Authority of Expression in Early Modern England

Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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Authority of Expression in Early Modern England brings together an international group of scholars writing on the relationships between authority and the self in early modern English literature, discussing writers such as Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton and Andrew Marvell. The early modern period was a time of momentous religious, political and cultural change, with scientific and geographical exploration opening new horizons, challenging established truths, and unsettling the concepts and practices of authority.

In this book, scholars approach the texts from a literary, historical and/or linguistic point of view, thus providing multiple perspectives on the topic. Themes explored include the links between sense perception and cognition in the establishment of authority; the ways that sexuality, gender relations and language are implicated in expressing and responding to authority; and conceptions of the self and the strategies that individuals adopt to cope with changes in their frameworks of authority and power. This wide-ranging collection offers new perspectives on how authority was negotiated in the English Renaissance.

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About the author

Nely Keinänen and Maria Salenius are lecturers working in Renaissance literature at the Department of English, University of Helsinki, Finland. Keinänen’s research focuses on Shakespeare and drama, while Salenius concentrates on John Donne and other religious writers.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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Published on
Mar 26, 2009
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Pages
225
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ISBN
9781443808026
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Poetry
Literary Criticism / Renaissance
Literary Criticism / Shakespeare
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Shakespeare's characters are thought to be his greatest achievement—imaginatively autonomous, possessed of depth and individuality, while his plots are said to be second-hand and careless of details of time and place. This view has survived the assaults of various literary theories and has even, surprisingly, been revitalized by the recent emphasis on the collaborative nature of early modern theatre. But belief in the autonomous imaginative life of Shakespeare's characters depends on another unexamined myth: the myth that Shakespeare rejected neoclassicism, playing freely with theatrical time and place. Circumstantial Shakespeare explodes these venerable critical commonplaces. Drawing on sixteenth-century rhetorical pedagogy, it reveals the importance of topics of circumstance (of Time, Place, and Motive, etc.) in the conjuring of compelling narratives and vivid mental images. 'Circumstances' — which we now think of as incalculable contingencies — were originally topics of forensic inquiry into human intention or passion. In drawing on the Roman forensic tradition of circumstantial proof, Shakespeare did not ignore time and place. His brilliant innovation was to use the topics of circumstance to imply offstage actions, times and places in terms of the motives and desires we attribute to the characters. His plays thus create both their own vivid and coherent dramatic worlds and a sense of the unconscious feelings of characters inhabiting them. Circumstantial Shakespeare offers new readings of Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Lucrece, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Macbeth, as well as new interpretations of Sackville and Norton's Gorboduc and Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy. It engages with eighteenth-century Shakespeare criticism, contemporary Shakespeare criticism, semiotics of theatre, Roman forensic rhetoric, humanist pedagogy, the prehistory of modern probability, psychoanalytic criticism and sixteenth-century constitutional thought.
Oxford Shakespeare Topics provide students and teachers with short books on important aspects of Shakespeare criticism and scholarship. Each book is written by an authority in its field, and combines accessible style with original discussion of its subject. Notes and a critical guide to further reading equip the interested reader with the means to broaden research. For the modern reader or playgoer, English as Shakespeare used it can seem alien and puzzling: vocabulary and grammar are in transition, pronouns and verb-forms can seem unfamiliar. Moreover, the conventions of poetic drama may also pose an impediment. Shakespeare and the Arts of Language provides a clear and helpful guide to the linguistic and rhetorical dimensions of the plays and poems. Written in a lucid, non-technical style, the book starts with the story of how the English language changed throughout the sixteenth century. Subsequent chapters define Shakespeare's main artistic tools and illustrate their poetic and theatrical contributions: Renaissance rhetoric, imagery and metaphor, blank verse, prose speech, and wordplay. The conclusion surveys Shakespeare's multiple and often conflicting ideas about language, encompassing both his enthusiasm at what words can do for us and his suspicion of what words can do to us. Throughout, Russ McDonald helps his readers to appreciate a play's concerns and theatrical effects by thinking about its language in relation to other writings of the period. He also emphasizes pleasure in the physical properties of Shakespeare's words: their colour, weight, and texture, the appeal of verbal patterns, and the irresistible power of intensified language.
This remarkable, innovative book explores the significance in Shakespeare's plays of oaths, vows, contracts, pledges, and the other utterances and acts by which characters commit themselves to the truth of things past, present, and to come. In early modern England, such binding language was everywhere. Oaths of office, marriage vows, legal bonds, and casual, everyday profanity gave shape and texture to life. The proper use of such language, and the extent of its power to bind, was argued over by lawyers, religious writers, and satirists, and these debates inform literature and drama. Shakespeare's Binding Language gives a freshly researched account of these contexts, but it is focused on Shakespeare's plays. What motives should we look for when characters asseverate or promise? How far is binding language self-persuasive or deceptive? When is it allowable to break a vow? How do oaths and promises structure an audience's expectations? Across the sweep of Shakespeare's career, from the early histories to the late romances, this book opens new perspectives on key dramatic moments and illuminates language and action. Each chapter gives an account of a play or group of plays, yet the study builds to a sustained investigation of some of the most important systems, institutions, and controversies in early modern England, and of the wiring of Shakespearean dramaturgy. Scholarly but accessible, and offering startling insights, this is a major contribution to Shakespeare studies by one of the leading figures in the field.
Not for nothing is William Shakespeare considered possibly the most famous writer in history; his works have had a lasting effect on culture, vocabularies, and art. His plays contain some of our most well-known lines (how often have you heard the phrase 'To be or not to be'?), yet whilst his poems may often feel less familiar than his plays they have also seeped into our cultural history (who has not heard of ''Shall I compare thee to a summer's day'?). In this Very Short Introduction Jonathan Post introduces all of Shakespeare's poetry: the Sonnets; the two great narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece; A Lover's Complaint; and The Phoenix and Turtle. Describing Shakespeare's double identity as both poet and playwright, in conjunction with several of his contemporaries, Post evaluates the reciprocal advantages as well as the different strategies and strains that came with writing for the stage and the page. Tackling the debates surrounding the disputed authorship of Shakespeare's poems, he also considers the printing history of Shakespeare's canon, and the genres favoured by the bard. Exploring their reception, both with contemporary audiences and through the ages until today, Post explores the core themes of love and lust, and analyzes how the sonnets compare with other great love poetry of the English Renaissance. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
"Turns A BRILLIANT LIGHT on one of the lustiest and one of the most dramatic periods of English history."—Philadelphia Inquirer

