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Channelling meaning from the margins

The hermeneutical potential of paratextual quotations in Henry Peacham’s Minerva Britanna (1612)
Cezara Bobeica


Henry Peacham est une figure singulière au sein de l’emblématique anglaise du début du XVIIe siècle. C’est dans le Minerva Britanna, recueil d’emblèmes publié en 1612 que s’exprime tout le talent de Peacham. Premier livre d’emblèmes à être illustré par l’auteur lui-même, le Minerva Britanna est également le premier livre d’emblèmes anglais à être redevable à l’Iconologia de Cesare Ripa, dont l’édition illustrée date de 1603. Mais Ripa n’est pas la seule source de Peacham, une impressionnante accumulation de sources bibliques, antiques et patristiques complète la liste des intertextes qui lui servent de modèle, créant ainsi une œuvre palimpseste et polyphonique singulière. C’est ainsi par le maniement habile des sources citées en paratexte que Peacham construit une persona à facettes multiples dont la voix discordante est placée stratégiquement dans le hors-texte de quelques emblèmes-intrus que nous analyserons.

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1The emblematic genre appeared in 1531 when Henrich Steiner issued an illustrated edition of Alciati’s Emblematum liber, launching a trend that was to last until the late nineteenth century. The emblem is commonly defined as a tripartite structure: a motto or title, usually in Latin or Greek, a symbolic picture, and an epigram which often explains the picture. The superimposition of various elements in order to create meaning entails the question of originality in that the emblematist’s task seemingly consists in combining components that most of the time are not his own but are borrowed from different sources. Henry Peacham’s Minerva Britanna (1612) is a collection of 204 emblems partly illustrating some selected passages from King James’s Basilikon Doron (1599), a treatise on kingship dedicated to Henry, the heir presumptive.

  • 1 The 1610 manuscript, the longest of the three versions, was indeed received by Prince Henry, a fact (...)
  • 2 The first manuscript from 1603, MS Rawlinson Poetry 146, is kept at the Bodleian Library; both the (...)

2The published version of Peacham’s collection is a reworking of three previous manuscript books, an emblematic enterprise which he began as early as 1603, when Peacham presented his emblems to King James in the hope of winning his favours and his patronage. Two more manuscript versions followed in 1604 and 1610. Peacham finished only the last one which he coloured and offered to Prince Henry.1 As all the manuscript versions were preserved,2 they are a unique treasure trove testifying to the creation and evolution of the emblems from 1603 to 1612. A number of modifications were introduced from the manuscripts to the published versions of Minerva Britanna, ranging from the anglicisation of the Latin epigrams, which were turned into two six-line stanzas, the evolution of some pictures and the invention of new emblems. Besides being a reworking of the previous manuscript versions, the 1612 edition of Minerva Britanna draws upon a considerable number of sources, some being copied verbatim, while others are turned into imitations or variations, to the point that Judith Dundas concludes that “[t]he more Peacham’s emblems are studied, the less original they prove to be” (Dundas 107). The collection comprises a vast amount of paratextual notes (references, annotations in English, and partial quotations from a variety of classical, patristic and humanist sources). We would like to argue that Peacham achieves a high degree of originality in his treatment of the paratextual material. We understand originality in two ways, etymologically, that which is “the origin or source of something; from which something springs, proceeds, or is derived” (OED) and on the other hand, what is more authentic.

3For the purpose of our analysis, we will mainly draw upon Gerard Genette’s notion of the paratext to refer broadly to the texts that are not motto or epigram, and which are placed either in the margins, or directly under the English verses. The purpose of this paper is to show how the paratext is part and parcel of the construction of the meaning.

4We will shed light on the collection’s mode of composition, then we will approach the way Peacham departs from his sources which will show the hermeneutical potential of the marginal notes.

