Friday, January 10, 2020

Alan Gallay

Alan Gallay's new biography is Walter Ralegh: Architect of Empire.

From his Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: You write that Ralegh “epitomized the Renaissance man of action.” What are some of the ways in which he did so?

A: More than in any other period of European history, intellectuals in the Renaissance sought to connect all areas of existence—art, history, poetry, science, religion, and politics were interwoven.

Colonialism and empire, for instance, were characterized and promoted in poetry, depicted in painting, assessed in the laboratory, and contemplated in both spiritual and religious terms. Colonialism was also a physical act that involved intense preparation, movement across oceans, and the building of new societies.

The Renaissance intellectual, if capable, attempted to physically act on ideas. When Shakespeare had Hamlet say, “To be or not to be,” he drew on observing a generation of Elizabethans who answered, “To be!”

For Ralegh, that meant employing his physical skills as a soldier, courtier, naval captain, politician, bureaucrat, statesman, and scientist, while thinking about and reflecting on...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue