- The Making of Jacobean Culture: James I and the Renegotiation of Elizabethan Literary Practice (review)
- Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Inc.)
- Volume 18, Number 2, January 2001
- pp. 208-211
- View Citation
- Additional Information
208 Reviews the policies whose effects the towns were seeking to reduce or escape. By the mid-1630s, Patterson argues, the old logic of urban patronage, which depended upon flexibility and negotiation and the power of personal connections to make a difference, seemed increasingly strained. This is an elegantly written, cogently argued and beautifully produced book. Its thick evidential base is reflected in a useful appendix which lists the high stewards of some 54 boroughs and compendious end-notes which will undoubtedly invite mining by other scholars. Although it constitutes neither the first nor the last word on the subject of urban patronage in early modem England, this book offers much that will be of interest to many readers of this journal and represents an excellent, even essential, point of reference in the field. Paul E. J. Hammer Department ofHistory University ofAdelaide Perry, Curtis, The Making ofJacobean Culture: James I and the Renegotiation of Elizabethan Literary Practice, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997; cloth; pp. xiv, 281; 4 b/w illustrations; R R P AUS$95. Both new historicism (using post-structuralism and Foucault as its basis) cultural materialism (centred most notably on the work of Raymond Williams amongst others), have dominated debates in Renaissance studies over the past decade. However, hindsight has seen many working in thisfieldrevise their views on the old and the new from a more pragmatic stance. Couched between the old and new, Perry's book is another example of an alternate 'revisionist' position. Perry states that he sees 'this book as part of an ongoing movement in Renaissance studies towards the reconsolidation of the considerable advances of new historicism with old historical narratives of individual agency ... and cause and effect' (p. 6). Perry's text focuses on thefirstdecade of James's reign to draw conclusions about the 'relationships between king and culture, literature and authority' (preface) during the Jacobean reign in general. His aim is to examine the negotiations that resulted in a transition from the Elizabethan to the Jacobean period providing evidence in the form of a series of case studies. It is this fascinating re-evaluation that makes Perry's book both innovative and informative and at the same time frustrating. Reviews 209 Perry's introduction shows a most impressive synthesis of the competing theoretical arguments and a cogent discussion of his position in relation to them. Indeed, it is in his discussion of his slant on existing theoretical positions in Renaissance studies and in the early chapters of his work that the book most excels. Excluding the introduction and epilogue, the body of the book is divided into three sections, each section comprising a pair of chapters. As Perry states, 'this book attempts throughout to locate the individual representational choices of canonical and non-canonical writers with a wide variety of backgrounds, interests, and agendas within and against larger cultural paradigms and trajectories' (p. 8). Chapters One and T w o are impressive and convincingly examine the 'generic renegotiation' of the 'Panegyric and the poet-king', as well as the 'Pastoral negotiations in early Jacobean England' (pp. vii, 10). The second section comprising Chapters Three and Four, examines the ways in which 'early Jacobean drama staged and commented on key issues of the new reign', by discussing the 'Theatre of Counsel', and 'kingship, gender and bounty in King Lear and Macbeth' (pp. vii, viii, 10). Parts of this section are less convincing. The third part ofthe book is the least impressive. Chapters Five and Six 'attempt to address more interdisciplinary questions, looking at ways in which literary representation shapes and is shaped by political history' (p. 11). These chapters lack conviction due to a lack of space and depth in the discussion of the Elizabethan legacy in Jacobean London and the implications for the citizens (really a book in its ownright).The Epilogue, which takes as its centrepiece for discussion Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair (1614), challenges 'the hypostatizations ofpower so c o m m o n in recent historicist criticism', and attempts to redress the shortfall between 'ideas of authority and its practical limitations and circulations' (p. 12). Perry's conclusion is that the canonical and non-canonical texts 'depicted James as...