Catalogue


Shades of difference : mythologies of skin color in early modern England /
Sujata Iyengar.
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2005.
description
x, 310 p. : ill.
ISBN
081223832X (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2005.
isbn
081223832X (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
5245284
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Sujata Iyengar teaches English at the University of Georgia.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2005-09-01:
In the early modern period, Iyengar (Univ. of Georgia) contends, racialist discourse was only just emerging. Already present, though, was a complex of ways of addressing human difference. Iyengar refers to these as "mythologies of color," and she devotes this study to these richly elaborate mythologies and their influence in literature. The excellent second chapter, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Bride," displays Iyengar's approach to greatest advantage; here she looks at the extraordinary range of response to the passage in the Song of Songs about the "black" and "comely" bride. Also fruitfully explored is the Renaissance notion of blushing, a facial reaction allegedly inaccessible to persons of color; this lack of response betokened their shamelessness or steadfastness. Iyengar traces these myths across a range of literary texts, including translations of Heliodorus' Ethiopian Story; masques of Jonson and Chapman; poems of Shakespeare and Barnfield; and the romances of Margaret Cavendish. Although the literary analyses prove less fresh and striking than the intellectual history, this volume, with its extensive and welcome bibliography of primary and secondary materials, offers much of value. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty. E. D. Hill Mount Holyoke College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A work of impressive scholarship."- The Historian
"A work of impressive scholarship."--The Historian
"When did racial differences become racial prejudices? . . . Sujata Iyengar argues in this bold book that the search for a 'straightforward historical trajectory' from racialism to racism ought to be resisted. She argues that the history of 'race' as a literary, cultural, and social construct is far more polyvalent than has been previously acknowledged."- Sixteenth Century Journal
"When did racial differences become racial prejudices? . . . Sujata Iyengar argues in this bold book that the search for a 'straightforward historical trajectory' from racialism to racism ought to be resisted. She argues that the history of 'race' as a literary, cultural, and social construct is far more polyvalent than has been previously acknowledged."--Sixteenth Century Journal
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2005
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
In 'Shades of Difference', Sujata Iyengar explores the cultural mythologies of skin color in a period during which colonial expansion and the slave trade introduced Britons to more dark-skinned persons than at any other time in their history.
Main Description
Was there such a thing as a modern notion of race in the English Renaissance, and, if so, was skin color its necessary marker? In fact, early modern texts described human beings of various national origins-including English-as turning white, brown, tawny, black, green, or red for any number of reasons, from the effects of the sun's rays or imbalance of the bodily humors to sexual desire or the application of makeup. It is in this cultural environment that the seventeenth-century London Gazetteused the term "black" to describe both dark-skinned African runaways and dark-haired Britons, such as Scots, who are now unquestioningly conceived of as "white." In Shades of Difference, Sujata Iyengar explores the cultural mythologies of skin color in a period during which colonial expansion and the slave trade introduced Britons to more dark-skinned persons than at any other time in their history. Looking to texts as divergent as sixteenth-century Elizabethan erotic verse, seventeenth-century lyrics, and Restoration prose romances, Iyengar considers the construction of race during the early modern period without oversimplifying the emergence of race as a color-coded classification or a black/white opposition. Rather, "race," embodiment, and skin color are examined in their multiple contexts-historical, geographical, and literary. Iyengar engages works that have not previously been incorporated into discussions of the formation of race, such as Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" and Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis." By rethinking the emerging early modern connections between the notions of race, skin color, and gender, Shades of Differencefurthers an ongoing discussion with originality and impeccable scholarship.
Main Description
Was there such a thing as a modern notion of race in the English Renaissance, and, if so, was skin color its necessary marker? In fact, early modern texts described human beings of various national origins--including English--as turning white, brown, tawny, black, green, or red for any number of reasons, from the effects of the sun's rays or imbalance of the bodily humors to sexual desire or the application of makeup. It is in this cultural environment that the seventeenth-centuryLondon Gazetteused the term "black" to describe both dark-skinned African runaways and dark-haired Britons, such as Scots, who are now unquestioningly conceived of as "white." InShades of Difference, Sujata Iyengar explores the cultural mythologies of skin color in a period during which colonial expansion and the slave trade introduced Britons to more dark-skinned persons than at any other time in their history. Looking to texts as divergent as sixteenth-century Elizabethan erotic verse, seventeenth-century lyrics, and Restoration prose romances, Iyengar considers the construction of race during the early modern period without oversimplifying the emergence of race as a color-coded classification or a black/white opposition. Rather, "race," embodiment, and skin color are examined in their multiple contexts--historical, geographical, and literary. Iyengar engages works that have not previously been incorporated into discussions of the formation of race, such as Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" and Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis." By rethinking the emerging early modern connections between the notions of race, skin color, and gender,Shades of Differencefurthers an ongoing discussion with originality and impeccable scholarship.
Main Description
Was there such a thing as a modern notion of race in the English Renaissance, and, if so, was skin color its necessary marker? In fact, early modern texts described human beings of various national origins - including English - as turning white, brown, tawny, black, green, or red for any number of reasons, from the effects of the sun's rays or imbalance of the bodily humors to sexual desire or the application of makeup. It is in this cultural environment that the seventeenth-century London Gazette used the term "black" to describe both dark-skinned African runaways and dark-haired Britons, such as Scots, who are now unquestioningly conceived of as "white."
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviationsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Ethiopian Histories
Pictures of Andromeda Nakedp. 19
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Bridep. 44
Masquing Racep. 80
Whiteness Visible
Heroic Blushingp. 103
Blackface and Blushfacep. 123
Whiteness as Sexual Differencep. 140
Travail Narratives
Artificial Negroesp. 173
Suntanned Slavesp. 200
Experiments of Colorsp. 220
Afterword: Nancy Burson's Human Race Machinep. 241
Notesp. 245
Bibliographyp. 269
Indexp. 299
Acknowledgmentsp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

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