“I satt and saw”

Negotiating the Gaze in the Travel Writings of Anthony Munday and Thomas Dallam

in Volume 14 (2013): Issue 2 (Dec 2013): Shaping Strangers in Early Modern English Travel Writing

In “eyewitness” accounts of the Mediterranean by Anthony Munday and Thomas Dallam, assertions of allegiance to Elizabethan England are destabilized by the physicality of “looking.” Early modern theories of vision and post-Reformation constructions of the viewed contributed to conceptualizations of objectified spectacle as a source of physical threat to the viewer. This article explores Munday's and Dallam's negotiations of the physicality of visual experiences as the authors participate in interactive modes of viewing demanded by the rituals and ceremonies of strangers. Witnessing a Jesuit whipping himself before devotional objects at the English college in Rome in 1578, Munday's emphasis on his physical difference to the Jesuit reproduces the idolatrous interaction with the viewed that this author critiques. Describing his presentation of a mechanical organ to the Sultan Mehmed III in Constantinople in 1599, Dallam's spectatorship is distorted as he becomes a functional part of the ceremonial display of this instrument.

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