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Perhaps no other work of secular poetry was as widely read in Tudor England as the historical verse tragedy collection A Mirror for Magistrates. For over sixty years (1559–1621), this compendium of tragic monologues presented in the voices of fallen political figures from England’s past remained almost constantly in print, offering both exemplary warnings to English rulers and inspiring models for literary authors, including Spenser and Shakespeare. In a striking departure from previous scholarship, Scott Lucas shows that modern critics have misconstrued the purpose of the tragic verse narratives of the Mirror, approaching them primarily as uncontroversial meditations on abstract political and philosophical doctrines. Lucas revises this view, revealing many of the Mirror tragedies to be works topically applicable in form and politically contentious in nature. Lucas returns the earliest poems of A Mirror for Magistrates to the troubled context of their production, the tumultuous reign of the Catholic Queen Mary (1553–1558). As Protestants suffering from the traumatic collapse of King Edward VI’s “godly” rule (1547–1553) and from the current policies of Mary’s government, the Mirror authors radically reshaped their poems’ historical sources in order to craft emotionally moving narratives designed to provide models for interpreting the political failures of Edward VI’s reign and to offer urgent warnings to Marian magistrates. Lucas’s study also reveals how, in later poems, the Mirror authors issued oblique appeals to Queen Elizabeth’s officers, boldly demanding that they allow the realm of “the literary” to stand as an unfettered discursive arena of public controversy. Lucas thus provides a provocative new approach to this seminal but long-misunderstood collection, one that restores the Mirror to its rightful place as one of the greatest works of sixteenth-century English political literature.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page
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  1. Copyright Page
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. p. v
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-17
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  1. Chapter 1: A Memorial of suche Princes: Creation and Contexts
  2. pp. 18-66
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  1. Chapter 2: The Consolation of Tragedy: "Edmund Duke of Somerset," "Humfrey Duke of Gloucester," and the Fall of the "Good Duke" of Somerset
  2. pp. 67-105
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  1. Chapter 3: "Syr Thomas of Wudstocke" and the "Unfortunate" Death of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset
  2. pp. 106-134
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  1. Chapter 4: A Memorial of suche Princes and the Loss of Imperial England
  2. pp. 135-171
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  1. Chapter 5: Royal Power and the Abuse of the Law in A Memorial of suche Princes
  2. pp. 172-202
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  1. Chapter 6: The Seconde Parte of the Mirrour for Magistrates and the Future of Political Literature in Elizabeth's Reign
  2. pp. 202-230
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  1. Conclusion: The Mirror and Its Legacy
  2. pp. 231-236
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  1. Appendix: The Growth and Development of William Baldwin's A Mirror for Magistrates
  2. pp. 237-248
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 249-264
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 265-275
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  1. Back Cover
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781613761229
Related ISBN
9781558497061
MARC Record
OCLC
794701547
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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