Learned professions: representing erudition, masculinity, and status in early modern England
Rothschild, Nathaniel Amos
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This dissertation proposes a new approach to the old subject of education in early modern England. I argue that focusing less on historical forms and institutions of learning, and more on cultural stereotypes of the learned, destabilizes conventional narratives that present Tudor-Stuart pedagogy as a producer of either nascent modern individuals (in the humanist account) or proto-bourgeois subjects (in the Marxist assessment). The period's complex figures of learning suggest a less tidy alternative: representations of erudite types were deployed to negotiate various and competing positions within entangled social registers of status, masculinity, and selfhood. Chapter one contends that when foolish pedants suffer violence and humiliation on the early modern stage, it is less often a display of anti-intellectualism than a device whereby one kind of erudition is symbolically expunged to endorse by opposition the social preferment of another. In chapter two, I argue that the early modern "enginer" - a builder of devices and a concocter of plots visible in works as diverse as Spenser's The Faerie Queene and Bacon's The Wisedome of the Ancients - was an important discursive stereotype used to construct the unstable cultural significance of learned masculinity. Next, I offer two chapters on early modern magician figures. Chapter three shows that the conjurer was a significant cultural type employed to negotiate contemporary anxieties and aspirations that erudite masculinities might threaten established manhoods of the battlefield and the court - a negotiation dramatized in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay. Chapter four discovers in Shakespeare's The Tempest a tissue of unrecognized allusions to Montaigne's "Of the Institution and Education of Children"; I demonstrate how this intertextuallink suggests that the play engages in a sustained meditation on imitatio and the formation of selves that holds important implications for both the magician Prospero and the author Shakespeare. My final chapter turns to the satires and sermons of John Donne to uncover in early works like "Satire I" developing strategies for engaging the early modern discourses of learnedness that Donne later deploys in the sermons to construct the preacherly persona of Doctor Donne.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University PLEASE NOTE: Boston University Libraries did not receive an Authorization To Manage form for this thesis or dissertation. It is therefore not openly accessible, though it may be available by request. If you are the author or principal advisor of this work and would like to request open access for it, please contact us at email@example.com. Thank you.