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Conceiving Desire in Lyly and ShakespeareMetaphor, Cognition and Eros$
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Gillian Knoll

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474428521

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474428521.001.0001

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‘A Petty World of Myself’: Intimacy and Erotic Distance in Endymion

‘A Petty World of Myself’: Intimacy and Erotic Distance in Endymion

(p.112) Chapter 3 ‘A Petty World of Myself’: Intimacy and Erotic Distance in Endymion
Conceiving Desire in Lyly and Shakespeare

Gillian Knoll

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter 3 analyses Lyly’s Endymion, whose eponymous hero forges an erotic connection with the moon across the vast expanse of the night sky. Endymion’s investment in Cynthia’s strangest and most distant incarnation grants him access to a form of intimacy that emerges from erotic distance. To theorize the attachment one can form with a majestic, vast, present-but-distant love object such as Cynthia, this chapter turns to Gaston Bachelard’s work on “intimate immensity,” a special mode of daydreaming in which the dreamer forms a powerful bond with an immense, mysterious, often cosmic, object of contemplation. Although such a relation requires a vast distance between the dreamer and the immense phenomenon he contemplates, Endymion’s metaphors of permeability activate a shared, mutual, and profoundly intimate erotic relation with Cynthia.

Keywords:   Endymion, Intimacy, Distance, Gaston Bachelard, Intimate Immensity, Permeability, Contemplation, Mutuality, Dreams

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