‘More Lies Than True Tales’:Scepticism In Middleton'S Mock-Almanacs

Meredith Molly Hand

in The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Middleton

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199559886
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

‘More Lies Than True Tales’:Scepticism In Middleton'S Mock-Almanacs

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This article explores the relationship between Middleton's scepticism as it appears in his mock-prognostications, including The Owl's Almanac (1618), and the classical scepticism described in Sextus's Outlines of Pyrrhonism, which appeared in translation and was embraced in early modern English culture. Middleton's and Sextus's scepticisms ostensibly differ a great deal. The Pyrrhonist scepticism espoused by Sextus encourages humans to apprehend opposing sides of a debate, or alternative but equally valid perspectives, with equipollence, and to suspend judgement, thus arriving at a state of tranquillity. Middleton's scepticism casts doubt upon dogma and oppressive doctrine and exposes the material reality and socio-economic relations of early modern English culture.

Keywords: Thomas Middleton; Sextus; scepticism; Owl's Almanac; Outlines of Pyrrhonism; early modern culture

Article.  9036 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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