Lesser Living Creatures of the Renaissance examines literary and cultural texts from early modern England in order to understand how people in that era thought about – and with – insect and arachnid life. Designed for the classroom, the book comprises two volumes – Insects and Concepts – that can be used together or independently. Each addresses the collaborative, multigenerational research that produced early modern natural history and provides new insights into the old question of what it means to be human in a world populated by beasts large and small. The conversations in this two-volume set address the collaborative, multigenerational research that produced early modern natural history and provide new insights into the old question of what it means to be human in a world populated by beasts large and small.
Volume 2: Concepts, explores ideas that cut across species, insect and otherwise, both building on and invigorating critical vocabularies developed over nearly two decades of early modern animal studies. The contributors explore topics such as the medical and culinary consumption of insects; extermination campaigns; the auditory and emotive effects of a swarm; insects and politics; and notions of infestation, stinging, and creeping. Throughout, they illuminate how early modern science and literature worked as intersecting systems of knowledge production about the natural world and show definitively how insect life was, and remains, intimately entangled with human life.
In addition to the editors, contributors to this volume include Lucinda Cole, Frances E. Dolan, Lowell Duckert, Andrew Fleck, Rebecca Laroche, Jennifer Munroe, Amy L. Tigner, Jessica Lynn Wolfe, Derek Woods, and Julian Yates.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Concepts / Joseph Campana
1.Sting Stinging like a Bee in Early Modern England / Julian Yates
2. Scale Lesser Living in the Renaissance / Joseph Campana
3. Pest Environmental Justice and the (Early Modern) Rhetoric of Pest Control / Jennifer Munroe and Rebecca Laroche
4. Infestation Out of Africa: Locust Infestation, Universal History, and the Early Modern Theological Imaginary / Lucinda Cole
5. Habitat and Politics “Regardles of his gouernaunce”: Exploring Human Sovereignty and Political Formation in Early Modern Insect Habitats / Andrew Fleck
6. Consume Consuming Insects / Amy L. Tigner
7. Decompose Worm Work / Frances E. Dolan
8. Locomotion Creeping and Crawling / Keith Botelho
9. Communication Tettix / Lowell Duckert
10. Swarm Song of the Swarm / Derek Woods
11. Illumination “Living Lamps” / Jessica Lynn Wolfe
Epilogue: Concepts / Keith Botelho
List of Contributors
Keith Botelho is Professor of English at Kennesaw State University. He is the author of Renaissance Earwitnesses: Rumor and Early Modern Masculinity.
Joseph Campana is William Shakespeare Professor of English and Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Rice University. He is the author of The Pain of Reformation: Spenser, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Masculinity and the coeditor, with Scott Maisano, of Renaissance Posthumanism.
"Lesser Living Creatures of the Renaissance brings a welcome and timely focus on early modern understandings of insect life, ideas, and work that stood, as the authors convincingly argue, in the midst of the transformation of natural history 'as literary authority' to embodying the new scientific ideas and observational methods of the era. This two-volume work makes a significant scholarly contribution to literary studies and history by bringing insects and insect life into these conversations."
– Martha Few, author of Baptism Through Incision: The Postmortem Cesarean Operation in the Spanish Empire
"There has not previously been such a wide-ranging collection as this. Lesser Living Creatures of the Renaissance is a vital new contribution to not only early modern studies, not only animal studies and ecocriticism, but also the history of science, the history of medicine, and current debates about the environment."
– Erica Fudge, author of Quick Cattle & Dying Wishes: People and Their Animals in Early Modern England