The Cultural Uses of the Caesars on the English Renaissance Stage  book cover
1st Edition

The Cultural Uses of the Caesars on the English Renaissance Stage

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ISBN 9780754662631
Published March 28, 2008 by Routledge
168 Pages

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Book Description

Caesarian power was a crucial context in the Renaissance, as rulers in Europe, Russia and Turkey all sought to appropriate Caesarian imagery and authority, but it has been surprisingly little explored in scholarship. In this study Lisa Hopkins explores the way in which the stories of the Caesars, and of the Julio-Claudians in particular, can be used to figure the stories of English rulers on the Renaissance stage. Analyzing plays by Shakespeare and a number of other playwrights of the period, she demonstrates how early modern English dramatists, using Roman modes of literary representation as cover, commented on the issues of the day and critiqued contemporary monarchs.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: 'king nor keisar'; Part I The Whore of Babylon: Reformation and deformation: Titus Andronicus; Hamlet among the Romans. Part II Caesar and the Czar: Tamburlaine and Julius Caesar; Pocahontas and The Winter's Tale. Part III The Romans in Britain: Cleopatra and the myth of Scota; The Romans in Wales: Cymbeline; He, Claudius; Conclusion; Works cited; Index.

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Lisa Hopkins is Professor of English at Sheffield Hallam University, UK.


'In this important study of the uses of the past in early modern England, Hopkins reminds us what has always been at stake in the term "Renaissance". Hopkins sheds new light on the importance of legends of British antiquity alongside (and often in tension with) the history of classical Rome.' Philip Schwyzer, University of Exeter, UK ’... a well researched and useful work... adds an important dimension to the study of Roman-ness on the English stage.’ Comparative Drama ’... lively, well-researched, provocative...’ Renaissance Quarterly