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The Key of GreenPassion and Perception in Renaissance Culture$
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Bruce R. Smith

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226763781

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226763811.001.0001

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Introduction About Green

Introduction About Green

(p.1) Introduction About Green
The Key of Green

Bruce R. Smith

University of Chicago Press

“Green” has emerged as a keyword on the order of “gender,” “sexuality,” “nation,” “race,” and “ethnicity”—words that dominated looking, listening, reading, and critical thinking during the last third of the twentieth century. In early modern England, the color green provides a key, in multiple senses of the word. Like a long metal bit precisely fitted to the wards of a bolt, the key of green gives us access to a surprisingly wide range of cultural experience on the other side, and like the coded key to a map it helps us interpret what we find there. It is the commonness of green in English culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that has inspired this book. As a cultural history, it explores the thematics of green in poetry, plays, and ethical writings. It looks at the material history of green, the most vigorous critique of color blindness in modern and post modern theory, the implications of pre-Cartesian psychology specifically for looking, and the role of color in theater.

Keywords:   green, color, England, culture, cultural history, poetry, plays, theater, color blindness, psychology

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