Elegy, prophecy, and politics: literary responses to the death of Prince Henry Stuart, 1612-1614

Streete, A. (2017) Elegy, prophecy, and politics: literary responses to the death of Prince Henry Stuart, 1612-1614. Renaissance Studies, 31(1), pp. 87-106. (doi:10.1111/rest.12197)

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Abstract

This article examines literary responses to the death of Prince Henry Stuart. These texts were written by figures from across the religious and political spectrum. They demonstrate an intriguing variety of responses – sceptical, moderate, and militant. They show that the implications of Henry's death were unstable and keenly contested. Specifically, I look at how elegists use the prophetic voice in order to comment on the political situation in the aftermath of Henry's death, especially in relation to the fortunes of militant Protestantism. Elegists offered advice and critique by using the divine sanction of the prophetic voice, advice that in other contexts would probably not be possible. The final part of this article examines John Webster's elegy for the prince, and reconsiders its relationship to his tragedy The Duchess of Malfi (1613/14). I suggest that the play's thematic interest in elegy, prophecy, and politics, allows Webster to express both militant futility and expectation in the aftermath of Henry's death.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Streete, Professor Adrian
Authors: Streete, A.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PR English literature
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Renaissance Studies
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0269-1213
ISSN (Online):1477-4658
Published Online:14 October 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Society for Renaissance Studies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
First Published:First published in Renaissance Studies 31(1): 87-106
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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