Vanessa Wilkie argues that the Egerton-Hastings family had a long-established practice of literary patronage that involved commissioning and hosting masque entertainments in their homes to signal major legal victories and familial career advancements. John Marston’s Entertainment at Ashby marked the 1607 Act of Parliament that ended a major inheritance lawsuit, John Milton’s 1631 Arcades celebrated the family’s victory in the Castlehaven trials, and Milton’s Comus served as the entertainment at the Earl of Bridgewater’s installation as president of the Marches of Wales. This essay introduces Marston’s 1607 masque as part of what should be considered a trio of masques, not just a duo of Miltonic masques, and thus more accurately frames all three occasions and texts. The essay also narrows the possible date range of the performance of Milton’s Arcades. This reading expands our understanding of the genre and function of elite household entertainments and masques.


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pp. 291-304
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