The Immaterial Book: Reading and Romance in Early Modern England

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University of Michigan Press, Oct 28, 2013 - History - 183 pages
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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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Contents

Introduction
1
Spensers Books and the Romance of the Past
19
2 Dreaming of the Book in Cymbeline
47
The Spaces of the Book and the Mind in The Tempest
76
The Romance of Reading in Urania and Don Quixote
105
Conclusion
132
Notes
135
Bibliography
165
Index
179
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Sarah Wall-Randell is Assistant Professor of English, Wellesley College.

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