Beautiful Scars: Jewels in English Renaissance Drama

Open access

Abstract

In An Englis[h[ expositor[:] teaching the in[ter]pretation of the harde[st] words [vsed] in our language, John Bullokar notes that the word carbuncle ‘hath two significations, namely a precious stone, and a dangerous sore’.(sig. D2r) Generally speaking Renaissance texts keep these two meanings separate: in ways which are inevitably conditioned by the nature of their subject matter, Renaissance authors tend to be interested in exploring either the idea of carbuncle as jewel or the idea of carbuncle as tumour without ever registering the possibility of the alternative meeting for the word. Nevertheless the ambiguity is there: a jewel, a thing of beauty intended for the adornment of the body, is also in some sense potentially a disfiguring mark, a scar on the body marking the site of a trauma. In A Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway asks “Why should our bodies end at the skin?” (online); in this essay, I shall argue that as far as Renaissance jewels are concerned, bodies do not in fact end at the skin, for jewels mark not the end of the body but an edge, a hinge between body and mind as much as between body and dress, in ways which activate fears about permeability, boundary blurring and the monstrous. One of the rare instances of evoking both senses of carbuncle comes in The Comedy of Errors, where Dromio of Syracuse, having defined the kitchen-maid Nell as “spherical, like a globe”, says that “America, the Indies” are located in her nose, because it is ‘all o’er embellished with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires, declining their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain’ (III.ii.120, 140-3). To varying extent, the horror of the gross, the extreme and the unnatural which is implicit here can be seen as potentially lurking in all Renaissance descriptions of jewellery.

Anglicus, Bartholomaeus. Batman vppon Bartholome his booke De proprietaribusrerum. Trans. Stephen Bateman. London: Thomas East, 1582.

B[ullokar, I[ohn]. An Englis[h[ expositor[:] teaching the in[ter]pretation of theharde[st] words [vsed] in our languag. London: Printed by John Legatt, 1621.

Bagnoli, Martina. “The Stuff of Heaven: Materials and Craftsmanship in Medieval Reliquaries”. Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in MedievalEurope. Eds. Martina Bagnoli, Holger A. Klein, C. Griffith Mann and James Robinson. London: The British Museum Press, 2011. pp. 137-147.

Boiastuau, Pierre. Certaine secrete wonders of nature. London: Henry Bynneman, 1569.

De la Primaudaye, Pierre, The French academie Fully discoursed and finished in foureBookes. London: Printed [by John Legat] for Thomas Adams, 1618..

Evans, Joan. A History of Jewellery 1100-1870. New York: Dover, 1970, [1953].

Findlay, Alison. Women in Shakespeare: A Dictionary. London: Continuum, 2010.

Ford, John. Fames Memoriall. The Nondramatic Works of John Ford. Eds. L. E, Stock, Gilles D. Monsarrat, Judith M. Kennedy and Dennis Danielson. Binghampton: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1991.

Ford, John. Love’s Sacrifice. Ed. A. T. Moore. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002.

Ford, John. The Broken Heart. Ed. T. J. B. Spencer. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1980).

Golz, David. “Diamonds, Maidens, Widow Dido, and Cock-a-diddle dow”. ComparativeDrama, 43.2 (summer 2008):167-196.

Haraway, Donna. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century”. (1985). Online: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/Haraway/CyborgManifesto.html Hopkins, Lisa. “The representation of narrative: what happens in Othello”. Journal X 1:2 (spring, 1997): 159-174.

Hopkins, Lisa. John Ford’s Political Theatre. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994.

Jones, William. History and Mystery of Precious Stone. London: Richard Bentley and son, 1880.

Jonson, Ben. Sejanus. Ed. Philip Ayres. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990.

Kunz, G. F. and C. H. Stevenson. The Book of the Pearl: its History, Art, Science andIndustry. Mineola: Dover, 2001, [1908].

Kunz, G. F.. Shakespeare and Precious Stones. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1916.

