The English Renaissance is frequently defined in the context of the Elizabethans and early-Stuarts, but here we focus on the early Renaissance, and the important cultural transitions of the late-medieval/early-Tudor period. In this innovative study, Elisabeth Salter reconstructs the lives and experiences of six men and women of the early Renaissance and leads us on a quest to reconstruct their lost cultural worlds. The six men and women are all figures from the margins of the royal courts during the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII: Gilbert Banaster, present at the court of Henry VII in the guise of writer and musician; The Anonymous Witness, spectator to the marriage of Prince Arthur and Katherine of Aragon; William Cornish, playwright and musician at Henry VIII's household; Elizabeth Philip, silk trader to the royal court; Dame Katherine Styles, whose biography is recreated through her will; and William Buckley, Educator and Schoolmaster to King Edward VI. Salter presents an exemplary model of how it is possible to reconstruct biography from sometimes fragmentary sources. The connections drawn between these six individuals display ample evidence for the cultural innovation and sophistication of these courts in terms of pageantry, music, the visual arts, fashions in luxury consumption, scientific discovery and literary invention. When all six lives are added together as a whole, the book will lead the reader to a richer understanding of the cultural context of the early English Renaissance.
Contents: Introduction; Critical Introduction; Gilbert Banaster; Elizabeth Philip; The anonymous witness; William Cornysh; Katherine Styles; William Buckley; Conclusion. Index.