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Estelle Paranque, Nate Probasco, and Claire Jowitt (eds), Colonization, Piracy, and Trade in Early Modern Europe: The Roles of Powerful Women and Queens(Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

Estelle Paranque, Nate Probasco, and Claire Jowitt (eds), Colonization, Piracy, and Trade in Early Modern Europe: The Roles of Powerful Women and Queens (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), ISBN 978-3-319-57158-4, 255 pp. £84,99.

Reviewed by Nadia T. van Pelt

[1] Colonization, Piracy, and Trade in Early Modern Europe is a welcome new addition to the Palgrave Macmillan ‘Queenship and Power’ series. The edited collection under review adds to a quickly growing corpus of discussion foregrounding the gendered reading of early modern power play. The book seeks to address early modern women going against the grain of their times by asserting authority in situations of warfare, diplomacy and trade, but also in piracy and colonization; areas that scholarship has traditionally associated with ‘masculine’ spheres of power and influence. This edited volume offers a number of case studies exemplifying how not only queen consorts and regents across Europe, but also women from more humble backgrounds, entered these spheres and showed themselves competent rulers, diplomats, and patrons of overseas exploration.

[2] The book is divided into three sections. The first, ‘Demonstrating Power’, comprises three chapters, each concerned with the power play of illustrious queens, establishing their dominance over colonized areas. In the first case study, Jonathan Woods addresses Mary I’s and Mary of Guise’s ‘struggle to control Ireland’ (p. 7). Ireland had been conquered by Henry VIII as early as the 1530s, and his daughter Mary sought to maintain Tudor sovereignty in these parts. Woods’ study argues that Scottish migration to Ireland, and ‘the expansion of military networks from Scotland into Ireland’ prevented the English queen from uniting the people of Ireland under the English flag (p. 17). Woods shows a Mary I who ‘[w]ielded full sovereignty, as any king would have’ but was frustrated in her efforts by the ‘decentralized structures of the Gaelic world’ (p. 30). In the chapter that follows Nate Probasco studies Catherine de Medici’s politics of religion during the period of her regency in France. He observes that in order to avoid religious wars in France and to ensure the power of her family, Catherine invested significantly in relocating French Huguenots and Lutherans to Florida in North America, and Moldovia in Eastern Europe (p. 60). By doing so, Catherine showed herself a no-nonsense ruler, a powerful rival to the Habsburgs, and an ally to King Philip II of Spain (p. 58), but importantly also, a strategic colonizer who knew how to make careful use of maritime expansion. Estelle Paranque investigates the rulership of Isabel Clara Eugenia as Governor of the Spanish Netherlands between 1621-1633. Paranque notes that Isabel, who was the Infanta of Spain and wife of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria, had been the ‘co-sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands’ whilst her husband was alive. On his death, however, she was demoted to ‘Governor’, which, despite the title’s suggestion of a less than grand administrative role, meant that she had become the ruler of the Spanish Netherlands. Paranque’s research firmly establishes Isabel as a representative of Spain and strong ‘wartime leader’ who had the status and ability to make diplomatic decisions independently from her Spanish king, and could be depended upon to further the interests of the Empire (p. 86).

