Robert Appelbaum
University of Cincinnati

Appelbaum, Robert. "Anti-geography." Early Modern Literary Studies 4.2 / Special Issue 3 (September, 1998): 12.1-17 <URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/04-2/appeanti.htm>.

  1. The study of early modern geography is the study of both a practice and a belief. It is the study of practice, since geography is first of all a form of writing; geography is a way of writing the world, of making the world into something written or, perhaps more accurately, of something written upon. But the study of geography is also the study of belief, of what different peoples have believed about the world and its sociophysical organization. And belief too is important. The practice of early modern geography is ultimately incomprehensible unless it is reckoned against the background of beliefs which it is trying to affect. The real culture of geography, I think it is fair to say, is the culture of a dialectic, where practices are exerted upon a system of beliefs, and where a system of beliefs feeds into, elicits, and determines a range of practices. What is at stake, of course, is nothing less than the social organization of the body, the political, moral, and economic orientation of the individual to a world structure.[1]

  3. An appreciation of the dialectic of practice and belief, in any case, is especially important to the study of that subsidiary field of the culture of geography which I will call "anti-geography." By anti-geography I am referring to a system of imaginary geography, a geography beyond geography, as it were  --  a system of fantasy with roots in classical antiquity that had a long development in early modern Europe and that continues to be observed even today, albeit in a highly modified form. In anti-geographical fantasy the imagination takes as its objects phenomena that lie outside the limits of the known sociophysical universe, phenomena that occupy what today we might call "the beyond." Sometimes serious and quasi-scientific, sometimes merely playful or comic, and often a combination of the two, a specimen of jocoserious discourse, anti-geography fills up the spaces of the beyond as if they were similar to or continuous with the known; it imagines the world beyond us as if it were really contiguous with the world at hand, and as if contiguity guaranteed some form of continuity.[2] In anti-geographical fantasy, in effect, the world is imagined to extend beyond itself; the world never really stops; it fills up the worlds beyond itself with more of itself. But on the other hand anti-geographical fantasy commonly populates the spaces of the beyond with a compendium of strange things -- with exotic, exorbitant, monstrous, and marvellous phenomena. Men without heads and uninhabitable torrid zones in the pre-modern period, Klingons and Betazoids and intergalactic "quadrants" in our own -- the exorbitant phenomena with which the anti-geographical imagination fills up the world of the beyond make it both familiar and strange, both continuous and discontinuous with the world at hand.[3]

  5. The epistemological relation between geographical science and anti-geographical legend, to be sure, is subject to a great deal of variation, and the early modern period had inherited a system of anti-geographical legend that was seldom neatly distinguished from geographical science. In fact, anti-geography had been joined to the traditional system of positive, scientific geography as an inevitable counterpart to it. By ancient convention, the strange conditions supposed to obtain in the world beyond were testimony to the centrality and normativity of familiar conditions in the world at hand. Distance implied strangeness and strangeness betokened distance, so that the farther away one went the more likely one was to encounter bizarre, eccentric, or exotic phenomena, and find oneself phenomenologically distant from the center of things. The greater the distance of a land from one's own the greater the difference -- or so at least it was persuasive to maintain.[4] However, as the geography of the early modern period was changing into a new geography, faith in the old axioms about distance and strangeness was challenged, and the practices and beliefs of anti-geography were transformed as well. Under the pressure of positive geography anti-geography underwent a significant contraction; it became less strange and less copious, and it came to play a lesser role in the management of geographical understanding. Less was out there; and what was out there was both less outlandish and less interesting, less instrumental in the management of social organization of the body.

