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Verbal Representations of Violence

Seminar Questions

  • How far did the representation of early modern violence vary in different verbal genres?
  • To what extent did the verbal representation of violence vary across Europe and over time?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of verbal sources for the understanding of violence in early modern Europe?

Required Reading

All students should read

Ruff, Julius R., Violence in Early Modern Europe 1500-1800 (Cambridge, 2001), Chapter 1.

AND Shakespeare, William, Titus Andronicus. [For filmed productions and criticism, see here]

AND one of the following items:


Further Reading

(see also the bibliography for Justice)

Arnade, Peter, and Walter Prevenier, Honor, Vengeance, and Social Trouble: Pardon Letters in the Burgundian Low Countries (Ithaca, NY, 2015)

Becker, Lucinda M., Death and the Early Modern Englishwoman (Aldershot, 2003)

Clark, Sandra, Women and Crime in the Street Literature of Early Modern England (Basingstoke, 2003)

Covington, Sarah, '"Broken Verses across a Bloodied Land": Violence and the Limits of Language in the English Civil War', in Jonathan Davies (ed.), Aspects of Violence in Renaissance Europe (Farnham, 2013), pp. 127-149.

Davis, Natalie Zemon, Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France (Cambridge, 1987)

Feather, Jennifer, and Catherine E. Thomas (eds), Violent Masculinities: Male Aggression in Early Modern Texts and Culture (Basingstoke, 2013)

Feather, Jennifer, Writing Combat and the Self in Early Modern English Literature (Basingstoke, 2011)

Foakes, R.A., Shakespeare and Violence (Cambridge, 2003)

Goethals, Jessica, 'Spectators of the Sack: Rhetorical ‘Particularity’ and Graphic Violence in Luigi Guicciardini’s Historia del sacco di Roma', Italian Studies 68/2 (2013), 175-201.

von Grimmelshausen, Hans Jakob Christoffel, Simplicissimus, trans. Michael Mitchell (Sawtry, 1999)

Hale, J.R., 'Sixteenth-Century Explanations of War and Violence', Past and Present 51 (1971), 3-26

Härter, Karl, 'Political Crime in Early Modern Europe: Assassination, Legal Responses and Popular Print Media', European Journal of Criminology 11/2 (2013), 142-68

Herrick, Marvin, Italian Tragedy in the Renaissance (Urbana, 1965)

Kaiser, Daniel H., ‘“He Said, She Said”: Rape and Gender Discourse in Early Modern Russia,” Kritika 3/2 (2002), 197-216.

King, Emily L., Civil Vengeance : Literature, Culture, and Early Modern Revenge (Cornell, 2019)

Kirch, Miriam Hall, 'Death on the Danube', in Jonathan Davies (ed.), Aspects of Violence in Renaissance Europe (Farnham, 2013), pp. 61-81.

Larson, Donald R., The Honor Plays of Lope de Vega (Cambridge, Mass., 1977)

Low, Jennifer A., Manhood and the Duel: Masculinity in Early Modern Drama and Culture (Basingstoke, 2003)

MacMillan, Ken, (ed.), Stories of True Crime in Tudor and Stuart England (London, 2015)

Marshall, Cynthia, The Shattering of the Self: Violence, Subjectivity, and Early Modern Texts (Baltimore, 2002)

Martin, Randall, Women, Murder, and Equity in Early Modern England (London, 2012)

Martin, Randall, ed., Women and Murder in Early Modern News Pamphlets and Broadside Ballads, 1573-1697 (Aldershot, 2005)

Medici, Lorenzino de’, Apology for a Murder, trans. Andrew Brown, with a foreword by Tim Parks (London, 2004)

Robertson, Elizabeth, and Christine M. Rose, eds, Representing Rape in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (Basingstoke, 2001)

Royer, Katherine, The English Execution Narrative, 1200–1700 (Abingdon, 2013)

Salzberg, Rosa, and Massimo Rospocher, 'Murder Ballads' in Trevor Dean and K. J. P. Lowe, eds, Murder in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 2017), pp. 164-186

Sharpe, James J., 'Reporting Crime in the North of England eighteenth-century Newspaper: a Preliminary Investigation', Crime, History and Societies 16/1 (2012), 25-45.

Simkin, Stevie, ed., Revenge Tragedy (Basingstoke, 2001)

Symonds, Deborah A., Weep Not For Me: Women, Ballads and Infanticide in Early Modern Scotland (Pennslyvania, 1997)

Taylor, Scott K., Honor and Violence in Golden Age Spain (New Haven, 2008)

Terry-Fritsch, Allie, and Erin Felicia Labbie, eds, Beholding Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Farnham, 2012)

Vega, Lope de, 'Punishment Without Revenge,' in Lope de Vega, Three Major Plays, ed. and trans. Gwynne Edwards (Oxford, 1999), pp. 169-265.

Wade, Mara R. (ed.), Gender Matters: Discourses of Violence in Early Modern Literature and the Arts (Amsterdam, 2013)

Wilson, Peter H., 'Perceptions of Violence in the Early Modern Communications Revolution: the Case of the Thirty Years' War 1618-1648', in Athina Karatzogianni (ed.), Violence and War in Culture and the Media: Five Disciplinary Lenses (London, 2013), 13-29.

Zitzlsperger, Ulrike, (ed.), Gender, Agency and Violence: European Perspectives from Early Modern Times to the Present Day (Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013)

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