[3] The second section, ‘Diplomatic Strategies’ builds on the parameters set in the first section, and explores the political styles and tactics in international trade of lesser known female rulers and diplomats. Lisa Hopkins in her chapter on Caterina Cornaro, the last queen of Cyprus, explores her rivalry for the throne with her sister-in-law, Carlotta de Lusignan. Caterina, who was of Venetian origin, married James II to form an alliance between Venice and Cyprus, in which, Hopkins observes, ‘Venice definitely intended to be the senior partner’ (p. 101). When James II died, five years into his marriage, and his son following him shortly after, James’ illegitimate children as well as his sister Carlotta found themselves candidates for succession, but Venice favoured Caterina, who ended up reigning for 15 years (p. 102). Hopkins contrasts Carlotta’s pragmatic approach in which she tried to buy favour with potential allies, using Cyprus’ resources, with Caterina’s employment of iconography and symbolism as a propaganda tool (p. 112). In the chapter that follows Valentina Caldari explores the role played by María Ana, the Spanish Infanta, in her marriage negotiations with Charles, son of King James I of England. The introduction to the book promises a study of two seventeenth century European princesses, María Ana and Henrietta Maria of France in their taking matters into their own hands when it came to securing English matches (p. 8). It appears however, that unfortunately the study of Henrietta Maria has not made it into the final draft of the chapter. In her study of María Ana, however, Caldari makes explicit the implied stakes of a match between two powerful forces: religious belief, but also trade and commerce and the joint hunt for pirates (p. 130). She observes that the match, that was officially off the table in 1624, hinged on the Infanta’s power to exert influence over the English Prince in matters of business and colonization (p. 129). In her excellent chapter Junko Thérèse Takeda explores the diplomacy of Madame Petit, a courageous early-eighteenth-century French woman who acted under the title of ‘representative of the princesses of France’ in Persia (p. 142). Petit had invested in the travels of Jean-Baptiste Fabre, who was on a French mission to Persia, and followed him abroad when it turned out that he could not pay her back. When Fabre died in Yerevan, Petit showed herself an entrepreneur and autonomous diplomat in Persian-French trade relations. Takeda observes: ‘… Louis XIV’s aspirations to and claims of a centralized governance, remained un-centralized and chaotic. Slowness of communication to and from Versailles’ forced diplomats like Petit ‘to make decisions and act independently of the crown’ (p. 160). Her actions defying gender, political, social and religious conventions may have been acceptable and even laudable in Persia, but once back in France, Takeda observes, Petit was vilified, presented as a prostitute, and financially ruined (p. 157-9).

[4] Where the first two sections covered inter-European relations, the Hugenot migration to the Americas, as well Madame Petit’s diplomatic work in Persia, the third section has a strong Anglo-centric focus, and is notably interested in literary works, in which trade and colonization marked opportunities for contact with cultures outside of Europe. As expected, Queen Elizabeth I as a patron of piracy and maritime expansion plays an important role in this section. Carole Levin and Cassandra Auble present a study on the meanings of turquoise in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and establish the precious stone as ‘economically valuable’ and ‘exotic’ (p. 184, p. 180). They also address turquoise jewellery possessed by sixteenth-century queens, and the statements that they made by wearing these precious stones. Elizabeth I for one, Levin and Auble observe, wore turquoise as a diplomatic message suggesting ‘openness to trade and expansion of the empire’ (p. 184). Erzsébet Stróbl’s study argues that the Hungarian poet Stephen Parmenius’s Latin poem De Navigatione (1582) can be seen to have presented Queen Elizabeth I as a leading colonial power on the European political stage. The work was written three years before Walter Raleigh’s first attempt to colonize America, and presented readers with ‘a humanistic, Protestant justification about English territorial expansion’ (p. 215). Stróbl argues that the theme of English colonization is ‘filtered through the sensibilities of a Hungarian who as a foreigner reflects on his own experiences within England as well as that of his home country’ (p. 215). Finally, Claire Jowitt explores the notion of maritime expansion and its relation to English rulership by addressing the figure of the sea captain in Thomas Middleton’s The Phoenix (1603-04). Jowitt observes that the play ‘invokes Sir Walter Raleigh’, Queen Elizabeth’s famous explorer. Furthermore, the play, performed at a time in which the succession of James I meant a change from Tudor to Stuart rulership, appears to support ‘James’s outlawing of the privateer in contrast to Elizabeth’s state-funded pirates’ (p. 242). It appears that the play sought to present its view on colonial expansion and entrepreneurship so as to both respect the former queen’s policies, but also to keep in mind that the new king was the actual ruler that playmakers and their audiences needed to take heed of.

[5] The book contains an ambitious collection of scholarship. One of the risks inherent to an edited collection concerned with a topic as broad as early modern women’s involvement in international trade, piracy and colonization, is that it may be perceived as unfocused in its selection of case studies by some of its readers. The book under review however resists this pitfall by working from the premise that women actively involved in these spheres formed a small minority among early modern queens, princesses, and non-royal women of influence. This suggests that the selection of case studies, in all its variation, is much more pointed than it appears to be at first sight. This edited collection is likely to appeal to scholars of royal studies and early modern diplomacy, and students of (political) history and gender studies.

University of Leiden, November 2017

Deanne Williams, Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Deanne Williams, Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). ISBN: 978-1-137-02475-6, pp. 296, £55.00.

