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Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory

Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory


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Part of Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: January 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521786638

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • During the late sixteenth century 'fashion' first took on the sense of restless change in contrast to the older sense of fashioning or making. As fashionings, clothes were perceived as material forms of personal and social identity which made the man or woman. In Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory Jones and Stallybrass argue that the making and transmission of fabrics and clothing were central to the making of Renaissance culture. Their examination explores the role of clothes as forms of memory transmitted from master to servant, from friend to friend, from lover to lover. This 2001 book offers a close reading of literary texts, paintings, textiles, theatrical documents, and ephemera to reveal how clothing and textiles were crucial to the making and unmaking of concepts of status, gender, sexuality, and religion in the Renaissance. The book is illustrated with a wide range of images from portraits to embroidery.

    • Stallybrass and Jones are internationally known names in Renaissance studies
    • Includes 58 illustrations covering a range of textiles, clothing of the period, personal objects, and paintings
    • Brings together a wide range of disciplines: literature, social and political history, textile history; history of art, theatre studies
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    • Winner of the 2001 James Russell Lowell Prize, for 'an outstanding book by a member of the Modern Language Association.'

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In their beautifully conceived, well made, and copiously illustrated book, Jones and Stallybrass think out what it might mean to put on clothes in Renaissance society, on English stages, and for portraiture … They have written a brilliant, multidisciplinary, and thoroughly original book that is a pleasure to read.' Modern Language Association

    'This superb book reinterprets the construction of identities, whether social or sexual, power relations, the fabrication of memory, and the writing of drama during the Renaissance from the perspective of the fabrication and commerce in clothing. Built on analyses dazzling for their knowledge and adroitness (for example, the study of Velazquez's painting 'Les Hilanderas', of the changing figure of Penelope, or of the circulation of garments among the aristocracy, the theatre companies, and pawnbrokers), this work demonstrates the richness of an approach focused on the materiality of symbolic forms.' Annales

    '… erudite, substantial, and engaging … offers a fresh perspective both on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and on our own assumptions … assembles and presents far more fascinating information than I can do justice here … While the authors generously facilitate selective reading, by providing a helpful introduction and informative titles for chapter subsections, this is a book that repays reading cover to cover.' CNN Money

    'Jones and Stallybrass argue cogently and clearly, switching genre and medium easily but stitching the raw materials into a coherent and impressive whole … this work should become both key in its own right and influential in suggesting a new approach to the study of the period overall.' Early Modern Literary Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2001
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521786638
    • length: 386 pages
    • dimensions: 251 x 167 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • contains: 58 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Introduction: fashion, fetishism and memory in early modern England and Europe
    Part I. Material Subjects:
    1. The currency of clothing
    2. Composing the subject: making portraits
    3. Yellow starch: fabrications of the Jacobean court
    Part II. Gendered Habits:
    4. Arachne's web: Velazquez's Las Hilanderas
    5. The fate of spinning: Penelope and the Three Fates
    6. The needle and the pen: needlework and the appropriation of printed texts
    Part III. Staging Clothes:
    7. The circulation of clothes and the making of the English theater
    8. Transvestism and the 'body beneath': speculating on the boy actor
    9. (In)alienable possessions: Griselda, clothing and the exchange of women
    10. Of ghosts and garments: the materiality of memory on the Renaissance stage
    Conclusion: the end(s) of livery

  • Authors

    Ann Rosalind Jones, Smith College, Massachusetts

    Peter Stallybrass, University of Pennsylvania


    • Winner of the 2001 James Russell Lowell Prize, for 'an outstanding book by a member of the Modern Language Association.'

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