Abstract

In this essay, I consider Ben Jonson's Masque of Blacknesse (1605) in the context of early Stuart confessional instability, particularly the connected and increasingly urgent issues of Catholic conversion and Protestant conformity. I begin by considering the unstable devotional identity of the masque's originator and featured player, Anne of Denmark, and that of Jonson himself. Looking past obvious allusions to the African exotic, I then argue that their first collaborative masque, in its focus on chromatic metamorphosis and cosmetic disguise, offers a fittingly oblique commentary on the ambiguous religious performances undertaken by early modern Catholic converts.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 427-449
Launched on MUSE
2007-06-11
Open Access
No
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