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Few aspects of Essex’s extraordinary career have fired more debate than his association with political history. 1 The play staged at the Globe Theatre about ‘Kyng Henry the iiiith, and of the kyllyng of Kyng Richard the Second’, commissioned and watched by a handful of Essex’s supporters on the eve of his revolt, continues to fascinate scholars with its tantalising

in Essex
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James Shirley’s The Traitor

’s a Whore (1629–33?) and Shirley's The Maid’s Revenge (1626), and court-based tragedy in Ford's The Broken Heart (1629?) and Shirley's The Traitor (1631) and The Cardinal (1641) . The distinctions I have made here in type of tragedy hold true only to an extent; all of these tragedies find room to comment on the social mores and political and/or religious ideas of the period, but their plots put emphasis on different socio-political areas. The overbearing father of The Maid’s Revenge is countered by the generous and gentle father of ’Tis Pity ; the good

in The genres of Renaissance tragedy

In the autumn of 1595, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was poised to attain political greatness, and he knew it. The international political climate had become sufficiently precarious that a statesman with Essex’s particular expertise in foreign intelligence and military matters possessed skills well-tailored to address England’s current crises. Spain was once again

in Essex
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Richard II, La Guisiade and the invention of tragic heroes

dramatic scene during the 1590s, when French and English political issues were in especially close and dynamic conjunction. I It is irresistible to view the question of Richard II ’s genre bifocally – that is, through the contrasting lenses of its original titles: in the early Quarto editions, beginning with the first of 1597, it is labelled The

in French origins of English tragedy

-Simmern, Hubert Languet’s employer and Philip Sidney’s friend, Frederick IV assumed control over the Palatinate. Nurtured in the dynastic politics of Calvinism, Frederick IV married William of Orange’s daughter, Louisa Juliana. In 1613, when their son, the Elector Palatine Frederick V, married James I’s daughter Elizabeth, Mary Sidney Wroth’s father Robert was one of four ambassadors

in European erotic romance
Making and unmaking a Whig Marvell

, but moreover opprobrium that would translate Marvell’s book in terms of Milton’s explosive political prose. In so disputing his attacker, however, Marvell also discomfits modern critics and historians, who have little less determinedly linked Marvell’s ideological interest to Milton’s, and never more forcefully than when contending with the politics of their own day. There are of course good reasons why John Milton and his young friend ‘Mr Marvil’ should be so closely aligned in our historical imaginary as fellow poets, Protectoral colleagues

in Aesthetics of contingency

horrible delight. 7 Bradley does not acknowledge that Claudius states that his marriage to Gertrude was, whatever else it might also have been, part of a political strategy and it is no longer possible to assume either his romantic identification of the hero as poet, nor his sense of moral outrage. 8 Writing before the popularising of psychoanalysis, Bradley sees Hamlet’s crisis in terms of ‘moral shock

in Mothers and meaning on the early modern English stage
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Cynthia’s Revels imagines the death of the queen

border between a sublunary, mortal world, subject to time and death, and the unchanging heavens above. Over the last years of her reign, different representations of Elizabeth attempted in different ways to negotiate the gap between Elizabeth’s idealisation as a goddess, and the increasingly obvious evidence of her political vulnerability and personal mortality. 2

in Goddesses and Queens
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Remapping early modern literature

This book is about the relation between political instability and imaginative writing in seventeenth-century England. It centres on the fifty years between the armed invasion of England by Scots forces in 1639 and by the Dutch in 1688–89, clashes that may be seen as tipping points in the history of what contemporaries referred to as ‘England’s troubles’. 1 More broadly, these decades are situated in the context of a ‘long’ seventeenth century, characterised by a fluid set of continuities and discontinuities between the earlier and later

in Aesthetics of contingency
Woodstock after the Peasants’ Revolt

conception, of this founding moment of the English radical tradition? 5 In this chapter I will argue, focusing on Woodstock , that mindfulness of the traditions of commons political action offers a new way of understanding popular historical consciousness, and, in addition, the mentalities of early modern audiences and writers. That there was a practical

in Shakespeare’s histories and counter-histories