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By Garrett A. Sullivan Jr

Analyzing 16th and 17th century conceptions of reminiscence and forgetting, this research demonstrates their value to the drama and tradition of the time. Garrett A. Sullivan discusses reminiscence and forgetting when it comes to which various behaviors--from looking salvation to pursuing vengeance to succumbing to desire--are conceptualized. concentrating on works corresponding to Macbeth, Hamlet, Dr. Faustus and The Duchess of Malfi, he unearths reminiscence and forgetting to be dynamic cultural forces relevant to early smooth understandings of embodiment, selfhood and social perform.

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Extra resources for Memory and Forgetting in English Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster

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6 Memory is described as a treasurer, as “the facultie and vertue that retaineth and keepeth” images. What is most important about this account is the agency with which memory is imbued. 8 It is not memory’s status as a repository of preserved images but as the agent that maintains the integrity of those images that is most vividly conveyed in these accounts. There are, however, depictions that represent more fully the place of memory. M. Andreas Laurentius describes memory as both reason’s “faithfull secretarie” and as akin to a place of greatest trustines to keepe the same the most precious treasures of the soule.

Those sufferers from lethargy who “forget to close theyr mouthes” enact a (fantasmatic) vision of a body unregulated by even the most basic somatic discipline. As such, the lethargic or forgetful subject expresses the opposite of Renaissance ideals of masculinity. Insofar as these ideals are subtended by a logic that understands discipline and labor as constitutive of the masculine, lethargy’s effeminizations, mentioned above in relation to feminine coldness, extend into the arenas of bodily comportment and social (in)action.

In addition, forgetfulness constitutes a mode of being associated with humoral, spiritual and social disorder. In sum, oblivion has its own forms of embodiment and social practice, ones that are coded as at best passive and at worst sinful and erosive of identity. Several times in the above I turned to dramatic texts to help illuminate the early modern logic of forgetting. 64 Put simply, antitheatricalist writers routinely construed the theatre as a catalyst for forgetting and the somatic states with which forgetting was associated.

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