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Gareth Atkins

Ever since his violent death in 1556, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer had been used by rival groups to justify their views about the Church of England. Thanks chiefly to John Foxe his burning, in particular, became central to Protestant narratives. In the nineteenth century, however, confessional stories became hotly contested, and amid the ‘rage of history’ erstwhile heroes and martyrs were placed under intense scrutiny. This article uses Cranmers fluctuating reputation as a lens through which to explore changing understandings of the English past. As will become clear, uncertainties over how to place Cranmer bespoke a crisis of Anglican identity, one driven both by divisions within the Church of England and challenges to its political, cultural and intellectual authority from without. Despite and perhaps because of shifts in how he was seen, Cranmers liturgical writings - the Book of Common Prayer - came to be seen as his chief legacy.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Really existing democracy
Bryce Lease

reference outside of Polish contexts in the shaping and contesting of cultural identity. Krzysztof Warlikowski, a member of the first generation to work exclusively in a ‘free’ Poland, has undoubtedly had the greatest impact on Polish theatre since the late 1990s. Kopciński (2000) argues that Krystian Lupa introduced Warlikowski to subjects that would come to shape his work, such as cultural dispossession, spiritual atrophy, a deficiency of collective identity, internal chaos and immaturity. Warlikowski eschewed texts and directing styles that rely on assimilationist or

in After ’89
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Polish theatre and the political
Author: Bryce Lease

This monograph takes as its subject the dynamic new range of performance practices that have been developed since the demise of communism in the flourishing theatrical landscape of Poland. After 1989, Lease argues, the theatre has retained its historical role as the crucial space for debating and interrogating cultural and political identities. Providing access to scholarship and criticism not readily accessible to an English-speaking readership, this study surveys the rebirth of the theatre as a site of public intervention and social criticism since the establishment of democracy and the proliferation of theatre makers that have flaunted cultural commonplaces and begged new questions of Polish culture. Lease suggests that a radical democratic pluralism is only tenable through the destabilization of attempts to essentialize Polish national identity, focusing on the development of new theatre practices that interrogate the rise of nationalism, alternative sexual identities and forms of kinship, gender equality, contested histories of antisemitism, and postcolonial encounters. Lease elaborates a new theory of political theatre as part of the public sphere. The main contention is that the most significant change in performance practice after 1989 has been from opposition to the state to a more pluralistic practice that engages with marginalized identities purposefully left out of the rhetoric of freedom and independence.

Bryce Lease

dressing room of the Stary Teatr, where the audience was squeezed in on wooden benches, Budzisz-Krzyżanowska changed into period costume, a black velvet doublet and hose. Spectators observed the actress’ transformation into Hamlet, a copy of the play and the production program on her dressing table. Only visible through the dressing-room door, Wajda inverted the social function of the main stage of the Stary  – the paradigmatic space for sustaining national cultural identity and maintaining active resistance to foreign domination in the twentieth century. What had been

in After ’89
Bryce Lease

Agreement, agreed to the snap elections in June 1989 Jaruzelski hoped they would shoulder the burden of the economic disaster. Although the elections were only partially free – Solidarity was only allowed to contest 35 percent of the seats in the lower house of Parliament  – the electorate overwhelmingly sided with Solidarity with most of the Communists losing their seats. With the governing authority in disarray and the Solidarity party refusing to join forces with a Communist coalition, Solidarity found itself leading the government of Poland in September 1989. The

in After ’89
Critical essays on W. G. Sebald

In an essay "Ein Versuch der Restitution (An Attempt at Restitution)" delivered as a form of a speech at the opening of Stuttgart's House of Literature, W. G. Sebald asked about the usefulness of literature. This book illustrates some of the recurring concerns of, and tensions in, Sebald's writing: the interanimation of historical and literary discourses, and the clash of individual and collective memories. The coincidence of life and death, and the collision of documentary evidence with the contingent powers of the imagination are also explored. The first set of essays is devoted to issues of translation and style, and explores the revisionist potential of translation, and the question of translation into Sebald's poetry. It is argued that Sebald sought to follow Franz Kafka's stricture through the strategic deployment of 'unwords'. The book examines Sebald's prose works with a reading of Vertigo as an exercise in Surrealist literary historiography, and suggests that The Emigrants can be read as a contest between vision and obscurity. The implications of historical blind spots are pursued in the reading of Anglo-Irish themes in The Rings of Saturn. The various fragments of Sebald's aborted 'Corsica Project' offer a precious glimpse into a work-in-progress. The book investigates the extent to which H.G. Adler's work functions as a key intertext for Austerlitz, and helped determine Sebald's role and identity as a writer attempting to render aspects of the Holocaust. It also explores the two key aspects of Sebald's aesthetic technique, namely prose and photography.

Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape
Author: Janice Norwood

Victorian touring actresses: Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape provides a new perspective on the on- and offstage lives of women working in nineteenth-century theatre, and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America and Australasia. Drawing on extensive archival research, it features a cross-section of neglected performers whose dramatic specialisms range from tragedy to burlesque. Although they were employed as stars in their own time, their contribution to the industry has largely been forgotten. The book’s innovative organisation follows a natural lifecycle, enabling a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. Individual experiences are scrutinised to highlight the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of the actress’s body, and the operation of gendered power on and offstage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation. The book concludes with discussion of the legacies of the performers, linking their experiences to the present-day situation.

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Editor: Gregory Vargo

The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.

Chaucer, Spenser and Luke Shepherd’s ‘New Poet’
Harriet Archer

, committed ‘to a humanist tradition of public service’, by drawing on the desire of, for example, John Leland, ‘to recover a native literary tradition’. 51 Old Chaucer had been made new by the renovating ardour of Protestant reform, and as his heir, the ‘new Poete’ represented the epitome of vernacular Protestant Englishness. In addition to a newly created Protestant identity, or humanist educative programme, though, ‘novelty’ and its cognates as readily connoted an opposing set of ideas. The sixteenth-century sees the emergence

in Rereading Chaucer and Spenser