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.
Negotiating the Gaze in the Travel Writings of Anthony Munday and Thomas Dallam
Eva Johanna Holmberg and Chloë Houston
What did early modern English people think about “strangers”? This speech from the play Sir Thomas More, written by Anthony Munday and others and first performed in the early 1590s, gives an emphatic answer to this question. Strangers were “aliens” who “braved and abused ... freeborn Englishmen” (1.1.111, 74, 72). By their presence in London they stole both food and women from their rightful English owners, committing “vild enormities” and “insolencies” against the native people (1.1.81, 90). The extract above comes from a playbill designed by the broker John Lincoln, who calls on the “worshipful lords and masters of the city” to bring these injustices to an end (1.1.106-7). The text of the bill is taken verbatim from Holinshed’s 1587 Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, which related the events dramatized in the play, the “Ill May Day” protests of 1517.