Matthew Steggle
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Essexianism and the work of Gervase Markham
in Essex
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This chapter describes that Gervase Markham had enjoyed an earlier career as a writer of strongly romance-flavoured literature associated with the Earl of Essex. As one of the most prolific and engaged of Essexian writers, Markham has been described as 'the self-appointed laureate of the Essex group'. His copious writings from the 1590s offer an interesting and generally neglected case study of the whole world of what one might usefully term Essexianism. The chapter suggests that Markham's practical manuals are rooted fundamentally in the earlier military-chivalric writings. Markham's encyclopedia of everyday life should be thought of as a late and surprising flowering of Elizabethan Essexianism. Markham's play, The Dumbe Knight, features a valiant knight, Philocles, in love with a difficult mistress who sets him the task of not speaking for an entire year, a task which she soon regrets.

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The cultural impact of an Elizabethan courtier


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