GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College Professor of English Mary Theresa Hall, Ph.D., had her book review of “Early Modern Writing and the Privatisation of Experience” by Nick Davis published in a leading journal on 16th-century literary issues.
The review is in the spring 2015 edition of Sixteenth Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies. In publication since 1969, the Sixteenth Century Journal prints about 25 articles and more than 400 book reviews each year.
Hall said in her review that Davis considers the evolution of the concept of “privacy” in select literary works of the 14th to the 18th centuries. She said the author details how even the evolving architecture of homes and the advancement of print technology during the Renaissance provided more personal time for prayer, study, conversation and other recreational activities. Hall adds that Davis uses literary examples from the era to underscore the fact that self-absorption and the need for “private time” certainly existed in life and in literary and artistic expression before the modern era.
According to Hall, Davis also draws on the invention of and experimentation with optics to discuss how the development of optics contributed to scientific, artistic, and literary imagination and inquiry. He then points out how the eventual emphasis on the individual spectator redefined the natural shared communal experience to include the privatization of individual experiences, perceptions and satisfaction.
A reader of Davis’s work will be impressed by the comparative analysis and research skills in his book and, if willing to invest in drawing connections among the various subjects discussed in the book, will realize the wide range of customs, ideologies, and communal experiences that permeate the Renaissance and contemporary time, Hall said.
Hall received her bachelor’s degree in English and secondary certification in English and French from Seton Hill University; a master’s in literature from Carnegie Mellon University; and a Ph.D. from Duquesne University.
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