Renaissance Responses to Technological Change

  • Sheila J. Nayar

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Part I

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Sheila J. Nayar
      Pages 19-60
    3. Sheila J. Nayar
      Pages 61-110
  3. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 111-111
    2. Sheila J. Nayar
      Pages 163-214
  4. Part III

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 215-215
    2. Sheila J. Nayar
      Pages 217-265
    3. Sheila J. Nayar
      Pages 267-307
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 321-366

About this book


This book foregrounds the pressures that three transformative technologies in the long sixteenth century—the printing press, gunpowder, and the magnetic compass—placed on long-held literary practices, as well as on cultural and social structures. Sheila J. Nayar disinters the clash between humanist drives and print culture; places the rise of gunpowder warfare beside the equivalent rise in chivalric romance; and illustrates fraught attempts by humanists to hold on to classicist traditions in the face of seismic changes in navigation. Lively and engaging, this study illuminates not only how literature responded to radical technological changes, but also how literature was sometimes forced, through unanticipated destabilizations, to reimagine itself. By tracing the early modern human’s inter-animation with print, powder, and compass, Nayar exposes how these technologies assisted in producing new ways of seeing, knowing, and being in the world.


the printing press History of Gunpowder Early Modern Technology The Magnetic Compass Renaissance literary culture Renaissance print culture gunpowder warfare Shakespeare John Donne Petrarch's humanism Technology and Romance technology and culture media ecology Don Quixote François Rabelais Elizabethan drama early modern cartography technological determinism Jacobean theater William Shakespeare

Authors and affiliations

  • Sheila J. Nayar
    • 1
  1. 1.Greensboro CollegeGreensboro, NCUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-96898-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-96899-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site