity and stupidity, but he does so only "because they profess their inconstancy; which the other do not" (3:29). The dismissal of metaphor from the rigorous search for truth (and certainly the Leviathan is that) is absolute and unqualified.


Reasoning upon Sonnets and Cultural Chaos
'Othering' Aristocrats as 'Barbarous':

Honest Ben/Honest Iago
Erring Barbarians – Performing Race in Early Modern England

Ian Smith

In the early modern period the concept of rhetorical barbarism –the demonizing of the speech of the racial and *cultural outsider* –can be understood as an attempt to control and protect the production and circulation of specific images through the racializing function of language. In an Erasmian theater of the mind, language has the power to create vivid and persuasive images that can determine the chosen identities of both an audience and a culture. Hence the need to control this power and the proliferation of images places the surveillance of language at the center of early modern concerns. Othello’s speech acts constitute a performance of cultural whiteness, adding his perspective on what it means to be a black man in this culture and, in effect, contesting the dominant negative images of blackness. Iago, the other agent in this cultural dialogue, counters Othello’s narratives and attempts to contain Othello’s language by rendering it barbarous. When, at the end of 4.1, Othello’s “sentences become preposterous” and his “utterance breaks itself into fragments and uncertainties,” in the language of Hoskins' _Directions_, the question is no longer purely one of his mental instability’ rather Othello’s linguistic collapse, engineered by Iago, is indicative of a culturally pejorative barbarism. If the barbarian is deemed uneloquent– if he cannot speak or speak well – then his narrative enargeia, his ability to produce images within a cultural dialogue, is seriously impaired and rendered rhetorically non-persuasive. The value of the label “barbarian” or “barbarism” is to exclude the potentially oppositional images of the outsider and the disruptive logic of his PREPOSTEROUS sentence from legitimate circulation, preserving the language of the host culture and its ability to produce its own images of itself and others as authoritative and civilized. Shakespeare's own use of racial reversals, a preposterous dramaturgy whose “barbaric” force questions the supposed discreteness of racial categories, stands as a neat metadramatic commentary on the urgency with which *Iago deploys the notion of the Barbarian as a STRATEGY OF SUPPRESSION*.

Melville and Hawthorne/Vere? Melville Suppressed?

Billy Budd, Herman Melville

Habitually living with the elements and knowing little more of the land
than as a beach, or, rather, that portion of the terraqueous globe
providentially set apart for dance-houses, doxies and tapsters, in short
what sailors call a "fiddlers'-green," his simple nature remained
unsophisticated by those moral obliquities which are not in every case
incompatible with that manufacturable thing known as respectability. But
are sailors, frequenters of "fiddlers'-greens," without vices? No; but
less often than with landsmen do their vices, so called, partake of
crookedness of heart, seeming less to proceed from viciousness than
exuberance of vitality after long constraint; frank manifestations in
accordance with natural law. By his original constitution aided by the
cooperating influences of his lot, Billy in many respects was little
more than a sort of upright barbarian, much such perhaps as Adam
presumably might have been ere the urbane Serpent wriggled himself into
his company.

And here be it submitted that apparently going to corroborate the
doctrine of man's fall, a doctrine now popularly ignored, it is
observable that where certain virtues pristine and unadulterate
peculiarly characterize anybody in the external uniform of civilization,
they will upon scrutiny seem not to be derived from custom or
convention, but rather to be out of keeping with these, as if indeed
exceptionally transmitted from a period prior to Cain's city and
citified man. The character marked by such qualities has to an
unvitiated taste an untampered-with flavor like that of berries, while
the man thoroughly civilized, even in a fair specimen of the breed, has
to the same moral palate a questionable smack as of a compounded wine.
To any stray inheritor of these primitive qualities found, like Caspar
Hauser, wandering dazed in any Christian capital of our time, the
good-natured poet's famous invocation, near two thousand years ago, of
the good rustic out of his latitude in the Rome of the Cesars, still
appropriately holds:--

"Honest and poor, faithful in word and thought,
What has thee, Fabian, to the city brought?"

Though our Handsome Sailor had as much of masculine beauty as one can
expect anywhere to see; nevertheless, like the beautiful woman in one of
Hawthorne's minor tales, there was just one thing amiss in him. No
visible blemish, indeed, as with the lady; no, but an occasional
liability to a vocal defect. Though in the hour of elemental uproar or
peril he was everything that a sailor should be, yet under sudden
provocation of strong heart-feeling, his voice otherwise singularly
musical, as if expressive of the harmony within, was apt to develop an
organic hesitancy, in fact, more or less of a stutter or even worse. In
this particular Billy was a striking instance that the arch interferer,
the envious marplot of Eden, still has more or less to do with every
human consignment to this planet of earth. In every case, one way or
another he is sure to slip in his little card, as much as to remind
us--I too have a hand here.

The avowal of such an imperfection in the Handsome Sailor should be
evidence not alone that he is not presented as a conventional hero, but
also that the story in which he is the main figure is no romance.

Melville in the Darbies:

Fathoms down, fathoms down, how I'll dream fast asleep.
I feel it stealing now. Sentry, are you there?
Just ease these darbies at the wrist,
And roll me over fair.
I am sleepy, and the oozy weeds about me twist.