Greensboro College Professor Publishes Essay on Gunpowder in 17th-Century Romantic Literature

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Sheila Nayar, a professor of English and Communication Studies at Greensboro College, has published an essay examining how 17th-century chivalric romance increasingly embraced the so-called gunpower revolution then going on in England.

The essay, “Arms or the Man II: Epic, Romance, and Ordnance in Seventeenth-Century England,” appears in the most recent issue of Studies in Philology, Volume 115, No. 2.

This second part of a two-part essay continues to place the chivalric romance, both as a print and performance genre, more firmly in the context of Renaissance England’s contemporaneous gunpowder revolution. Where part I (which appeared in Studies in Philology, Volume 114, No. 3) focused on the romance tradition’s overarching attempts in the 16th century to evade gunpowder technology, part II attends to the ways in which, in the 17th century, that tradition came increasingly to make space for it.

Beginning with the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which resulted in an outpouring of narratives that conveyed and capitalized on the language of artillery, the essay then traces powder’s textual presence in—and, on occasion, its shrewd elision from—the romance tradition as composed for the popular stage, the domestic arena, and the royal court. It ends with an examination of how that tradition infused the news coverage of the artillery-laden civil wars.

Nayar holds a B.A. from Concordia University, an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She joined the Greensboro College faculty in 1999.

Greensboro College provides a liberal arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and, spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.

Founded in 1838 and located in downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,000 students from 29 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and four master’s degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features an 18-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities.


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