520 Class 8

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THE CITY AND THE CROWN

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Primary Reading: Heywood, Edward IV, Parts 1 and 2
Secondary Reading: Browse the introduction to Rowland’s edition. Rowland sums up the reason we are reading this play in a course on London: Edward IV’s privileging of the local, both urban and provincial, was an innovatory achievement analogous to and almost exactly contemporaneous with the unprecedented contribution to cultural history that Stow’s Survey of London provided (Rowland, Introduction 12).
Other References: Rowland, Howard, Lander, Wall, and Corrigan. There are few critical articles on Edward IV, Parts 1 and 2. As chronicle history plays, they are given only glancing reference in the monographs on city comedy. Richard Rowland, editor of the plays for The Revels Plays series, is also most important recent critic of the plays; the first chapter of Thomas Heywood’s Theatre argues that Heywood mapped a London overlooked by the prose chronicles. See also Jean Howard’s positioning of the plays within the chronicle history tradition. Note! These references are for information only. I may draw upon them in my discussion, but I do not expect you to read them for class. If you plan to write your research paper on this play, you might profitably start with these references.

Discussion Questions

  1. The Shakespearean scholar and editor David Bevington has pointed out that Heywood’s plays magnify the roles of citizens, and the consequences of their actions, in English history in a way that Shakespeare’s drama does not (242). Does this emphasis make Edward IV a history play or a domestic tragedy? How does Heywood use questions of loyalty to unify his play? Must the loyal subject unquestioningly submit to the absolute will of the King even when a monarch violates his own obligations to the res publica and communitas? (KSJ)
  2. John Hobs subverts the accepted social order by his ability to make the distinctions of rank vanish in familiarity. He famously informs Edward IV on first meeting that if he does not know him then thou knows nobody (1.2.121). The tanner gains by refusing the King’s flattery and entreaties to accompany him to Court. How does this resistance increase the bond between King and subject? Is permissible opportunity for a provincial tanner treason for a citizen of London? (KSJ)
  3. The character of Jane Shore figures centrally in the plotline of Edward IV. She is desired alike by the rebel Falconbridge and King Edward himself, both of whom are non-Londoners, and both of whom connect her to their ambitions to either explicitly or subtly exploit the culture of the city. How do the two men’s characterizations of Jane differ? Falconbridge refers to Jane as the flower of London for her beauty (1.4.41), and quickly goes on to taunt Shore that he will be sleeping in his bed with his wife that night. Conversely, Edward describes Jane as [a] bright twinkling spark of precious diamond, of greater value than all India (1.17.31-32). Does Heywood appear to be sympathetic to Falconbridge over Edward? What is implied by the way in which Edward reduces Jane to a material object of great value? Finally, is it possible that Jane is accepted back into the City of London following Edward’s death and Gloucester’s ascension to the throne only because of her ultimate ability to convince Edward to free Stranguidge and her old husband (as well as her ability to settle Mistress Bladge’s land dispute with the King)? (AG)
  4. The Lord Mayor and the Goldsmith Matthew Shore are London’s two most pre-eminent citizens. How do they demonstrate a mastery over the City via their movements through it, especially in relation to how they control its access points and its liminal structures? Shore refuses to allow Tyrell and his men access to the Tower when he states God bless the princes, if it be his will. I do not like these villains (2.16.30-31). How does Shore’s protection of royal interests here reflect negatively on Edward’s behaviour towards the city, especially when he makes Shore’s wife his mistress? Further, how does Shore’s disguising himself as Flood mirror Edward’s disguise as the butler Ned when the King decides to go slumming in the city? (AG)

References

Last modification: 2016-06-04 15:13:12 -0700 (Sat, 04 Jun 2016) (jtakeda)
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MLA citation:

Jenstad, Janelle, Kerra St John, and Aleta Gruenewald. “520 Class 8.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Web. 21 September 2017. <http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/EIG1.htm>.

Chicago citation:

Jenstad, Janelle, Kerra St John, and Aleta Gruenewald. n.d. “520 Class 8.” The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed September 21, 2017. http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/EIG1.htm.

APA citation:

Jenstad J., K. St John, & A. Gruenewald. (n.d.). 520 Class 8. In J. Jenstad (Ed.), The Map of Early Modern London. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/EIG1.htm

TEI citation:

<bibl> <author><persName><surname>Jenstad</surname>, <forename>Janelle</forename></persName></author>, <author><persName><forename>Kerra</forename> <surname>St John</surname></persName></author>, & <author><persName><forename>Aleta</forename> <surname>Gruenewald</surname></persName></author>. (<date>n.d.</date>). <title level="a">520 Class 8</title>. In <editor><persName><forename>J.</forename> <surname>Jenstad</surname></persName></editor> (Ed.), <title level="m">The Map of Early Modern London</title>. Retrieved <date when="2017-09-21">September 21, 2017</date>, from <ref target="http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/EIG1.htm">http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/EIG1.htm</ref> </bibl>