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198 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 Men -learned to produce plays of high literary quality well suited to the demands of an expanding print culture. Here the Queen's Men were at a marked disadvantage. Their plays were improvisational,with lots ofhorseplay ofthe sort that Tarlton did so well. Their plays were medleys, visually oriented, full of pantomime and processions. They did much to put the English history play on the boards, hut it remained for Marlowe and Shakespeare to discover the true genius of the genre. Shakespeare in particular rifled the warehouse of the Queen's Men's repertory for his own history plays to such an extent that we are obliged to wonder if he had been a Queen's man himself. The authors of this study explore that possibility with the judiciousness and insight that they bring to every issue they study. No quick sketch can begin to do justice to the riches of this fascinating book. It contains full analyses of playing spaces - some of them still extant - where the Queen's Men acted on tour. Itprovides maps of their peregrinations . It analyses the dramaturgy of their repertory, and argues the textual integrity of the versions too often dismissed as 'bad' quartos) that have come down to us. The argument is at times repetitious, especially in the discussion of 'bad' quartos, perhaps because this book includes some already published articles that are imperfectly assimilated in their present composite form. This is my only mild quarrel with a landmark study about the rise and fall ofTarlton, Bentley, Singer, William Knell, and their fellows - what might be called the death-Knell of England's greatest acting company of the 1580s. (DAVID BEVINGTON) Adriana McCrea. Constant Minds: Political Virtue and the Lipsial1 Paradigm in England, 1584-1650 University of Toronto Press 1997. xxxii, 342 . $65.00 In Constant Minds, Adriana McCrea examines the writings of the Flemish philologist Justus Lipsius and the ways in which his philosophy of 'constancy ' in political action informed the thought of five English thinkers writing in the humanist tradition: Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon, Fulke Greville, Ben Jonson, and Joseph Hall. The Lipsian paradigm, as she describes it, addresses several central preoccupations of early-modem Englishmen, includirig political participation, the disjunction between private and public virtue, and the lessons of history. In this study, McCrea illustrates how Lipsius used Tacitus (historian of imperial Rome, whose works Lipsius translated) to transcend the neo-stoical philosophy of political disengagementby defining the role ofprudencein adaptingvirtue to prevailing political circumstances. The Lipsian paradigm emerged, she argues , from the humanist belief that participation in scholarship and literary texts constituted active service to the state rather than contemplative and scholarship constituted service within the vita activa. HUMANITIES 199 McCrea delineates the Lipsian paradigm within the context of a contineIJ .tal war which threatened to efface the humanist tradition, and which, McCrea argues, inspired Lipsius to make humanist scholarship a tool to confront the contemporary political situation and the 'crisis of counsel' which it revealed. This was the heritage that Lipsius sought to revalidate, in response to what he saw as 'the crisis of humanism, the crisis in politics, and the crisis of religion.' McCrea distinguishes Lipsius's political philosophy and style from the prudential politics of Machiavelli and reason-of-state philosophers in general by focusing on Lipsius's regard for textual authority. He politicized the concept of constancy, as a response to public ills, but in doing so stressed the problem of language as much as the problem of evil. The rhetoric of politics was his concern. His political philosophy, unlike Machiavelli's, consisted not simply of mere prudential action, but was embodied in language. Firmly grounded in current literary and historial scholarship, McCrea's book examines in the'constant minds' of her subjects a range of responses to the political crises and the crisis of counsel in a factionated political situation precipitated by the death of Sidney, the failed Essex rebellion, conflict with Spain, and the Thirty Years' War. While Machiavellian virtu and hard-headed reason-oi-state philosophies might provide a practical response to these political and religious crises, the humanist stress on language and the Tacitean style of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 198-200
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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