Reviewed by Nadia T. van Pelt


[1] Over the years, many studies have been conducted on women in Shakespeare, such as Marjorie Garber’s Coming of Age in Shakespeare (1981), Lisa Jardine’s Still Harping on Daughters (1983), Phyllis Rackin’s Shakespeare and Women (2005) and Dympna Callaghan’s Shakespeare without Women: Representing Gender and Race on the Renaissance Stage (2000). The work under review finds itself informed by such studies, and seeks to contribute to the discourse by reconsidering a number of Shakespeare’s characters and plays through the notion of ‘girlhood’, hereby claiming a distinction from woman and boy characters (p. 2). In section one of this book, Williams proposes that ‘girlhood’ in Shakespeare’s work is not a biological or essentialist category, and defines it as a performative identity that is ‘relevant beyond the limits of gender as well as age’ (p. 14). Importantly, this work also addresses historical girls that are depicted in Shakespeare’s plays, and positions the performances of these girl characters within the cultures that staged them. Finally, it is Williams’ objective to reflect upon ‘the impact of Shakespeare’s girl characters on the history of early modern girls as performers, patrons and playwrights’, as such readdressing ‘women’s cultural contribution’ to their respective societies (p. 1). Thus, the second and third sections in this book address what Williams refers to as the ‘afterlives’ of ‘Shakespeare’s girls’ in Milton’s Comus, in the masques of Elizabeth Stuart, and in entertainments by the seventeenth-century girl dramatists, Lady Rachel Fane (1613-1680), and the sisters, Lady Elizabeth Brackley (1626-1663) and Lady Jane Cavendish (1621-1669).

[2] Williams’ study opens with a chapter on the nature and identification of girl characters in a number of Shakespeare’s plays. For example, Henry VI, Part One – Williams shows – reveals an ‘English perspective’ on Joan of Arc, which presents her as a girl rather than as a saint (p. 25). Julia and Silvia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona are cast as ‘peevish’ and ‘perverse’ at moments of girlish rebellion (p. 36), as is Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew, in contrast to the heroine of Romeo and Juliet, who is read as an ‘imaginative and active participant in love’ (p. 50). Indeed, it is Romeo, Williams avers, who is ‘transformed’ into a girl through his relationship with her (p. 50). Romeo and Juliet is, in this chapter, identified as the play in which Shakespeare introduces a ‘new’ kind of girl who is different from the girls in his early plays, in that she is more flexible, resistant and mutable, and ‘dramatize[s] the limitless possibilities of girlhood itself’ (p.51).

[3] The second chapter is concerned with a historical and biographical study of the child-bride who was dramatically represented as the Queen in Richard II: Isabelle de France (1389-1409) who, at age seven, married Richard II (1367-1400) who was twenty-nine. The chapter observes that Enlightenment and Victorian interpretations of Shakespeare’s character in which she is represented as an ‘unhistorical adult’ influence today’s adaptations of Richard II, and it seeks to reinsert the understanding of this character into the medieval and early modern historical context, in which ‘it is possible, albeit unusual, for a little girl to be both a wife and a queen’ (p. 53). By imagining the theatrical possibilities of boy actors playing a child queen, Williams invites students and scholars of Shakespeare to ‘read’ and ‘imagine’ the Queen as a girl rather than as a grown woman (p. 72).

[4] Chapter 3 has as a starting point the lute that is mentioned in the stage direction from the first quarto version of Hamlet (1603): ‘Enter Ofelia playing on a Lute, and her hair down, singing’. Contextualizing the presence of the lute in Q1 with other works by Shakespeare in which the musical instrument appears, Williams reveals the prop to be ambiguous, signaling both ‘obedient daughterhood’ and the ‘mastery and control’ of girls knowing their own minds in The Taming of the Shrew, and offering an association with a broken heart as well as with cheering up in Henry VIII. In Hamlet, the lute may also signify ‘daughterly duty’ and ‘sexual power’ (p. 76). While the Ofelia in Q1, which can be associated with female performance, is given ‘greater agency’ in the play, and is ‘in charge of her musical skills’ (p. 90), Ophelia in Q2 does not play the lute, and is more overcome by emotion and madness. Williams associates the Q1 Ofelia with an Elizabethan vision of the character ‘aligned with the self-conscious performances and self-mastery of characters such as Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew or Rosalind in As You Like It’, while she places the Q2 Ophelia alongside ‘theatrically tragic women’ such as the Jailer’s Daughter in The Two Noble Kinsmen and the Duchess in The Duchess of Malfi.