A few remarks on the mode of composition of Minerva Britanna

5The mode of composition of the emblematic genre is highly derivative, as Tung puts it (From Theory to Practice 187). Geffrey Whitney, the author of the first printed collection of emblems in English, A choice of Emblemes (1586) reminds the reader of the etymology of the word “emblem”:

This worde Embleme is as much to say in English as to set in, or to put in: properlie ment by suche figures or workes, as are wroughte in plate, or in stones in the pavementes, or on the waules, or suche like, for the adorning of the place: havinge some wittie devise expressed with cunning woorkemanship, somethinge obscure to be perceived at the first, whereby, when with further consideration it is understood, it maie the greater delighte the behoulder. (Whitney IX)

  • 3 I refer here to intertextuality as the acknowledged or implicit intertexts present in the emblems, (...)

6An emblem is thus created from the combination of various elements and the meaning is constructed from the interaction between motto, picture and epigram. In Peacham’s collection, the construction of meaning is complicated by a fourth element, namely quotations and marginal notes. Intertextuality3 is indeed one of the defining modes of the emblematic genre, as the writers often use both pre-existing textual and visual sources, in order to create their emblems, and Minerva Britanna is no exception to the rule, as Peacham admits in his address to the reader:

I have herein but imitated the best approved Authours in this kind: as Alciat, Sambucus, Junius, Reusnerus, and others: they being such, as either in regard of their transcended dignitie, and vertues, deserve of all to be honoured: to others whom for their excellent parts and qualities, I have ever loved, and esteemed. (6)

  • 4 Symbola divina et humana Pontificum imperatorum regnum, 1602.
  • 5 Symbola et Emblemata Centuria quatuor, 1590-1604.
  • 6 Emblematum Liber, 1531
  • 7 A choice of emblemes and other devises, 1586.

7Of the 204 emblems of the collection, 84 have been traced to emblem and imprese collections, among which Typotius’s4, Camerarius’s5, Alciato’s6, Whitney’s7 and others. Another 84 emblems have been found to be based on non-emblematic sources like Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia (both the 1599), King James’s Basilikon Doron, heraldic arms, and Aesop’s fables.

A list of the sources used in Peacham’s Minerva Britanna

A list of the sources used in Peacham’s Minerva Britanna

Tung, From Theory to Practice 214

8Mason Tung noted that “thirty-six [emblems] remain unidentified, most of which could well have been Peacham’s original inventions” (From Theory to Practice 187). The study of the intertexts of Minerva Britanna is a complex issue because of Peacham’s somewhat erratic habit of sometimes using the pictures and not the text of these sources, or the text and not the pictures. What is more, the epigrams often comprise unreferenced intertexts which may pass unnoticed by the reader. The abundant use of sources to shape the emblems entails “a game of ‘hide-and-seek’ with his reader” (From Theory to Practice 187) and questions Peacham’s motivations for concealing some of his sources, while revealing others.

Peacham’s use of his sources

9One of the strategies Peacham uses is to transform his sources, sometimes to the point of making them unrecognizable, except for the learned reader. Aula [The Courtier] is an illuminating case in point:

“Aula,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612, p.206

“Aula,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612, p.206

Images used with permission of Special Collections at Middlebury College, courtesy of Timothy Billings

10The emblem denounces flattery as one of the dangers of court life. The picture combines two figures from Ripa’s Iconologia, Corte (93-95) and Adulatione (7). A close analysis of the sources and the emblem reveals significant changes: from Ripa, Peacham borrows the “fawning Spaniel,” “A ladie faire,” “a knot of hooks,” “lead shoes,” and “a pair of Stocks.” But he inserts one element of his own, the “Holy-water brush,” whose religious connotation certainly appealed to his learned readers. The metaphor of “holy water” to signify flattery is fairly common in early modern poetry. In one of the storm scenes in King Lear, the Fool begs for shelter from the pelting rain because “court holy water in a dry house is better than this rainwater out o’ doors” (King Lear, III, 2, 10). The “holy-water brush” might be one of Peacham’s indirect references to Shakespeare and Mason Tung considers it to be an element intended “both to satirize the vanity of seeking court favors and to bemoan his own misfortune in not securing any church livings from his would-be patrons” (From Theory to Practice 192).

