Thomas Coryate, the Lousy Humanist
This chapter argues that Captain Coryate's symbolic body has an ecological nature similar to—but also more utopian and dazzling than—the fertile, peaceful, and productive landscapes he encountered on the Continent. Examining Coryate's "ornamentalism," it also argues that the political and social hierarchies are disrupted by the humble traveller from Odcombe who, traveling for pleasure, allows for an unusual ontological leveling that reflects his own position in the interstices of the social order. It focuses on Coryate's proximity with animals, especially horses, showing how his antihero role fits an assemblage of travel in which we can envisage relations between humans and animals outside the exigencies of war. The chapter takes a brief look at Coryate's trip to India, emphasizing his experience as an outsider with the East India Company and its assemblage of war. Coryate's carefully crafted metaphors suggest that travel is a kind of assemblage, and his vision of improving England requires collective effort.