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Reviews 165 response seems to emerge. The claim that some sort of historical investigation is being conducted simply cannot be assented to. As a reviewer in the Fall 1989 issue of Emblematica (4:2) remarks of another recent work of Renaissance scholarship, a lot of material is covered to reach very unremarkable conclusions and, whdst the critic may 'claim his survey 'enriches' our reading of the poem . . . I fad to see how it provides anything beyond what could be gleaned from the most a-historical 'New Critical' reading that attended to the metaphoric structures of the poem'. It is evident that the literary texts to which this methodology is being currendy appUed simply will not yield the sort of material for which the investigators are searching. Where, unexpectedly, a passage may betorturedinto relinquishing a relatively apposite conclusion, we find ourselves in an amusing logical fork. As the Shakespeare Studies reviewer of Greenblatt's Renaissance self-fashioning justifiably asked, 'Is there any value in redefining such common wisdom in its Renaissance terms', when w e are merely conducted to 'a conclusion that could be readily duplicated in any period of Western civilization?'. David Ormerod Department of EngUsh University of Western AustraUa Lander, J. R., The limitations of English monarchy in the later Middle Ages (The Joanne Goodman Lectures, 1986), Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1989; cloth and paper; pp. xvi, 93; 8 plates; R. R. P. £17.50 (cloth),£8.95 (paper). Lectures in commemoration of Joanne Goodman have been given at the University of Western Ontario each year since 1976 and have, more often than not, been published subsequently. Professor Lander's three lectures on the restraints imposed on later medieval English government are well worth pubUshing since they crystalUse a lifetime's preoccupation. Lander is widely admired for his syntheses on politics and magnate life in the late fifteenth century. In the 47 pages of actual lectures and 28 pages of wide ranging annotations here, Lander presents with brutal realism the ways in which medieval government, local and central, operated. The lack of overall control, the tensions between the self-interest of aristocracy, gentry and king, the overwhelming importance of propertyrightsand hereditary succession, the increasing reluctance of the whole community to pay taxation, either direct or indirect, the extent to which royal initiatives were muffled by the lack of financial power and the lack of effective means of coercion: all these themes are well exemplified on a fairly broadfrontin Lander's lectures. Thefinallecture on royal public relations in England ranges from the 166 Reviews use of French-style miraculous anointing od by the Lancastrians to the famdiar theme of Burgundian-style spectacle in the Yorkist and Tudor period. The limited success of aU this propaganda is a necessary antidote to the pessimism of the lectures as a whole. Indeed, the book leaves one wondering how medieval English government managed to function at aU and how England could possibly have earned a reputation as the best governed state in Europe with the best record system supplying its bureaucrats with an unusually accessible range of data on previous government actions. The realities of bureaucracy and royal power were sombre enough but the Lander view tends to the negative and, sometimes,tothe paradoxical. The misery of the French peasantry in 1500 compared with the position of its counterpart in England, the country-dweUing nobility and gentry of England reluctant to fight in the later years of the Hundred Years War and after 1453 but indulging in the sporadic viciousness of civil war, the declining regularity of Parliamentary summonses in the Yorkist and Tudor period; these are all commented on in passing but they are undeveloped themes which could produce rather different lectures on the same general topic. Taken as essays on certain elements in the problems of governing England, these Goodman lectures are darkly bracing. Used in conjunction with the excellent, and sometimes unfamiliar, bibliography contained within the footnotes, the lectures might lead the thoughtful reader to a broader context in which to place these obiter dicta. R. Ian Jack Department of History University of Sydney Lee, Maurice, jr, Great Britain's Solomon: James VI and I in his three kingdoms, Urbana...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 165-166
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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