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The Idolatrous Eye : Iconoclasm and Theater in Early Modern England - Michael O'Connell

The Idolatrous Eye

Iconoclasm and Theater in Early Modern England

Hardcover

Published: 1st March 2000
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This study argues that the century after the Reformation saw a crisis in the way that Europeans expressed their religious experience. Focusing specifically on how this crisis affected the drama of England, O'Connell shows that Reformation culture was preoccupied with idolatry and that the theater was frequently attacked as idolatrous. This anti-theatricalism notably targeted the traditional cycles of mystery plays--a type of vernacular, popular biblical theater that from a modern perspective would seem ideally suited to advance the Reformation project. The Idolatrous Eye provides a wide perspective on iconoclasm in the sixteenth century, and in so doing, helps us to understand why this biblical theater was found transgressive and what this meant for the secular theater that followed.

"The Idolatrous Eye ranks with the books I have found the most valuable in the past two years. O'Connell makes us think again about a subject which we thought we knew. His discussions of the representation of the body of Christ and of the textualization of that body are unique, provocative, richly instructive, and useful. His emphasis on literacy and print as the driving force behind an increasingly logocentric religious culture is not only timely given our current preoccupation with the history of the book but is profoundly challenging to some of the commonplaces we reiterate about word-centered Protestantism."--Donna B. Hamilton, Renaissance Quarterly "The Idolatrous Eye powerfully reads not just Elizabethan, but all of post-classical Western European drama, as a crucible for the epistemological struggle between word and image over the mystery of the Incarnation."--Religion and Arts "...one of the most interesting explorations yet made, not just of the theology of the theatre, but of the connections between pre-Reformation Biblical drama and the theatre of the high Renaissance."--London Review of Books "...intriguing....Recommended for graduate students and faculty."--Choice "The Idolatrous Eye ranks with the books I have found the most valuable in the past two years. O'Connell makes us think again about a subject which we thought we knew. His discussions of the representation of the body of Christ and of the textualization of that body are unique, provocative, richly instructive, and useful. His emphasis on literacy and print as the driving force behind an increasingly logocentric religious culture is not only timely given our current preoccupation with the history of the book but is profoundly challenging to some of the commonplaces we reiterate about word-centered Protestantism."--Donna B. Hamilton, Renaissance Quarterly "The Idolatrous Eye powerfully reads not just Elizabethan, but all of post-classical Western European drama, as a crucible for the epistemological struggle between word and image over the mystery of the Incarnation."--Religion and Arts

Introductionp. 3
Theater and the Devil's Teatsp. 14
Word against Image: The Context of Iconoclasmp. 36
God's Body and Incarnational Dramap. 63
The Textualization of God's Bodyp. 89
"Let the Audience Look to Their Eyes": Jonson and Shakespearep. 116
Notesp. 145
Bibliographyp. 177
Indexp. 189
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195132052
ISBN-10: 019513205X
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 1st March 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.83 x 16.2  x 2.06
Weight (kg): 0.47