‘A seale of Virgin waxe at hand / Without impression there doeth stand’: Hymenal Seals in English Renaissance Literature. / Newman, Harry.

In: Lives and Letters, Vol. 4, No. 1, 113, 12.2012, p. 94.

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‘A seale of Virgin waxe at hand / Without impression there doeth stand’: Hymenal Seals in English Renaissance Literature. / Newman, Harry.

In: Lives and Letters, Vol. 4, No. 1, 113, 12.2012, p. 94.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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@article{f322739a882b49288b0965a6eadf612e,
title = "{\textquoteleft}A seale of Virgin waxe at hand / Without impression there doeth stand{\textquoteright}: Hymenal Seals in English Renaissance Literature",
abstract = "This essay combines literary criticism with archival work in order to explore the relationship between two material signs that were often connected figuratively in English Renaissance literature, the seal and the hymen. While the seal authorised, authenticated and secured letters and other documents, many thought the hymen did the same for virginal female bodies. Looking at plays and poems in relation to the material culture of sealing in early-modern England, I analyse metaphors and similes which represent the seal as a kind of epistolary hymen and the hymen as a kind of human seal. In doing so, I demonstrate how Shakespeare, Donne and other authors drew on material and rhetorical traditions as they engaged with this reversible analogy. The essay focuses on the paradoxical fact that defloration was rhetorically linked with both the stamping and breaking of seals, acts of creation and destruction respectively. I conclude by discussing aspects of the hymenal seal that destabilise its status as reliable sign of patriarchal authority, especially the possibility of counterfeiting.",
author = "Harry Newman",
year = "2012",
month = dec,
language = "English",
volume = "4",
pages = "94",
journal = "Lives and Letters",
issn = "2040-4395",
number = "1",

}

RIS

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T1 - ‘A seale of Virgin waxe at hand / Without impression there doeth stand’: Hymenal Seals in English Renaissance Literature

AU - Newman, Harry

PY - 2012/12

Y1 - 2012/12

N2 - This essay combines literary criticism with archival work in order to explore the relationship between two material signs that were often connected figuratively in English Renaissance literature, the seal and the hymen. While the seal authorised, authenticated and secured letters and other documents, many thought the hymen did the same for virginal female bodies. Looking at plays and poems in relation to the material culture of sealing in early-modern England, I analyse metaphors and similes which represent the seal as a kind of epistolary hymen and the hymen as a kind of human seal. In doing so, I demonstrate how Shakespeare, Donne and other authors drew on material and rhetorical traditions as they engaged with this reversible analogy. The essay focuses on the paradoxical fact that defloration was rhetorically linked with both the stamping and breaking of seals, acts of creation and destruction respectively. I conclude by discussing aspects of the hymenal seal that destabilise its status as reliable sign of patriarchal authority, especially the possibility of counterfeiting.

AB - This essay combines literary criticism with archival work in order to explore the relationship between two material signs that were often connected figuratively in English Renaissance literature, the seal and the hymen. While the seal authorised, authenticated and secured letters and other documents, many thought the hymen did the same for virginal female bodies. Looking at plays and poems in relation to the material culture of sealing in early-modern England, I analyse metaphors and similes which represent the seal as a kind of epistolary hymen and the hymen as a kind of human seal. In doing so, I demonstrate how Shakespeare, Donne and other authors drew on material and rhetorical traditions as they engaged with this reversible analogy. The essay focuses on the paradoxical fact that defloration was rhetorically linked with both the stamping and breaking of seals, acts of creation and destruction respectively. I conclude by discussing aspects of the hymenal seal that destabilise its status as reliable sign of patriarchal authority, especially the possibility of counterfeiting.

UR - http://www.xmera.co.uk/journalarchive/newman.pdf

M3 - Article

VL - 4

SP - 94

JO - Lives and Letters

JF - Lives and Letters

SN - 2040-4395

IS - 1

M1 - 113

ER -