The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1118 Tuesday, 30 May 2000.
From: Frank Whigham <
Date: Tuesday, 30 May 2000 08:20:38 -0500
Subject: SAA 2001 Seminar: Manuals and the Scripting of Behavior
In the hope of reaching scholars from a wide range of specialties and
disciplines I'm broadcasting this SAA seminar announcement. My apologies
for duplicate listings. Inquiries off-list, please.
Early Modern "Manuals" and the Representation of Scripted Behavior
Early modern English society was afflicted (or blessed) with many
disruptive forms of social change; persons and ideas were endlessly
getting disembedded from original contexts and made or enabled to serve
in new ones. Often discursive and commodified theory arose to codify and
manage (or deter) such transpositions. Speaking of the studious artisan
who has read his Art of English Poesy, George Puttenham says he has
"apparelled him to our seeming, in all his gorgious habilliments, and
pull[ed] him first from the carte to the schoole, and from thence to the
Court, and preferred him to your Maiesties seruice."
However, early modern England was much more widely equipped with
behavioral "manuals" than a narrowly courtly setting may indicate. The
categories of praxis for which "how-to" texts survive might include the
following: courtesy (Castiglione, Guazzo, Dekker, Braithwaite), rhetoric
(Wilson, Peacham), courtly poetry (Tottel, Sidney, Puttenham, Daniel),
education (Erasmus, Elyot, Ascham, Mulcaster), letter-writing (Day,
Browne, Fleming, Fulwood), sententious life-wisdom (Guicciardini,
Nicholas and Francis Bacon, Gabriel Harvey), chivalry and genealogy
(Ferne, Romei, Paulus Jovius), religion (Erasmus's Enchiridion, the
Homilies, Foxe, Ponet, ), auto/biography (Whythorne, Greville, Stuart
women's autobiography), the law and legal regulations (sumptuary
proclamations, T.E.'s Lawes Resolutions of Women's Rights), household
manuals, dueling manuals, and anti/theatrical tracts (Stubbes, Gosson,
Prynne; Dekker's Apology.)
An SAA session might easily aim such a list at the drama. However, I
would also like to see some direct, non-instrumental exploration of
these and other such texts as themselves dramatic, involved in scripting
social behavior and often providing explicitly dramatized exemplary
scripts for mimetic appropriation by those in need (or, as one might
say, in desire). In part such a focus would entail attention to
logic(s) of imitation and quotation, constructions of audience, etc.,
but also to various aspects of improvisation (Bourdieu), and to the many
functions of conversation (Mead, Brown and Levinson, Goffman).
Tentative background texts:
Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice (on the structures and
limitations of "rules" of practice).
Goffman, Relations in Public (discussions of "hello" and "thank you").
Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning (on Iago and empathy).
Brown and Levinson on politeness theory.
Whigham, Ambition and Privilege, ch. 1 ("Courtesy Literature and Social