By By (author) Christopher Martin
How did Shakespeare and his contemporaries, whose works mark the final sector century of Elizabeth I's reign as one of many richest moments in all of English literature, regard and characterize outdated age? was once overdue lifestyles noticeable basically as a time of withdrawal and training for dying, as students and historians have regularly maintained? during this ebook, Christopher Martin examines how, opposite to bought impressions, writers and thinkers of the era―working within the shadow of the kinetic, long-lived queen herself―contested such prejudicial and dismissive social attitudes.
In overdue Tudor England, Martin argues, competing definitions of and regard for previous age validated a deeply conflicted frontier among exterior, socially "constituted" ideals and a constructing feel of an individual's "constitution" or actual make-up, a utilization that entered the language within the mid-1500s. This house was once extra advanced by way of inner divisions in the opposing camps. On one part, reverence for the elder's authority, rooted in non secular and social conference, was once repeatedly challenged through the discontents of an bold more youthful underclass. concurrently, the getting older topic grounded a permanent social presence and dignity on a physically integrity that point necessarily threatened. In a historic atmosphere that observed either the prolonged reign of an getting older monarch and a ensuing weather of acute generational strife, this community of festival and lodging uniquely formed overdue Elizabethan literary mind's eye. via clean readings of signature works, genres, and figures, Martin redirects severe awareness to this missed element of early sleek stories.
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Additional resources for Constituting Old Age in Early Modern English Literature, from Queen Elizabeth to King Lear
In response to a protest that many elderly men demonstrate greater capacity and enjoyment of this art than young ones, Frederico can only suggest that “in case olde men wil sing to the lute, let them doe it secretly,” a sentiment that provokes Signore Morello da Ortona, an aged advocate of the elderly’s continued claim to courtly position, to protest Frederigo’s implicit design “to excepte all olde men and to saie that only yong men are to be called Courtiers” (pp. 119–20). . dye their hear and make their beard grow twise a weeke,” Frederico can only reiterate his condescending outlook that, in order to spare himself and his audience embarrassment, the aged courtier must strive to accept a pose of docility and passivity dictated by his failing body, and work to “have a grace in utteringe that they knowe, applying it aptlye to the purpose, accompanying with the grace of yeeres a certaine temperate and meery plesauntnesse” (pp.
70 Theoretically displaced from the outer circles of courtly power, and embattled within its inner confines, senescence badly wanted Age, Agency, and Early Modern Constitutions 19 the kind of authoritative encouragement that only its most formidable Roman exponent could afford. Yet as careful scrutiny of Cicero’s performance suggests, the senex of his own day faced the necessity for a similar retrenchment, and this awareness explains the prickly apprehension that ruffles his work’s surface composure.
9). It is not age that occasions senility, so far as he is concerned, but weakness of character: “so this folishnes that entangleth and captivateth the senses of old men (which is commonly called Dotage) is not in al old men, but in those only which are light witted, & kepe not them selves wythin the limittes of reason” (fol. 24v). In contrast, Cato holds himself up to his young interlocutors as his own best example—sed redeo ad me, “But nowe to retourne and saye somewhat of my selfe,” punctuates his discourse repeatedly—and he justifies his self-referential loquacity as a privilege of old age, citing the model of Homer’s Nestor (fol.
Constituting Old Age in Early Modern English Literature, from Queen Elizabeth to King Lear by By (author) Christopher Martin