AMELIA BASSANO LANIER Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship

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THE OXFORDIAN Volume XI 2009 Hudson, recorder troupe In that capacity they contributed some of the earliest Elizabethan. stage music Izon 335 to the plays and masques that were staged at Court But. the Bassanos activities were probably not limited to providing stage music at. Court When the playhouses were built outside the northern city walls about 200. yards away from their home in Spitalfields the Bassanos were well positioned to. supply them with musical services, From the age of seven after her father s death Amelia was brought up in the. Willoughby household at their country house in Greenwich and at their mansion. in the city of London She was educated by Countess Susan Bertie a former. handmaiden to one of the highly educated Grey sisters Bertie s elderly mother. the Duchess of Suffolk was a proto feminist known for advocating that women. should read the Bible for themselves Then in the early 1580s perhaps around the. age of thirteen Amelia became the teenage mistress of the elderly Henry Carey. Lord Hunsdon the Lord Chamberlain He was the most important man in Lon. don s theatrical life and would become the patron of the Lord Chamberlain s. Men Before she gave birth to his illegitimate son Henry he had her removed. from Court and married off for the sake of appearances to a first cousin Alph. onso Lanier in late 1592,By the early 1600s, Amelia s brother in law Nicholas Lanier some of Amelia s closest. worked on at least seven masques involving relatives had become. actors from the King s Men for which he sang firmly established in sen. the songs designed the sets or wrote music,ior positions in the provi. sion of technical services, music composition orchestral directing performing and set design for the.
King s Men both at Court performances and in the Blackfriars indoor theatre. This was a lucrative business for them Amelia s brother in law Nicholas Lanier. worked on at least seven masques involving actors from the King s Men for. which he sang the songs designed the sets or wrote the music Her sister in law s. husband Alphonso Ferrabosco II also wrote music for seven of the masques Ben. Jonson praised him in the introduction to one of them making a pledge to their. friendship Wilson 31 2, Her maternal cousin Robert Johnson worked on Jonson s Masque of Oberon. 1611 and over a decade specifically wrote music for the playwrights who. worked with the King s Men including Middleton Webster Beaumont and. Fletcher as well as for several Shakespearean romances Overall Robert Johnson. created half a dozen pieces of music or dances that appear in the late Shakespear. ean plays For The Tempest he wrote Full Fathom Five and Where the Bee. Sucks for Cymbeline Hark hark the lark and for The Winter s Tale the song. Get you hence Cutts 1955 110, Amelia Bassano Lanier THE OXFORDIAN Volume XI 2009. In addition King s Men musicians almost invariably performed the anti. masque dances of several masques for which Johnson composed the music and. which were then transferred into Shakespeare s plays Cutts 1955 115 For in. stance the satyrs dance from the Masque of Oberon was included as the dance of. the leaping men of hair in The Winter s Tale IV iv 319 337 The witches dance. and Johnson s Come away Hecate were taken from the Masque of Queens and. included in Macbeth V iii 34 Finally the rural May dance which was probably. written by Johnson for the Masque of the Inner Temple 1613 was included in. Two Noble Kinsmen III v 124 136 In each of these three cases the play incorpo. rates a prior piece of music created by Robert Johnson which was already in the. repertoire of the King s Men Cutts 1960 111 Finally by 1633 at least half of. the musicians who accompanied the King s Men were members of the extended. Bassano family being named Bassano Lupo or Lanier M Wilson 187 8 These. are specific links between Amelia s family and the company which performed. most of Shakespeare s plays, During her many years of being kept in great pomp as Lord Hunsdon s mis. tress 2 Amelia had an unrivalled opportunity to learn about the theater and Court. entertainments However once she left Court in 1592 her husband wasted her. money she lacked any honors not even the title Lady To relieve their financial. distress her husband turned to the Earl of Southampton Amelia s former next. door neighbor who advocated on his behalf in 1604 supporting his request for a. patent 3 The Rape of Lucrece and,Venus and Adonis were affect. tionately dedicated to Southam,pton but this is the only person.
