1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England by Helen Wilcox

By Helen Wilcox

1611: Authority, Gender, and the notice in Early glossy England explores problems with authority, gender, and language inside of and around the number of literary works produced in a single of such a lot landmark years in literary and cultural heritage.

  • Represents an exploration of a 12 months within the textual lifetime of early sleek England
  • Juxtaposes the range and variety of texts that have been released, performed,   learn, or heard within the comparable yr, 1611
  • Offers an account of the textual tradition of the yr 1611, the surroundings of language, and the information from which the approved model of the English Bible emerged

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Extra info for 1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England

Sample text

These wildly dancing female figures of folly, who have taunted and threatened Love in the anti-masque, are symbolically replaced by the Queen and her far from foolish ladies, the Daughters of the Morn, released from their captivity and descending as from a cloud to dance before James, the British Phoebus. With the overthrow of the Follies, the masque’s music ceases to be ‘strange’ and discordant and becomes, by contrast, elegantly ‘ayry’. There are ‘Revells’ in the main masque but no hint of uncontrolled energies: here the dancers are graceful and dignified, moving ‘in time, and measure meet’ (Jonson 7 (1941), 359, 366–71).

364) The paradoxes to be unravelled here are initially a puzzle to Love: what is this ‘world’ that he must identify? Tentatively he suggests that it might be the moon, or perhaps a ‘Lady’, since every human creature is ‘a world in feature’ (364). As these answers are shown to be false, Love becomes 34 Jonson’s Oberon and friends: masque and music in 1611 increasingly desperate until he is ‘divinely instructed’ by 12 priests of the Muses and with their aid discovers the key to unlock both the riddle and the prisoners: this special ‘world’ that he must identify is Britain itself, and the ‘eye’ is none other than James, the ‘sunne’ of Albion who is both its ‘light’ and its ‘treasure’ (367–8).

It is perhaps no coincidence that the poetic works of Spenser, who had died in 1599, were collected and published in a grand folio volume during 1611. Jonson’s new-year masque therefore asserts, even in its title and subtitle, that there is no such thing as a clean slate on which to create new texts: the new year and its products are built on the continuing cultural memories of the preceding era. The title page of Oberon, as printed in Jonson’s own folio Workes in 1616, announces the text as ‘A Masque of Prince Henries’, indicating the young prince’s sponsorship of the event, and on 1 January 1611 it was Henry himself who played the title role of the ‘Faery Prince’.

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