Article ID: CBB265922337

Provoking Performance: Printed Dialogue and Early Modern Publics in Christopher St. German's Salem and Bizance (2021)


This essay argues that Christopher St. German made tactical use of the dialogue form to cultivate a public in his print controversy with Thomas More on the subject of reform. Publishing in the early 1530s, More accused St. German of disseminating disgruntled speech in print absent a real constituency of speakers voicing such complaints. St. German countered More's critique by incorporating a dialogue between the characters Salem and Bizance that conflated the reading of his printed works with the speaking and sharing of their political concerns. Although the role of performance in early modern politics has long been recognized in connection to the theater and theatricality, St. German's work demonstrates that early print also invoked the bodily interactivity and iterability characteristic of performance in order to script readers’ use of the relatively new medium. St. German's Salem and Bizance dialogue thus prompted print readers to understand themselves as, and indeed to become, partisan members of a public speaking in and about the debate.

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Authors & Contributors
Elmer, Peter
Floyd-Wilson, Mary
Hallberg, Peter
Johnstone, Nathan
Murray, Patrick J.
Newton, Hannah
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
History of Political Thought
Medical History
Cambridge University Press
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Cambridge University
Rutgers University
Taylor & Francis
Science and literature
Disease and diseases
Drama, dance, and performing arts
Medicine and literature
Popular culture
Shakespeare, William
Cavendish, Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle
Descartes, René
Galilei, Galileo
Huygens, Christiaan
More, Thomas
Time Periods
16th century
Early modern
17th century
18th century
15th century
19th century
Paris (France)
East Indies

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