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A Mirror for Magistrates in Context
Literature, History and Politics in Early Modern England


Scott C. Lucas, Paul Budra, Mike Pincombe, Jennifer Richards, Angus Vine, Cathy Shrank, Paulina Kewes, Harriet Archer, Andrew Hadfield, Michelle O'Callaghan, Jessica Winston, Bart van Es, Philip Schwyzer
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  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107505827

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About the Authors
  • This is the first essay collection on A Mirror for Magistrates, the most popular work of English literature in the age of Shakespeare. The Mirror is here analysed by major scholars, who discuss its meaning and significance, and assess the extent of its influence as a series of tragic stories showing powerful princes and governors brought low by fate and enemy action. Scholars debate the challenging and radical nature of the Mirror's politics, its significance as a work of material culture, its relationship to oral culture as print was becoming ever more important, and the complicated evolution of its diverse texts. Other chapters discuss the importance of the book as the first major work that represented Roman history for a literary audience, the sly humour contained in the tragedies and their influence on major writers such as Spenser and Shakespeare.

    • The first essay collection on this influential but understudied work of English literature
    • Features contributions from major scholars of sixteenth-century literature
    • Brings scholarship on the Mirror into line with recent studies of other key contemporary Tudor texts, such as Holinshed's Chronicles
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This volume has the comprehensive quality of a handbook, with wide-ranging and thorough contributions on the Mirror's bibliographic history; its sources, influences, and analogues; on genre, rhetoric, the writing of history, Elizabethan politics and literature. But it's also imaginative, full of new critical approaches, multivocal and pleasingly readable in its concise chapters. Like the Mirror itself - whose authors are represented in conversation as they write - this collection has the feeling of scholars talking productively to one another: interacting with and sometimes disagreeing with one another's views, they are alive to the mercurial qualities of the text, its 'vanishing acts' and temporal twists and turns.' Mary Ann Lund, University of Leicester

    '… this collection deserves significant praise. The editors, writing about a team of writers who each play their part in producing the works of Mirror, have themselves assembled a team of expert contributors who illuminate Mirror's significance for and impact on late-Tudor historiography and literature. Fittingly, the contributors often respond to one another's critical position; these debates and disagreements are always cordial and productive. Unlike Lewis's experience with Mirror, a reader can only lay down this collection feeling invigorated by its erudition and insight.' Rory Loughnane, Literature & History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107505827
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. A Myrroure for Magistrates (1559–63):
    1. A Renaissance man and his 'medieval' text: William Baldwin and A Mirror for Magistrates, 1547–63 Scott C. Lucas
    2. 'A miserable time full of piteous tragedyes' Paul Budra
    3. Tragic and untragic bodies in A Mirror for Magistrates Mike Pincombe
    4. Reading and listening to William Baldwin Jennifer Richards
    5. Bibliophily in Baldwin's Mirror Angus Vine
    Part II. Later Additions (1574–1616):
    6. 'Hoysted high vpon the rolling wheele': Elianor Cobham's lament Cathy Shrank
    7. Romans in the Mirror Paulina Kewes
    8. 'Those chronicles whiche other men had': Paralipsis and Blenerhasset's Seconde Part of the Mirror for Magistrates (1578) Harriet Archer
    9. Richard Niccols and Tudor nostalgia Andrew Hadfield
    10. A Mirror for Magistrates: Richard Niccols's Sir Thomas Overburies Vision (1616) Michelle O'Callaghan
    Part III. Reading the Mirror: Poetry and Drama:
    11. Rethinking absolutism: English de casibus tragedy in the 1560s Jessica Winston
    12. 'They do it with mirrors': Baldwin's Mirror and Elizabethan literature's political vanishing act Bart van Es
    13. 'Most out of order': preposterous time in A Mirror for Magistrates and Shakespeare's histories Philip Schwyzer.

  • Editors

    Harriet Archer, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    Harriet Archer is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Newcastle University, working on a book-length project called New Poets: Writing and Authority in 1570s England, and an edition, with Paul Frazer, of Norton and Sackville's Gorboduc for the Manchester Revels Plays Series. She completed her D.Phil. on A Mirror for Magistrates and textual transmission at Christ Church, Oxford in 2013. Her research interests include sixteenth-century historiography, modes of authorship, and the early modern reception of ancient and medieval culture.

    Andrew Hadfield, University of Sussex
    Andrew Hadfield is Professor of English at the University of Sussex. He is the author of several studies of early modern literature and culture including Shakespeare and Republicanism (2005) and Edmund Spenser: A Life (2012), both of which were awarded prizes. He is currently writing a study of lying in early modern England, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and is co-editing the Works of Thomas Nashe, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. He is vice-chair of the Society for Renaissance Studies and is a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement and the Irish Times.


    Scott C. Lucas, Paul Budra, Mike Pincombe, Jennifer Richards, Angus Vine, Cathy Shrank, Paulina Kewes, Harriet Archer, Andrew Hadfield, Michelle O'Callaghan, Jessica Winston, Bart van Es, Philip Schwyzer

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