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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyses the theme of constitutionality, arguing that the symbolism of the Elizabethan Inns of Court revels involves elements of ‘monarchical republicanism’. It analyses Gerard Legh’s description of his visit to the Inner Temple revels of 1561/62, at which Gorboduc was originally performed. It interprets Gorboduc in relation to Elizabethan political literature (notably Sir Thomas Smith’s De republica Anglorum) and to Sir John Fortescue’s De laudibus legum Angliae. Finally, the chapter considers Gorboduc in relation to Renaissance theories surrounding the didactic aim of poetic drama, particularly to Sir Philip Sidney’s argument, in The Defence of Poesie, that poetry performed a crucial political and moral role, which was to teach as well as to delight.

Keywords: Gorboduc, Inner Temple, Gerard Legh, John Fortescue, common law, poetic drama, monarchical republic, Inns of Court, polity, poesy

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