1535: A Midsummer Night’s Apocalypse

Martin Wiggins

in Drama and the Transfer of Power in Renaissance England

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199650590
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741982 | DOI:
1535: A Midsummer Night’s Apocalypse

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This chapter identifies an apocalyptic show described in diplomatic correspondence of 1535 as the London Midsummer Watch, which that year was staged with some practical assistance from the court. The show's content, and the theatre of the king's presence to watch the performance, made an assertion of the Royal Supremacy timed to follow immediately upon the execution of one of its prominent opponents, John Fisher. The use of drama for propagandist purposes in the 1530s is considered more broadly as part of an analysis of who might have been responsible for this particular one; the likeliest of the three suspects seems to be King Henry VIII himself.

Keywords: Henry VIII; Thomas Cromwell; Royal Supremacy; Reformation; London; civic pageant

Chapter.  5360 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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