Hell’s Bells: Delight in Transatlantic Jinglings

  • Jennifer Linhart Wood
Part of the New Transculturalisms, 1400–1800 book series (NETRANS)


Although seemingly insignificant due to its diminutive size and soft resonance, the jingle bell has a rich archival history evident in surviving physical specimens and in travel narratives, as Wood discusses in “Hell’s Bells: Transatlantic Jinglings.” Trunks of these so-called “trifles” were brought to the New World as cheap trading items exchanged with native peoples. This chapter traces the motion of these small bells as they jingle throughout early modern travel narratives and onto the stage; their sound became so closely aligned with the New World that bells accompany music performed by a New World Indian figure in The Maske of Flowers. Though touted as “trifles” improperly overvalued by native peoples, these bells were also immensely popular in England and on the continent.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Linhart Wood
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.St. Mary’s College of MarylandSaint Mary’s CityUSA
  2. 2.The Folger Shakespeare LibraryWashington, DCUSA

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