[Andreae, Johann Valentin.] 1690 (original German: 1626). The Hermetick Romance orThe Chymical Wedding Written by Christian Rosencreutz. Translated by E.Foxcroft, late Fellow of Kings College Cambridge. London.
Ashmole, E. (ed.). 1652. Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. Containing SeverallPoeticall Pieces of our famous English Philosophers. London. [Pseudo] Bacon, R. 1597. The Mirror of Alchimy. London.
Bright, T. 1586. A Treatise of Melancholie Containing the Causes Thereof, &Reasons of the Strange Effects it Worketh in Our Minds and Bodies. London: Thomas Vautrollier.
Calian, G.-F. 2010. “Alkimia Operativa and Alkimia Speculativa. Some Modern Controversies on the Historiography of Alchemy” in K. Szende and J. Rasson (eds.). Annual of Medieval Studies At Ceu 10. Budapest: CEUPress, pp.166-90.
Daly, P. 1993. Teaching Shakespeare and the Emblem. A Lecture and Bibliography. Wolfville: Acadia University.
Davies, J. 1603. Microcosmos. The Discovery of the Little World, with the Government Thereof. London.
Fernie, E. et al. (eds.) 2005. Reconceiving The Renaissance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ferrand, James [Jacques]. 1640. Erotomania, or a Treatise Discoursing of the Essence,Causes, Symptomes, Prognosticks, and Cure of Love, or Erotique Melancholy. London.
Fludd, Robert. 1617. Utriusque cosmi historia (2 vols). Oppenheim: Theodor de Bry.
Holderness, G. 1992. Shakespeare Recycled. The Making of Historical Drama. London: Harvester.
Idel, M. 1988. Kabbalah. New Perspectives. Yale University Press.
Jung, C. G. 1980 (1953). Psychology and Alchemy. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Klossowski de Rola, S. 1988. The Golden Game: Alchemical Engravings of theSeventeenth Century. London: Thames & Hudson.
Lovejoy, A. O. 1936. The Great Chain of Being: A Study of a History of an Idea. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (several subsequent editions).
Maier, M. 1656 (original Latin 1618). Themis aurea. The Laws of the Fraternity of theRosie Crosse. London: N. Brooke.
More, H. 1656. Enthusiasmus Triumphatus, Or, A Discourse of the Nature, Causes,Kinds, and Cure, of Enthusiasme. London.
Nemesius, tr. and ed. G. Wither. 1636. The Nature of Man. London.
Nicholl, C. 1980. The Chemical Theatre. London: Routledge.
Paracelsus, A. Ph. Th. 1976 (1894). The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings. 2 vols. Ed. A. E. Waite. Berkeley: Shambala.
Peacham, H. 1612. Minerva Britanna [collection of emblems]. London. See also: “The Minerva Britanna Project” [Online]. Available: http://f01.middlebury.edu/FS010A/STUDENTS/index.htm.
Recorde, R. 1556. The Castle of Knowledge. London.
Ripley, G. 1591 (1471). The Compound of Alchemy. London.
Roob, A.1997. The Hermetic Museum: Alchemy and Mysticism. Köln: Taschen.
Scholem, G. 1987. Origins of the Kabbalah. Princeton University Press, The Jewish Publication Society.
Shakespeare = OpenSource Shakespeare (www.opensourceshakespeare.com) Shakespeare, W. 1974. The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Szönyi, G.E. 2000. “Matching the ‘Falles of Princes’ and ‘Machiavell’: Tradition and Subversion in the Historiography and Iconography of Shakespeare’s Histories” in Szönyi G. E. & R. Wymer (eds.). The Iconography of Power: Ideas andImages of Rulership on the English Renaissance Stage (Szeged: JATEPress, Papers in English & American Studies 8), pp. 5-33.
-. 2003. “The ‘Emblematic’ as a Way of Thinking and Seeing in Renaissance Culture” in E-Colloquia 1.1: <http://ecolloquia.btk.ppke.hu/issues/200301/>.
Tillyard, E. M. W. 1943. The Elizabethan World Picture. London: Chatto & Windus (and several subsequent editions). --. 1944. Shakespeare’s History Plays. London: Chatto & Windus.
Walkington, T. 1607. The Optick Glasse of Humors. Or the Touchstone of a goldentemperature, or the Philosophers Stone to make a golden temper. Wherein thefour complections Sanguine, Cholericke, Phlegmaticke, Melancholicke aresuccintly painted forth... London.
Wilson, D. J. 1987. “Lovejoy’s the Great Chain of Being after Fifty Years” in Journal ofthe History of Ideas 48.2: 187-206. For text and concordance I have used the Open Source Shakespeare (www.opensourceshakespeare.com), access 2010-03-21, always doublechecking with The Riverside Shakespeare (Ed. G. Blakemore Evans, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974).
Volume 12 (2013)
Most Downloaded Articles
- “Contending with the Fretful Element”: Shakespeare and the (Gendered) Great Chain of Being by Szönyi, György E.
- She’s the Man: Gender Dynamics in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by Hanţiu, Ecaterina
- Pre-Raphaelites Painting Shakespeare’s Women by Hulea, Lavinia
- Alice Walker’s Womanism: Perspectives Past and Present by Izgarjan, Aleksandra and Markov, Slobodanka
- Metaphors and Ideology – Gendered Metaphors in Economic Discourse by Silaški, Nadežda
“Contending with the Fretful Element”: Shakespeare and the (Gendered) Great Chain of Being
1University of Szeged; Central European University, Budapest, 6722-H Szeged Egyetem u. 2., Hungary
This content is open access.
Citation Information: Gender Studies. Volume 11, Issue 1, Pages 1–22, ISSN (Print) 1583-980X, DOI: 10.2478/v10320-012-0025-6, February 2013
- Published Online:
E. M. W. Tillyard’s short but seminal book, The Elizabethan World Picture made its appearance as a ground-breaking work in the mid-1940s. It successfully adapted Arthur O. Lovejoy’s discovery of the Great Chain of Being as the central idea and metaphor of the premodern world picture for English Renaissance culture and literature, offering a key to understanding the often unfamiliar and obscure natural philosophy and metaphysics behind its works of art and literature. The concept of the Great Chain also led to Shakespeare being seen as a supporter of a conservative order in which religious, moral, philosophical, and scientific notions corresponded with each other in a strict hierarchy. The poststructuralist turn unleashed a severe attack on Tillyard and his legacy. As Ewan Fernie in a recent book on the Renaissance has diagnosed: “Now, after the theoretical overhaul, the notion of an ultimately authoritarian Renaissance has been thoroughly revised. In place of Tillyard’s full-fledged and secured physical, social and cosmological system, more recent critics tend to posit a conflicted and constantly negotiated culture with no essential pattern”. But what has happened to the idea of the Great Chain of Being, which, without doubt, played a major role in the Renaissance world picture and provided a basic knowledge about the elements? In my paper I am going to revisit some aspects of this world picture and examine how Shakespeare related to this (more often than not) in a subversive way, while still remaining within the boundaries of this organic and proto-modern system. Since the concept of the elements had gender aspects, too, I will also focus on the question of how proto-modern natural philosophy theorised about the dichotomy, antagonism, and the cooperation of male and female principles.