Catalogue

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Drama and the transfer of power in Renaissance England /
Martin Wiggins.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2012.
description
151 p. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0199650594(hbk.), 9780199650590 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2012.
isbn
0199650594(hbk.)
9780199650590 (hbk.)
contents note
Introduction -- 1535: A midsummer night's apocalypse -- 1559: The taming of the wolves -- 1603: Sycophancy and old clothes -- 1626: London's labours lost -- 1642: Closedown -- Appendix 1. Sir Thomas Cawarden's masques for Queen Elizabeth I -- Appendix 2. William Beeston and political theatre during the short parliament.
catalogue key
8501907
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Martin Wiggins is Senior Lecturer and Fellow, and Tutor for Research, at The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-08-01:
Wiggins (Univ. of Birmingham, UK) pithily examines five key moments in Elizabethan and Stuart history when, through drama, governments shaped popular opinion and subjects registered their claims for royal attention. The 1535 Midsummer Watch in London dramatically reflected Henry VIII's emerging Royal Supremacy, while Elizabeth's accession resulted in a 1559 Twelfth Night Masque in which "Protestant self-confidence challenges the Catholic Establishment." A minor "woodman's speech" of 1603 inviting the king to hunt was "the first work of Jacobean drama," but London's elaborately planned shows of 1626 proved ineffectual after Charles I cancelled his royal entry to the city. The 1642 closing of theaters resulted as much from political expediency as parliamentary "fundamentalist malice." The author presents impressive archival details of little-known ceremonies, processions, and semi-theatrical events through which rulers and subjects negotiated power relationships. His conclusions, though sometimes speculative owing to a paucity of evidence, are plausibly argued. Wiggins counters Martin Butler's Theatre and Crisis, 1632-1642 (1984) and Margot Heinemann's Puritanism and Theatre (1980) by suggesting that dramas at the time of the theater closings were less "subversive and dangerous" than assumed. The work contains two appendixes, four documents, a glossary, a map, and an index. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. C. Baker Armstrong Atlantic State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
A simulating and enlightening study of works that the author has brought back into the light.
"Presents impressive archival details of little-known ceremonies, processions, and semi-theatrical events through which rulers and subjects negotiated power relationships." --Choice
The author presents impressive archival details of little-known ceremonies, processions, and semi-theatrical events through which rulers and subjects negotiated power relationships.
Wigginss study Drama and the Transfer of Power, meanwhile, is an example of how the catalogues wealth of information might be exploited ... Wiggins shows how much we can learn about shows for which there is no surviving text by piecing together information about their physical construction, the reactions of spectators and the immediate political context.
This item was reviewed in:
The Times (London), June 2013
Choice, August 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
The state is at its most volatile when supreme power changes hands. This book studies five such moments of transfer in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, from Henry VIII to the English Revolution, pazying particular attention to the political function and agency of drama in smoothing the transition. Masques and civic pageants served as an art form by which incoming authority could declare its power, and subjects could express their willing subordination to the newregime. The book contains vivid case studies of these dramatic works, some of which have never before been identified, and the circumstances for which they were written: the use of London street theatre in 1535 to promote Henry VIII's arrogation of Royal Supremacy; the aggressively Protestant courtmasque of 1559 which marked the accession of Elizabeth I, and the censorship which resulted when the same mode of dramatic discourse spread to more plebeian stages; the masques and entertainments of James I's initial year on the English throne, through which the new Stuart dynasty asserted its legitimacy and individual courtiers made their bids for influence; and the formal coronation entry to London, furnished with dramatic pageants, which London paid for but Charles I refused to undertake. The final chapter describes how, in 1642, a very different incoming regime planned to ignore drama altogether, until some surprisingly contingent circumstances forced its hand.
Main Description
The state is at its most volatile when supreme power changes hands. This book studies five such moments of transfer in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, from Henry VIII to the English Revolution, paying particular attention to the political function and agency of drama in smoothing the transition. Masques and civic pageants served as an art form by which incoming authority could declare its power, and subjects could express their willingsubordination to the new regime. The book contains vivid case studies of these dramatic works, some of which have never before been identified, and the circumstances for which they were written.
Main Description
The state is at its most volatile when supreme power changes hands. This book studies five such moments of transfer in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, from Henry VIII to the English Revolution, pazying particular attention to the political function and agency of drama in smoothing the transition. Masques and civic pageants served as an art form by which incoming authority could declare its power, and subjects could express their willing subordination to the new regime.The book contains vivid case studies of these dramatic works, some of which have never before been identified, and the circumstances for which they were written: the use of London street theatre in 1535 to promote Henry VIII's arrogation of Royal Supremacy; the aggressively Protestant court masque of 1559 which marked the accession of Elizabeth I, and the censorship which resulted when the same mode of dramatic discourse spread to more plebeian stages; the masques and entertainments of JamesI's initial year on the English throne, through which the new Stuart dynasty asserted its legitimacy and individual courtiers made their bids for influence; and the formal coronation entry to London, furnished with dramatic pageants, which London paid for but Charles I refused to undertake. The final chapter describes how, in 1642, a very different incoming regime planned to ignore drama altogether, until some surprisingly contingent circumstances forced its hand.
Main Description
The state is at its most volatile when supreme power changes hands. This book studies five such moments of transfer in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, from Henry VIII to the English Revolution, pazying particular attention to the political function and agency of drama insmoothing the transition. Masques and civic pageants served as an art form by which incoming authority could declare its power, and subjects could express their willing subordination to the new regime. The book contains vivid case studies of these dramatic works, some of which have never before been identified, and the circumstances for which they were written: the use of London street theatre in 1535 to promote Henry VIII's arrogation of Royal Supremacy; the aggressively Protestant court masqueof 1559 which marked the accession of Elizabeth I, and the censorship which resulted when the same mode of dramatic discourse spread to more plebeian stages; the masques and entertainments of James I's initial year on the English throne, through which the new Stuart dynasty asserted its legitimacyand individual courtiers made their bids for influence; and the formal coronation entry to London, furnished with dramatic pageants, which London paid for but Charles I refused to undertake. The final chapter describes how, in 1642, a very different incoming regime planned to ignore dramaaltogether, until some surprisingly contingent circumstances forced its hand.
Table of Contents
Abbreviationsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
1535: A Midsummer Night's Apocalypsep. 7
1559: The Taming of the Wolvesp. 21
1603: Sycophancy and Old Clothesp. 41
1626: London's Labours Lostp. 65
1642: Closedownp. 93
Sir Thomas Cawarden's Masques for Queen Elizabeth Ip. 115
William Beeston and Political Theatre During the Short Parliamentp. 121
Documents:
Expenditure by the London Skinners' Company on the Lord Mayor's Midsummer Pageants, 1535p. 127
Costumes for the Court Revels on 6 January 1559p. 130
The Beautiful Hill: Thomas Middleton's Verses for the Lord Mayor's Pageant of 1626, The Triumphs of Health and Prosperityp. 134
Sir Thomas Salusbury's Untitled Comedy of a Citizen and his Wifep. 135
Glossaryp. 143
Map of Londonp. 144
Indexp. 145
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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