This collection of essays historicizes and theorizes forgetting in English Renaissance literary texts and their cultural contexts. Its essays open up an area of study overlooked by contemporary Renaissance scholarship, which is too often swayed by a critical paradigm devoted to the "art of memory." This volume recovers the crucial role of forgetting in producing early modernity's subjective and collective identities, desires and fantasies.
Regarding forgetting as a presence rather than an absence, each of the volume's four sections concentrates on a site of forgetting. The first section explores the body as a site of forgetting. The second section considers signs of forgetting, both rhetorical and poetic. The third section explores early modern narratives of identity formation, reformation and deformation. The final section, ranging from the imaginary geography of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to the theatre and the ealry modern library.
This book promotes a view of forgetting neither confined to a single discourse nor dominated by a single concept. The essays show how forgetting not only struggles and colludes with remembering to produce culture, but that it also forms its own images, places, materialities, and practices. "Forgetting in Early Modern English Literature and Culture" will be essential reading for students and scholars of Renaissance Studies.