11A note in the margin signals the origin of the expression “a paire of *Stocks,” as being “Aureæ compedes. Alciatus.” However, no emblem in Alciati’s book bears this motto, so Peacham’s note is probably a form of red herring. In his analysis, Tung suggests that Peacham refers the reader to Alciati’s “In Aulicos,” in which the epigram contains the expression, although not verbatim:

Vana palatinos quos educat aula clientes
Dicitur auratis nectere compedibus. (Alciato LXXXVI)

12Peacham transforms “Aureæ compedes” into “guilded hooks” in the epigram and Tung is right when he assumes that the “Alciatus” note may be one of the instances in which Peacham reminds his expert readers of his wit. We would like to push Tung’s analysis a step further, as the inaccuracy of the marginal note appears to be deliberately misleading and invites the reader to pursue the “inexhaustible quest” (Clements 184) for Peacham’s sources. In fact, “Aureæ compedes,” is Geffrey Whitney’s version of Alciati’s emblem in which Whitney calls for the freedom of the artist, a position he views as far more precious than any material riches. The true freedom is that of the mind:

And, if I should bee ask’d, which life doth please mee beste:
I like the goulden libertie, let goulden bondage reste.
(Whitney 202)

  • 8 The 1325th adage is entitled “Aureæ compedes.”

13Whitney himself borrows his motto from one of Erasmus’s adages bearing the same title in which Erasmus compares the courtiers’ dependence to gold chain8 (Erasmus 226-27). The idea of the artist’s independence and rejection of flattery is present, although obliquely, in Peacham’s “Aula,” in the final quotation borrowed from Seneca’s tragedy Thyeste, which sheds a new light on the meaning of the emblem:

Stet quicun (que) volet potens
Aulæ culmine lubrico
Me dulcis saturet quies;
Obscurus positus loco
Leni perfruar otio.

Let him that will, ascend the tottering seat
Of courtly grandeur, and become as great
As are his mounting wishes: as for me,
Let sweet repose and rest my portion be. (Seneca 266-67)

14Peacham’s deliberate misinformation in the marginal note, and Seneca’s quote, show that the emblematist uses red herrings intended to deceive he reader and force him to consider the whole emblem from another perspective. What is more, the emblem constructs an effect of polyphony, with the speaker’s voice (Peacham’s?) hiding behind Whitney’s, Seneca’s and possibly Erasmus’s, to express his ideal of freedom while at the same time surreptitiously denouncing the reign of flattery and dissimulation at court.

15Aula proves the hermeneutical potential of the paratextual quotations and the need to reassess their importance for the study of Minerva Britanna. The interlacing of texts, subtexts, and voices calls for the reader’s erudite curiosity and contributes to problematizing the overall meaning of the emblem. The effect created both symptomatic both of the emblematic genre, which Daniel Russell defines as an art of assembly (The Emblem and Authority 81-86), and of the status of the emblematist who seems to be more of a bricoleur than an engineer (ingénieur) in Claude Lévi-Strauss’s terms in La Pensée sauvage. Like other emblematists, Peacham uses “remains and debris” (Lévi-Strauss 21-22), odds and ends in his creative process.

Paratext and polyphony: de-centering the voice and the gaze

16In the Renaissance, the use of the paratext to insert quotations from classical, patristic, scriptural and humanist authors was a practice that showed the author’s indebtedness to sources and proved the extent of his learning. More importantly, the insertion of other texts into one’s own is a good illustration of the culture of the Renaissance whose primary foundation was books. Anthony Grafton thus argues that the humanists’ entire vision and understanding of the world was mediated by the written texts until at least the first half of the seventeenth century, when scientific discoveries began to undermine the aura of authoritative texts. Citing names and quotations from the literary canon was the surest way for an author to give authority to his own writing. Renaissance authors tended to resort to elaborate marginalia, a practice inherited from medieval times, that entailed a dialogue between texts and the marginal voices. Oswald Ducrot’s notion of “polyphony” will be useful here as my approach will consist in contrasting the speaker’s voice in the emblem and the voices of the authors cited in the margins.

