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Appropriating King Arthur: The Arthurian legend in English drama and entertainments 1485-1625
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
1999 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study attempts to show that, despite the scepticism as to the historicity of Arthur and the criticism of the genre of chivalric romance that arose during the English Renaissance, Arthurian motifs in drama and entertainments performed for the royal house remained highly relevant at this time. It is argued in this thesis that the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were not a kind of Arthurian 'Dark Ages.' Instead, because Arthurian mythology possessed the openendedness necessary to accommodate a number of diverse interests and political agendas, it remained possible to appropriate it for political purposes and incorporate it into most of the literary genres of the period.

The dramatic genres studied include the traditional seasonal revelry of the Inns of Court, progress entertainments and civic pageantry, as well as the more novel court masques and commercial stage plays. Also included are additional examples from non-literary documents. The use of Arthurian material is traced in dramatic works and entertainments from the reign of Henry VII to that of James I. The final section of my thesis examines the continued use of Arthurian motifs by such writers as Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, while particular attention is paid to the anonymous play Tom a Lincoln.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1999. , 326, [4] p.
Studia Anglistica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0562-2719 ; 109
Keyword [en]
English language
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1021ISBN: 91-554-4615-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1021DiVA: diva2:160557
Public defence
1999-12-04, Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt centrum, Villavägen 4, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 1999-11-13 Created: 1999-11-13Bibliographically approved

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