Advertisement

Resurrecting the Body in Robert Greene’s James IV (c. 1590)

Chapter
  • 123 Downloads

Abstract

At about three o’clock in the morning, Vincent bursts into the home of his dealer, desperately seeking help, after Mia’s accidental overdose. Amidst much panic and confusion, Vincent plunges a massive needle into Mia’s chest, injecting adrenalin straight into her heart. To the astonishment of onlookers, Mia suddenly leaps across the room, as if raised from the dead. Provoking horror and humour in equal measure, this bizarre resurrection constitutes one of the most memorable scenes in Tarantino’s 1994 cult classic Pulp Fiction.1 While some critics have suggested that this episode is merely symptomatic of Tarantino’s need to shock and disturb, of his preference for ‘style over substance, or perhaps, spectacle over message’, others have argued that this visual device ‘addresses the theme of the film’, which ‘for all its well deserved kudos for unique visual style [is] a simple tale about the redemption of hoodlums’.2 However, Mia’s resurrection contributes both style and substance to Pulp Fiction. The triumph of this cinematic spectacle is not one of affect over effect; it lies in a synthesis of affect and effect.

Keywords

Title Page Visual Device Massive Needle Stage Direction History Play 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994). For further discussion of this scene, see Peter and Will Brooker, ‘Pulp Modernism: Tarantino’s Affirmative Action’, in Peter and Will Brooker (eds.), Postmodern After Images (London: Arnold, 1997), pp. 23–35Google Scholar
  2. Dana Polan, Pulp Fiction (London: BFI, 2000), pp. 22–3.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Glynne White, ‘Quentin Tarantino’, in Yvonne Tasker (ed.), Fifty Contemporary Film Directors (New York: Routledge, 2011), p. 396Google Scholar
  4. David Kufoff, Vault Guide to Screenwriting Careers (New York: Vault, 2005), p. 62.Google Scholar
  5. Gerald Peary (ed.), Quentin Tarantino: Interviews (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1998), p. 147.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    J. A. Lavin (ed.), James the Fourth (London: New Mermaids, 1967), p. 5.Google Scholar
  7. W. L. Renwick, ‘Greene’s Ridstall Man’, Modern Language Review, 29 (1934), p. 434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. H. G. Wright, ‘Greene’s Ridstall Man’, Modern Language Review, 30 (1935), p. 437Google Scholar
  9. J. C. Maxwell, ‘Greene’s Ridstall Man’, Modern Language Review, 44 (1949), pp. 88–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 4.
    T. W. Baldwin, On the Literary Genetics of Shakespeare’s Plays, 1592–1594 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1959), p. 66.Google Scholar
  11. 5.
    Alexander Leggatt, ‘Bohan and Oberon: Internal Debate of Greene’s James IV’, in A. L. Magnusson and C. E. McGee (eds.), The Elizabethan Theatre XI (Port Credit, Ont.: P. D. Meany, 1990), p. 98.Google Scholar
  12. J. Clinton Crumley, ‘Anachronism and Historical Romance in Renaissance Drama: James IV’, Explorations in Renaissance Culture, 24 (1998), pp. 75–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Edward Gieskes, ‘Staging Professionalism in Greene’s James IV’, in Kirk Melnikoff and Edward Gieskes (eds.), Writing Robert Greene: Essays on England’s First Notorious Professional Writer (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), pp. 53–72Google Scholar
  14. A. R. Braunmuller, ‘The Serious Comedy of Greene’s James IV’, English Literary Renaissance, 3 (1973), pp. 335–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dermot Cavanagh, Language and Politics in the Sixteenth-Century History Play (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 58–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Verna A. Foster, The Name and Nature of Tragicomedy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), pp. 42–5Google Scholar
  17. Catherine Lekhal, ‘The Historical Background of Robert Greene’s James IV’, Cahiers Élisabéthains, 35 (1989), pp. 27–46Google Scholar
  18. Benjamin Griffin, Playing the Past: Approaches to English Historical Drama, 1385–1600 (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2001), p. 20.Google Scholar
  19. 7.
    Rita Felski, Uses of Literature (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), p. 105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 8.
    Patrick Cheney, ‘Edward II: Marlowe, Tragedy and the Sublime’, in Emma Smith and Garrett A. Sullivan (eds.), English Renaissance Tragedy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 174–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. David L. Sedley, Sublimity and Skepticism in Montaigne and Milton (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2005), p. 153.Google Scholar
  22. 9.
    Philip Shaw, The Sublime (London: Routledge, 2006), p. 3.Google Scholar
  23. 11.
    Antonin Artaud, Artaud on Theatre (ed. Claude Schumacher) (London: Methuen, 1989), p. 122.Google Scholar
  24. 12.
    For further discussion of funeral pageantry on the early modern stage, see Michael Neill, ‘“Exeunt with a Dead March”: Funeral Pageantry on the Shakespeare Stage’, in David M. Bergeron (ed.), Pageantry in the Shakespeare Theater (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985), pp. 153–93.Google Scholar
  25. 13.
    Tiffany Stern, Documents of Performance in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 14.
    B. A. P. Van Dam, ‘R. Greene’s James IV’, English Studies, 14 (1932), pp. 118–19.Google Scholar
  27. 15.