  • 9 For a more detailed typology of the functions of the marginal gloss, see Slights.

17From the manuscript versions to the published version of Minerva Britanna, Peacham considerably increased the number of quotations and marginal notes. As shown by Mason Tung, the first manuscript version of Minerva Britanna contained no more than a dozen citations, in the second manuscript, Peacham used 157 citations, and 80 citations in the third version which was offered to Prince Henry, whereas in the 1612 published version, “Peacham refers to 102 authors of 192 titles in 377 incidences, an average of 1.6 per page” (A Reference Index 106). Most of the time, the paratextual quotations seem to work in perfect unison with the emblem, in the sense that the meaning of the latter is backed up by that of the former. The quotations are thus mostly used to either amplify, lay emphasis on, or clarify the meaning of the tripartite structure of the emblem.9 But in some emblems, some degree of discordance seems to be intentionally created between the two, the effect being a discrepancy in meaning and, more important, a dissonance in the voices. We should also mention that in many cases, Peacham selects most of the quotes in secondary sources such as florilegia, commonplace books, and anthologies commonly used in humanist education. In most cases, this has little consequence on the meaning of the passage cited, but this is not always the case, as the examples of Crimina gravissima and Tyranni morbus suspicio show. In the field of Peacham studies, Jean-Jacques Chardin is the only one to have shed light on the ways the paratextual quotations can both support, and destabilize, the meaning of the emblem.

“Crimina gravissima,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612, p.48

“Crimina gravissima,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612, p.48

Images used with permission of Special Collections at Middlebury College, courtesy of Timothy Billings

  • 10 For Peacham’s treatment of the myth, see Baird-Lange 231-50.

18Crimina gravissima, “The gravest of crimes,” denounces sodomy as a sexual deviance through the story of Jove and Ganymede. The motto criminalises sodomy, the picture shows Ganymede riding a cock (the sexual pun is clear), the epigram describes and moralises the picture10. The meaning one gathers from the emblem is a conventional condemnation of homosexuality. However, the two quotations in the margins, by Tibullus and by Cyprian, introduce a discordant note.

O fuge te teneræ puerorum credere turbæ, Nam causam iniusti semper amoris habent. Tibullus.

19When we compare Peacham’s quotation to the original source, we notice that the emblematist introduces a minor yet decisive change. The original quotation reads: “O fuge te teneræ puerorum credere turbæ; / Nam causam justi semper amoris habent” (Tibullus 20) and is translated as: “O flee! Don’t trust yourself with throngs of callow boys, / for they will always offer grounds for love” (Tibullus 21) Peacham changes “justi” into “injusti,” which serves his point that sodomy deviates from the social and natural laws. Tibullus’s rephrased quote validates the message of the emblem and the speaker’s voice is in accordance with that of the classical poet. But in order to make that possible, Peacham had to substantially modify the meaning of Tibullus.

20The Cyprian quote introduces an open dissonance which distorts the meaning of the emblem. Peacham’s quotation of Cyprian is one of those instances that engage the learned reader’s curiosity.

Ista a te puniantur (ô Rex) ne tu pro illis puniaris. Ciprian, De utilitate Pœnitentiæ. (Let those be punished by you (Oh King), so that you may not be punished in place of them)

21Mason Tung fails to identify the source of the quotation, which is no surprise as Cyprian never wrote any text entitled De utilitate pœnitentiæ and nowhere in his writings is this quotation to be found. The mysterious reference is in fact one of Peacham’s many borrowings from Justus Lipsius’s Politics (Book IV, Chapter III 390-91):

Puniantur a te, ne tu pro illis puniaris. Cypr. De util. Pœnitentiæ.

