This seminar sought to revise the traditional perspective, originating in royalist views, that presents monarchism as the natural literary culture of the period and republicanism as the aberration. Beginning with Hobbes’s observation that humanist education engendered enthusiasm for the classical republics, the seminar explored the reception of Lucan and of Greek tragedy, examining how the values of the polis could be translated into the very different circumstances of the nation-state. The course also focused on the ways the collapse of the court diminished the individualistic thrust of patronage and contributed to collaborative modes of literary productions; the response of writers like Marvell and John Hall to the newly equivocal status of poetry; the populist verse of writers like George Wither and the libertinism of figures like Henry Marten and Thomas Chaloner; and differing treatments of gender questions between monarchist writers like Katherine Phillips and republicans like Robert Overton. Milton’s major poems were also assessed in these contexts.
Learn more about the workshop leader: David Norbrook, University of Oxford.
Learn more about Center for Renaissance Studies programs.