  7. What I want to call attention to here is this experience of contraction, this experience of a historical moment where not only geography changed, but also its antic complement. And I want to call attention to the fact that this contraction wasn't only a product of purely scientific pressures. As geography changed, anti-geography changed along with it; but anti-geography changed in its ideological as well as its physical orientations, and its new ideology wasn't entirely determined by discoveries of a purely geophysical or even ethnological nature. Consider for example More's Utopia or those sections of Rabelais's Pantagruel where Pantagruel travels to absurd territories like Lanternland and eventually the island of Utopia itself. These jocoserious texts are openly responding to the geophysical and ethnological findings of the new geography. More, of course, makes no bones about his being inspired by Amerigo Vespucci's travelogues, and Rabelais is clearly thinking of a number of travel writers and cosmographers, including Vespucci and, in another register, More himself. But More and Rabelais are responding (as in their own way the new geographers are responding as well) to the traditions of the old anti-geography, and the impulses of wistful thinking that went along with them. And if in a Lucianic spirit they are mocking and debunking those traditions, in a spirit all their own they are also transforming and transvaluing pre-modern traditions, refashioning the displacements, inversions, and projections of the old anti-geographical imagination into something new, into a kind of anti-anti-geography. Whatever role it may have played before in the popular or scientific imagination, in the hands of More and Rabelais anti-geographical fantasy has become a vehicle of self-conscious intellectual play, where one can not only exercise the imagination but also ruminate on the values of European culture. In More and Rabelais anti-geographical fantasy becomes a critical tool for reflecting on one's own condition and exploring or indeed inventing new sets of values and conditions -- values and conditions, in effect, beyond oneself.

  9. If writers like More and Rabelais were turning the imaginary world of the beyond into a construct of a new type, however, the real adventurers of the sixteenth century were still often responding to anti-geographical traditions as if they were literally true accounts of sociophysical space.[5] Columbus alludes to these legends from the beginning; a century later, Sir Walter Ralegh still hadn't let them go. If there was a difference about anti-geography in the new age, for some ambitious individuals it was that it was more true than ever; no longer simply a matter of ancient report, it had become a field within the reach of modern experience, a repository of values and materials that might be appropriated and exploited. For true believers like Columbus and Ralegh the age of exploration entailed a coming-to-terms with anti-geographical legend, even a kind of overcoming of anti-geographical legend. The legend was being made flesh, or seemed to be on the cusp of being made so, and the prospect was supposed to rouse Europeans out of their geophysical slumbers. "[I]t shall bee found a weake pollicie in me," Ralegh wrote about the prospects of his one day returning to the Guiana that had so far disappointed him, "eyther to betray my selfe, or my Countreye with imaginations, neyther am I so farre in love with that lodging, watching, care, perill, diseases, ill savoures, bad fare, and many other mischiefes that accompany these voyages, as to woo my selfe againe to any of them, were I not assured that the sunne covereth not so much riches in any part of the earth."[6] Although what Ralegh actually wants from the New World is wholly materialistic, the structure of his thought, setting a here against a there, a known against an about-to-be-known whose secrets are nevertheless already "assured," is homologous with the more complexly motivated ruminations of Columbus, or for that matter even of Montaigne. All of them see in the New World a beyond made near which corroborates our earliest hopes for ourselves as well as our earliest premonitions about the limitations of the Old World.[7] That our earliest hopes here are frequently cast in purely material terms as those "earthly riches" of which he we have previously been deprived only underscores the urgency of overcoming anti-geographical legend, and turning the fantastic into the ordinary and the real.