[5] In Chapter 4 Heywood’s If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody is explored as staging Queen Elizabeth I’s girlhood, but also as shaping ‘Shakespeare’s subsequent dramatizations of girlhood’ in Pericles, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest (p. 96). This chapter contrasts the girls in Shakespeare’s early plays to those in the later plays; the latter presenting independence as ‘key to their identities’ (p. 124). Furthermore this chapter explores the idea that the ‘conception of girlhood’ in these plays may extend to ‘boys, fathers and even spirits’ (p. 124).

[6] Chapter 5 is concerned with girls’ active involvement in Jacobean masques, following scholarly discourse which discusses Queen Anne’s involvement in court masques, along with women of her court. Princess Elizabeth Stuart participated in Tethys’ Festival (1610) as well as in other courtly entertainments, and was a patron of her own theatre company, the Lady Elizabeth’s Men, who performed plays such as Beaumont and Fletcher’s The Maid’s Tragedy and Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside. These plays dealt with topics of virginity and ‘wronged innocence’ (p. 137), perhaps suitable to the taste of their young patron. As a princess, Elizabeth performed her girlhood before the public eye, performed her family’s royal sovereignty, and played an important role in the prominence of performances by girls (p. 129). Williams claims that in the performance of the self and the royal body, Elizabeth was influenced by the depiction of girls in the theatre, including Shakespeare’s girls.

[7] Milton’s A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle (1634), known as Comus, forms the focus of chapter 6. Comus alludes to sexual scandal around the Egerton household, but, as Williams argues, especially draws attention to the theatricality of girlhood; indeed, this chapter suggests that the performance ‘constitutes an extended reflection upon the implications of girls as performers in the Stuart court masque’ (p. 149). The lead part was performed by the then fifteen-year-old Lady Alice Egerton, who was to speak as well as sing, showing a contrast to earlier girls in masques who had a more ornamental function. The discourse of chastity in Comus finds analogues in Shakespeare’s dramatizations of virginity (p. 168), and through this discourse, ‘explores what it means for a girl to appear on stage.’ Williams interprets the debate between the Lady and Comus as ‘a defense of the girl performer against popular anti-theatrical commonplaces about immorality and the lewdness of the stage’ (p. 149).

[8] Central to chapter 7 is Lady Rachel Fane (1613-1680), who was to be the Countess of Bath in later life, and who created her own entertainment entitled May Masque (1627) for performance at Apethorpe Hall in Northamptonshire, celebrating her family life at home, not unlike Milton’s Comus celebrated the Egerton family at Ludlow Castle (p. 173). Rachel’s frame of reference was the court masque, and her work shares motifs with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Furthermore, her work can be aligned with closet dramas such as Elizabeth Cary’s Tragedie of Miriam (1613) and Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (1612-13). Placing Rachel Fane’s work in this context, this chapter importantly shows the remarkable differences between May Masque and its contemporary and antecedent analogues in fore-fronting the love between parents and children, and between siblings, over erotic love, hereby recognizing Fane’s ability to adapt the literary conventions in which she wrote to transform them into something that was appropriate to her own performance context and social situation.

[9] Girl playwrights’ adaptations or transformations of older and contemporary plays and masques are also central to chapter 8, which examines The Concealed Fancies, written by Lady Elizabeth Brackley (1626-1663) and Lady Jane Cavendish (1621-1669) while they were living in captivity as a result of their family’s political position during the Civil War. Where Jane and Elizabeth were inspired by court masques (p. 191), and perhaps looked toward Shakespeare for ideas about marriage (Williams suggests for example, in The Taming of the Shrew), The Concealed Fancies directly engages with the difficulties of the sisters’ own social and political circumstances through the fictive characters called Luceny and Tattiney. Their courtship of their father, William Cavendish, with the much younger Margaret Lucas (soon to be Margaret Cavendish) can be found represented through the characters of Lord Calsindow and lady Tranquility, and nostalgically reflects on ‘the witty and sophisticated court cultured besieged by Civil War (p. 199). The chapter argues that girlhood in this roman de clef can be associated with ‘the vulnerability of the Royalist cause’ (p. 207). Williams links the education of daughters in this period to the ‘out-of-touch’ decadence of the elite during the last years of the reign of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, leading up to the revolution. Educating girls to the extent that they may write their own plays, indicates extreme leisure. Furthermore, Williams views it as an ‘expression of royalist theatricality, with the transgressive image of the performing girl as symbol of its utter indifference to puritan sensibilities’ (p. 207).

