A Mirror for Magistrates in Context: Literature, History and Politics in Early Modern England

A Mirror for Magistrates in Context: Literature, History and Politics in Early Modern England

By: Andrew Hadfield (editor), Harriet Archer (editor)Hardback

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This is the first essay collection on A Mirror for Magistrates, the most popular work of English literature in the age of Shakespeare. The Mirror is here analysed by major scholars, who discuss its meaning and significance, and assess the extent of its influence as a series of tragic stories showing powerful princes and governors brought low by fate and enemy action. Scholars debate the challenging and radical nature of the Mirror's politics, its significance as a work of material culture, its relationship to oral culture as print was becoming ever more important, and the complicated evolution of its diverse texts. Other chapters discuss the importance of the book as the first major work that represented Roman history for a literary audience, the sly humour contained in the tragedies and their influence on major writers such as Spenser and Shakespeare.

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About Author

Harriet Archer is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Newcastle University, working on a book-length project called New Poets: Writing and Authority in 1570s England, and an edition, with Paul Frazer, of Norton and Sackville's Gorboduc for the Manchester Revels Plays Series. She completed her DPhil on A Mirror for Magistrates and textual transmission at Christ Church, Oxford in 2013. Her research interests include sixteenth-century historiography, modes of authorship, and the early modern reception of ancient and medieval culture. Andrew Hadfield is Professor of English at the University of Sussex. He is the author of several studies of early modern literature and culture including Shakespeare and Republicanism (2005) and Edmund Spenser: A Life (2012), both of which were awarded prizes. He is currently writing a study of lying in early modern England, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and is co-editing the Works of Thomas Nashe, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. He is vice-chair of the Society for Renaissance Studies and is a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement and the Irish Times.


Part I. A Myrroure for Magistrates (1559-63): 1. A Renaissance man and his 'medieval' text: William Baldwin and A Mirror for Magistrates, 1547-63 Scott C. Lucas; 2. 'A miserable time full of piteous tragedyes' Paul Budra; 3. Tragic and untragic bodies in A Mirror for Magistrates Mike Pincombe; 4. Reading and listening to William Baldwin Jennifer Richards; 5. Bibliophily in Baldwin's Mirror Angus Vine; Part II. Later Additions (1574-1616): 6. 'Hoysted high vpon the rolling wheele': Elianor Cobham's lament Cathy Shrank; 7. Romans in the Mirror Paulina Kewes; 8. 'Those chronicles whiche other men had': Paralipsis and Blenerhasset's Seconde Part of the Mirror for Magistrates (1578) Harriet Archer; 9. Richard Niccols and Tudor nostalgia Andrew Hadfield; 10. A Mirror for Magistrates: Richard Niccols's Sir Thomas Overburies Vision (1616) Michelle O'Callaghan; Part III. Reading the Mirror: Poetry and Drama: 11. Rethinking absolutism: English de casibus tragedy in the 1560s Jessica Winston; 12. 'They do it with mirrors': Baldwin's Mirror and Elizabethan literature's political vanishing act Bart van Es; 13. 'Most out of order': preposterous time in A Mirror for Magistrates and Shakespeare's histories Philip Schwyzer.

Product Details

  • publication date: 18/08/2016
  • ISBN13: 9781107104358
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 272
  • ID: 9781107104358
  • weight: 510
  • ISBN10: 1107104351

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