Mapping mortality : the persistence of memory and melancholy in early modern England /

This book is a cultural study of the ways men and women in early modern England confronted, accommodated, and paid tribute to mortal life and certain death. Drawing on prose and poetry, painting and statuary, social practices and religious rites, William Engel reopens central questions about Renaiss...

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Main Author: Engel, William E., 1957-
Format: Book Electronic
Published:Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, ©1995.
Series:Massachusetts studies in early modern culture.
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Review by Choice Review

Many readers of this book may share the frustrated partiality for clarity and conciseness voiced by Hamlet's mother: "More matter with less art." Engel (Vanderbilt Univ.) appears to relish uncommon words, conceptual parallels, syntactic complexity, and 50- to 80-word sentences. These stylistic preferences might be virtues if Engel were writing--rather than analyzing--17th-century verse or prose. Here, despite the fact that he provides chapter summaries in his preface, his style needlessly encrusts and obscures the details and overall shape of his exposition and argument. However, Engel draws many ingenious connections between Renaissance views on human mortality and Renaissance mnemonic, emblematic, and metaphoric practices. In separate chapters he analyzes passages by Milton, Montaigne, Cervantes, and Thomas Browne. (The chapters on Montaigne and Browne are the most persuasive, that on Milton the least.) Two color plates and more than 70 high-quality halftone illustrations grace this book. Proofreading was about average: problems range from a dropped letter, an erroneous page number, and simple misspellings to a repeated line and an indecipherable sentence fragment. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty. D. R. Eastwood United States Merchant Marine Academy

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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