Journal Article

‘A Fit Memorial for the Times to Come …’: Admonition and Topical Application in Mary Sidney's Antonius and Samuel Daniel's Cleopatra

Paulina Kewes

in The Review of English Studies

Volume 63, issue 259, pages 243-264
Published in print April 2012 | ISSN: 0034-6551
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1471-6968 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/res/hgr047
‘A Fit Memorial for the Times to Come …’: Admonition and Topical Application in Mary Sidney's Antonius and Samuel Daniel's Cleopatra

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature)
  • Literary Studies (American)
  • Literary Studies (British and Irish)

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Whether designed for the closet, the academic stage, or the public theatres, virtually all late Elizabethan plays about ancient Rome dealt, in one way or another, with the collapse of the republic. Yet that does not mean that they were ‘republican’, as some recent critics have argued. Rather, the playwrights summoned the Roman past to address, however obliquely, many of the ethical and constitutional issues driving debates about the succession and international politics—and, by default, religion. The following is a case study of two 1590s closet dramas, Mary Sidney's Antonius (1592), a translation from the French of Robert Garnier, and Samuel Daniel's companion piece Cleopatra (1594). Emulating the uses of classical history by Protestant polemicists, divines, and imaginative writers, the two invoke parallels between ancient Rome and Philip II's Spain, Egypt and Elizabethan England, in a bid to underscore the twin dangers of an unsettled succession and royal indolence. At the same time, they exploit the rhetoric of anti-absolutism and anti-imperialism as a vehicle for anti-Spanish sentiment. Far from questioning monarchy per se, Sidney and Daniel denounce Hapsburg designs for global sovereignty and implicitly critique Elizabeth's queenship, suggesting, by contrast, what the godly ruler should be.

Journal Article.  10842 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature) ; Literary Studies (American) ; Literary Studies (British and Irish)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.