  11. The dominant trend, however, was not toward overcoming traditional fantasy as Columbus and Ralegh intended but toward a wholesale debunking of anti-geographical legend and the hopes that went along with it. The trend in other words was toward a broad "disenchantment" in Max Weber's sense, and in England the disenchantment seems to have set in rather precisely during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The best known evidence for this sudden disenchantment is a detail in the publication of the Second (1598) Edition of Hakluyt's Principal Navigations, where without fanfare or even explanation, Hakluyt dropped all of the material he had previously published in 1587 from Mandeville's Travels, which continued to be the most popular repository of anti-geographical legend.[8] Hakluyt could not have done this simply because he thought the Travels were incredible. On the contrary, in his Preface Hakluyt deliberately allowed for a measure of incredulity in the compilation of geographical writings. "Many true things," he writes, with reference to tales of the "brutish" conditions of life among the Tartars, "may to the ignorant seeme incredible." Moreover, compilations of geographical writings are not wholly to be designed such that only those reports which are verifiably true ought to be contained in them. "There is not any history in the world," Hakluyt writes, "(the most Holy writ excepted) whereof we are precisely bound to beleeve ech word and syllable." Geographical writings do not have to be entirely true because their readers are not bound entirely to believe them; readers are free to exercise their own judgments.[9] As Stephen Greenblatt has put it, one of the "key principles of the Renaissance geographical imagination" is that "eye-witness testimony, for all its vaunted importance, sits as a very small edifice on top of an enormous mountain of hearsay, rumour, convention and endlessly recycled fable."[10] Hakluyt seems to have understood that; and he seems to have resolved the epistemological problems this principle entailed by letting his compiled reports speak for themselves, and leaving his readers free to do with them what they would. He therefore feels free in his Second Edition to publish possibly apocryphal accounts of Russian inhumanity, or of early English travel, as well as such ambiguous accounts as Ralegh's story of his quest for El Dorado. There is even an excerpt in the Second Edition, taken as illustrative of historical fact, transcribed from the Knight's Prologue in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. But Mandeville's Travels have nevertheless been excised. When all is said and done, something about them has disqualified them from inclusion. Mandeville's stories probably no longer seemed to be based even remotely on "eye-witness testimony," or to have any bearing on those projects of geographical exploration and development which for Hakluyt were entirely positivistic.[11]

  13. An even more significant but less commonly noted indication of wholesale disenchantment appeared about a decade later, in Purchas His Pilgrimage.[12] Samuel Purchas unambiguously dismissed the anomalies of anti-geographical tradition. He not only disbelieved them, he painstakingly explained them away, demonstrating how beliefs in prodigious phenomena like Amazonian warriors or fabulous societies like the kingdom of Prester John could have arisen as distortions of otherwise plausible evidence. There are no real prodigies in the world, Purchas argued. Nor are there any human societies which violate the fundamental laws of human nature -- societies where women, for example, would wage war while men stayed at home, or where men went around without heads.[13] If "Nature," Purchas wrote, "hath diversified herself in divers places," it was only, nevertheless, by a rule of "naturall exception that it hath bounded and limited [its] generall rules."[14]

  15. In other words: the world doesn't harbor examples of its own negation. There is no anti-geography, except in the imagination. Wherever one goes, things are pretty much the same, according to the rules of natural variation. Of course, we cannot know exactly how many individuals of Stuart England actually concurred with Purchas's position, or were even familiar with it. The continued publication of sensationalist accounts of natural "prodigies" indicates a continued willingness among some part of the population to give credit to the incredible.[15] But if we jump ahead another 25 years, we will find a popular stage comedy, Richard Brome's The Antipodes, where it is taken for granted that the traditions of anti-geography are entirely factitious, and even silly. Indeed, the stage play takes for granted the idea that belief in the marvellous is a neurotic illusion, brought on by excessive narcissism, indolence, anxiety, and sexual inhibition, as well as too much reading.[16] But that is 1638. It seems likely that between 1598 and the late 1630s the English public only gradually came to accept the disenchanted world-view that The Antipodes takes for granted, and that for a number of years the English public was somewhat ambivalent about anti-geographical legend. It is precisely this transitional ambivalence, I think, that infuses Othello with its particular, perhaps somewhat regressive tragic energies, its tragedy of exoticism, based on beliefs which Shakespeare may have known to be untrue, or at least problematic.[17]