ally documented link between,the Earl and a proposed author. ship candidate,Finally Ben Jonson is the only,literary figure who claimed to. know the author of the plays and,his remarks are somewhat am. biguous including the reference,To the Memory of My Beloved. the Author in the First Folio,which in an oddly chosen meta.
phor compares the author to a,matron Although there is no. direct proof that Johnson knew,Henry Carey Lord Hunsdon. Amelia personally he certainly,knew her poem on Cooke ham. THE OXFORDIAN Volume XI 2009 Hudson, because it influenced his own country house poem He also knew members of. her immediate family because they worked on his masques and he counted some. of them among his intimate friends, At the end of her life Amelia became one of the first women in England to own.
and run a school It was in a converted farmhouse off Drury Lane where she pur. sued legal battles against her landlord and it failed after two years in 1620 She. also had a twenty year legal battle against her husband s relatives to get the rights. to his income from a tax on hay a battle she took to the Privy Council She died. a natural death in 1645 and was buried in an unmarked grave. Literary Parallels, Unlike most other authorship candidates Amelia has a substantial body of pub. lished verse Ilya Gililov described the author of the Salve Deus collection as a. paradoxical person a gifted poet erudite and intellectual whose ideas were often. ahead of her time a person who deserved the high honor of being a literary coeval. of Shakespeare He even claimed that Many of the stanzas may be regarded as. among the highest attainments of 17th century poetry in England Gililov 368. The entire Salve Deus collection amounts to a substantial literary work around. 3 000 lines Looked at closely and compared to Shakespeare s works there are. suggestive similarities of literary style vocabulary imagery verse form theol. ogy composition sources dramatic devices and use of innovation. The Cooke ham poem which concludes the volume has explicit stylistic re. semblances to Shakespeare which it is possible to pin down with relative cer. tainty As Caroline Spurgeon points out in her work on Shakespeare s imagery. these plays are the only ones to pay botanical attention to how frost damages. plants for instance Titania s speech about how The seasons alter hoary headed. frosts A Midsuumer Night s Dream II i 107 Yet a similar comment appears in. the Cooke ham poem which refers to a garden in which the flowers dye their fro. zen tops like Ages hoarie haires line 143 Similarly the poem uses the unusual. combination of words warble bird and ditty and although these are common. tropes a search on the EEBO database reveals that they appear all together in. only one other text of the period the speeches of Oberon and Titania in Act V of. A Midsummer Night s Dream As for the combination of the words Philomela. ditty and pretty in the Cooke ham poem lines 185 90 these re appear all. together in Shakespeare s poem number XIV in The Passionate Pilgrim So the. language of the Cooke ham poem neatly bridges two different Shakespearean. The letter to Mary Pembroke which introduces Salve Deus makes a unique ref. erence to faire Dictina as the moon goddess who appears also as Dictima in. Love s Labor s Lost IV ii 37 Each is used only once in English literature The. Amelia Bassano Lanier THE OXFORDIAN Volume XI 2009. entire crucifixion account in Salve Deus was also influenced by the Rape of Lu. crece and in the expression no excuse nor end line 832 even quotes it directly. Bowen 2001 111 and 2003 215 While the Salve Deus collection refers to the. plays of Lyly and possibly Daniel the greatest number of allusions are to Shake. speare Other unusual uses of Shakespearean vocabulary which appear in the vol. ume include the word thoughted which had previously appeared in only seven. texts two of which were Shakespearean Some of the words that were apparently. first used in the plays and which reappear in the Salve Deus collection include. accused discontent amazement dawn design and embrace On the. other hand an analysis of common terms such as of and you in two extracts. from Salve Deus proved inconclusive as one might perhaps expect Craig 1 42. Like Shakespeare the Salve Deus collection uses several common verse forms. The letters To Lady Susan and To Lady Katherine are written in iambic pentame. ter in ababcc form like Venus and Adonis To Ladie Lucie is in rhyme royal aba. bbcc like The Rape of Lucrece the letter To Mary Pembroke uses four line stan. zas like those in Phoenix and the Turtle and the Cooke ham poem is written in. heroic