The Emblematics of the Self: Ekphrasis and Identity in Renaissance Imitations of Greek Romance

The Emblematics of the Self: Ekphrasis and Identity in Renaissance Imitations of Greek Romance

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By Elizabeth B. Bearden
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
272 Pages 8 Images
ISBN 9781442643468
Published Jan 2012
Online discount: 25%
 $69.00    $51.75
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442696150
Published Jan 2012
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $69.00

The ancient Greek romances of Achilles Tatius and Heliodorus were widely imitated by early modern writers such as Miguel de Cervantes, Philip Sidney, and Mary Wroth. Like their Greek models, Renaissance romances used ekphrasis, or verbal descriptions of visual representation, as a tool for characterization. The Emblematics of the Self shows how the women, foreigners, and non-Christians of these tales reveal their identities and desires in their responses to the ‘verbal pictures’ of romance.

Elizabeth B. Bearden illuminates how ‘verbal pictures’ enliven characterization in English, Spanish, and Neolatin romances from 1552 to 1621. She notes the capacity for change among characters — such as cross-dressed Amazons, shepherdish princesses, and white Mauritanians — who traverse transnational cultural and aesthetic environments. Engaging and rigorous, The Emblematics of the Self breaks new ground in understanding hegemonic and cosmopolitan European conceptions of the ‘other,’ as well as new possibilities for early modern identities, in an increasingly global Renaissance.

Elizabeth B. Bearden is an assistant professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park.




A Note on Editions, Translations, and Abbreviations

Chapter One

The Romance Globe: Why the Renaissance Repainted Greek Romance

Chapter Two

Converso Convertida: Cross-dressed Narration and Ekphrastic Interpretation in Leucippe and Clitophon and Clareo y Florisea

Chapter Three

Amazon Eyes and Shifting Emblems in Sidney's Greek Arcadia

Chapter Four

Painting Counterfeit Canvases: Heliodoran Pictographs, American Lienzos, and European Imaginings of the Barbarian in Cervantes' Persiles

Chapter Five

Pictura Locorum: Heliodoran Hieroglyphs and Anglo-African Identity in Barclay's Argenis

Chapter Six

“We are all picturd in that Piece”: Lovers, Persians, Tartars, and the “Tottering” Romance Globe in Lady Mary Wroth's Urania


Works Cited