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DescriptionIn recent years new schools of historiography and criticism have recast the political and cultural histories of Elizabethan and early Stuart England. However, for all the benefits of their insights, most revisionist historians have too narrowly focussed on high politics to the neglect of values and ideology, and New Historicist literary scholars have displayed an insufficient grasp of chronology and historical context. The contributors to this pioneering volume, richly fusing these approaches, apply a revisionist close attention to moments to the wide range of texts - verbal and visual - that critics have begun to read as representations of power and politics. Excitingly broadening the range of areas and evidence for the study of politics, these outstanding essays demonstrate how the study of high culture - classical translations, court portraits royal palaces, the conduct of chivalric ceremony - and low culture - cheap pamphlets and scurrilous verses - enable us to reconstruct the languages through which contemporaries interpreted their political environment. The volume posits a reconsideration of the traditional antithetical concepts - court and country, verbal and visual, critical and complimentary, elite and popular; examines the constructions of a moral and social order enacted in a wide variety of cultural practices; and demonstrates how common vocabularies could in changed circumstances be combined and deployed to sustain quite different ideological positions. This book opens a new agenda for the study of the politics of culture and the culture of politics in early modern England.
7 January 1994
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