22Peacham adds “Oh King” into brackets to the Lipsius text, thus directing his words to King James. The quote invites us to reread the epigram as a warning aimed at the king himself whose homosexual penchant was an open secret at court whereas he severely condemned sodomy in his Basilikon Doron:

But as this severe justice of yours uppon all offences would be but for a time (as I have alreadie saide) so is there some horrible crymes that yee are bounde in Conscience never to forgive : Such as Witch-crafte, wilfull-murther, Incest (especiallie within the degrees of consanguinitie) Sodomie, Poysoning, and false coyne […]. (Craigie 64)

23The epigram of Peacham’s emblem deftly uses images and metaphors from James’s text and surreptitiously introduces the king’s own voice into his emblem. The marginal voice can then take the king at his own words and highlights the gap between the king’s pronouncements and his assumed sexual practices.

24We could perhaps add a final comment as regards the title of the book Cyprian’s quotation is supposed to derive from. The title seems to refer to one of Augustine’s sermons, “De utilitate pœnitentiæ” in which he calls for a general and sustained penitence (Augustine 113-52). On top of adding a new referential layer, the quotation implies a political, religious and moral condemnation of the king’s sexual deviance. To confess his crimes before God might therefore be the only thing that could save James from damnation.

25By “excising” (Compagnon 20) these two quotations from their original contexts and grafting them onto his own text, Peacham intentionally creates dissonances verging on cacophony. The subversive remarks introduced in the margins level a veiled criticism at James. Several emblems in the collection voice Peacham’s disillusion with the Stuart king, while testifying to a nostalgic vision of the Elizabethan Golden age, a time, Peacham hopes, Prince Henry will revive. We understand that for an author who was looking for King James’s favours and Prince Henry’s patronage, such a criticism could not be voiced in the epigram. In this regard, the poetic voice seems to hide at times in the margins where authoritative voices are used to ventriloquise his own thoughts.

26In other cases, the meaning in the emblem is channelled in two different ways by the paratext which brings in other levels of meaning.

“Tyranni morbus suspicio,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612, p.90

“Tyranni morbus suspicio,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612, p.90

Images used with permission of Special Collections at Middlebury College, courtesy of Timothy Billings

  • 11 “I am not talking here about that normal and civilized hatred, by which we hate all bad persons; bu (...)

27Tyranni morbus suspicio, “The disease of a tyrant is suspicion,” is an emblem about the responsibility that comes with the crown and makes kingship a tiresome burden and a Christ-like sacrifice. The epigram refers to Richard’s defeat at the Battle of Bosworth and how Henry found his crown in a hawthorn bush, a symbolic event from which he designed his devise, as figured in the picture. The combination of picture and epigram consolidates the idea of the hardships of kingship. However, the motto seems to be an odd choice since nowhere in the picture and the epigram is tyranny or suspicion mentioned. To understand the emblematist’s choice, the motto needs to be put in relation to the paratext, and notably one of Caligula’s sayings: Multæ illi manus tibi una cervix. Ex dicto Caligulæ,” “They [the people] have many hands, you one neck,” which Tung does not comment on. Peacham’s quotation is Lipsius’s Latin rephrasing of a passage in Dio Cassius’s Romaikhe istoria (Roman History) in which Caligula is reminded of his mortality (Lipsius 462-63). This quotation appears in a chapter where Lipsius deals with the main danger a king has to face, namely his people’s hatred which he should avoid at all costs11. The motto and the paratextual note redirect the general meaning of the emblem which appears an oblique warning addressed to Prince Henry. He should reign wisely to secure his people’s love and his “Trophees may be more, / Then all the Henries ever liv’d before” (Par Achillis, Puer une vinces [Peacham 17]).

28Is it possible to explain Peacham’s choice of multiplying voices? In his address to the reader, Peacham writes:

The true use hereof from time to time onely hath been […] to feede at once both the minde, and the eie, by expressing mystically and doubtfully, our disposition, either to Love, Hatred, Clemencie, Justice, Pietie, our Victories, Misfortunes, Griefes, and the like: which perhaps could not have been openly, but to our prejudice revealed. (Peacham 6)

  • 12 The cento is a literary text made of quotations from other works, mostly used for parody or irony p (...)
  • 13 “For in those cases, in which I had no direct quote from others right at hand: what reason was ther (...)

29Peacham’s confession shows that in order to reveal his thoughts freely and without prejudice, he had to elaborate some strategies in terms of enunciation. In this way, the discordances between marginal voices and poetic voice could suggest that the marginal voices become central as they seem to express what the poetic voice could not, “but to [his] prejudice [reveal].” In that case, Peacham’s use of the paratext is not unlike Lipsius’s own quotational writing. Lipsius resorted to the cento form12 that allowed him to sustain ambiguity when making controversial statements, a strategy similar to that used by Peacham. What is more, Lipsius, like Peacham, made it a common practice to alter his sources when necessary,13 which comforts the view that in the political emblems that we studied, Peacham practices a form of centonic writing himself.

30Therefore, manipulating the quotations in the paratext might be one of the ways Peacham uses to emancipate from what Matthias Bauer calls “self-imposed fetters,” that is, the formal or thematic restrictions that a writer chooses and that both challenge and set free his creativity (Bauer 1-18). Peacham draws upon many sources in order to challenge his learned reader, and invites his gaze to circulate from the main text to the margins. In this respect, the quotations in the margins redirect the reading of the emblem. The authoritative voices in the margins are a front that the poetic voice uses to express contentious thoughts. In those cases of discordant polyphony, the poetic voice inhabits the margins and places the controversial statements into the mouths of others. The polyphony created by the interplay of voices is nothing more than a smokescreen intended to cover the tracks of the poetic voice, a strategy the emblematist presents right from the collection’s frontispiece in which a mysterious hand behind the curtain literally shows Peacham’s “mystical and doubtful” enunciative strategies.

“Frontispiece,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612

“Frontispiece,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612

Images used with permission of Special Collections at Middlebury College, courtesy of Timothy Billings

31The reversed motto, Mente videbor (By the mind I shall be revealed), needs a mirror to be read in its proper order. The technique is similar to that of mirror anamorphoses commonly produced in the Renaissance. The construction of the emblem operates on the same mode as that of an anamorphosis and the paratext sheds an oblique light on the rest of the emblem, helping to reveal the hidden meanings possibly intended by the author.


32Minerva Britanna is a conventional emblem book which appears to abide by the rules and norms of the genre. The origins of Minerva Britanna are manifold and can easily be traced back to Alciati, Whitney and Reusner, as openly admitted in the address to the reader. Moreover, Peacham is always keen on citing the original sources of the elements he uses to compose his emblems. On the other hand, he often garbles, alters or rephrases the excerpts he quotes in the paratextual notes to create a consort of voices and perspectives the purpose of which is to add up new and at times subversive meanings. The collection has affinities with the tradition of the emblem in the early modern period but conveys dissident messages by the subtle handling of the source materials. The emblematist seems to have found a playful way, accessible to the expert readers only, to voice the unthinkable and the transgressive. Contrasting the paratext and the emblems proves the hermeneutical potential of the marginal notes and invites a reassessment of their importance for the study of Minerva Britanna.

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Primary sources

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Tung, Mason. “From Impresa to Emblem: Peacham’s Use of Typotius’s Symbola and Other Impresa Collections in Minerva Britanna.” Emblematica: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Emblem Studies 3:1 (1988): 79-100.

Tung, Mason. “From Mirror to Emblem: A Study of Peacham’s Use of Mικροκόσμος in Minerva Britanna.” Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry 5:4 (1989): 326-32.

