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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: August ::
Re: Tudor Iconoclasm
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1537  Friday, 18 August 2000.

[1]     From:   Patrick Buckridge <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Aug 2000 17:05:08 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1499 Re: Tudor Iconoclasm

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Aug 2000 06:55:31 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1472 Tudor Iconoclasm


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patrick Buckridge <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Aug 2000 17:05:08 +1000
Subject: 11.1499 Re: Tudor Iconoclasm
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1499 Re: Tudor Iconoclasm

An interesting case of 'Eucharistic poetics' might be that of John
Marston.

In _The Scourge of Villainy_(1598), Marston positions himself very
carefully on the Eucharist question between the Cambridge puritans, who
'take the symbol up/As slovenly as careless courtiers slup/Their mutton
gruel', and the papists who 'Adore wheat dough as reall deity'. The
application to poetic representation is not spelled out explicitly, but
elsewhere in the satires he talks about 'fiction' in precisely analogous
terms, as an earthly symbol of a divine reality, deserving of respectful
treatment in deference to what it stands for. (Which is pretty much the
Anglican 'via media' though he sounds more Calvinistic on other issues -
but then so do the Lambeth Articles.

It's interesting then that most of Marston's plays - the early ones
anyway - go out of their way to highlight not just the ontological
unreality of the stage illusion, but its imperfection even as an
imitation - and this because of the young and inexperienced actors
performing them. In seeking the audience's indulgence for his boy actors
he's demanding respect for the higher reality their performance stands
for - a perfect illusion of life.

Pat Buckridge

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Aug 2000 06:55:31 -0400
Subject: 11.1472 Tudor Iconoclasm
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1472 Tudor Iconoclasm

>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.

The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy is a good history text.  As a
primary source, I can only think of Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair in
which a puritan divine accuses the puppets of fomenting idolatry.  His
criticism is not specifically theological.  For instance, he accuses
them of perversity in dressing males as females and vice versa (did this
happen?) and is refuted by one of the puppets who lifts up his gown to
show himself anatomically incorrect.  The puritan admits defeat and sits
down to enjoy the show.  The funny thing to me is that the actors who
were then on the stage playing female audience members would not have
passed such a test.

Clifford Stetner
 

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