  17. Another example of this transition contemporary with Othello is Joseph Hall's Latin satire in prose, Mundus Alter et Idem, which was first published in 1605, and translated into English in 1609, though it may have been written as early as 1598.[18] The Mundus deliberately ridicules and debunks traditional anti-geography by devising a systematic, alternative anti-geography of its own. The text tells the story of an Englishman's travels through an imaginary continent, a hitherto undiscovered Terra Australis, which turns out to be divided into four bizarre territories: Viraginia, an anarchic Amazonian province, Crapulia, a corrupt version of the Land of Cockagne, Lavernia, a province populated entirely by thieves; and Moronia, a land of morons whose inhabitants are all deranged academics, scientists, magicians, and religious ideologues -- that is, Catholics and Puritans. The spleen of Hall's satire is not always a thing that a reader of today can appreciate; it is often mean-spirited, dismissive, and sanctimonious. But Hall's text is a fascinating document partly for just that reason; and partly because in venting its hostilities, and arguing on behalf of what it holds up as the conventional values of social and religious moderation, it props itself upon the foundation of the new geography. Hall adopts the premise of the new geography in order to construct a send-up of the old, legend-ridden anti-geography, and at the same time to ridicule what he takes to be the excesses of the people of his own age. And yet in mocking both anti-geography and the vices of his age, Hall is also condemning the spirit of novelty and discovery which generated the new geography in the first place. In fact, for all his literary innovations, and for all his dependence on scientific progress, his book promotes a severely pessimistic, authoritarian version of Calvinism and the doctrine of contemptus mundi. Hall uses the new geography as evidence for the appropriateness of Calvinist contemptus mundi, and for rejecting the worldly hope that was motivating the development of the new geography and even the invention of the new anti-anti-geography of writers like More and Rabelais.

  19. The maps of the globe included here illustrate the strange connection between the Mundus and the new geography. The first map is taken from a copy published in Amsterdam in 1607 of a map originally published in 1594 (see Figure 1). At the bottom of the map the reader will see an enormous land mass which is given two names, Magallanica (after Magellan) and Terra Australis. In point of fact, geographers were still uncertain about this Terra Australis Incognita, as indicated by the blankness of the land mass, and some were suggesting that much of it was possibly water. It was only by around 1670 that exploration was able to carve this territory up into two land masses, the one which we now call Australia and the other which we now call Antarctica. But in contrast with this map of 1607 one might consider the world map included in Mundus Alter et Idem (see Figure 2). The latter is poorly drawn -- as one might expect from an English draftsman -- and it is modelled on a different system of projection, the famous Mercator projection. But there at the bottom of it is an enormous Terra Australis, divided into several provinces and filled in with territorial detail, yet otherwise recalling the shape and size of the Terra Australis of contemporary map makers.

  21. There is no suggestion, of course, that the author thinks that anything he says about Terra Australis might be true. On the contrary, the travels to Terra Australis are prefaced by a spirited argument to the effect that everything that had once remained to be discovered has been discovered. There is nothing new under the sun -- not any more, thanks to the age of discovery -- and there aren't any real monsters or marvels anywhere either. "Be careful," a character in the Mundus warns a would-be explorer of unknown lands. Christopher Columbus has already discovered whatever was out there to be discovered, and the age of discovery is over. "What other age are you dreaming of, what other land?"[19] Moreover, and this is Hall's most incisive yet subtle argument, now that promise of the prophecies have been fulfilled and the gaps in our geographical understanding are gone, we can see that what was once believed to have been out there, in the world beyond European experience, structuring our hopes and desires, our ontological sense of who and where we are, was never anything but an absurd, wishful projection of what we already are in here. What we have discovered thanks to the new geography, in other words, isn't an object world of enchanted or useful phenomena, a land of riches ready to be appropriated and exploited, but rather ourselves, our disenchanted selves, confronting the vanity of our worldly wishes. Viraginia, Crapulia, Lavernia, Moronia -- that's what's out there, and these sinful countries are clearly nothing but projections of our worst appetites and failings. Jeffrey Knapp has called attention to how Hall makes this point cartographically. If you look at Hall's map of the world, you'll see that the topmost part of Europe, the part including England, has been cropped off. Terra Australis Incognita sits at the bottom of the map as a vast inversion of the top of the world: Terra Australis is in effect England itself, cut off from itself, spatially inverted, distorted, and magnified, but nevertheless -- so far as any mirror image can be identical with what it mirrors -- its self, idem.[20]

