This article examines male cross-dressing in Italian Renaissance comedies with a particular emphasis on Il Ragazzo by the Venetian writer Lodovico Dolce. Without challenging the traditional readings of cross-dressing plots that view their licentiousness and their reversals of gender and sexual roles as comic conventions typical of this genre and of the festive time of carnival, it is suggested that such plots offered a particularly rich opportunity for imaginative play.
In 1575 Friedrich Sustris decorated Trausnitz Castle in Landshut with paintings proclaiming the political and religious aspirations of Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria. The duke’s staunch support of the Counter-Reformation and politically advantageous marital alliance with Lorraine are visually reinforced in the castle’s ceremonial rooms. In contrast, a narrow stairwell in the private ducal quarters surrounds the viewer with an illusionistic performance of the commedia dell’arte.
Enacting fourth attitude history, as articulated by Allan Megill, this essay compiles commonplaces and misreadings about the productions of Acts and Monuments (1563 and 1570) to encourage renewed vision of the directorships of Cecil, Parker, Grindal, and others dedicated to the ideological conversion of the English polity and people.
Over 80 percent of Spanish noblemen in the period between 1350 and 1750 chose their wives to be the guardians of their children and property, so women headed many of the most powerful noble families in Spain at regular intervals. To Spanish noblemen, the preservation of family, power, and lineage was more important than the prescriptive gender roles of their time, and they expected and trained their female relatives to take an active part in the economic and political affairs of the family.
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.