marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Elizabethan World Picture

The Elizabethan World Picture:  A study of the idea of order in the age of Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton by E. M. W. Tillyard

As you can see from the subtitle it goes substantially onward from Elizabeth's time.  It also goes substantially back -- the author opens with discussing how the era was not an irreligious hiatus between two religious eras, but continuous with them.

Opening with a discussion of order in the Elizabethan picture, followed by the great principle, sin.  The great chain of being and how every group had its best:  the dolphin (or whale) among fish, the lion (or elephant) among beasts, the ruby (or diamond) among stones.  How oysters are the lowest sort of animal.  The angels in the heavens and the humors in man.  Correspondences among things.  And the great cosmic dance.

With considerable pointing out of the images in all sorts of writers, to point out that this was not a secular age, not at all.
Tags: ethos, history reviews: 15th-18th centuries, history reviews: medieval

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