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Turning Princes into Pages: Sixteenth-Century Literary Representations of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey

Schwartz-Leeper, Gavin (2013) Turning Princes into Pages: Sixteenth-Century Literary Representations of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis considers a range of sixteenth-century literary texts in order to trace the evolution of the public image(s) of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey (c.1470-1530), Henry VIII’s chief minister from 1515 until 1529. The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate and explore the genesis and subsequent evolution of literary characterizations of Wolsey. This process in turn reveals much about the individual authors, editors, and playwrights who generated these images; the readers and audiences who received them; and the social, political, and religious events to which they responded and with which they interacted. Moreover, this thesis argues that through analyzing case studies (like Wolsey’s), we can better understand how sixteenth-century authors conceptualized and represented history itself, as well as the uses to which these histories might be put. To explore this concept, this thesis creates a framework of ‘mimetic’, ‘poetic’, and ‘documentary’ representations of history to better distinguish how Tudor authors organized and created their respective histories. In order to identify common themes and highlight evolving textual features, this thesis moves chronologically through a diverse corpus, looking at early satires in doggerel poetry and drama; biography and de casibus verse; Elizabethan historiographies (both religious and secular); and Jacobean drama. This approach demonstrates how the public images of Tudor political figures were constructed in a web of interconnected texts, and how authors constructed and adapted representations of history over the course of the sixteenth century. In addition, this thesis considers how characterizations of Wolsey in particular demonstrate the means by which a particular image could be adapted to interact with a rapidly changing public sphere.

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.570157
Depositing User: Mr Gavin Schwartz-Leeper
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2013 15:05
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 14:12
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3735

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