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Increase and Multiply

Governing Cultural Reproduction in Early Modern England

2003
Author:

David Glimp

Increase and Multiply

A wide-ranging study of the ideology of population control in early modern England

Across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a growing notion of the value of a large populace created a sense of urgency about reproduction; accordingly, a wide array of English writers of the time voiced the need not merely to add more people but also to ensure that England had an abundance of the right kinds of people. This need, in turn, called for a variety of institutions to train-and thus make, through a kind of nonbiological procreation—pious, enterprising, and dutiful subjects. In Increase and Multiply, David Glimp examines previously unexplored links between this emergent demographic mentality and Renaissance literature.

The texts Glimp discusses subscribe to the ‘reproductive imperative’ to increase and multiply. This theological injunction turns out to be powerfully reinforced but also reframed in the emergent ‘political arithmetic’ of the early modern era, in which human population is reconceived as a form of national wealth.

Jonathan Crewe, Dartmouth University

Across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a growing notion of the value of a large populace created a sense of urgency about reproduction; accordingly, a wide array of English writers of the time voiced the need not merely to add more people but also to ensure that England had an abundance of the right kinds of people. This need, in turn, called for a variety of institutions to train—and thus make, through a kind of nonbiological procreation—pious, enterprising, and dutiful subjects. In Increase and Multiply, David Glimp examines previously unexplored links between this emergent demographic mentality and Renaissance literature.

Glimp’s analysis centers on humanist pedagogy as a mechanism for creating people capable of governing both themselves and others. Acknowledging the ways in which authors such as Sidney, Shakespeare, and Milton advance their own work by appealing to this vision, Glimp argues that their texts allow us to read the scope and limits of this generative ideal, its capacity to reinforce order and to become excessive and destabilizing. His work provides unprecedented insight into the role of fantasies of nonbiological reproduction in early modern political theory, government practice, and literary production.


Increase and Multiply

David Glimp is assistant professor of English at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

Increase and Multiply

The texts Glimp discusses subscribe to the ‘reproductive imperative’ to increase and multiply. This theological injunction turns out to be powerfully reinforced but also reframed in the emergent ‘political arithmetic’ of the early modern era, in which human population is reconceived as a form of national wealth.

Jonathan Crewe, Dartmouth University

David Glimp considers questions of reproduction and imitation in Renaissance texts not from the usual perspectives—Platonism or its poststructuralist critique—but from a more materialist perspective based in demography and population.

Karen Newman, Brown University

Increase and Multiply

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

ONE “Making Up People”:The English Commonwealth and the Writing of Populations
TWO Defending Poetic Generation:Sir Philip Sidney and the Aesthetics of Educational Reproduction
THREE Staging Government:Shakespearean Theater and the Government of Cultural Reproduction
FOUR The Educational Genesis of Men:Puritan Reform and John Milton’s Of Education
FIVE Paradisal Arithmetic:Paradise Lost and the Genesis of Populations

Notes

Index