Tung, Mason. “From Personifications to Emblems: A Study of Peacham’s Use of Ripa’s Iconologia in Minerva Britanna.” The English Emblem and the Continental Tradition. Ed. Peter M. Daly. New York: AMS Press, 1988. 109-50.

Tung, Mason. “From Theory to Practice: A Study of the Theoretical Bases of Peacham’s Emblematic Art.” Studies in Iconography 18 (1997): 187-219.

Young, Alan R. The English Emblem Tradition: Henry Peacham’s Manuscript Emblem Books. Vol. 5. Index Emblematicus. Toronto; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1998.

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1 The 1610 manuscript, the longest of the three versions, was indeed received by Prince Henry, a fact confirmed a couple of years later in Peacham’s address to the prince in his Minerva Britanna: “It is now two years since I presented unto your Highnes some of them [mine emblems], then done by me into Latine verse, with their pictures drawen and limned by mine owne hand in their lively colours; wherein, as neere as I could, I observed the Method of his Maiesties BASILICON DORON” (Peacham A.2). For a full treatment of Peacham’s manuscript versions, and the transformation of the Basilicon Doron into emblems, see Young.

2 The first manuscript from 1603, MS Rawlinson Poetry 146, is kept at the Bodleian Library; both the 1604 manuscript, MS Harleian 6855, Art.13, and the 1610 MS Royal 12A LXVI are to be found in the British Library in London.

3 I refer here to intertextuality as the acknowledged or implicit intertexts present in the emblems, whether identical to the source or transformed (Kristeva 35-59).

4 Symbola divina et humana Pontificum imperatorum regnum, 1602.

5 Symbola et Emblemata Centuria quatuor, 1590-1604.

6 Emblematum Liber, 1531

7 A choice of emblemes and other devises, 1586.

8 The 1325th adage is entitled “Aureæ compedes.”

9 For a more detailed typology of the functions of the marginal gloss, see Slights.

10 For Peacham’s treatment of the myth, see Baird-Lange 231-50.

11 “I am not talking here about that normal and civilized hatred, by which we hate all bad persons; but about a more vehement emotion, which springs from fear and comes with the desire to retaliate.” (Lipsius 461).

12 The cento is a literary text made of quotations from other works, mostly used for parody or irony purposes.

13 “For in those cases, in which I had no direct quote from others right at hand: what reason was there not to give a small and fitting twist to something [which I did have at hand]? It has always been allowed in this genre [cento], and will be allowed. Because I am in no way going to make excuses for not always repeating the words of the authors strictly and exactly as they were put by them: but I inflect them slightly in Case or Tense, according to the make-up of my argument. Otherwise this text could not be set down” (Lipsius, Politica 239).

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Table des illustrations

Titre A list of the sources used in Peacham’s Minerva Britanna
Légende Tung, From Theory to Practice 214
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre “Aula,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612, p.206
Crédits Images used with permission of Special Collections at Middlebury College, courtesy of Timothy Billings
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Titre “Crimina gravissima,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612, p.48
Crédits Images used with permission of Special Collections at Middlebury College, courtesy of Timothy Billings
Fichier image/jpeg, 172k
Titre “Tyranni morbus suspicio,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612, p.90
Crédits Images used with permission of Special Collections at Middlebury College, courtesy of Timothy Billings
Fichier image/jpeg, 172k
Titre “Frontispiece,” Minerva Britanna, Henry Peacham, 1612
Crédits Images used with permission of Special Collections at Middlebury College, courtesy of Timothy Billings
Fichier image/jpeg, 293k
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Cezara Bobeica, « Channelling meaning from the margins  »XVII-XVIII [En ligne], 77 | 2020, mis en ligne le 31 décembre 2020, consulté le 01 juin 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Cezara Bobeica

Cezara Bobeica est doctorante en Études Anglophones à l’Université de Strasbourg. Elle soutiendra sa thèse, intitulée “Le caché et le révélé dans Minerva Britanna (1612) de Henry Peacham” et dirigée par Jean-Jacques Chardin, le 8 janvier 2021.

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