Catalogue

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Treason by words : literature, law, and rebellion in Shakespeare's England /
Rebecca Lemon.
imprint
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2006.
description
ix, 234 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0801444284 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780801444289 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2006.
isbn
0801444284 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780801444289 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Sovereignty, treason law, and the political imagination in early modern England -- The treason of Hayward's Henry IV -- Shakespeare's anatomy of resistance in Richard II -- Scaffolds of treason in Shakespeare's Macbeth -- Donne's Pseudo-martyr and post-Gunpowder Plot law -- Treason and emergency power in Jonson's Catiline.
catalogue key
5892672
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 165-222) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-02-01:
Building on treason scholarship by Paul Hammer (The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics, CH, Feb'00, 37-3540) and Michael Questier (Conversion, Politics, and Religion in England, 1580-1625, 1996), Lemon (USC) takes up an intriguing interdisciplinary question in this useful book: if, as the state claimed, treason occurs by words alone, what happens when creative writers on stage and page represent treason in speech and act? Lemon deftly examines John Hayward's history of King Henry IV, Shakespeare's Richard II and Macbeth, John Donne's Pseudo-Martyr, and Ben Jonson's Catiline in view of their various involvements with the implications of the Essex Revolt and the Gunpowder Plot. She finds these four writers subtly taking up the exhibition and discourse of treason both to contest the widening powers of the English state and to defend the traditional rights of individual liberty and conscience. Lemon's subjects reveal the irony and pathos of how the state, in aggressively expanding definitions of treason, unnecessarily made traitors of those who held even moderate views of government, "spurring sedition in its potential allies" to "the demise of decent subjects." This lucid, well-researched book makes a valuable contribution to scholarship. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. A. DiMatteo New York Institute of Technology
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A paradox is central to Rebecca Lemon's original, incisive, and theoretically astute book: although there was endless chatter about treason in early modern England, no successful act of treason, at least in the technically appropriate sense of king-killing, actually took place during the Tudor and Jacobean periods. Treason may have been discussed, planned, prosecuted, and punished, but it was never perpetrated. It was, in a sense that would become central for writers of the period, a matter more of words than actions. In some of the book's most exciting sections, Lemon shows the dangerous legal and political consequences of treason's drift from action to language. This created a very difficult position for Shakespeare, Donne, and Jonson. As Lemon concludes, their efforts to navigate a landscape increasingly dominated by accusations of treason by one party and of tyranny by another mark a crucial stage in the development of the modern notion of conscience."-John Watkins, University of Minnesota, author of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England
"It may be that, as the republican theorists of Ancient Rome and Early Modern England understood, tyranny does not consist in an overly rigid enforcement of the law, but on the replacement of the objective laws of logic by arbitrary laws such as those of the marketplace, individual whim, or mere fiction. When this happens, rhetoric becomes a legal matter, certain kinds of statement become criminal, and the notion of 'treason by words' gains new currency. Treason by Words examines the consequences of such a development. Its analysis is incisive and its warnings timely."-David Hawkes, Times Literary Supplement, May 4, 2007
"Lemon points out that the arguments in favor of Richard II's deposition that Hayward puts into the mouth of the Archbishop of Canterbury echo the arguments for Elizabeth's deposition. Lemon indicates how the controversy suurounding Haywards's subsequent prosecution produced competing definitions of treason and sovereignty. Lemon's book provides valuable New Historical leverage on how early modern English writers dealt with the problem of treason and tyranny, a problem becoming familiar again."-Renaissance Quarterly
"Rebecca Lemon's Treason by Words is a ground-breaking book. It shows early modern English theater as the site of passionate political argument when absolutist kings, princes, and generals confront constraints imposed by constitutional and natural law."-Constance Jordan, Claremont Graduate University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2007
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Under the Tudor monarchy, English law expanded to include the category of 'treason by words'. Rebecca Lemon investigates this remarkable phrase both as a legal charge and as a cultural event.
Main Description
Under the Tudor monarchy, English law expanded to include the category of "treason by words", Rebecca Lemon investigates this remarkable phrase both as a legal charge and as a cultural event. English citizens, she shows, expressed competing notions of tre
Main Description
Under the Tudor monarchy, English law expanded to include the category of "treason by words." Rebecca Lemon investigates this remarkable phrase both as a legal charge and as a cultural event. English citizens, she shows, expressed competing notions of treason in opposition to the growing absolutism of the monarchy. Lemon explores the complex participation of texts by John Donne, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare in the legal and political controversies marking the Earl of Essex's 1601 rebellion and the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. Lemon suggests that the articulation of diverse ideas about treason within literary and polemical texts produced increasingly fractured conceptions of the crime of treason itself. Further, literary texts, in representing issues familiar from political polemic, helped to foster more free, less ideologically rigid, responses to the crisis of treason. As a result, such works of imagination bolstered an emerging discourse on subjects' rights. Treason by Words offers an original theory of the role of dissent and rebellion during a period of burgeoning sovereign power.
Unpaid Annotation
Under the Tudor monarchy, English law expanded to include the category of √ítreason by words.√ď Rebecca Lemon investigates this remarkable phrase both as a legal charge and as a cultural event. English citizens, she shows, expressed competing notions of tre
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Sovereignty, Treason Law, and the Political Imagination in Early Modern Englandp. 1
The Treason of Hayward's Henry IVp. 23
Shakespeare's Anatomy of Resistance in Richard IIp. 52
Scaffolds of Treason in Shakespeare's Macbethp. 79
Donne's Pseudo-Martyr and Post-Gunpowder Plot Lawp. 107
Treason and Emergency Power in Jonson's Catilinep. 137
Afterwordp. 161
Notesp. 165
Works Citedp. 203
Indexp. 223
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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