The English Renaissance: Identity and Representation in Elizabethan England

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  • in neighboring shires; parishes overlapped county boundaries; neighboring Bristol encroached on Gloucestershires economy; there were five administrative divisions (Berkeley, the Seven Hundreds, Kiftsgate, Forest, and Inshire) and three distinct geo- graphic regions (Vale, Wold, Forest). Gloucester-the principal market town and parliamentary borough (with Cirencester and Tewkesbury)-was a separate jurisdiction and therefore was not a true county town; and there was no county leader. Authority normal- ly devolved to the major gentry, who were often at odds.

    The books main weakness is that following his introduction, Warmington launches straight into a narrative without first identifying the shires various factions. That aside, the story is engaging, though it will appeal primarily to a professional readership. From elections for the Short Parliament to the royalist collapse in 1644, national and local issues overlapped- the gentry were divided and there was consid- erable popular parliamentarianism (Round- heads strongest in the Vales and Cavaliers in the Cotswolds and Forest of Dean). In a 1644 election, Colonel Edward Massey, governor of Gloucester, defeated the royalist Sir William Vavasour. However, trouble arose between Massey and the County Committee in 1644-45, and disputes over accounts and demobilization, plundering, and other prob- lems plagued the country even after the war ended. By 1649 Massey defected to the Stu- arts, the Committee collapsed, and central and local government drifted apart.

    During the Interregnum the minor gentry and lower classes took control of government (Gloucester was an exception); independents assumed religious leadership. The central gov- ernment intervened in local disputes involving tobacco cultivation and the iron and timber industries in the Forest of Dean. Popular cul- ture was characterized by distinctions between chalk and cheese regions and disputes between traditionalist defenders of festivity and radical sectaries. Masseys pro-royalist ris- ing in 1659 failed, but the Restoration returned to power in Gloucestershire those who ruled prior to 1649, though there was no simple cor- relation between former royalist areas and sup- port for Charles II. Interestingly, Warmington finds more evidence of a county community after 1660 than before.

    WILLIAM B. ROBISON Southeastern Louisiana University



    American Heart Association This space provided as a public service.

    Lockyer, Roger James VI & I New York Longman 234 pp., $60.95, cloth, $17.95, paper

    ISBN 0-582-27961-5 paper Publication Date: September 1998

    ISBN 0-582-27962-3 cloth

    James VI & I , by Roger Lockyer, is the latest in a growing list of volumes in Longmans popu- lar Profiles in Power series. It is a worthy addi- tion for several reasons. Lockyers latest publi- cation is, of course, merely another recent attempt to rehabilitate the somewhat tawdry image of this much-maligned king of England. Other historians have toiled in obscure journals and attempted to reach out to their peers in academe. The nature of this series, however, will ensure that students as well as scholars will finally be exposed to whats new in early Stuart history by a major scholar in the field. As Lockyer notes with some sadness, the still- standard version of the first Stuart king of Eng- land is the one presented by David Harris Will- son in his King James VI & I in 1956. Lockyer notes that Willson mades no attempt to con- ceal his distaste for the king whose character and reign he chose, somewhat surprisingly, to describe and dissect.

    After a long and distinguished teaching career at the University of London and else- where, Lockyer retains his affiliation with London. He is currently an emeritus reader in history there. Like Lockyers many earlier publications, James VI & I is eminently palat- able to casual readers and scholars alike. The somewhat selective notes at the end of each chapter reflect Lockyers mastery of both the primary secondary material in the field.

    In essence, Lockers most recent publica- tion is short, readable, and revisionist. He has not lost his touch and seems destined to estab- lish links with a new generation of readers, in and out of the classroom. James VI & I is highly recommended.

    DOROTHY A. BOYD-RUSH James Madison University

    Kelsey, Harry Sir Francis Drake: The Queens Pirate New Haven: Yale University Press

    Publication Date: August 1998 566 pp., $40.00, ISBN 0-300-07182-5

    Elizabethan history is filled with larger-than- life individuals and events: Sir Francis Drake and his voyages are prominent among them. Many figures, including Elizabeth I, have been subjected to scrutiny by scholars who have progressively reshaped our understanding of the period. Harry Kelsey, a research scholar at the Huntington Library, makes two contribu- tions with his new biography of Drake: he finally puts to rest the overblown, patriotic por- trayal of Drake, and he situates Drakes life within a more realistic Elizabethan context. Kelsey bases his reappraisal on a wide range of European, British, and American archival

    material. Drakes maritime activities are the main focus; Drake emerges as fallible and human-daring, gifted, and brave as well as driven, greedy, petty, and bullying.