[10] Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood offers an original approach and an important contribution to the existing literature on Shakespeare and woman’s history. If this illuminating and entertaining study has a weakness, it is that it perhaps overstates the importance of the influence of Shakespeare’s girls on later dramatic works and on the styles and approaches of girl dramatists. Indeed, in her conclusion, Williams carefully nuances this notion by pointedly speaking of ‘analogues’ (p. 209). The findings in this study help enrich the notion of (young) women as participants in and contributors to their local and national cultures in relation – and at times in contrast to – the representation of girls in plays written by male authors. The study of Jacobean girl dramatists who staged and performed images of family life in the contexts of their own households will be of particular interest to scholars and students of early modern drama and social history.

University of Leiden, February 2015

Peter Iver Kauffman (ed.), Leadership and Elizabethan Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

Peter Iver Kaufman (ed.), Leadership and Elizabethan Culture (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).  ISBN: 978-1-137-34335-2, 237 pp. £60,00.

Reviewed by Nadia T. van Pelt


[1] Leadership and Elizabethan Culture is a collection of papers that addresses government and leadership during the reign of Elizabeth I from a range of cultural, political and literary viewpoints. Aside from discussing the mechanisms of Tudor leadership, from matters of state and church rule to economic exchange, the chapters in this volume examine a number of historical sources including the Cecil papers, correspondence between Francis Bacon and his patron the first Earl of Essex, Puritan tracts, educational books on leadership and plays by William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker and Thomas Heywood. Interdisciplinary, sometimes cross-disciplinary in nature, the articles in this volume reconsider the mechanisms of late Tudor governance, and seek to re-evaluate public participation in rulership during, what Patrick Collinson has termed, the ‘monarchical republic’ of Elizabeth I (Collinson, 2003). As such the collection offers a fresh perspective on the distribution of leadership, as well as leadership strategies, under one of England’s most illustrious monarchs.

[2] The first essay is an appraisal of Queen Elizabeth I’s monarchical leadership by Susan Doran, who explores Elizabeth’s management capacities and acclaims her ‘proficiency at team-building’, her ‘ability to communicate effectively’, her ‘command of image and performance’, and finally, ‘her mastery of creative deceit’ (p. 13).These qualities, Doran explains, led to a relatively stable reign, in which the Queen united personal charm, Ciceronian rhetoric, a strong system of patronage, the performance of royal majesty and propaganda to her advantage. Also concerned with management tactics, Norman Jones’ contribution studies ‘Tudor management literature’, the works through which young noblemen were educated to become competent leaders (p. 24), such as John of Salisbury’s Policraticus (1159); Thomas Elyot’s The Book Named the Governor (1531) which was dedicated to Henry VIII; Humphrey Brahma’s The Institution of a Gentleman (1555) and Henry Peacham’s The Compleat Gentleman (1622). ‘Management’, Jones observes, ‘was about the skills of working together in a mannerly way, thinking wisely about the sources and solutions to problems, taking initiative, modeling behavior, and sticking with the job’ (p. 34). ‘Honour’ and ‘courtesy’ were the key concepts underlying these skills, referring to ‘a state of being rather than a particular action’ (p. 34). For courtiers seeking political power and advancement – as Charlotte Bolland observes in the next essay – it was often achieved through the workings of patronage. Bolland analyses Charles Medbury’s dedication to Queen Elizabeth which he phrased in Italian, considering the cultural context that encouraged Medbury to produce the volume and to address his Queen in a foreign language.

