The Immaterial Book: Reading and Romance in Early Modern England
In romances—Renaissance England’s version of the fantasy novel—characters often discover books that turn out to be magical or prophetic, and to offer insights into their readers’ selves. The Immaterial Book examines scenes of reading in important romance texts across genres: Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and The Tempest, Wroth’s Urania, and Cervantes’ Don Quixote. It offers a response to “material book studies” by calling for a new focus on imaginary or “immaterial” books and argues that early modern romance authors, rather than replicating contemporary reading practices within their texts, are reviving ancient and medieval ideas of the book as a conceptual framework, which they use to investigate urgent, new ideas about the self and the self-conscious mind.
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Anthony Grafton argue Arthur audience book’s bookish Britomart Briton Moniments Cambridge University Press century Cervantes chapter character chronicle contains culture Cymbeline Don Quixote dramatic dream Early Modern England early modern English early modern romance English episode Faerie Queene fiction Frances Yates humanist Iachimo idea identity images imagined immaterial Imogen John John Dee Juan Luis Vives Jupiter’s kind kinetic King literal literary London magic book Marjorie Garber masque material medieval memory Merlin’s metaphor mimesis mind mirror objects ofthe one’s Orlando Furioso Oxford Pamphilia perhaps physical play play’s pleasure poem Poetics Posthumus Posthumus’s book Prospero’s Prospero’s book Quixote’s quoted reader reading Renaissance representation revelation rhetorical romance mode romance narratives says scene scholars seems sense Shakespeare sixteenth sixteenth-century space Spenser stage Stephen Greenblatt Steriamus story strange suggests supernatural Tempest text’s textuality theater thing Thomas Shelton tion Urania Veralinda visual volume wonder of antiquity writing Wroth’s Urania