The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1472 Wednesday, 9 August 2000.
From: Andrew W. White <
Date: Tuesday, 8 Aug 2000 16:50:17 -0400
Subject: Tudor Iconoclasm
I attended the ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education)
conference here in Washington, DC, last week and listened to a
fascinating lecture on what I would classify an iconoclastic period in
England, lasting approximately from 1558-1608. Statues taken down,
narrative glasswork replaced by plain, frescos whitewashed and the words
from the 10 commandments painted on the wall instead. Pageant wagons
put in storage, elaborate Corpus Christi festivals banned -- not simply
because they were Catholic, but because they may have been anathema.
The point of this, relating to Shakespeare and his contemporaries, was
that a playwright's reliance on word over image was largely due to the
austere, iconoclastic ways of the Tudors.
At least that's what I gathered from the presentation. But I have never
heard Elizabethan drama framed in this way before, and was wondering
whether there would be any further reading I should look for. And I
would be especially interested in any primary sources -- extant
documents confirming that statues, etc., were taken away not just to
fill the Tudor's coffers with quick cash, but as part of a movement away
from representational art in Anglican worship.
Feel free to write me off-list.