couplets like much of A Midsummer Night s Dream The Salve Deus poem. itself was written as,Salve Deus is also similar to Shakespeare s. an epic in ottava works in incorporating fictional passages and. rima and is prob characters into the source material For instance. ably modeled upon the key passages from the gospel of Matthew are. a poem by Giles incorporated into a narrative of women. Fletcher the young, er cousin of John Fletcher who worked on Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kins. Addressed to the God of the Jews the epic poem is a satirical and critical adap. tation of the Gospels focusing on the Passion Boyd Berry emphasizes that the. main poem opens and closes with a sense of mischief perhaps of satire Berry. 212 and that the style of digression resembles the dilation that has been found. to characterize Shakespeare s plays It also reflects a scholarly compositional pro. cess similar to that of the plays and is so complex and layered that it has been. described as being as intractable as Shakespeare Matchinske 438. In terms of literary composition Salve Deus is also similar to Shakespeare s. works in incorporating fictional passages and characters into the source material. For instance the key passages from the gospel of Matthew are incorporated into a. narrative of women and new imaginary passages about Pilate s wife and an angel. are added in Also like Shakespeare s works the Biblical source that is most used. in Salve Deus is the Gospel of Matthew, Regarding other sources the Salve Deus prefaces assume a community of noble. women similar to the writings of Christine de Pisan Pisan s work does not seem. to have been referred to by any other writer during the English Renaissance ex. THE OXFORDIAN Volume XI 2009 Hudson, cept Shakespeare Her Tale of Joan of Arc referring to Joan of Arc as a new Deb.
orah is used in 1 Henry VI I ii 83 4 and a passage about ingratitude being like. the wind from Pisan s Epistle of Othea is used in As You Like It II vii 175 9 In. addition Salve Deus also draws upon other Shakespearean sources including. Chaucer Gower Ovid and Boccaccio, Apart from the very different verse style of the epic poetry the most obvious. difference from Shakespeare Shell 2006 would seem that the Salve Deus col. lection is largely comprised of religious patronage poetry and not dramatic. That however is not entirely accurate As Lanier scholars have pointed out. the subject of Amelia s epic poem is not primarily religious but rather social re. lationships freedom equality and democracy and about unruly women trying to. get the upper hand on men the same kind of content that appears in Shake. speare s plays and the religious materials are employed as a framing device In. deed one might say that whereas Salve Deus has explicit religious content and la. tent social content this reverses the situation in the plays which have explicit so. cial content but latent religious content for instance the Biblical allegories in. Dream identified by Patricia Parker, Moreover one 160 line section of the volume has dramatic qualities very simi. lar to a Jacobean masque Not only does it include nymphs Juno Flora flowers. and singing of praises but most unusually Juno s chariot descends to Earth This. is also what it does in the 79 line masque sequence in The Tempest which in. cludes nymphs Juno Ceres plants and the singing of blessings Faith 88 105. Both versions seem to be re writings of Daniel s The Vision of the Twelve God. desses 1604 Since Salve Deus was listed on the Stationer s Register on 2 Oct. ober 1610 it would appear to either precede the writing of the play or correspond. to it almost exactly, Like the author of the plays the author of the Salve Deus collection was ex. tremely innovative for instance the Cooke ham poem is the first country house. poem to have been written since Roman times Amelia innovatively combined the. sacred and the secular in the same poetry was the first woman in the country to. publish an original volume of poetry and the first to publish a critical commen. tary on the Gospels Overall there is a degree of fit linguistically thematically. and in terms of the psychology of innovation between Shakespeare s canon and. Amelia Bassano Lanier Amelia Bassano Lanier A New Paradigm John Hudson his paper proposes a new approach to attribution studies suggesting the poet Aemelia Bassano Lanier hereafter Amelia as a new candidate for the primary authorship of Shakespeare s works A L Rowse Stephanie Hopkins Hughes and Martin Green have already linked her to the so called dark lady of the Sonnets The

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