Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Poetry in a World of ThingsAesthetics and Empiricism in Renaissance Ekphrasis$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Rachel Eisendrath

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226516585

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226516752.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021

Feeling like a Fragment: Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece

Feeling like a Fragment: Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece

Chapter:
(p.118) Chapter Five Feeling like a Fragment: Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece
Source:
Poetry in a World of Things
Author(s):

Rachel Eisendrath

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226516752.003.0005

By the end of the sixteenth century, the central aim of history writing in Europe was shifting from moral edification to factual accuracy. This emphasis on facts entailed an increased involvement with evidence and, more specifically, with the fragmented material historical record. In Shakespeare’s 1594 The Rape of Lucrece, the ekphrasis describing a picture of Troy’s fall illustrates this transition. Right at the moment when the reader is led to expect a resurrection of the past, Shakespeare asserts the historical record’s fragmentation and brokenness: “A hand, a foot, a face, a leg, a head / Stood for the whole to be imagined.” Throughout the poem, Shakespeare is concerned with the things (ruins, graves, tombs) of the historical record. He charges these material artifacts with the unarticulated experience of historical suffering, re-infusing mute objects with affect. Lucrece relates to the image of Hecuba not despite its material fragmentation, but precisely because of it. In so doing, she projects a new subjectivity from within the fragmented ruins that have since become emblematic of an alienated modernity.

Keywords:   William Shakespeare, Lucrece, ekphrasis, fragment, ruins, subjectivity, objectivity, Hecuba, things, silence

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.