We’ll likely spend most of our time tomorrow night on 20c responses to The Tempest, esp Cesaire’s and some of the other modern critics. (Lamming seems to have aroused some interest already.) But I wanted to put a word in early for the little snippets of source text that precede those essays, inc Pico’s “Oration,” from which the title of this post comes.
These snippets are hard to read (esp the shorter ones), and sometimes hard to follow (esp when excerpted), but they repay the effort. Pico’s phrase might help us think about the philosophical basis for Prospero’s treatment of Caliban (whom he calls “thou earth” in 1.2), and more broadly about intellectual aspiration and what it does in this play.
For any who are wanting to work on post-colonial readings, too, I strongly suggest looking closely at Samuel Purchas (93-5), who gives a succinct summary of the reasons Englishmen felt justified in colonizing the New World.