Rome and English Republican Poetry

Howard Erskine-Hill

in Poetry and the Realm of Politics

Published in print June 1996 | ISBN: 9780198117315
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670916 | DOI:
Rome and English Republican Poetry

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In dramatizing the Roman Republic in Coriolanus and Catiline, Shakespeare and Jonson sought a political mode which would more clearly display contemporary tensions and dangers than a British chronicle source, a modern republican setting, or even the recent French world of Chapman's Bussy and Biron plays. Shakespeare wished to explore, among other things, the question of military leadership in a non-deferential and precariously hierarchical society. Jonson wished to take a recent crisis — the desperate papist Gunpowder Plot — seen by Protestant and Catholic as of intense religious significance, and transpose it into the pagan world of the late Roman Republic.

Keywords: Shakespeare; Jonson; poetry; Rome; Chapman

Chapter.  13256 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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