Part of the genre problem is illustrated by Autolycus’s selling of broadside ballads at the sheepshearing festival. These cheap print items blended genres themselves and were widely read.
Broadside ballads are a good measure of early modern culture generally, if for no other reason than their proliferation. At the cost of about a penny, ballads were cheap enough to be bought on the street by people who made only meager wages, and they were remarkable enough to be collected by people as financially comfortable as Samuel Pepys. There were thousands of ballads printed and perhaps even millions circulated during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Even when copies of the printed ballads were not being exchanged, they were often sung in alehouses, playhouses, and on the street. Ballads are therefore perfectly placed as documents of their times. In fact, John Selden famously claimed: “More solid things do not show the complexion of the time so well as ballads and libels.” The pervasiveness of ballads for reading, singing, buying, or hanging up—not to mention for more lowly uses such as pie lining or toilet paper—suggests that they were accessible to just about everyone. They were historical markers that showed “the complexion of the time,” and are therefore most important for understanding early modern culture.
Here is a title page from one of the many witchcraft trial narratives. This one is from 1613, and as you can see, the woodcut depicts punishment for the witch. Typically, when we encounter a witch in a text from the early modern period, we consider that witch to be the product of a coherent cultural narrative: a specific kind of witch—bad—who functions in a certain way in the text—as an outsider or other figure.
One example of the kinds of stories Purkiss looks at is that of Agnes Heard. For example,Bennet Lane lent Heard a dish of milk and when Heard didn’t return it, Lane asked her daughter to pick it up. Heard sent the dish back and Lane begins to have trouble completing her everyday spinning tasks. Another time, when Lane borrowed money from Heard, she discovered that she had trouble with her dairy. The case of Agnes Heard is indicative in that the anxieties seem to center around the household and food. Witches attacked the domestic sphere—the sphere of women.
The idea of infection runs throughout the play as a way of thinking about Leontes’s jealousy—it leads him to tyranny, which infects not just his body, but the whole kingdom.
The Winter’s Tale What is this play?
Comedy?Classified with the comedies in the First Folio of1623Ends with couples reunion of Leontes and Hermione pending marriage of Paulina and Camillo pending marriage of Perdita and Florizel
Tragedy?King makes a terrible error and his line isseemingly dead―Infection‖ of the king by jealousyLoyalties testedHonor valued over obedience
Romance?―stories of exotic adventure andtravel, shipwrecks, spiritual and/or moralquests, romantic love, reunions of loversand families long separated, virtue testedand proved triumphant, and nobilityhidden and then discovered – allunfolding in a world familiar withsupernatural forces, wide-rangingmarvels, magic, and enchantment‖(Snyder)
Tragicomedy?John Fletcher: ―A tragicomedy is not so called in respect of mirth and killing, but in respect it wants deaths, which is enough to make it no tragedy, yet brings some near it, which is enough to make it no comedy: which must be a representation of familiar people, with such kind of trouble as no life be questioned, so that a God is as lawful in this as in a tragedy, and mean people as in a comedy.‖
Genre according to the Shepherd―thou met‘st with things dying, I with things new-born‖ (3.3.109-110)―This is fairy gold, boy, and ‗twill prove so‖(3.3.117-118)
Tragicomic RomanceGenre suggested by Barbara MowatElements of tragicomedy and romance that arecompatible and complementary
PastoralCourt or city versus countryCountry is often idealizedGood example: Christopher Marlowe‘s―Passionate Shepherd to His Love‖ (1599)Sheep shearing festival at 4.4
―Generic Copiousness‖Copia: varying an idea to achieve expansiverichness as a stylistic goalMultiplying genres
The Cooper of Norfolkhttp://ebba.english.ucsb.edu/ballad/20256/transcription
Paulina‘s ―Witchcraft‖ Challenges to Authority in The Winter’s Tale
Leontes. Out!A Mankind witch! Hence with her, out o‘ door!A most intelligencing bawd! (2.3.66-68)
An Homily Against Disobedience and Willful Rebellion (London 1570) ―kings and princes [. . .] do reign by God‘s ordinance‖ ―Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God‖
James I on Absolute Monarchy―For kings are not only God‘slieutenants upon earth, and situpon God‘s throne, but even byGod himself they are calledgods.‖
James I on Absolute Monarchy―God has the power to create, ordestroy, make, or unmake at hispleasure, to give life, or send death, tojudge all, and to be judged noraccountable to none; to raise lowthings, and to make high things low at hispleasure, and to God are both soul andbody due. And the like power havekings.‖
James I on Just King vs. TyrantJust king obeys the law ―So as every just king in a settled kingdom is bound to observe that paction [contract] made to his people by his laws‖Tyrant makes up the rules as he goes along ―And therefore a king governing in a settled kingdom leaves to be a king, and degenerates into a tyrant as soon as he leaves off to rule according to his laws.‖
James I on Absolute Monarchy BUT subjects may not rebel ―so is it sedition in subjects to dispute what a king may do in the height of his power. But just kings will ever be willing to declare what they will do, if they will not incur the curse of God.‖From A Speech to the Lords and Commons of the Parliament at Whitehall, March 21, 1610
Leontes as Absolute Monarch Why, what need weCommune with you of this, but rather followOur forceful instigation? Our prerogativeCalls not your counsels, but our natural goodnessImparts this; which if you or stupefied,Or seeming so in skill, cannot or will notRelish a truth like us, inform yourselvesWe need no more of your advice. The matter,The loss, the gain, the ord‘ring on‘t, is allProperly ours. (2.1.161-170)
Juan Luis Vives on the Behavior of Women―Thou hast broken, thou false woman, themost holy band of temporal law, that is tosay, thy faith and thy truth, which oncegiven, one enemy in the field will keep toanother though he should stand in dangerof death, and thou like a false wretch dothnot keep it to thine husband, which oughtto be more dear unto thee by right thanthyself.
Juan Luis Vives on the Behavior of Women Thou defilest the most pure church, which holp to couple thee; thou breakest worldly company; thou breakest the laws; thou offendest thy country; thou beatest thy father with a bitter scourge; thou beatest thy sorrowful mother, thy sisters, thy brethren, thy kinfolk, alliances, and all thy friends; thou givest unto the company once an example of mischief and castest an everlasting blot‖(The Instruction of a Christian Woman 112-113)
Paulina‘s ―Disobedience‖Leontes. How?Away with that audacious lady! Antigonus,I charged thee that she should not come about me;I knew she would. (2.3.41-44)
Paulina‘s ―Disobedience‖Antigonus. I told her so, my lord,On your displeasure‘s peril and on mineShe should not visit you.Leontes. What, canst not rule her? (2.3.44- 46)
Paulina‘s ―Disobedience‖Paulina. From all dishonesty he can; in this,Unless he take the course that you have done—Commit me for committing honour—trust it,He shall not rule me. (2.3.47-50)
Paulina‘s ―Disobedience‖Leontes. A gross hag!And losel, thou art worthy to be hanged,That wilt not stay her tongue.Antigonus. Hang all the husbandsThat cannot do that feat, you‘ll leave yourselfHardly one subject. (2.3.107-111)
Reading Paulina‘s WitchcraftWitchcraft excuses Paulina‘s transgressionWitchcraft pushes her to the margins of the play
Agnes HeardDepositions focus on a series of domestic andfamilial incidents.Milk dish Spinning trouble ―she could no longer spin nor make thread to hold‖ (94)Borrowed money Spoiledmilk ―the next day, she would have skimmed her milk bowl, but it would not abide the skimming‖ (95)
Counter-magical Remedies ―women who feared bewitchment were also paradoxically enabled … to take action against the witch, action which might involve behaviours at variance with the range of feminine ideals available to women in the early modern period‖ (127).
Counter-magical Witchcraft It was believed that ―illness or maleficium can be drawn out of one body by another‖ (123). Purkiss tells the story of a midwife who healed sick people using the bodies of infants, claiming that ―the breath of the children would suck the spirits out of‖ (123) the sick person. Paulina. The good queen, / … hath brought you forth a daughter - / Here ‗tis (2.3.64-66)
InfectionCamillo. ―Who does infect her?‖ (1.2.306)Leontes. ―How I am gall‘d‖ (1.2.316); ―I havetremor cordis on me‖ (1.2.109); ―And that to theinfection of my brains‖ (1.2.144); ―I havedrunk, and seen the spider‖ (2.1.45)Camillo. ―‖in rebellion with himself‖ (1.2.354)Polixenes. ―then my best blood turn / To aninfected jelly‖ (1.2.416-417)
The Whole Kingdom is IllPaulina. I come to bring him sleep. ‗Tis such as youThat creep like shadows by him and do sighAt each his needless heavings, such as youNourish the cause of his awaking. IDo come with words as medicinal, as true—Honest as either—to purge him of that humourThat presses him from sleep. (2.3.33-39)
Paulina‘s ―Cure‖Paulina. I dare be sworn.These dangerous, unsafe lunes I‘the‘King, beshrew them!He must be told on‘t, and he shall; the officeBecomes a woman best. I‘ll take‘t upon me;If I prove honey-mouthed, let my tongue blister,…The silence often of pure innocencePersuades when speaking fails. (2.2.28-32; 40-1)
Authority?Paulina. I care not;It is an heretic that makes the fire,Not she which burns in it. I‘ll not call you tyrant;But this most cruel usage of your Queen,Not able to produce more accusationThan your own weak-hinged fancy, something savoursOf tyranny, and will ignoble make you,Yea, scandalous to the world.(2.3.115-20)
The OracleOfficer. ‗Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly begotten, and the King shall live without an heir if that which is lost be not found.‘ (3.2.130-134)
Leontes Denies There is no truth at all i‘th‘ oracle. / The sessions shall proceed; this is mere falsehood. Apollo‘s angry, and the heavens themselves / Do strike at my injustice.(3.2.138-139; 144-145)
Leontes Cedes PowerLeontes. Thou didst speak wellWhen most the truth, which I receive much betterThan to be pitied of thee. (3.2.230-232)
ConclusionCounter-magic to combat evilAlternative to violent and tyrannical authorityInfection caused by ideology of absolute rule
Final Exam Information1.5-hour Exam on eLearning no excuses for technical difficulty, so start early (email if crash & I can reset) open from 12/14 at 8am until 12/17 at 5pm3 IDs (45 minutes)1 essay question (45 minutes) contribute question/revision via eLearning before 12/10 drawn from the three you choose as a class on 12/12
Passage IdentificationIn your answers to these questions you must: 1.Identify the name of the work; 2. Identify the contextof the passage (what happens before and afterand, where appropriate, the speaker); 3. Discuss thesignificance of the passage in its context; 4. Discussthe significance of the passage in terms of the largerthemes of the work in which it appears; and 5.Discuss how each passage contributes to themeaning of its work overall. You will earn the majorityof the points in this section for a thoughtful discussionof the passage‘s significance supported by evidencefrom the passage. Please pay specific attention tothe language of the passage in your discussion.
EssayQuestions should be about works since the midterm; ask the writer to draw connections across multiple works; and be complex enough to require 45 minutes to answer.
Papers Due 12/10 by 5pmI will be in my office 10-11:15am that day for last-minute questions about your paper; please comeby or email.