Focusing on the unsuccessful attempt of Franchyna Woedwaerdt, a widow living in the Dutch port of Rotterdam ca. 1650, to retain control of a printing business she and her husband had run, this article reconstructs how fairly ordinary people employed Holland’s notariate to present stories about themselves and others. It argues that people like Woedwaerdt and those in her network often chose to make information about themselves and others public in a social space that lay between the self on the one hand and the larger world of social norms on the other, a middle ground.
This essay offers a new reading of Diego Velázquez’s Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (1618) by relating it to religious discourse in the artist’s native Seville. Through an analysis of previously unstudied Sevillian writings, this article argues that the painting’s compositional structure entreats the beholder to use the corporeal register of the foreground as a means of entry into the spiritual register of the background scene.
This article reexamines the long-established connection between Thomas Wyatt’s poetry and his experience as a diplomat in France and Italy in 1526 and 1527 and at the court of Emperor Charles V between 1537 and 1540. Two diplomatic incidents— one from Wyatt’s experience and another from the period of Henry VIII’s divorce— are discussed in relation to the use of reported and ventriloquized speech in the performance and correspondence of Henrician diplomacy.
This article examines Giovan Battista Della Porta’s Della Fisonomia Dell’uomo as a public relations exercise, carried out on behalf of the author himself, other intellectuals, and potential noble patrons. Della Porta’s study of human physiognomy includes engravings of famous men and often documents their physical appearances. This article assesses the connections between Della Porta’s treatise and cinquecento biography collections, in particular Paolo Giovio’s Elogia, which Della Porta frequently plagiarizes for descriptions of Italian luminaries.
This article explores Catholic missionaries’ use of emotions to promote conversions in the duchy of Chablais from 1597 to 1598, highlighting in particular three Forty Hours Devotions celebrated in the Alpine villages of Annemasse and Thonon. Evoking early Christianity through images of the Eucharist and the Crucifixion, a small band of missionaries, led by François de Sales and Capuchin Chérubin de Maurienne, hoped to spark overt emotions in their audience and to distinguish baroque Catholicism from the more introspective Calvinist faith of nearby Geneva.
This article treats book burning and censorship in England between the 1520s and the 1640s as part of the communications repertoire of the early modern state. Combating heresy, blasphemy, and sedition, Tudor and Stuart authorities subjected transgressive works to symbolic execution at key sites in London and the universities. The addition of the hangman to the ceremony in the 1630s reinforced the authority of the state over texts. But the ritual was not always performed according to the script.
This article explores the Aragonese Inquisition and its prosecution of homosexual sodomy in terms of the types of men tried and the attitudes of both local denouncers and inquisitorial magistrates, given the important separation of the judicial process into denunciation and trial. The diverging views regarding sexuality and deviance between Aragonese peoples and the judges manning the tribunals of Barcelona, Valencia, and Zaragoza meant that both groups differently assessed the types of people in need of control.
Anthonius Margaritha, the son of a rabbi, was a German Jew who converted to Christianity in 1522. He is best remembered for his Der gantz Jüdisch Glaub (1530), in which he described many Jewish customs, gave his German translation of the Hebrew prayer book, and presented a “refutation” of Judaism. The accuracy of his ethnographic data is crucial to using Der gantz Jüdisch glaub in scholarly discussion. This essay tests Margaritha’s assertions about German-Jewish physicians and about the anti- Christian polemic in the aleinu prayer against external Jewish and Christian sources.
Friedrich Förner, a principal architect of the Catholic Reformation in Bamberg, is especially remembered for his 1626 treatise on witchcraft, Panoplia Armaturae Dei. An examination of the full range Förner’s writings reveals a common logic that underlay his approach to the problems of witch-hunting and Catholic reform. From a historical perspective, the rise of witchcraft and Calvinism together represented the final stage in the devil’s assault on Christianity.