[3] The following two contributors address Tudor diplomacy in relation to the governance of neighbouring countries. In Chapter 4, K.J. Kesselring appraises the extent to which Mary, Queen of Scots, was involved in or supported the Northern Rebellion in November 1569, concluding that the nature of her complicity needed to remain unclear so that Elizabeth could ‘preserve the dignity and inviolability of queenship’, while at the same time being able to dispose of a rival queen (p. 67). In ‘Elizabeth’s Leadership Abroad’, Peter Iver Kaufman critically examines the diplomacy behind Elizabeth’s collaboration with Dutch Calvinists during the 1570s. Kaufman observes that Elizabeth did not share William of Orange’s desire for an ‘international Calvinist collaborative’ (p. 83), but that she employed cunning political strategies that enabled her to keep ‘wars from her shores’ by supporting Dutch rebel mariners to put off the French and the Spanish (p. 83).

[4] The next four essays explore the leadership strategies of William Cecil, Robert Devereux, first Earl of Essex, Francis Bacon and Henry Herbert. In her chapter, Janet Dickinson covers the last decade of Elizabeth’s reign, and studies the degree to which Cecil and Essex were duty-bound to cooperate as loyal servants to the Queen. In ‘Imagination and Leadership’, Todd Butler analyses the advice given by Francis Bacon in a letter to his patron, the Earl of Essex, in terms of ‘image management’ (p. 112): a means to secure political power. Bacon urged Essex to think about the competing – negative – images of himself that other courtiers presented to the Queen ‘by dismissing his merits, laughing at his fashions and manners, and pushing him toward unwanted offices and obligations’ (p. 109). In a letter, Bacon warned Essex that such competing images, in combination with Essex’ own conduct, could have harmful political consequences: ‘But I say, whensoever the formerly-described impression is taken in any King’s breast towards a subject, these other recited inconveniences must, of necessity of politic consequence, follow’ (p. 109). The following chapter, by Neil Younger, claims that Henry Herbert, the second Earl of Pembroke, who was in charge of the government of Wales, employed a type of leadership that relied on the ‘personalized rather than the bureaucratic’, and created followership by speaking to local authorities in terms that they understood and valued, such as ‘honour, credit, and fear of punishment’ (p. 135). In his chapter, ‘Swingebreeches and Schollers’, Timothy Scott McGinnis ventures into the realms of the Elizabethan puritans Anthony Gilby, George Gifford and Arthur Dent, who wrote dialogues in which they expressed criticisms towards ‘poorly qualified ministers’ and church leaders showing themselves ‘uninterested in implementing further reform’, and which expressed an urgent concern about the future of the church (p. 142). These dialogues on pastoral failings show the power of words to ‘dress down’ authority’ (p. 142). The four essays in this section give an insightful view into the hierarchies of Elizabethan rulership, and the workings of advice-giving and social and political patronage between the queen and her advisors, as well as addressing ecclesiastical and local leadership. As such these essays expand the focus of the study of Elizabethan leadership into a wider realm outside the court, opening up a new field of discussion.

[5] The final essays are concerned with various kinds of leadership expressed in drama performed during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. In ‘Commerce and Community’, Ritchie D. Kendall considers the nature of commercial leadership through a reading of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (1596), Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta (1590), Thomas Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday (1599) and Thomas Heywood’s If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, or The Troubles of Queen Elizabeth (1604). These plays begin ‘to imagine the possibility of community and leadership grounded in emergent forms of economic exchange’ and explore ‘anxieties about the disruption of traditional forms of power’ (p. 171). Meg Pearson, in ‘The Perils of Political Showmanship’, studies Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great, Parts 1 and II as critiques towards the Tudor affinity with ‘the spectacular’. She suggests that we might read these plays as ‘metatheatrical cautionary tales’ (p. 175) in which Marlowe warns both the architects of political shows and playwrights that ‘spectacle cannot be routinized’ because it undermines imperial agendas (p. 186). ‘Shifting audiences and aesthetics’, as Pearson observes, could be disastrous for the long-reigning Elizabeth, whose motto ‘semper eadem’ (always the same) signals the problem that she met in the later stages of her reign, when the spectacle of her queenship no longer attracted the same kind of admiration in her spectators. The next chapter addresses ‘servant leadership’ in Shakespeare’s King John in relation to Elizabethan government. Highlighting the monarch’s reliance on loyal servants with leadership qualities, Kristin M.S. Bezio studies the character of the Bastard in King John. This character’s actions in the play indicate the ‘power and significance of the Elizabethan servant leader not only to guide the monarch in ruling (well), but also in helping to shape policy, legislation, and even the future of England’ (p. 206). In the volume’s final chapter, Karen Bruhn demonstrates that Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure (1604) offers a model for leadership in which ‘authentic leadership’ is imagined as ‘a mature and complete self-understanding and reflected in action that works for a greater good’ (p. 224). Kaufman, in his introduction, observes that playwrights, portraitists and patrons of the arts greatly influenced the way in which the queen was portrayed ‘in miniatures, on canvas, and into history’ (p. xii). Indeed, he observes that the representations of kingship, rulership or any kind of governance on stage, directly or indirectly contributed to what Louis Montrose in The Subject of Elizabeth (2006) has referred to as the Elizabethan ‘cult formation’: images collectively produced to the greater glory of the Queen. Montrose observes that these images could be employed to the material, social or political benefits of other influential Elizabethans (Montrose, p. 90). For Kaufman, quoting Montrose, this summarizes the workings of Tudor leadership: the veneration of the monarch could bring influential courtiers power and affluence, as could the patronage of writers, artists, and other makers of imagery. The construction of late Tudor leadership at national, local and ecclesiastical levels appears to have taken as its example the queen’s managements skills, as observed by Susan Doran, favouring rhetoric, the use of image and performance, effective communication, propaganda, and a strong system of patronage. Thus, while many studies have observed how the Queen demonstrated her authority, this collection of essays also shows how her subjects, at various social levels, were concerned with their own images of leadership and desire for power.

