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Title: Poetry and the court in the reign of Charles I
Author: Thomson, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0001 3532 3545
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1989
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The court poetry of the 1630s is usually seen as flattering and escapist. However, the court poets had more to do with each other than with the king and official policy. They wrote in the context of a social coterie underpinned by patronage relationships. They did not write directly to dissent from or support the king's policies, but they were members of his court, which he intended should be exemplary, representing the nation to itself and to the world. They found ways of representing the nation in their poetry by relating Britain to other legendary or semi-legendary worlds: Arcadia, Jerusalem and Rome. Their English Arcadia was a blessed island free from war, derived from the many classical myths of idyllic western islands. Court culture pictured an Arcadian England in gardens, portraits, and masques. The English Jerusalem was an island church where order and peace prevailed, and the material world became a medium for the spiritual. Rome differed from these two alternative worlds because it was a historical state, and could provide political parallels to England. The court poets, however, used it unhistorically to create a Roman England which borrowed the authority but not the history of its original. There is a sharp break between 1630s court culture and the 1640s, when, although the court was dispersed and defeated, court poetry began to be published. The volumes of the 1640s attempted to replace the court. Their presentation was usually royalist, and they were designed to create a world which did not nostalgically evoke the past decade but which was an alternative world related to the troubles of the 1640s. This tendency is particularly strong in Lovelace and Herrick. Herrick's Hesperides (1648) was designed to suggest a garden, where art transforms nature, and in it real events were frozen by art to become part of a timeless, idealized England.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature