UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Known Unknowns: Sir John Davies’ Nosce Teipsum in Conversation

Ossa-Richardson, A; (2021) Known Unknowns: Sir John Davies’ Nosce Teipsum in Conversation. English Literary Renaissance , 51 (3) pp. 383-408. 10.1086/715424. Green open access

[thumbnail of Ossa-Richardson_715424.pdf]
Preview
Text
Ossa-Richardson_715424.pdf - Published Version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

This essay examines Sir John Davies’ long poem Nosce Teipsum in dialogue with an unpublished contemporary critique by the otherwise unknown Robert Chambers, written in the same verse form. Whereas Davies conveys a thoroughgoing ambivalence about the possibility of self-knowledge, an ambivalence rather obscured by his confident and polished iambic pentameter, Chambers explicitly and repetitively rejects that possibility. But whenever Chambers tries to engage with the details of Davies’ theological tenets—that every soul was created directly and individually by God, that man was made in the image of God, and that the soul exists entirely in every part of the body—he arrives at inarticulate and even nonsensical rival formulas. In other words, Chambers’ poem seems unwittingly to demonstrate his own argument that spiritual self-knowledge is impossible. I read these two poems together as a sort of parable about the potential value to readers of accidental inarticulacy, alongside the deliberate counterfeit sort of inarticulacy that we have long prized.

Type: Article
Title: Known Unknowns: Sir John Davies’ Nosce Teipsum in Conversation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1086/715424
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1086/715424
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of English Lang and Literature
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133176
Downloads since deposit
64Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item