The mesmerizing story of Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, one of the rare women who matched wits successfully with the fiery king and lived to tell the tale.

Aware of the disastrous consequences of not bearing an heir, Anne of Cleves bravely took on the duty of weathering the Tudor King's temper and won the hearts of his subjects in the process.

Written by world-renowned historical novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes, My Lady of Cleves gives readers an intimate portrait of the warm, unpretentious princess who never expected to become Queen of England and how she navigated a world of high drama and courtly elegance.

A refreshing historical fiction about infamous Tudor England, fans of Philippa Gregory, Anya Seton and Bernard Cornwell will delight in this tale of Henry's fourth Queen, her secret love, her power-hungry husband, and the country that ruled them all.

Praise for My Lady of Cleves:
"At long last Anne of Cleves gets her day as a noble and highminded heroine in the lists of historical fiction!" — Chicago Tribune
"Barnes' vision of Anne is so different from others I have encountered, it was like reading her story for the first time. This is the Anne of Cleves I choose to live in my memory." —Books N Border Collies
"an appealing story of a woman who makes the best of a bad situation... it's nice to see this novel in particular being reissued." —Reading, Ranting, and Raving
"I have to say that from the moment I read the inscription, I was hooked in this book... Anne is brought to life, and is portrayed as a capable woman..." —Historical Tapestry

'Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man: we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England, as, I trust, shall never be put out.' Hugh Latimer's famous words of consolation to Nicholas Ridley as they are both about to be burnt alive for heresy come from John Foxe's magisterial Acts and Monuments, popularly known as the Book of Martyrs. This vast collection of unforgettable accounts of religious persecution exerted as great an influence on early modern England and New England as the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. It contains many stirring stories of the apprehension, interrogation, imprisonment, and execution of alleged heretics. The narratives not only attest to the fortitude of individuals who suffered for their faith not many years before the birth of Shakespeare, but they also constitute exciting tales filled with graphic details and verbal wit. This modernized selection also includes some of the famous woodcuts that illustrated the original text, as well as providing a comprehensive introduction to Foxe's life and times and the martyrology narrative. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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