Civic and symbolic space in representation and ritual in the Renaissance
This project examines the conception and imaging of the city in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The thesis aims to chart the ways in which a spatialised reading of the metropolis most fully realised in ceremonial representations of the city informs representational strategies of the time. Chapter 1 looks at the transformations taking place during this period in the practice of land surveying, exploring the implications of the new techniques of geometrical survey for conceptions of civic space. Examining the parallels between the viewing of the estate and the reformation of the Rogationtide ceremonies of perambulating the bounds, the urban context for spatial description is analysed through a reading of John Stow's Survey of London. In Chapter 2 the resistance of the city to a strictly geometrical conception of space is traced through an analysis of early printed maps of the city and the texts of civic ceremonies. The shared interest of these cultural practices in the representation of civic space is interrogated to reveal an understanding of the city as comprising !oth built environment and social body which informs the deployment of the city as a subject of cartographic representation. The next chapter analyses the costume book in the context of a Europewide project of geographical description. The production of a clothed body capable of articulating spatial and hierarchical difference is examined in relation to the available ceremonial models for the negotiation of these intersecting axes of description and the tensions generated by this representational strategy The final chapter undertakes a reinvestigation of the Earl of Essex's rebellion, reading a wide range of materials to argue for the centrality of anxieties over the control of the civic sign to the understanding of this event.