    Norman Sanders (ed.), The Scottish History of James the Fourth (London: Methuen, 1970), pp. 128–32.Google Scholar
  28. 16.
    For further discussion of the significance of dumb-shows in early modern drama, see B. R. Pearn, ‘Dumb-Show in Elizabethan Drama’, The Review of English Studies, 11 (1935), pp. 385–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dieter Mehl, The Elizabethan Dumb Show: The History of a Dramatic Convention (London: Methuen, 1965).Google Scholar
  30. 17.
    Richard Sheppard, Modernism-Dada-Postmodernism (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2000), p. 201.Google Scholar
  31. 18.
    Philip Fisher, Wonder, the Rainbow, and the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences (London: Harvard University Press, 1998), p. 18.Google Scholar
  32. 19.
    Michael Neill, Issues of Death: Mortality and Identity in English Renaissance Tragedy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), p. 309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Karen Sawyer Marsalek, ‘“Awake your faith”: English Resurrection Drama and The Winter’s Tale’, in David N. Klausner and Karen Sawyer Marsalek (eds.), ‘Bring furth the pagants’: Essays in Early Drama Presented to Alexandra F. Johnson (London: University of Toronto Press, 2007), pp. 271–91Google Scholar
  34. Sarah Beckwith, ‘Shakespeare’s Resurrections’, in Curtis Perry and John Watkins (eds.), Shakespeare and the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 45–67Google Scholar
  35. Elizabeth Williamson, The Materiality of Religion in Early Modern English Drama (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 33–70.Google Scholar
  36. 20.
    Peter Stallybrass, ‘Worn Worlds: Clothes and Identity on the Renaissance Stage’, in Margreta de Grazia, Maureen Quilligan and Peter Stallybrass (eds.), Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 308.Google Scholar
  37. 21.
    Andrew Sofer, The Stage Life of Props (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2003), p. viii.Google Scholar
  38. 22.
    Lina Perkins Wilder, Shakespeare’s Memory Theatre: Recollection, Properties and Character (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 1.Google Scholar
  39. 23.
    Michael Hattaway, Elizabethan Popular Theatre (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982), p. 111.Google Scholar
  40. 26.
    All quotations are taken from W. Reavley Gair’s edition of Antonio and Mellida (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  41. 27.
    All quotations are taken from R. B. Parker’s edition of A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (London: Methuen and Co., 1969).Google Scholar
  42. 28.
    Anthony Munday, ‘Chruso-thriambos’, in David M. Bergeron (ed.), Pageants and Entertainments of Anthony Munday (New York: Garland, 1985), p. 56.Google Scholar
  43. 29.
    Daryl W. Palmer, ‘Metropolitan Resurrection in Anthony Munday’s Lord Mayor Shows’, Studies in English Literature 1500–1900, 46 (2008), p. 377.Google Scholar
  44. 32.
    Brian Walsh, Shakespeare, the Queen’s Men, and the Elizabethan Performance of History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 34.
    Darryll Grantley, ‘The Winter’s Tale and Early Religious Drama’, Comparative Drama, 20 (1986), pp. 17–37Google Scholar
  46. Christopher J. Cobb, The Staging of Romance in Late Shakespeare: Text and Theatrical Technique (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007), pp. 117–55.Google Scholar
  47. 35.
    Charles Altieri, The Particulars of Rapture: An Aesthetics of the Affects (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003), pp. 39–42.Google Scholar
  48. 36.
    Kenneth Muir, ‘Robert Greene as Dramatist’, in Richard Hosley (ed.), Essays on Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama in Honor of Hardin Craig (London: Routledge, 1963), p. 50.Google Scholar
  49. 37.
    Steven C. Young, The Frame Structure in Tudor and Stuart Drama (Salzburg: University of Salzburg Press, 1974), p. 27.Google Scholar
  50. 38.
    Diane Purkiss, Troublesome Things: A History of Fairies and Fairy Stories (London: Allen Lane, 2000), p. 175.Google Scholar
  51. 39.
    R. A. Foakes (ed.), Henslowe’s Diary (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 20.Google Scholar
  52. 40.
    Matthew Woodcock, Fairy in The Faerie Queene: Renaissance Elf-Fashioning and Elizabethan Myth-Making (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), p. 37.Google Scholar
  53. 44.
    Gilles D. Monsarrat, Light from the Porch: Stoicism and English Renaissance Literature (Paris: Didier-Erudition, 1984)Google Scholar
  54. Amelia Zurcher, ‘Untimely Monuments: Stoicism, History, and the Problem of Utility in The Winter’s Tale and Pericles’, English Literary History, 70.4 (2003), pp. 903–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 46.
    All quotations are taken from W. Reavley Gair’s edition, see John Marston, Antonio’s Revenge (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1978), p. 88.Google Scholar
  56. 47.
    All quotations are taken from Philip Massinger, Believe as You List (London: Malone Society, 1927).Google Scholar
  57. 50.
    Gail Kern Paster, Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), p. 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 51.
    Keir Elam, ‘“In What Chapter of His Bosom?”: Reading Shakespeare’s Bodies’, in Terence Hawkes (ed.), Alternative Shakespeares, vol. 2 (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 154.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jenny Sager 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations