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The main elements of the semantic system of Elizabethan silent language were in many cases those of literal language, with resources in religion, in antiquity as translated through humanist tradition, in custom and law, in the Continental Renaissance, and in Tudor historiography—syntactic elements translated through word and practice and subject to personal inflection. Assumed as given values were the masculine norm, young adulthood, courtly service, discernment of ethical and aesthetic dimensions in all aspects of life, a comprehensive rule of decorum, and the preservation of religious, political, and social hierarchy.
Elizabethan Silent Language is a unique book. Although Renaissance scholars have focused their attention on individual components of texts, such as ceremony, costume, architecture, protocol, and portrait, no other source synthesizes these components.
Posted July 14, 2009
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