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'Where is the court but here?' : defining elite space in early modern drama.

Sillitoe, Peter (2008) 'Where is the court but here?' : defining elite space in early modern drama. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis analyzes definitions of 'the court' throughout the early modem period by assessing a range of theatrical texts from the reign of Elizabeth through to the outbreak of the civil wars. The introduction makes clear that there were various ways of defining a court in Renaissance England, a society preoccupied with two competing types of 'court', the space viewed as either a moveable realm defined by the monarch's presence, or a fixed architectural setting. An examination of Marlowe's Edward II reveals that dramatists were able to exploit this definitional tension at the public theatres. Chapter 1, on the Elizabethan progresses, then illustrates how monarchical presence could govern the court's meaning. Four chapters on the Jacobean period consider the expansion of the court as a signifier of elite space during the reign of James I, the first viewing the importance of the king's status as ruler of two realms and multiple courts alongside moments of spatial contact between a continued progressing culture, Whitehall Palace, and entertainments for the king's welcome into London. The second Jacobean chapter then evaluates the cultural impact on court definitions of the consort, Queen Anna, and her embrace of architecture and progressing. The significance of a masquing culture beyond Whitehall Palace is the primary focus for the third Jacobean section, as I inspect the implications of this for elite space. The last Jacobean chapter probes a contradictory fixing of courtly space at Whitehall, a manoeuvre closely associated with the emergence of the court masque at the royal palace. Chapter 6 then scrutinizes the reign of Charles I, stressing that the dualism of court space did survive, yet was under threat from the neglect of royal progresses and further interest in architectural discourse, as witnessed in the Caroline court masque. The conclusion then reveals that, when royalist writers in the 1640s looked back to Charles's court at Whitehall, they highlighted a problem with the king's political discourse, as their praising of his palace meant that a sense of wonder had passed from monarchical presence to an architectural space.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.444238
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2017 15:04
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2017 15:04
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14500

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