The Tower of London in English Renaissance Drama: Icon of Opposition (Hardback) book cover

The Tower of London in English Renaissance Drama

Icon of Opposition

By Kristen Deiter

© 2008 – Routledge

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About the Book

The Tower of London in English Renaissance Drama historicizes the Tower of London's evolving meanings in English culture alongside its representations in twenty-four English history plays, 1579-c.1634, by William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and others. While Elizabeth I, James I, and Charles I fashioned the Tower as a showplace of royal authority, magnificence, and entertainment, many playwrights of the time revealed the Tower's instability as a royal symbol and represented it, instead, as an emblem of opposition to the crown and as a bodily and spiritual icon of non-royal English identity.


"This text offers a provocative and careful study that reassesses the role of the Tower of London by examining the architectural building as a theatrical showplace and an icon of terror in the early modern period. Deiter does a wonderful job of establishing that dramatic representations of the Tower expanded its iconographic meaning by focusing on the Tower as a site of instability, rather than of royal authority. She places her analysis within a larger historical context and a reading of a significant number of cultural artifacts, including diaries, portraits, tracts, poetry, ballads, and woodcuts…Readers interested in scholarship on cultural studies of architecture, artifacts, and the theater as a place for commentary on social and political dissent will find Deiter’s book of particular interest as it makes important contributions to each of these realms of inquiry." --Anne-Marie E. Schuler, Ohio State University, Sixteenth Century Journal

Table of Contents

List of Images


Chapter One: Introduction: Historicizing Original Tower Play Audiences

Chapter Two: The Tower of London as a Cultural Icon before the Tower Plays

Chapter Three: Stage vs. State: The Struggle for the Tower

Chapter Four: The Tower of London: Dramatic Emblem of Opposition

Chapter Five: Reading English Nationhood in the Dramatic Tower of London

Coda: The Tower of London: An Evolving Icon




About the Author

Kristen Deiter is Assistant Professor of English at Tennessee Technological University, USA.

About the Series

Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh