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Sport, politics, and literature in the English Renaissance /
Gregory M. Colón Semenza.
Newark : University of Delaware Press ; London ; Cranbury, NJ : Associated University Presses, c2003.
239 p. ; 25 cm.
0874138442 (alk. paper)
More Details
Newark : University of Delaware Press ; London ; Cranbury, NJ : Associated University Presses, c2003.
0874138442 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 214-228) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-07-01:
Semenza notes that "as a sort of organized discord" sport can embody many of the conflicts in a given age. This is especially true of the Elizabethan and early Stuart period, which featured an extraordinary polemic against the legitimacy of sport--a polemic whose echoes Semenza finds ringing still in the newspapers of the 21st century. Tudor-Stuart England witnessed a notable change in the view of sport, "from a largely functional and lawful to a largely subversive and unlawful phenomenon." This change Semenza explores through a series of case studies: on Shakespeare's Henry VI plays; on the moral and literary debate that provoked and followed the issuance and reissuance of King James's Book of Sports; on the Annalia Dubrensia (1636); on Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler and Milton's Samson Agonistes. Semenza does a good job with the role of sports in Jacobean plays from the pens of Thomas Dekker and John Day, among others. The excellent chapter on Walton's Angler shows how that beloved book revises the prior view of fishing to make a canny political point specific to its mid-century context. Good bibliography. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate and research collections. E. D. Hill Mount Holyoke College
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, May 2004
Choice, July 2004
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Unpaid Annotation
This is the first book-length study of the crucial relationship between sport and the political and imaginative literature of Renaissance England. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, educators, medical practitioners, and military scientists were among the many contemporaries who praised sport as necessary and functional--physiologically beneficial to the individual practitioner, vital to the preparedness of the military, and necessary to the maintenance of traditional class hierarchy. Sport's significance in the period is perhaps best registered by its literal and metaphorical centrality in such popular works of literature as Shakespeare's histories, Walton's Compleat Angler, and Milton's Samson Agonistes, as well as its prominence in ecclesiastical and secular legislation and polemics. By reconstructing a cultural history of sport and investigating representations of it in contemporary prose, poetry, and drama, the book demonstrates sport's pivotal position in the interlocking spheresof Renaissance science, politics, and art.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. 7
Introduction: "A Treatise of Sport"p. 11
The Legacy of the Anti-Sport Polemicp. 30
Sport and the Idle Nobility in Shakespeare's Henry VIp. 60
Performative Interpretations: The Literary Context of the Book of Sports Controversyp. 85
The Burden of the Present: Athletic and Poetic Competition in the Annalia Dubrensiap. 115
The Danger of "Innocent, harmless mirth": Walton's Compleat Angler in the Interregnump. 139
"When to thir sports they [re]turn'd": Samson Agonistes and the Politics of Restoration Sportp. 158
Afterwordp. 182
Notesp. 187
Works Citedp. 214
Indexp. 229
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

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