"In the center of all rests the sun. For who would place this lamp of a very beautiful temple in another or better place than this wherefrom it can illuminate everything at the same time? As a matter of fact, not unhappily do some call it the lantern; others, the mind, and still others, the pilot of the world. Trismegistus calls it a ‘visible god’; Sophocles’ Electra, ‘that which gazes upon all things.’ And so the sun, as if resting on a kingly throne, governs the family of stars which wheel around. Moreover, the Earth is by no means cheated of the service of the moon; but, as Aristotle says in the De Animalibus, the earth has the closest kinship with the moon. The earth moreover is fertilized by the sun and conceives offspring every year."
— Nicolaus Copernicus, On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres (1543)
"That nature’s order might break down was a persistent concern of Renaissance and Elizabethan writers. If order was taken away, chaos would reign, feared the English scholar Thomas Elyot (1531). In Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida (produced 1601-1602), Ulysses worried that if hierarchical gradations were removed, the whole ‘enterprise [would be] sick.’ ‘Take but degree away, untune that string and hark what discord follows.’ Richard Hooker (1594) was concerned that if nature ceased to observe her own laws, the celestial frame might dissolve, the moon wander from her orbit, the wind die out, the clouds dry up, the earth’s fruits wither, and then chaos would ensue. Contributing to the sense of sickness and decay in the organic order of nature were the discoveries of the ‘new science.’ The old hierarchical structure of the macrocosm had been disrupted by the cosmology of Nicolaus Copernicus, published in 1543, which advanced the heliocentric hypothesis and challenged the Ptolemaic geocentric model of the universe. As Bernard Fontenelle perceived later in his Plurality of the Worlds (1686), Copernicus displaced the female earth from the center of the cosmos and replaced it with the masculine sun: ‘He snatches up the earth from the center of the universe, sends her packing, and places the sun in the center, to which it did more justly belong….All now goes round the sun, even the earth itself; and Copernicus to punish the earth for her former laziness, makes her contribute all she can to the motion of the planets and heavens; and now deprived of all the heavenly equipage with which she was so gloriously attended, she has nothing left her but the moon, which still turns round her.’"
— Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution
"When that the general is not like the hive to whom the foragers shall all repair, what honey is expected? Degree being vizarded, the unworthiest shows as fairly in the mask. The heavens themselves, the planets and this centre observe degree, priority and place, insisture, course, proportion, season, form, office and custom, in all line of order; and therefore is the glorious planet Sol in noble eminence enthroned and sphered amidst the other; whose medicinable eye corrects the ill aspects of planets evil, and posts, like the commandment of a king, sans cheque to good and bad: but when the planets in evil mixture to disorder wander, what plagues and what portents! what mutiny! what raging of the sea! shaking of earth! commotion in the winds! frights, changes, horrors, divert and crack, rend and deracinate the unity and married calm of states quite from their fixure!"
— Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act I, Scene III
"Wolfgang Clemen observed that Shakespeare often ‘smuggles in the images’ in his tragedies, the image ‘only touched upon and hinted at.’ The ‘smuggled’ commercial metaphors of Troilus and Cressida are often recognizable to us as such only through scholarly apparatus. Pandarus describes the dents in Troilus’ helmet—‘there’s laying on, take’t off who will, as they say’ (1.2.209)—in terms of a bond transaction, a reference more veiled than his vicarious enjoyment of the lovers’ first meeting: ‘go to, a bargain made: seal it, seal it’ (3.2.195). With this contractual imagery, Ulysses hails Troilus’ efforts on the field of battle, the young Trojan ‘engaging and redeeming himself’ like a bond (5.5.39). Cressida, calling herself the Greek generals’ ‘debtor’ (4.5.51), inquires of them whether, ‘in kissing, do you render or receive?’ (4.5.36). Priam, quoting Nestor, relays it to the Trojans that if they ‘deliver Helen,’ ‘all damage else… /Shall be struck off’ (2.2.3-7), as though the conflict between the nations were one, instead, between Thersites’ hostess and a penniless customer."
— Douglas Bruster, Drama and the Market in the Age of Shakespeare
"Helen, of course, serves as the prototypical object of desire for whom ‘Every tithe soul, amongst many thousand dismes’ had died. Like Cressida, Helen is referred to as ‘a pearl,’ a commodity within the circuit of exchange, stolen in recompense for ‘an old aunt whom the Greeks held captive’ (II.ii.77). The theft of Helen for Hesione suggests that the forcible ‘exchange’ of women between the Greeks and Trojans might have become an endless cycle of repetition; but Helen is given a peculiar status within this structure of violently competing desires which breaks the repetition. She functions at once as an object of exchange within this economy and also as the transcendent term governing the entire system. She is the pearl ‘Whose price hath launched above a thousand ships and turned crowned kings to merchants’ (II.ii.82-83). Though her value is questioned by Hector, and treated as an obscene delusion by Thersites and Diomedes, none of them deserts the struggle for her - even Thersites remains engaged, if only in his voyeuristic fascination with ‘those that war for a placket’ (II.iii.21). The desire for Helen is the energy that drives the vast enterprise of the war, and to a large extent, therefore, the play. Helen functions as the source of all value because she herself is ‘inestimable’ (II.ii.88), not to be weighed ‘in a scale of common ounces’ (II.ii.27-28). The Trojans have nothing of comparable value for the Greeks to steal in return; the Greeks can only strive to retrieve what they have lost."
— Carol Cook, Performing Feminisms: Feminist Critical Theory and Theatre
Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphne’s love, What Cressid is, what Pandar, and what we? Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl: Between our Ilium and where she resides, Let it be call’d the wild and wandering flood, Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar Our doubtful hope, our convoy and our bark.
—Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act I, Scene I
different-trains said: Hey! Just a quick question, what do think Irigaray means when she says “hom(m)o-sexuality” — its a question that has been floating around in my head for awhile.
A fairly concise definition—one that I can’t really improve upon—can be found in Engaging with Irigaray: Feminist Philosophy and Modern European Thought: “Irigaray distinguishes forms of homosexuality ordered and sanctioned by phallocentrism from other forms it may take somehow ‘beyond the phallus’ by punning on the interrelations between man (homme) and homosexual in the neologism hom(m)o-sexual. The hom(m)o-sexual order is the order of the phallic appropriation of sexual norms. ‘Hom(m)o-sexual’ evokes the male dominance, the homme of a hom(m)o-sexual culture, economy, and exchange.”