Criticism and Compliment: The Politics of Literature in the England of Charles I

Criticism and Compliment: The Politics of Literature in the England of Charles I

by Kevin Sharpe
     
 

Criticism and Compliment examines the poems, plays and masques of the three figures who succeeded Ben Jonson as authors of court entertainments in the England of Charles I. The courtly literature of Caroline England has been dismissed by critics and characterised by historians as propaganda for Charles I's absolutism penned by sycophantic hirelings. Kevin Sharpe… See more details below

Overview

Criticism and Compliment examines the poems, plays and masques of the three figures who succeeded Ben Jonson as authors of court entertainments in the England of Charles I. The courtly literature of Caroline England has been dismissed by critics and characterised by historians as propaganda for Charles I's absolutism penned by sycophantic hirelings. Kevin Sharpe questions the assumptions on which these evaluations have been based. Challenging the traditional argument for a polarity between court and country cultures in early Stuart England, he re-reads the plays, poems and masques as primary documents of political attitudes articulated at court. Far from being confined to a decade or a party, the courtly literature of the 1630s is relocated within the broader humanist tradition of counsel. Through the language of love - a language, it is argued, that was part of the discourse of politics in Caroline England - the court poets criticised fundamental premises of the King's political ideology, and counselled traditional and moderate modes of government.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521386616
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
03/29/1990
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
310
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface and acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; 1. Culture and politics, court and country: assumptions and problems, questions and suggestions; 2. Sir William Davenant and the drama of love and passion; 3. Thomas Carew and the poetry of love and nature; 4. Aurelian Townshend and the poetry of natural innocence; 5. The Caroline court masque; 6. Criticism and compliment: the politics of love; Index.

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