Writing the Reformation: Actes and Monuments and the Jacobean History Play

Ashgate, 2002 - 192 pàgines
In this study, Marsha Robinson presents the most thorough examination to date of a largely neglected group of plays dealing with the lives and times of Tudor figures - the Jacobean history plays. She argues that, rather than being a nostalgic nod to the past, the vitality of the English Renaissance history play lies in its rehearsal of contemporary issues. Giving serious and detailed attention to the importance of these works in Tudor and post-Tudor politics and culture, she writes an important chapter in both the history of the drama and in its relationship to Tudor thought.Writing the Reformation invests the post-Shakespearean history plays of the Jacobean era-including among others Shakespeare's Henry VIII (1613), Dekker's The Whore of Babylon (1606), and Heywood's If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody (1604-5)-with new significance by recognizing the role they played in popularizing and re-appropriating Foxe's Book of Martyrs, one of the most formative and culturally significant Reformation texts. Designed to reform the present by presenting the Tudor past as the prologue to apocalyptic fulfillment, these history plays participate with Foxe in the reformation of historiography, investing Reformation history with the tragicomic form indigenous to redemptive history. This book reveals that the post-Reformation stage became a platform for modeling Foxe's new hero, a hero transformed by the imperatives of conscience. It explores the representation of apocalyptic history as coincident with the emergence of female and plebeian voices invested with a new spiritual power.This study presents the historical stage as a site of a continuing Reformation debate over the nature of political authority, the validity of conscience and the challenge to social and gender hierarchies implicit in Protestant doctrine. Relating each play to contemporary political events, this book demonstrates the role of the Jacobean stage in promoting reformation and informing with providential meaning the events unfolding outside the theater.

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Authority on the Tragicomic
Staging the Record of Conscience 55
Staging a Female Reformation

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