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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:52636
Doc. No:TL22590
Call number:‭3395443‬
Main Entry:Michael Lee Manous
Title & Author:Travel stunts and literary performances: The wager journey in England, 1579--1653Michael Lee Manous
College:University of California, Riverside
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:595
Abstract:This study reveals the relationship of the wager journey to early modern English literary, festive, and performance cultures, from the Elizabethan period to the Interregnum. The wager journey and the literature associated with it variously belonged to the worlds of the court, the stage, the street, and an increasingly mobile middle class and, in most instances, drew attention to the individual's ability to perform singularly, festively, commercially, and meaningfully. The first section is concerned with fantastic-journey literature that prefigures or presents a fictionalized wager journey; in particular, it deals with works by John Heywood, Christopher Marlowe, William Rowley, and Ben Jonson. The second section deals with the travel stunts and literary performances of actual wager journeyers, particularly those of Richard Ferris, William Kemp (Shakespeare's clown), Thomas Coryate, and John Taylor. In this examination of journeys and texts, I adopt an inductive, historicist approach to literary criticism and emphasize how wager-journey performances generated textual production and vice-versa. After outlining the wager journey's cultural context and history, I discuss the wager journey's relationship to fantastic journey texts that utilize the carnivalesque as a mode of instruction; this discussion culminates in a reevaluation of the function of "On the Famous Voyage" within Jonson's Epigrammes . Here, the wager-journey narrative concretizes the Menippean conceit that travel amid (carnivalesque) deformity can be overcome with wisdom and moral fortitude. This conceit finds some parallel in actual wager-journey accounts, which demonstrate that personal mobility and festive, obstacle-laden quests for money, celebrity, and fame can ultimately serve conservative social and national ideologies. Notably, the print marketplace enabled wager journeyers and travel-stunt performers--a competitive morris dancer, a daring sea voyager, an eccentric tourist in Mogul India, a penniless pilgrim--to present themselves as both festive actors and serviceable subjects, their unusual achievements actually signifying, at times, England's providential progress or potential for greatness. These extra-ordinary, entrepreneurial travel and travel-writing personalities embraced paradox, bridging the mock-heroic and the heroic to publicly recast what an English "worthy" might look like. Indeed, their festive quests, compositions, and performances conveyed patriotic, social, humanistic, and utilitarian ambitions, complicating the conventional distinction between fool and worthy.
Subject:Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Travel literature; Jonson, Ben; Kemp, William; Coryate, Thomas; Taylor, John; Wager journey; England; European history; British and Irish literature; 0593:British and Irish literature; 0335:European history
Added Entry:S. N. Stewart
Added Entry:University of California, Riverside