English Literature

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

By Helen Wilcox

1611: Authority, Gender, and the note in Early sleek 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 history.

  • Represents an exploration of a 12 months within the textual lifetime of early glossy 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 12 months 1611, the surroundings of language, and the information from which the authorized model of the English Bible emerged

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

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This early modern dramatic, musical and visual spectacle is a fitting place to begin our study of the textual culture of 1611 – not only because it was performed on the very first day of the year and is in itself a ‘minor masterpiece’ (Butler, 188) but also because it encapsulates the typically vital interconnections in this period between language, performance, politics and the moment. The simple plot – concerning a set of rebellious satyrs awaiting the arrival of Prince Oberon in their midst – focuses on excited anticipation: the dramatic impulse is forward-looking, intent upon the appearance of this splendid emblem of virtue and authority.

Best-selling works reveal the obsessions of an age, and religious texts certainly seem to dominate the printing houses in 1611. Among the most widely read volumes in 1611 were, of course, the Bible, whether in existing translations or the newly produced King James Version, and, following closely in its wake, a large number of sermons explicating the Scriptures and advising on the spiritual life. Robert Bolton’s collection of sermons, A Discourse about the State of True Happinesse, is a case in point: it was first published in 1611 and quickly went on to reach its eighth edition by 1638.

The impact of the initial nocturnal scene upon those present on New Year’s Day 1611 is recorded in the extant eyewitness account of the diplomat William Trumbull. He refers to the ‘great rock’, the brilliantly craggy form at the centre of Inigo Jones’s set, and specifically notes that the moon was ‘showing above through an aperture, so that its progress through the night could be observed’ (Jonson 10 (1950), 522–3). The passing of time is thus made a part of the set’s visual effects and, as the action proceeds, the audience is constantly reminded of the temporal nature of the experience: ‘O, that he so long doth tarrie’, cry the impatient Chorus as they wait for Oberon, and later much is made of the cock’s crow, a sign of the coming end of the night and so the exact time for the Prince to emerge – he who fills ‘every season, ev’ry place’ with his ‘grace’, and in whose face ‘Beautie dwels’ (Jonson 7 (1941), 343).

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