Chivalry and Romance in the English Renaissance (Studies in by Alex Davis

By Alex Davis

Chivalry and Romance in Renaissance England bargains a reinterpretation of where and value of chivalric tradition within the 16th and seventeenth-century and explores the results of this reconfigured interpretation for an figuring out of the medieval in general. acquired knowledge has it that either chivalric tradition and the literature of chivalry - romances - have been out of date by the point of the Renaissance, an realizing epitomised by way of the determine of Don Quixote, the reader of chivalric fictions whose risible literary tastes render him absurd. when it comes to distinction, this research reveals facts for the ongoing power and relevance of chivalric values in any respect degrees of 16th- and seventeenth-century society, from the court docket entertainments of Elizabeth I to the civic tradition of London retailers and artisans. even as, it charts the method in which, in the course of the eighteenth and 19th centuries, the chivalric has been to begin with completely pointed out with the medieval after which reworked right into a digital shorthand for 'pastness' as a rule. ALEX DAVIS is lecturer in English, college of St Andrews.

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Parrot (1615), sig. I1r. qxd 15/02/03 12:11 PM Page 26 Introduction invoked by Erasmus in his Institutio Principis Christiani. 86 In the early years of the seventeenth century, however, a tradition seems to have sprung up associating romances with domestic servants. Evidently, the combination of low social status and femininity was a compelling one. 87 Such comments are not necessarily inaccurate; but they ought, I think, to be regarded with suspicion. 88 The only thing that such representations have in common is the way that their ascription of a taste for romances to a certain section of the population can be taken, in itself, as a sort of satirical comment on those texts.

See Conyers Read, Mr Secretary Cecil and Queen Elizabeth (London: Jonathan Cape, 1955), p. 114. See Gustav Ungerer, ‘The Printing of Spanish Books in Elizabethan England’, The Library, 5th series, 20 (1965), pp. 177–229, Appendix II (on Cecil) and Appendix I (on Dee). Ungerer suggests that such reading might have represented an ‘escape’ from Dee’s more serious pursuits. George Peele, Anglorum Feriae (Ipswich: R. Root, 1830), p. 17. Quoted in Arthur Collins, Letters and Memorials of State (London: T.

73 By way of contrast, Paul Salzman’s history of English prose fiction does devote considerable space to the romance (as it could hardly fail to do). 70 71 72 73 Schlauch (1963), pp. 241–5. In fact, as Laura Caroline Stevenson demonstrates in her Praise and Paradox: Merchants and Craftsmen in Elizabethan Popular Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), fictions such as Deloney’s are substantially influenced by chivalric value systems. Small Books and Pleasant Histories (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp.

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