Lodge,Thomas. A Margarite of America. London: John Busbie, 1596.

Lorenzi, Rossella. ‘Shakespeare’s eye betrays rare cancer’. Online: http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2006/03/02/1582326.htm Magnus, Albertus. The boke of secretes of Albertus Magnus of the vertues of herbes,stones, and certayne beasts. London: 1560.

Marlowe, Christopher. Dido, Queen of Carthage. Christopher Marlowe: The CompletePlays. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett. London: Everyman, 1999..

Marlowe, Christopher. Tamburlaine the Great, Part One. Christopher Marlowe: TheComplete Plays. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett. London: Everyman, 1999.

Marlowe, Christopher. The Jew of Malta. Christopher Marlowe: The Complete Plays. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett. London: J.M. Dent, 1999.

Marlowe. Christopher. Doctor Faustus, A text. The Complete Plays. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett. London: J. M. Dent, 1999.

Martyr, Peter. The history of trauayle in the West and Easy Indies, and other countreyslying eyther way, towardes the fruitfull and ryche Moluccaes. Trans. Richard Eden. London, 1577.

Marvell, Andrew, “The Garden”. The Metaphysical Poets. Ed. Helen Gardner. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1957.

Massinger, Philip. The Renegado. Ed. Michael Neill. London: Methuen, 2010.

Robinson, James. “From Altar to Amulet: Relics, Portability, and Devotion”. Treasuresof Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe. Eds. Martina Bagnoli, Holger A. Klein, C. Griffith Mann and James Robinson. London: The British Museum Press, 2011.

Sale Holian, Heather L. “Family Jewels: The Gendered Marking of Medici Women in Court Portraits of the Late Renaissance”.Mediterranean Studies (2008), pp. 148-173.

Schuman, Samuel. “The Ring and the Jewel in Webster’s Tragedies”. Texas Studies inLanguage and Literature 14 (1972): 253-268.

Shakespeare, William. All’s Well That Ends Well. Ed. G. K. Hunter. London: Cengage Learning, 2007.

Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Ed. Agnes Latham. London: Methuen, 1975.

Shakespeare, William. Henry VI, Part Three. Ed. Michael Hattaway. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Shakespeare, William. Henry VIII. Ed. A. R. Humphreys. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. E. A. J. Honigmann. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1997. 5.2.139-142 and 5.2.345-6.

Shakespeare, William. Richard III. Ed. E. A. J. Honigmann. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.

Shakespeare, William. The Comedy of Errors. Ed. Stanley Wells. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.

Shakespeare, William. The Merchant of Venice. Ed. M. Moelwyn Merchant. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Eds.Virginia Mason Vaughan and Alden T. Vaughan. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1999.

Shakespeare, William. The Winter’s Tale. Ed. J. H. Pafford. London: Methuen, 1963.

Sokol, B. J.. A Brave New World of Knowledge: Shakespeare’s The Tempest and EarlyModern Epistemology. London: Associated University Presses, 2003.

Strong, Roy. “Three Royal Jewels: The Three Brothers, the Mirror of Great Britain and the Feather”. The Burlington Magazine ,vol. 108, no. 760 (July, 1996): 350-333.

Thiselton Dyer, T. F.. Folk-lore of Shakespear.1883. Online: http://www.sacredtexts.com/sks/flos/flos17.htm Traub, Valerie. “Jewels, Statues, and Corpses: Containment of Female Erotic Power in Shakespeare’s Plays”. Shakespeare and Gender: A History. Eds. Deborah E. Barker and Ivo Kamps. London: Verso, 1995. pp. 120-141.

Webster, John. The Duchess of Malfi. Ed. John Russell Brown. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1974.

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984.

Linguaculture

The Journal of Linguaculture Centre for (Inter)cultural and (Inter)lingual Research, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi

Journal Information

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 133 133 21
PDF Downloads 25 25 4