Hobgoblins: fear and politics in the 17th and 21st centuries

Like our own, the political culture of seventeenth-century England was shaped in no small part by its constituents' fears; it was defined, as academics might say, by its Others, its excluded, resented, suspected, oppressed. In fact, it has been argued at least since Winthrop Jordan's massive and still worthwhile study White over Black that the very same racist … Continue reading Hobgoblins: fear and politics in the 17th and 21st centuries

Return to Penis Island: Or, the surprising trajectories of early modern population thought (Part 3: Conclusion)

[Earlier episodes: Part 1; Part 2] As we’ve seen, there were a variety of lenses through which to read Neville’s novel, from travel account to political parable to biblical allegory to niche pornography. The Isle of Pines’s close attention to population registered differently depending on the lens. To readers who kept a weather eye on … Continue reading Return to Penis Island: Or, the surprising trajectories of early modern population thought (Part 3: Conclusion)

Return to Penis Island: Or, the surprising trajectories of early modern population thought (Part 2)

[Earlier episode: Part 1] The Old Testament was familiar with the likes of George Pine: long-lived, polygamous survivors of disaster who founded new societies in bounteous and conveniently depopulated landscapes. In the Isle of Pines, for his part, Neville described a second Eden, “always clothed in green, and full of pleasant fruits, and variety of … Continue reading Return to Penis Island: Or, the surprising trajectories of early modern population thought (Part 2)