  23. The case of Hall's Mundus, roughly contemporary with Hakluyt's Principal Navigations and for that matter with Othello, shows that the dialectic of geographical practice and belief was being fought not only over the facts of the world, and the way those facts might be written out and policies formulated in response to them, but also over the moral and religious implications of geographical experience. And in writers like Joseph Hall, who would go on to become a chaplain to James I and later a prominent bishop,[21] the point seems to be that we need to divest ourselves of our anti-geographical fantasies in order to complete the process of divesting ourselves of alterity itself, of moral waywardness and the vain illusions of alternative modes of life it is generally based upon. In many of his writings throughout his career Hall reiterated this basic argument: we are creatures bent on deluding ourselves and violating the bounds of our callings, including what Hall takes to be our geographic callings, our sociophysical subjecthood: we are creatures continually looking outside instead of within: we are creatures who are quick to put our hope in the world and worldly activity, to build castles in the air, and romantic projects in America. We are creatures apt to forget the basic doctrine, as Calvin once put it, that "Our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short depravity and corruption reminds us that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light and wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to [God] in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves."[22]  Hall wants us to see that the century of exploration and new geography has ended not, as individuals like Hakluyt would have it, in the opening of new possibilities, but in a reminder of how loathsome we really are, and how little there is for us to expect from the world.

  25. This is disenchantment indeed; and Hall fits it not only into a reiteration of the doctrine of contemptus mundi but also into an affirmation of authoritarian government in church and state. If there is nothing to be expected out of the world, if there is nothing to be expected out of movement within it, there is nothing to be done in it except stay in one's place, submit to authority, and wait for the end. Of course, the new geography would ultimately have the opposite effect; the defeat of anti-geographical legend would lead to systematic expansionism, colonialism, imperialism, and, on a more positive note, perhaps, the American Revolution. As the magic went out of the world, as geographical writing debunked anti-geographical belief, and the limits of the beyond came to be located more in places like outer space, the whole of the planet came to be more homelike to the Englishman, a place where the English could conduct their business and live like Englishmen. But initially, in the hands of individuals like Joseph Hall, taking the magic out of the world, abolishing the snares of anti-geographical desire, meant taking worldly hope out of the world, confirming the depravity of human nature, and asserting the necessity of obedience to the given, the Stuart state and the Anglican Church.

  27. "God hath given us a world of our own," Hall later wrote in a work which went so far as even to argue for a Censure of Travel, as It Is Commonly Undertaken by Gentlemen of Our Nation (1616). "Wither go ye then, worthy countrymen, or what seek ye?"[23] Again, there is nothing out there but vanity. And the self needs to adapt to that fact. It needs to be content not only with what it is but where it is, the two aspects of identity in Hall's thought being coupled both figuratively and literally. A common doctrine of stoicism, enthusiastically adopted by Hall along with a number of his contemporaries, becomes in Hall's hands an argument not only for patient impassivity, but for geographical fixity as well. The "wise man," as he put it in his Characters of Vertues and Vices (1608), literally doesn't go anywhere; he doesn't go looking to satisfy the longings of his self anywhere but within himself, as he is and where he is.[24] And by the same token, the wise state government will see to it that is subjects are prevented as much as possible from going anywhere else. "Ye whom the choice of God hath made the great shepherds of his people, whose charge it is to feed them by government, suffer not their simplicity to betray their lives unto the fangs of these cruel beasts [i.e. foreign countries]; but chase them home rather from the wilful search of their own perdition, and shut them together in your strong and spacious folds, that they may be at once safe, and ye glorious!"[25] If the state was responsible, as official doctrine had it, not only for the safety and prosperity of nation's subjects but also for the health and salvation of their souls, and if such health and salvation requires a kind of sociophysical acquiescence, then it was the duty of the state to prevent individuals from travelling anywhere or even thinking about travelling anywhere, whether to the roaring seas of the Cape of Good Hope or to the towns and fields of the European Continent. In fact, Hall argues, just as contact with "foreign things" can lead an individual into a condition of unsatisfiable "humourous curiosity," so the state itself can be endangered by the geographical expansionism of its subjects, their curiosities threatening to "open a gap" in the "fence of state," the legal "dispensations" through which the state's governors hold the state together.[26]

  29. Cultural historians have been apt to ignore the aspect of early seventeenth-century life that Hall's antipathies exemplify. We are familiar enough with the imperialistic model of the world and its eventual conquest, as it were, over rival models of geographical doctrine. We are familiar as well with the ambivalent apprehension of geographic experience -- at once expansive and worried -- expressed on the Jacobean stage in plays like Othello and Lear and The Tempest.[27] But we haven't paid much attention to the counter-tradition that Hall represents, a tradition of thinking where writers push against the meaning of the new geography in order to recoil from everything it stood for apart from its effects of disenchantment.

  31. In fact, there are echoes of Hall's position in stage plays like Chapman, Jonson, and Marston's, Eastward Ho (1605), where More's Utopia and material from Hakluyt's Principal Navigations are mocked[28] and where presumptuous characters whom Hall would have recognized find out that attempts to change their position in the world by seeking their fortune in the New World may end up in their getting nowhere at all. "Hell and damnation!" one of them swears, finding himself shipwrecked near where he began, at Cuckold's Haven by the Thames.[29] As in Hall's Mundus, in Eastward Ho the wild expectations of would-be colonialists are subjected to a punishing reality principle, which undermines geographical hope and underscores the inviolability of the "fence of state," and its real, physical manifestations. I suspect that further research along these lines would yield an even larger body of expressions of anti-anti-geographical sentiment, and that this sentiment would be closer to Hall's than More's and Rabelais's: poets, playwrights, and preachers adopting the new geography as confirmation of the pessimistic Calvinist worldview, and the kind of acquiescence to conventional secular authority that preachers like Hall (following Calvin himself) saw as a consequence of Calvinist doctrine.

  33. The moment of contraction I have referred to, the moment when practices and beliefs converged to reduce the dimensions and importance of anti-geography, was in the long run, again, a condition for the development of imperialist expansion. Certainly it signalled a transformation in what I began by calling the "orientation of the individual to a world structure" and the "social organization of the body," where the outer limits of the world toward which the individual was oriented was no longer a site of wild enchantments. But this contraction could elicit antithetical kinds of responses too -- antithetical anti-anti-geographies. If we now know that a more optimistic, expansionist response to the new geography would eventually triumph, the men of the early seventeenth century did not. And in a number of hands the experience of the age of exploration would be a pretext for iterating a worldview which was at once savvy and narrow, at once disenchanted and disappointing: a worldview not critical of conventional European society but critical of humanity itself, and supportive of the status quo of European institutions, the "fences of state" through which their subjects were hedged in, lest something worse take their place. All of the world is already within us, writers like Hall were arguing in the aftermath of exploration; and the only monsters and marvels are those phantasms we create when we forget who we are, when we disobey ourselves and our natural rulers, and try to be something different from what we are, in a different place from the one we have already been caused to inhabit. That is a lesson that even Shakespeare's Iago could have appreciated, although Iago at least knew himself to live in a world that had always been a bit more complicated and indeed a bit more uncontrollably monstrous and exotic than that.
1. The idea of "practice" here is adopted from Pierre Bourdieu. I am especially indebted to Bourdieu's notion of the relation between practices and beliefs, and his idea that social beliefs are "beliefs of the body." It is often overlooked that Bourdieu while makes the "habitus" of a culture determinative, he also makes "practice" indeterminately individual and creative, and allows for the mediation of practice and habitus by ideology. The Logic of Practice trans. Richard Nice (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1990). [Back]

