Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ian MacInnes: "Some Gothicq barbarous hand"

Ian MacInnes
Albion College

“Some Gothicq barbarous hand”: Poetry and foreign policy in Samuel Daniel’s “Epistle to Prince Henry”


Kathleen said...

The word "prey" in one of the lines from Daniel's Epistle struck me. I am referring to the line: "And our ymmoderate humors, may be made a prey/" This line reminds me of Ulysses's speech in Act One of Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida" when he conflates power, appetite and will into the term "universal prey." The line I am thinking of reads: "And appetite, an universal wolf/(so doubly seconded with will and power)/Must make perforce an universial prey/ And last eat up himself/" (1.3.121-124).

I am wondering if Daniel's historical meta-narrative, as you described it, could be further contextualized around a philsophical, as well as a political, critique (or conception) of appetite/acquistion?

Kathleen A.

Micah said...

It’s interesting that, as I understand it, Daniel criticizes imperialism along economic rather than ethical lines. Instead of unequivocally rejecting colonization, he allows it “neere home.” How does this distinction between economically feasible and unfeasible colonization affect the attack Daniel launches against the meta-narrative of imperial conquest? A second question I have, and really this builds on the first, has to do with how Daniel “challenges this narrative on its own ground,” as you put it. By implicating himself somewhat within the meta-narrative of colonial expansion (allowing it “neere home” on the one hand, supposing, as you point out, the success of foreign ventures on the other), what consequences are there for Daniel’s argument against colonization? Finally, to what do you attribute this pragmatism (if that’s anything close to the right word) on Daniel’s part, so that he could argue—in economic terms—against “New World ventures”?