    This is foremost the biography of a pirate and mariner, one who lived in an age when the distinctions between personal enterprise and government service were blurred. Kelsey reconstructs Drakes youth as a fledgling mariner with sensitivity to the incomplete nature of the sources. The story of Drakes cir- cumnavigation ushers in one of the books strengths: Kelseys deft handling of the early modern constructions of Drakes reputation at home and abroad. Drake returned from that celebrated voyage to build a respectable career as a courtier and crown servant. However, Kelsey demonstrates that Drake never heralded Englands maritime glory or led Elizabethan statecraft, despite the queens favor. Drake ful- filled the regimes goal of harassing Spain only inasmuch as he successfully used his piratical experience to good effect, for instance, during the Cadiz and Sagres expeditions. To Euro- peans, Drake personified the navy of Eng- land, but he never overcame his stubbornness, impulsive nature, or desire for private gain, all of which undermined effective fleet command. His role in defeating the Armada was margin- al, his attack on Lisbon a disgrace, and his final voyage to the Caribbean fatal.

    The book is not without faults. Kelseys integration of narrative and analysis is imper- fect, and there is an intrusive feeling when he changes from one mode to another. This prob- lem is apparent in the sifting of competing sources and accounts. Kelseys minimal engagement with other scholars over Drakes reputation is unfortunate in a work billed as shattering traditional interpretations. Notice- ably, Kelsey neither refutes nor acknowledges the existing study of Drake by John Sugden. Those criticisms aside, Kelseys work is con- vincing and accessible; Yale University Press deserves recognition for publishing the text with ample maps, diagrams, and contempo- rary illustrations. Kelseys conclusion notes that Drake biographies appear every few years. This revisionist study should hold its own much longer than that.

    JOHN R. CRAMSIE Drury College

    Fox, Alistair The English Renaissance: Identity and Representation in Elizabethan England Oxford: Blackwell Publishers 240 pp., $64.95 cloth, $26.95 paper

    ISBN 0-63 1-19029-5 paper Publication Date: August 1998

    ISBN 0-63 1-17747-7 cloth

    Alistair Fox is no stranger to the controversial field of literary analysis within a politico-his- torical context. Here the professor of English at the University of Otago, New Zealand, has expanded the challenge by adding a religious

    HISTORY 68

  • purview to the mix. His synthesis now com- prises the Calvinist experiment of the Tudor decades, the ongoing influence of the Italian literary world, and the Tudor-Stuart polity. Briefly, on the philosophical level he suggests that the ongoing influence of the Italian liter- ary world offered a sense of identity that the Tudor populace could gracefully use to modify their expressions of sensuality and still remain loyal to the state-enforced Puritan ethic of strict morality.

    To that end, Fox moves to the practical exercise of meticulously dissecting instances of Italian poetry and drama, then pairing his examples with their English counterparts. Here, creative imitation of the indulgent morality of the first had the potential for integrating and affirming the second, eventu- ating in a synthesis. In Foxs judgment, this process, in time, was to influence political outcomes especially in the 1580s and 1590s.

    Thus Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, took like native Italians to the Petrarchan lyric, while Spenser and Philip Sidney eyed the bucolic pastures of Tassos pastorals and the risquC tales of Boccaccios novellieri. Pastorals like The Faerie Queene and The Shephaerdes Calendar served the purpose especially well since they allowed the entrance of a clearly corrupt evil presence (sex andor Roman Catholicism) to be uniquely reconstructed. To Italian tales and amatory verse Shakespeare inimitably added another source: the heroics and faults of past English kings with their retinues of syco- phants and sinners. Through this synthesizing process-not adoption-English people would arrive at their maturity as an English state, no longer dependent for their polity on either European leadership in the literary world nor on the strict asceticism of the Calvinist invention.