2. The semiotics of contiguity and continuity as I am alluding to it here is theoretically analyzed in Umberto Eco, The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1979); the application of this semiotic structure toward early modern exotic, utopian, and "anti-geographical writing" is discussed at length in de Certeau, Heterologies: Discourse on the Other trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1986); Marin, Utopics: The Semiological Play of Textual Spaces trans. Robert A. Vollrath (Atlantic Highlands: Humanities P, 1984) and Racault, "Place et fonction des 'sas' dans le voyage utopique", Viaggi in Utopia ed. Raffaella Baccolini, Vita Fortunati, and Nadia Minerva (Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1993) 21-32. [Back]

3. The literature on pre-modern exoticism has expanded greatly in the past decade. Texts to which my notions of exoticism and its geography to which my own ideas are owing, besides those cited in the text below, include those of Mary B. Campbell, The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400-1600 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1988); Stephen Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991); and Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982). [Back]

4. See John Gillies, Shakespeare and the Geography of Difference (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994) 31; and Francois Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus : The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History (Berkeley: U of California P, 1988). [Back]

5. See D.B. Quinn, "New Geographical Horizons: Literature." First Images of America: The Impact of the New World on the Old ed. Fredi Chiapelli (Berkeley: U of California P, 1976).[Back]

6. Quotations in the text can be found in Sir Walter Ralegh, The discoverie of the large, rich, and bewtiful empire of Guiana ed. V.T. Harlow (London: Argonaut, 1928) 55, 57. [Back]

7. It should be added here that on Ralegh's own account the age of exploration had confirmed many of the stories reported in Mandeville. Empirical experience and eye-witness reporting for Ralegh help clarify the distinction between fact and fable, or between matters of truth and matters of the imagination, although whether particular phenomena fall on the side of fact or fable is sometimes a matter of indifference to him. Mandeville's "reports," he writes, "were held for fables many yeares, and yet since the East Indies were discovered, wee find his relations true of such thinges as heertofore were held incredible." Regarding the existence of headless men like Mandeville's in the vicinity of Guiana, about which Ralegh had heard some report from his native informants, "whether it be true or no matter is not great, neither can there be any profit in the imagination, for mine owne part I saw them not, but I am resolved that so many people did not all combine, or forethinke to make the report." A rigorous skepticism here combines with a vigorous credulity, a strong willingness to believe. [Back]

8. Parks, 175. [Back]

9. Hakluyt, 1:31.[Back]

10. "Foreword" to Frank Lestringant's Mapping the Renaissance World: The Geographical Imagination in the Age of Discovery trans. David Fausett (Berkeley: U of California P, 1994) xi. [Back]

11. See Richard Helgerson, Forms of Nationhood: The Elizabethan Writing of England (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992) 153. But Helgerson stresses the pragmatic aspects of Hakluyt's project, and hence denies that Hakluyt was a "positivist" in a technical sense -- that is, a scientist probing after empirical truth. [Back]

12. It may be worth adding here that, contrary to the impression given by the modern edition of Purchas's work, entitled Hakluytus Posthumus, the Pilgrimmage was not a continuation of Hakluyt. It was rather a chorography of the world, where Purchas imagines himself travelling the globe and seeing what is to be seen, basing his imaginary observations on a critical review of the available sources. Hakluyt is rarely mentioned; Purchas's interests extend to the Old World as well as more exotic locale; and Purchas considers a much wider range of material than that compiled in the Principal Navigations. [Back]

