Renaissance Suppliants: Poetry, Antiquity, Reconciliation
Renaissance Suppliants studies supplication as a social and literary event in the long European Renaissance. It argues that scenes of supplication are defining episodes in a literary tradition stretching back to Greco-Roman antiquity, taking us to the heart of fundamental questions of politics and religion, ethics and identity, sexuality and family. As a perennial mode of asymmetrical communication in moments of helplessness and extreme need, supplication speaks to ways that people live together despite grave inequalities. It is a strategy that societies use to regulate and perpetuate themselves, to negotiate conflict, and to manage situations in which relationships threaten to unravel. All the writers discussed here—Vergil, Petrarch, Shakespeare, and Milton—find supplication indispensable for thinking about problems of antagonism, difference, and hierarchy, bringing the aesthetic resources of supplicatory interactions to bear on their unique literary and cultural circumstances. The opening chapters establish a conceptual framework for thinking about supplication as facilitating transitions between states of feeling and positions of relative status, beginning with Homer and classical literature. Vergil's Aeneid is paradigmatic instance in which literary and social structures of the ancient past are transformed to suit the needs of the present, and supplication becomes a figure for the act of cultural translation. Subsequent chapters take up different aspects of Renaissance supplicatory discourse, showing how postures of humiliation and abjection are appropriated and transformed in erotic poetry, drama, and epic. The book ends with Milton who invests gestures of self-abasement with unexpected dignity.
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Achilles action Adam Adam’s Aeneas Aeneid Ancient appeal begging Book Caesar’s Cambridge University Press Clarendon Press clemency Coriolanus Dante Dante’s David death drama early modern Edited Elizabethan emotional epic episode erotic Essays Euripides Eve’s feeling forgiveness gestures God’s Greek Harvard University Harvard University Press Hector hierarchy Homeric humiliation Iliad interaction John king kneeling knees lady Laura’s literary Livy Livy’s Loeb Classical Library London lover lyric Massinissa Medieval mercy Milton Montaigne moral mother narrative narrator narrator’s Odysseus Oxford University Press Paradise Lost pardon perspective petition Petrarch physical pity play play’s plea pleading Plutarch’s poem poem’s poet poetic poetry political prayer Priam Princeton psychological ransom reader reciprocal reconciliation relationship religious Renaissance republican response rhetorical Richard Richard Tarrant ritual Roman Rome Satan scene of supplication self selfabasement selflowering Shakespeare social Son’s Sophonisba story Studies suppliant supplication supplicatory Tamburlaine Titus Titus Andronicus Translated Trojan Turnus Vergil Volumnia