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Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture) Paperback – February 12, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0521786638 ISBN-10: 0521786630
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'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

Book Description

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 book offers a close reading of liter ary texts, paintings, textiles, theatrical documents, and ephemera to reveal how clothing and textiles were crucial to gender, sexuality, and religion in the Renaissance.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture (Book 38)
  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (February 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521786630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521786638
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,431,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Bridgette MacLean on December 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is definately an academic exercise in social history. For a researcher of the MINDSET of the Renaissance it is invaluable.
A costumer solely looking for color photographs will be disappointed. Information from inventories, wills, and monographs is limited.
For people looking for a sound and expansive biblioography on clothing issues, this book provides one.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Heeren on October 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
It has been said that "the clothing makes the man," and in Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory, Ann Jones and Peter Stallybrass seek to determine the validity of this statement. To examine the impressions that were crucial to the creation and recreation of concepts of status, gender, sexuality, and religion in the Renaissance, and to reconcile the conflicting significance of clothing during the Renaissance - clothing as a physical representation of the wearer, and clothing as a financial investment - the authors examine a number of unusual and original sources, including literary texts, paintings, embroidery and theatrical presentations. Though clothing could be a good way to invest money (the authors point out that many nobles were commodity rich and cash poor) and to maintain power over subordinates (a gift of clothing would serve to bind a servant to the master more firmly than a gift of money), the authors believe that clothing was important during the Renaissance for other reasons. Jones and Stallybrass come to the conclusion that during this period clothing served as a "material memory system"; clothing was the method by which people were reminded who they were and where they belonged in the hierarchy of society. Essentially, the clothing that people chose to wear "fashioned" them into the person that entered in the social realm. Items such as cloaks, armor, and heraldic symbols could indicate ones social situation; the removal of such markers, however, would return the individual to the naked anonymity that Adam and Eve sought to escape.
As Jones and Stallybrass argue, "livery was a form of incorporation...that inscribed obligation and indebtedness upon the body. As cloth exchanged hands, it bound people in networks of obligation" (20).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rhea M. Hebert on January 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent resource on early modern culture in England. As some scholars have pointed out, the "Renaissance" in the title is a bit vague; this book is concerned with England and its relationship with clothing. The book is equally valuable for art historians, literary scholars, and theatre work. The various chapters focus on one or two ways in which clothes affected the English cultural scene. I have found this book invaluable as I continue working on a research project that involves representations of individuals in art and society, and the more general topic of visual and textual intersections in English society.
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