The Invention of Discovery, 1500 – 1700

The Discovery of Blackness in the Early-Modern Bed-Trick

In the early-modern dramaturgical device of the bed-trick, the "reveal" characteristically hinges on the discovery of a substituted bedmate by the (conventionally) male victim. In this topic, I will examine what happens to such a discovery when that surrogate sexual partner is a dark-skinned female servant. With primary reference to John Fletcher’s The Knight of […]

Newness and Discovery in Early-Modern France

A telling example of the sixteenth-century adaptability of the term "New World," aptly illustrating how the concepts of "discovery" and "newness" can be challenged, appropriated, and played with, appears in Charles Fontaine’s Les nouvelles, & Antiques merveilles (1554). Fontaine argues that the New World was not discovered by Christopher Columbus, or by Amerigo Vespucci, but […]