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Information, court politics and diplomacy, 1618–25
Author: David Coast

This study examines how political news was concealed, manipulated and distorted in late Jacobean England. Using a wide range of extraordinarily rich manuscript sources, it analyses how news was managed and interpreted during a period of acute political and religious conflict. It analyses how the flow of information to and from the King was managed by his secretaries of state and diplomats, and how the King prevented information about his policies from leaking in to the wider public sphere. It analyses the ‘outward shows’ James made to signal his intentions and mislead a variety of audiences, as well as they ways in which these ‘performances’ could backfire and undermine royal authority. It also examines the sceptical and often cynical reception of news, and the political significance of the rumours that circulated in court and country. It thereby contributes to a wider range of historical debates that reach across the politics and political culture of the reign and beyond. It advances new arguments about censorship, counsel, and the formation of policy; propaganda and royal image-making; political rumours and the relationship between elite and popular politics, as well as shedding new light on the nature and success of James I’s style of rule. In doing so, it aims to examine news as a source of influence and even power in Jacobean England.

Solving Shakespeare’s riddles in The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, King John, 1–2 Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Othello, Macbeth and Cymberline
Author: Steve Sohmer

Knowing William Shakespeare better, we are better equipped to know his plays. Better knowing his plays brings us closer to knowing him. This book suggests that Shakespeare wrote not only for the mass audience, but simultaneously for that stratum of cognoscenti whom Gabriel Harvey dubbed 'the wiser sort.' It identifies many passages in the plays which Shakespeare resolves famous cruces which scholars have never been able to unravel, and casts new light on Shakespeare's mind and method. Shakespeare wrote into Julius Caesar more than one passage intelligible only to that handful of the wiser sort who had read Plutarch and knew their Suetonius. Into Macbeth Shakespeare injected a detail accessible only to the few intrepid souls brave or reckless enough to have cast the horoscope of King James I. We find a poem in Hamlet, where the prince invites his love and bandies matters of cosmology which were burning issues (literally) throughout Shakespeare's lifetime. While Julius Caesar's old Julian calendar prevailed in England its rival, the scientifically correct Gregorian reformed calendar, dominated most of Europe. Shakespeare suffused his plays with references to calendrical anomalies, as seen in Othello. By relating Shakespeare's texts, the Renaissance calendars and the liturgy, the book produces a lexicon apt for parsing the time-riddles in Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare handled religious subjects, examined and interrogated the dogmas of the received religions, and parodied the Crucifixion by exploiting Holinshed's account of the persecution and assassination of York.

An anthology of literary texts and contexts

This book is an anthology of selections from works dealing with same-sex love, desire, sexual acts, and relationships during the period 1550-1735 in early modern England. It presents religious and moral writings, pseudo-medical writings, criminal pamphlets, travel writings, and letters on same-sex desire. The condemnation of male and female same-sex sexual acts is embedded in the earliest Christian theology. The early modern medical, pseudo-medical, and anatomical texts in Latin are surprisingly reticent about the physiological and anatomical aspects of homoerotic sexuality and desire. Canon law had long condemned male same-sex sexual acts. The 1533-34 statute in England forbade male same-sex sexual acts but ignored female same-sex intercourse. English travel narratives dealing with the sexual customs of other cultures often present sexual licentiousness as endemic, sometimes touching specifically on sodomy and tribadism. The most detailed presentations of same-sex erotic relationships in non-European cultures are those relating to Turkey and the Turkish seraglio. Familiar letters, such as between James I and VI, could reveal personal secrets and be radically transgressive in their emphasis on fostering love and desire. The book discusses homo-sexual subculture during 1700-1730, translation of Latin and Greek texts, and numerous literature representing male and female same-sex erotic relationships. The largely 'socially diffused homosexuality' of the seventeenth century changed profoundly with 'clothes, gestures, language' connoting 'homosexuality'. The book shows how literary genres of male same-sex and female-sex desires such as Shakespeare's Sonnets, and Catherine Trotter's Agnes de Castro allow the modern reader to chart changes in their representation.

Shakespeare on the march
David J. Baker

When James VI of Scotland came south in 1603 on his way to London, where he would be hailed as James I of Britain, he crossed a border that, to his mind, was no longer a border. Until then, Scotland and England had been divided by the ‘march’, a continuous strip of territory, fortified by castles and towers, which lay alongside their mutual border. England’s marches could

in Shakespeare and Scotland
Kenneth Fincham

Chapter 2 . The roles and influence of household chaplains, c.1600–c.1660 Kenneth Fincham I n her diary for 1617–19, Lady Anne Clifford recorded some revealing contacts with two household chaplains. With one, Richard Rands, she began reading through the Old Testament until her husband, the 3rd Earl of Dorset, ‘told me it would hinder his study’. Clifford was engrossed in a dispute with Dorset over her inheritance, and had ‘much talk’ with another chaplain, Geoffrey Amherst, about the gossip in London following her decision to reject James I’s offer of

in Chaplains in early modern England
Jeffrey Richards

second president in 1848. Another Chetham Society publication, Nicholas Assheton’s Journal , covering the years 1617 and 1618 and edited in 1848 by Rev. F. R. Raines, the Rural Dean of Rochdale, was a further major source used by Ainsworth. In addition, he drew on John Nichols’s Progresses of James I (1828) and James I’s Daemonologie (1597/1604) and Book of Sports (1618). The literary sources were supplemented by a series of visits to Lancashire during which Ainsworth, accompanied by Crossley, went repeatedly to all the principal sites

in The Lancashire witches
Abstract only
Marie Helena Loughlin

kisses, letters mingle souls: / For thus friends absent speak’ (see 8.15.7). At the same time, even though familiar letters were defined as an intimate sharing of the correspondents’ inner lives, thoughts, and secrets, they could be and often were affected in their diction, forms of address, and rhetorical strategies by their generic conventions; their social, familial, and political contexts; and their possible persuasive intents. As David Bergeron has noted in his wonderful edition of the correspondence between James I and VI and his male favourites, familiar letters

in Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern England, 1550–1735
Macbeth and the politics of language
Christopher Highley

in a speech to the English parliament, James I declared (not for the first or last time), that God had united the kingdoms of England and Scotland ‘in Language, Religion, and similitude of manners’. 2 The idea that England and Scotland shared one language had long been asserted by those on both sides of the Tweed who supported closer ties between the two countries. Once Anglo-Scottish integration

in Shakespeare and Scotland
Negotiating confessional difference in early modern Christmas celebrations
Phebe Jensen

December 27, and on the 28th, the Feast of the Holy Innocents. With the neat excision from December 29 of St. Thomas à Becket, the holiday continued with the celebration of the Feast of the Circumcision on New Year’s Day, and Epiphany, January 5 (Twelfth Night), commemorating the visit of the Three Kings to Bethlehem. The English Protestant monarchy took the lead in exemplifying the continued importance of Christmas to post-​Reformation England. Christmas celebrations at the court of King Edward VI were elaborate, and Queen Elizabeth and King James I continued and indeed

in Forms of faith
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Then with Scotland first begin
Willy Maley and Andrew Murphy

in danger of distorting what is really there. More relevant is the image of Scottish history that appeared on Shakespeare’s horizon via the mind of the new King of England – James I. 31 But Shakespeare’s Scotland was more than a country of the mind, and Scotland plays a part in plays other than Macbeth . James I was more

in Shakespeare and Scotland