Elizabethan Mythologies: Studies in Poetry, Drama and Music

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Cambridge University Press, 1994 M05 12 - 287 pages
For lovers of music and poetry the legendary figure of Orpheus probably suggests a romantic ideal. But for the Renaissance he is essentially a political figure. Dealing with plays, poems, songs, and the iconography of musical instruments, Robin Headlam Wells reexamines the myth, central to the Orpheus story, of the civilizing power of music and poetry. In doing so he acknowledges a debt to the New Historicism and its recovery of political meanings that traditional historical scholarship has sometimes been guilty of obscuring. But he is also critical of certain faulty premises in New Historicist criticism that have led to some radical misinterpretations of the period.
 

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Contents

Introduction I
1
Spenser and the politics of music
25
Falstaff Prince Hal and the New Song
44
Music as a symbol of profane love Illustration from
52
Prospero King James and the myth of the musicianking
63
verbal and musical rhetoric in
83
The Great Chain of Being Didacus Valades Rhetorica
90
Medieval ladder of virtue Herrad of Landsberg
97
Wall decoration from the Alhambra Granada
118
Musica humana Reims Pontifical Ms School of Reims
124
a British shell
143
Philip Rosseter and the Tudor court lyric
169
Dowland Ficino and Elizabethan melancholy
189
love and song in Twelfth Night
208
floreat Orpheus
225
Notes
231

The ladder of lechery Hieronymus Bosch The
107
symbolic geometry in the Renaissance
113

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