13. The one legend Purchas accepted was the recent myth, which originated in Vespucci, of Patagonian giants; but apparently the eye-witness authority of Vespucci and reports of subsequent travellers who were apparently only repeating what they learned from Vespucci (although they were claiming to corroborate what he had seen) overrode Purchas's natural inclinations toward skepticism (see Gerbi, "Earliest Accounts of the New World." First Images of America: The Impact of the New World on the Old ed. Fredi Chiapelli (Berkeley: U of California P, 1976). [Back]

14. Purchas, 727. [Back]

15. See James R. Aubrey, "Race and the Spectacle of the Monstrous in Othello" CLIO 22.3 (1993) 223-26; and Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York: Scribner's, 1971) 89-91. [Back]

16. See Ira Clark, Professional Playwrights: Massinger, Ford, Shirley, and Brome (Lexington: U P of Kentucky, 1992); Martin Butler, Theatre and Crisis 1632-1642 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984); Robert Appelbaum, "The Imaginary Imaginary Voyage: Richard Brome's Antipodes" (Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1993) 143-52. [Back]

17. On Othello see Karen Newman, "'And Wash the Ethiop White': Femininity and the Monstrous in Othello", Critical Essays on Shakespeare's Othello ed. Anthony Gerard Barthelemy (New York: G.K. Hall, 1994); Patricia Parker, "Fantasies of 'Race' and 'Gender ': Africa, Othello, and bringing to light", Women, "Race," and Writing in the Early Modern Period ed. Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker (London: Routledge, 1994); and James Aubrey, "Race and the Spectacle of the Monstrous in Othello" CLIO 22.3 (1993) 223-26. I have not, however, found any scholars who recognize that Othello's allusions to anthropophagi and other prodigies may be a deliberate anachronism on Shakespeare's part. Indeed, the recent literature on this aspect of the play seem so bent on reducing its ideologies of exoticism, racism, and misogyny to a single, objectionable worldview that though they make the creation of character like Iago understandable they make the creation of Cassio, Desdemona, and even Othello all but incomprehensible. [Back]

18. Frank Livingstone Huntley, Bishop Joseph Hall, 1574-1656: A Biographical and Critical Study (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1979) 28; Joseph Hall, Mundus alter et idem ed. John Millar Wands (Yale: Yale UP, 1981) xxi. [Back]

19. Hall, 14. [Back]

20. Hall, 31-33. [Back]

21. Most famous today, of course, as Milton's antagonist in the Smectymnus controversy, and reviled by Milton in part for his anti-utopianism, Hall was nevertheless a highly respected figure in his own day, both as a literary artist and a man of God. He made the transition from Calvinism to Arminian doctrine when it became convenient to do so under Archbishop Laud; and when, as a victim of the Revolution, he was dismissed from office, he became something of a martyr. [Back]

22. Hall, 1:38. [Back]

23. "The private contentment of a man's own heart in the view of foreign things is but a better name of an humorous curiosity. If a man yield to run after his appetite and his eye, he shall never know where to rest, and after many idle excursions shall lie down weary but unsatisfied" Hall, 9:558, 9:536. [Back]

24. Hall, 9:91. [Back]

25. Hall, 9:560-61. [Back]

26. Hall, 9:536, 9: 559. [Back]

27. Barker gives an especially compelling account of the issue of territorialism in Shakespearean tragedy, concentrating on the "depradations of the land" in the kingdom of King Lear. The accounts of the geographic imagination informing The Tempest by now are legend, and need no summary here; but we need similar studies of non-Shakespearean drama. [Back]

28. Eastward Ho 3.3.15-59; Introduction 13.[Back]

29. "I will run back [to the river] and drown myself!" and "Woe, woe is me," says another, "what shall become of us? The last money we could make, the greedy Thames has devoured; . . . there is no hope can relieve us." Eastward Ho, 4.1.44-5 and 4.1.218-21.[Back]

Works Cited

© 1998-, R.G. Siemens (Editor, EMLS).