By Helen Wilcox
1611: Authority, Gender, and the be aware in Early smooth England explores problems with authority, gender, and language inside of and around the number of literary works produced in a single of such a lot landmark years in literary and cultural history.
- Represents an exploration of a yr within the textual lifetime of early sleek England
- Juxtaposes the diversity and diversity of texts that have been released, performed, learn, or heard within the related yr, 1611
- Offers an account of the textual tradition of the 12 months 1611, the surroundings of language, and the information from which the accepted model of the English Bible emerged
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Additional resources for 1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England
Ironically, several works published in 1611 – seeking in the process their own immortality, of course – drew attention to the transitory nature of fame and the sheer unreliability of praise as experienced by Jonson and others; chief among these texts is William Cavendish’s Discourse against Flatterie, a rare antidote to the prevalent culture of sycophancy. The difficulty of disengag- 16 ‘The omnipotency of the word’ ing from the expectation that patrons must be flattered, however, is indicated by the fact that the work itself is dedicated to ‘The Honourable Gentleman the Lord Bruce, Baron of Kinlosse’ with an epistle in which the author claims that any favour the work may gain should be attributed ‘rather to your good nature, and opinion, then to any efficacie in it selfe’ (Cavendish, A2v).
It is tempting to draw a parallel with the description of an abandoned masque in a play performed on 1 November of the same year in the same Whitehall Palace – Shakespeare’s The Tempest. 150–5). For all its elaborate artistic skill, the masque is an emblem of fleeting revelry, paradoxically emphasising the illusory nature of the authority that it seeks to celebrate. Jonson’s Oberon and friends: masque and music in 1611 33 Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly In spite of – or perhaps because of – the inbuilt obsolescence and extravagance of the genre, masques were a regular feature of Jacobean London, and a second masque by Jonson and Jones was performed in 1611 a little more than a month after Oberon.
364) The paradoxes to be unravelled here are initially a puzzle to Love: what is this ‘world’ that he must identify? Tentatively he suggests that it might be the moon, or perhaps a ‘Lady’, since every human creature is ‘a world in feature’ (364). As these answers are shown to be false, Love becomes 34 Jonson’s Oberon and friends: masque and music in 1611 increasingly desperate until he is ‘divinely instructed’ by 12 priests of the Muses and with their aid discovers the key to unlock both the riddle and the prisoners: this special ‘world’ that he must identify is Britain itself, and the ‘eye’ is none other than James, the ‘sunne’ of Albion who is both its ‘light’ and its ‘treasure’ (367–8).
1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England by Helen Wilcox