Devils incarnate
in Spectacular Performances
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This chapter refers to Roger Ascham's famous aphorism that Italians are wicked, but the Italianate Englishman is the devil incarnate. It begins with two obviously Italianate Englishmen, Inigo Jones and Ben Jonson. To a generation of Britons, Prince Charles himself was the devil incarnate, John Milton compared him with the diabolical Richard III, and Milton's Satan, with his ardent patronage of Mammon, shared Charles's aesthetic tastes. The visual arts provide Jonson with a touchstone for the taste that he craves as much as the diabolical Iniquo. Jones's sketch book from the Arundel trip survives a fascinating record of an English artist teaching himself to be Italianate. Jones's Italian classicism included a great deal of hybridization, the Italian grafted onto the English, sometimes perforce, as in the new west façade he erected on old St Paul's cathedral.

Spectacular Performances

Essays on theatre, imagery, books and selves in early modern England>


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