Time's Purpled Masquers: Stars and the Afterlife in Renaissance English Literature

Synopsis

Alastair Fowler's fascinating study explores the extraordinary prominence of astronomical imagery in Renaissance literature. He describes the forgotten Renaissance beliefs about stellification, an afterlife in the stars through metamorphosis into stellar or angelic substance. The new astronomy of Copernicus and Brahe, far from working against religious beliefs, encouraged hopes of access to the uncorrupted spheres. Fowler's many-faceted book scrutinizes these ideas--both sacred and scientific--as they manifested in literature, masques, architecture, and the pursuit of fame.

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