In Defiance of Time: Antiquarian Writing in Early Modern England

In Defiance of Time: Antiquarian Writing in Early Modern England

English | 2010 | ISBN: 0199566194 | 264 pages | PDF | 3 MB

In Defiance of Time explores the emergence of antiquarianism in early modern England, from its first flourishing in the mid-Tudor period through to its seventeenth-century heyday. A vibrant antiquarian culture emerged, which reached beyond scholarly and historical circles, and had a profound influence on the literature and thought of the period. Examining the influences on that development of that culture, this book argues that the origins of English antiquarianism need to be found in the methods and practices of continental (and especially Italian) humanism. It shows that, like the humanists, the early antiquaries had the essentially imaginative aim of resurrecting and recomposing the past and past societies 'in defiance of time'. The antiquaries conceived of themselves and their activities as bridging the gap between past and present, affording 'olden time' presence in this way so that it might speak to and inform present circumstances. At the heart of this book is the argument that the antiquarian project depended on the antiquaries' capacity to restore-in their imagination at least-the fragments of the past, to imagine those remnants of history 'which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time' made whole once again. In Defiance of Time traces these arguments through a range of authors and material, both printed and in manuscript. Chapters advance original readings of important authors such as Leland, Stow, Spenser, Camden, Drayton, and Selden, as well as shedding light on institutions such as the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries and reviewing the wide range of activities, interests, and concerns that came under the antiquarian purview. Antiquarianism is thereby shown to be integral to early modern literary and intellectual culture.

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