Practicing Renaissance Scholarship: Plays and Pageants, Patrons and PoliticsDavid M. Bergeron $70.00
Published in 2000 | 221 pages | cloth | ISBN: 978-0-8207-0313-8
In an era that has witnessed the apparent triumph of literary theory, this collection offers a compelling argument for the importance of scholarship in Renaissance studies by underscoring the necessity of considerate questioning of received information and perspective. David Bergeron, one of the most renowned specialists in the world on Renaissance English civic pageantry, masques, entertainment, and drama, now gives us Practicing Renaissance Scholarship.
This book is a collection of 11 essays that focuses on the plight of the humanistic scholar at the beginning of the new century, arguing for an attitude of "interrogative metonymy"⎯that is, a kind of collegiality among scholars with an insistent questioning of transmitted knowledge. From original archival research, to analyzing what centuries of thinkers have written, to exposing reductive ideology, the essays revolve around the twin poles of evidence and interpretation. The essays fall into four groups: plays, pageants, patrons, and politics, each category impinging upon the others.
The collection begins with a consideration of internal and external evidence in Richard II, and then moves on to examine a range of literary and historical subjects including Thomas Heywood's reliance on aristocratic patronage, the active participation of women in supporting drama, and Gilbert Dugdale's eyewitness account of James's royal entry into London in 1604. Discussing pageants here is, for Bergeron, an attempt to redress an imbalance in studies of English Renaissance theater where, traditionally, emphasis has been placed on masques to the exclusion of pageants, the result of benign scholarly neglect and prejudice. Begeron's robust argument for the importance of scholarship in Renaissance studies both looks to the past and faces the future, celebrating the hard work and crucial contributions scholars have achieved. The work challenges us to think anew about how and why we practice scholarship, its challenges and its accomplishments in Renaissance studies.
DAVID M. BERGERON is professor of English at the University of Kansas. He is also the author of many books, including King James and Letters of Homoerotic Desire, Shakespeare's Romances and the Royal Family, and English Civic Pageantry 1558–1642. As well, he serves on the editorial board of Shakespeare Quarterly and as longtime editor of Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama.