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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55657
Doc. No:TL25611
Call number:‭3282828‬
Main Entry:Catherine Eileen Winiarski
Title & Author:Adulterers, idolaters, and emperors: The politics of iconoclasm in English Renaissance dramaCatherine Eileen Winiarski
College:University of California, Irvine
Date:2007
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2007
Page No:202
Abstract:This dissertation argues that the biblical analogy between adultery and idolatry generates a rich history of sexual, religious, and political principles—operating through literary motifs, figures, and plots—in Judeo-Christian texts and the secular Renaissance literature that branched from them. This study gives particular attention to the volatile moment when pagan culture, revived in the Renaissance liberal arts, confronted Judeo-Christian iconoclasm, revived in the Protestant Reformation. My argument goes beyond iconoclasm's recognized function as religiously-motivated breaking of images to address its potential as a political force, as a theology that defines political spaces and directs political relations. The biblical analogies of marriage/monotheism and adultery/idolatry put the religious subject in a love triangle, vacillating between the violent exhilaration of polymorphous and unconstrained desires, on the one hand, and the stable rewards of law and contract, on the other. In the religious texts I examine, including the Hebrew prophets, Paul, and John Foxe, these analogies always include a political dimension. By embodying all Israel as the "bride of God," the marriage/monotheism analogy incorporates monotheistic subjects into a coherent national body which is settled and domesticated. The adultery/idolatry analogy conceives a threat to the integrity of this body politic in the form of the unsettled foreigner, who can lure the subject away from God's household or attack the political body itself in the pursuit of empire. I examine idolatry and iconoclasm as political performances in three Renaissance tragedies. Tamburlaine's quest for apotheosis as world emperor is sealed and finally destroyed by his idolatrous devotion to a foreign bride; Othello's bid for membership in Christendom through military service and marriage is undermined by his lapses into both idolatrous love and iconoclastic wrath; Samson ironically achieves his act of heroic iconoclasm and redeems his nation from imperial subjugation through intermarriage and intermixture with his idolatrous Philistine enemies. Viewed as a political ideology, iconoclasm helps illuminate the complex web of Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, and contemporary secular matter that constitutes English Renaissance drama.
Subject:Language, literature and linguistics; Adulterers; Drama; Emperors; English; Iconoclasm; Idolaters; Marlowe, Christopher; Milton, John; Renaissance; Shakespeare, William; Comparative literature; British and Irish literature; 0593:British and Irish literature; 0295:Comparative literature
Added Entry:J. R. Lupton
Added Entry:University of California, Irvine