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Pocket Maps and Public Poetry in the English Renaissance$
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Katarzyna Lecky

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198834694

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198834694.001.0001

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Davenant’s Numerical Nationhood

Davenant’s Numerical Nationhood

Chapter:
(p.151) 4 Davenant’s Numerical Nationhood
Source:
Pocket Maps and Public Poetry in the English Renaissance
Author(s):

Katarzyna Lecky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198834694.003.0004

Chapter 4 begins by placing Davenant’s first laureate chapbook Madagascar (1638) into conversation with the popular pocket atlases of the 1620s and 1630s to argue that the poet’s imagistic “Numbers” map links between geographical precision and societal betterment. As he argues in his Discourse on Gondibert (his Sidneian defense of poesy), Davenant believed that the numerical structure of poetry could speak to a broad public sphere defined by its constituents’ numeracy, at a time when numbers were emerging as a prime language for measuring the shifting British landscape. Davenant’s royalist carto-poiesis reemerges in his chart of London as the “Royall city” in King Charles his Augusta (1648) on the eve of the regicide. His work to remap monarchical prerogative onto the national topography constituted a deliberate challenge to the geographic imaginary of the small-format cartography which pervaded the popular culture of mid-seventeenth-century Britain.

Keywords:   Renaissance prosody, numeracy, practical mathematics, versification, meter, William Davenant, King Charles I, Madagascar

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