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Title: 1603 - the wonderfull yeare : literary responses to the accession of James I
Author: Lazar, Jessica
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 3368
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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'1603. The Wonderfull Yeare: Literary Responses to the Accession of James I' argues that when James VI of Scotland was proclaimed James I of England on 24 March 1603, the printed verse pamphlets that greeted his accession presented him as a figure of hope and promise for the Englishmen now subject to his rule. However, they also demonstrate hitherto unrecognized concerns that James might also be a figure of threat to the very national strength, Protestant progress, and moral, cultural, and political renaissance for which he was being touted as harbinger and champion. The poems therefore transform an insecure and undetermined figure into a symbol that represents (and enables) promise and hope. PART ONE explores how the poetry seeks to address the uncertainty and fragility, both social and political, that arose from popular fears about the accession; and to dissuade dissenters (and make secure and unassailable the throne, and thereby the state of England), through celebration of the new monarch. Perceived legal, political, and dynastic concerns were exacerbated by concrete difficulties when James was proclaimed King of England, and so he was more than fifty miles from the English border (only reaching London for the first time in early May); his absence was further prolonged by plague; this plague also deferred the immediate sanction of public festivities that should have accompanied his July coronation. An English Jacobean icon was configured in literature to accommodate and address these threats and hazards, neutralizing fears surrounding the idea of the accession with confidence in the idea of the king it brings. In the texts that respond to James's accession we observe his appropriation as a figure of hope and promise. PART 2 looks to more personal hopes and fears, albeit within the national context. It considers how the poets engage with the King's own established iconography and intentions, publicly available to view within his own writing - and especially poetry. The image that is already established there has the potential either to obstruct or to enable national and personal causes and ambitions (whether political, religious, or cultural). The poetry therefore develops strategies to negotiate with and so appropriate the King's own self-fashioning.
Supervisor: Stern, Tiffany Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; University College Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Great Britain--Kings and rulers--Succession--History ; Elegiac poetry ; English--17th century ; Propaganda ; Literature and society--Great Britain--History--17th century