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The Tempest and The Faerie Queene

Shakespeare's Debt to Spenserian Strangeness

John Roe


Strangeness occurs in many places and in a variety of forms in Shakespeare, but nowhere more compellingly than in The Tempest. This late, ‘magical’ play distinguishes itself by its depiction of the bizarre and the unusual in terms both of character and incident. In this article, I argue that, in deploying and developing his understanding of the strange, Shakespeare takes his cue to a degree from The Faerie Queene of Edmund Spenser, whose allegorical method also employs the odd and the unfamiliar. Spenser's epic poem was published in three separate editions in the course of Shakespeare's writing career: at its beginning in 1590 (the first three books), again in 1596 (six books), and in 1609, a year or two before the composition of The Tempest.

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Turkish History on the Early Stuart Stage

Strange Spectacles in the Plays of Thomas Goffe

Marcus Hartner


This article explores the role of the strange and spectacular in early modern dramatic (re)presentations of the Islamic world by discussing two sixteenth-century tragedies by Thomas Goffe that engage with Turkish dynastic history. No longer employing the fantastical elements used in medieval literature to mark the East as a spectacular space, Goffe presents a vision of Turkish otherness based on a new (mundane) notion of strangeness that relies on the staging of ‘unnaturally’ excessive behaviour and strangely hyperbolic passions. This strategy emphasises the supposed antagonistic alterity of the Muslim other. However, it also (inadvertently) undermines conventional Ottoman stereotypes by offering points of (emotional) contact and recognition between the audience and the Turkish characters on stage.

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Une lutte à trois

les propriétaires fonciers anglais et la répartition du revenu national dans le Capital (1867)

Mathieu J. Lainé


A close reading of chapters XXVI–XXXIII of Capital, vol. I (1865–1867) shows that Marx (mis)took the contingencies of English history for genuine historical necessities. But it also shows that landowners form an actual social class in Capital, one that plays an actual role in Marx's own theory of value. In fact, reading these chapters allows us to confidently answer that famous rhetorical question Marx first asked himself in chapter LII of Capital, vol. III (1864–1865): “Was macht Lohnarbeiter, Kapitalisten, Grundeigenthümer zu Bildnern der drei großen gesellschaftlichen Klassen?” (“Comment se fait-il que ce soient les ouvriers salariés, les capitalistes et les propriétaires fonciers qui constituent les trois grandes classes de la société?”). Unlike what we are sometimes led to believe, Marx actually answered that question.


La lecture des chapitres XXVI-XXXIII du livre I du Capital (1865–1867) montre que Marx prenait les vicissitudes ou les contingences de l'histoire anglaise pour d'authentiques nécessités historiques. Mais elle montre aussi que les propriétaires fonciers forment une classe sociale sui generis, qui joue un rôle décisif dans la théorie de la valeur. De fait, la lecture de ces chapitres permet aujourd'hui de répondre avec certitude à la fameuse question oratoire que se posait Marx au chapitre LII du livre III du Capital (1864–1865): “Was macht Lohnarbeiter, Kapitalisten, Grundeigenthümer zu Bildnern der drei großen gesellschaftlichen Klassen?” (“Comment se fait-il que ce soient les ouvriers salariés, les capitalistes et les propriétaires fonciers qui constituent les trois grandes classes de la société?”) et à laquelle il n'aurait supposément jamais répondu.

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‘You Mean Some Strange Revenge’

The Jacobean Intersections of Revenge and the Strange

Katherine M. Graham


In Thomas Middleton's The Revenger's Tragedy, we learn that a revenger must be ‘strange-disposed’ or ‘strange-composed’ (1.1.86/96), and in Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy the vengeful Amintor claims ‘what a strange thing am I’ (2.1.298). In these utterances, the speakers tie their desires for vengeance into their affective state. As both plays progress, however, the evocations of strangeness shift, moving from an association with the revenger to an association with the act of revenge itself. In working to unpack the interrelationships between the revenger, the strangeness of their affective experience and the strangeness of the act of revenge itself, this article considers what questions these plays ask regarding the tension between embodiment and disembodiment in the act of revenge.

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Graham Holderness

This general issue of Critical Survey ranges from mediaeval to modern literature and drama.

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‘Fanciful associations’

The Perverse Endurance of Derrida's [sic] ‘logical phallusies’

Niall Gildea


This article concerns the expression ‘logical phallusies’, imputed to Jacques Derrida by Barry Smith in 1992 in a letter arguing against the proposed award to Derrida of an honorary doctorate at Cambridge. Derrida insisted that this expression appeared nowhere in his oeuvre – it has never been found – and yet it has endured, in discussions of Derrida's work and general legacy, more than any other aspect of Derrida's ‘Cambridge Affair’. I address two cases of the expression's weird stubbornness, arguing that its misattribution to Derrida is a gesture which Derrida's work guards against and undermines – even deconstructs – in advance. The article sounds a note of caution about the ‘post-theoretical’ practice of assimilating philosophers and theorists to the humanities via the decontextualised appropriation of putatively synecdochic buzzwords.

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Fudging the Outcome of Much Ado About Nothing

How the Villains, Don Pedro and Count Claudio, Are Allowed to Stay and Dance

Paul Rapley


This article asserts that in Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare lays open the rottenness within an arbitrary system of government but does not dare carry the plot to its logical conclusion. The responses to events by the dominant nobles, a prince and a count, are not merely foolish and damaging, but, in light of the guidance of, among others, Girolamo Muzio and Baldassare Castiglione, deeply dishonourable. The playmakers, as the most talented team in the realm licensed for performance entertainment, create a historically credible set of characters, but, possibly because they wish to continue to benefit from their protected status and draw their regular customers, do not make explicit any radical questioning of rank and degree. An analysis of Margaret's role suggests a strategic ambiguity within the jocular ending.

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How Should Historians Talk about Spatial Agency?

Paul Stock


In recent years, it has become commonplace to argue that space is an important topic in the humanities and social sciences. But what does space do? Can we speak of space as having agency? Historians’ responses to these questions are strikingly varied. Some propose an almost deterministic role for spatial characteristics, while others deny that space can have any causal function at all. This article seeks to navigate a path between these unsatisfactory extremes. It uses insights from material culture studies and actor-network theory to discuss ways of re-framing agency as an assemblage of human and non-human affects. Agency can thus be defined not in terms of first causes and definitive outcomes, but instead as a coincidence of occurrences. This allows historians to speak of “spatial agency” as the emplacement of affective elements, the gathering of agencies at a particular site and moment.

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Illyria Remembered

On Some French Memoirs of the Illyrian Provinces 1809–1813

David McCallam


This article examines how four French memorialists recall and represent the former imperial territories of the Illyrian Provinces (1809–1813) on the eastern Adriatic seaboard. It explores how their memoirs deploy Enlightenment ethnography and Romantic exoticism in distinct ways while problematizing these approaches in light of lived experiences in the region. The article thus sheds light on the evolving character of tropes about the western Balkans in early nineteenth-century France, highlighting the influence the landscapes, cultures, and peoples of the territories had on the French officials posted there, including on their later self-presentation as memorialists.

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Liturgical Time in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Meditated, Measured and Manipulated

Alireza Mahdipour, Hossein Pirnajmuddin, and Pyeaam Abbasi


Liturgies are communal in nature, and in the context of the medieval Christian economy of time they are developed and utilised to quantify, consecrate, control, utilise and unify time for the comprehensive end of the welfare of the society, both in the Here and in the Here-after. The liturgy was a social institution, and functioned for anniversaries, holy days, holidays and rituals that were the means of medieval social integrity. In the economy of socio-political and ethical life, the medieval Church linked the sacred to the secular by means of the liturgy. They were used for meditation, as well as a measurement of time, and arguably they were manipulated to parody or satirise the strictly hierarchal estates of the medieval society. Though one of the least liturgical books of his time, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is framed by the liturgical institution of the pilgrimage. Actually a pilgrim travelogue, it depicts the secularisation of liturgy and its appropriation for social control, and paradoxically, a carnivalesque celebration of the reversal of social hierarchy.