    In actual fact, the intended result of those literary geniuses never came to pass: the final union of strict morality with the freedom of untrammeled ardor never occurred in the six- teenth century. Only a civil war could bring the effort to a conclusion of sorts. Neverthe- less, Foxs multilingual structure (Italian original to early translator to recent translator to Fox) bespeaks his dexterity of thought, offering discriminating insight into a tradi- tional debate. Some will find his rhetoric unduly abstruse; frequent long sentences (200 words) are distracting and better set before the young for parsing (101). His best audi- ence of advanced scholars needs no persua- sive prose; for them a neat analysis (which this is) will satisfy.

    ALICE TOBRINER Holy Names College, Oakland

    I S t o p S m o k i n g . 1

    Rabb, Theodore K. Jacobean Gentleman: Sir Edwin Sandys,

    Princeton: Princeton University Press

    Publication Date: July 1998


    412 pp.. $55.00, ISBN 0-691-02694-7

    Historians of early modem England will wel- come the long-awaited publication of Theodore K. Rabbs study of Sir Edwin Sandys, a work that has been in progress for some forty years. It is a testimony to Rabbs persistence, as well as his abilities, that the present work succeeds in capturing the essence of a figure whom others have found elusive.

    Sandyss primary importance is that he was a member of all the parliaments of James I and came to assume a role of leadership in those sessions. The parliamentary history of Jamess reign is, of course, already well known; indeed some recent scholarship sug- gests that too much attention has been paid to that monarchs troubled relationship with the House of Commons and not enough to his other activities and accomplishments. Nev- erthless the story of the parliamentary debates retains some interest and importance. Although Rabbs chief aim was to decribe and evaluate Sandyss ideas and his influence over the country gentlemen who made up most of the House, he has in fact provided a new general account of Jacobean parliamen- tary history. This is a very useful thing, since earlier monographs have dealt with the parlia- ments one by one. We have good studies by Wallace Notestein on 1604-10, Robert Moir on 1614, Robert Zaller on 1621, and Robert Ruigh on 1624, but before now no continuous narrative has tied it all together. Like most of us who have written on Tudor-Stuart parlia- ments, Rabb has adopted (perhaps uncon- sciously) the style of the late Sir John Neale, a master of narrative. The result is an account that some will consider old-fashioned, but one that is judicious, moderate, and balanced. This is especially appropriate since those are the qualities that Rabb attributes to Sandys himself.

    More than half the book is devoted to nar- rative. An opening section deals with Sandyss family and education, an important matter since his father was a prominent churchman, archbishop of York and patron of Richard Hooker. The concluding chapters discuss Sandyss involvement in American colonization, especially his leadership of the Virginia Company and his role in its final col- lapse. These parts of the book are short and leave a number of topics relatively untouched. The brevity of the discussion of the Virginia enterprise is justified by the fact that Rabbs onetime supervisor W. F. Craven wrote at length on the topic.

    Other areas, however, might have been examined in greater length. Rabb tells us, for instance, that Sandyss will provided legacies for the establishment of chairs in metaphysi- cal philosophy at both Oxford and Cam- bridge, but that his financial condition at the

    time of his death was shaky and the universi- ties never received the endowments. This information leaves us wishing for a more detailed account of Sandyss finances. There is also surprisingly little about his religious views. He is said to have written hymns, but they are not described or used as a source for ferreting out his beliefs. There is practically nothing about his marriage and children. Even some aspects of parliamentary history could have benefited from additional com- mentary. It is striking, for instance, that a fig- ure of Sandyss importance experienced diffi- culty in obtaining a seat in the Commons. One would have expected that he would con- tinuously be a Knight of the Shire for Kent or Yorkshire, in both of which counties he held land, but in fact he sat for a variety of con- stituencies, mainly boroughs of no great importance, and on one occasion he seems to have gained a seat only through the interven- tion of the Duke of Buckingham.

    All of this is to say that a little more analy- sis and a little less narrative might have been desirable. One might also appreciate general conclusions about the character of the Jacobean parliaments. It is remarkable that they achieved relatively little and spent a great deal of time obstructing proposals, mainly financial schemes, put forward by Jamess officials. I have suggested elsewhere that the problem lay in changes in parliamentary rhetoric: the Commons talked themselves to death with searching for precedents and fuss- ing about procedure while, as the king said, the business of the realm went unattended. It would have been interesting to see whether Rabb accepts this line of...


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