[6] There is no doubt that the well-documented and fascinating essays in Leadership and Elizabethan Culture make a valuable contribution to the fields of leadership studies, early modern diplomacy, and images of monarchy, adding to our understanding of the ideas and mechanisms behind English government of this period. The essays in this volume explore the governance by the Queen and her advisory bodies at court, but also study local, ecclesiastical and commercial leadership. The papers are well-linked and the volume is well-balanced, although the collection would benefit from further supplementary papers that study religious leadership, to balance out the papers on monarchical and governmental rule. As Susan Doran has observed, corporate strategists in recent years have used Elizabeth as a ‘model for good leadership’ (p. 13). Entrepreneurs and moguls could learn much from the management tactics examined in these essays. It is to be hoped then that this eye-opening volume will inspire its readers to expand the field, further elucidating the diverse workings and images of Tudor leadership.

University of Leiden, September 2014

Marianne Montgomery, Europe’s Languages on England’s Stages, 1590-1620 (Ashgate, 2012)

Marianne Montgomery, Europe’s Languages on England’s Stages, 1590-1620 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012). ISBN 978-1-4094-2287-7, 162 pp. £54.00.

Reviewed by Nadia T. van Pelt

Montgomery Jkt_Montgomery Jkt

[1] Europe’s Languages on England’s Stages is a compelling addition to the Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama series published by Ashgate. In an earlier publication from this series, Disguise on the Early Modern English Stage (2011), Peter Hyland focused on the visual distinction between ‘self’ and ‘other’ in early English drama through the use of costumes, and argued that:

Disguise is of its essence metatheatrical and while of course not all plays had a particular interest in exploiting this potential as very many did, I argue that there must always have been a level of dual consciousness in the audience’s understanding of plays (Hyland, p. 15).

Marianne Montgomery’s study complements Hyland’s, as she identifies a self-aware theatricality in the early English plays that stage European languages. The book likens the use of foreign languages on stage to theatrical disguise by calling it ‘a kind of disguise through speech’ pointing to both ‘the flexibility of identity licensed by theatricality’ and the importance of ‘the sound of language to the experience of the playhouse audience’ (p. 6).

[2] Montgomery closely follows studies on the process of national self-identity in the early theatre including Steven Mullaney’s The Place of the Stage (1988); Andrew Hadfield’s Literature, Politics, and National Identity (1994); and Michael Neill’s Putting History to the Question: Power, Politics, and Society in English Renaissance Drama (2000). Furthermore her work is informed by a number of studies that have attended to issues of race, colonialism, and ‘the early modern construction of bodily and cultural identity’ (p. 15), such as Mary Floyd-Wilson’s English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (2002) and Ania Loomba’s Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism (2002). Finally, her methodology for studying sound effects on the early modern stage is notably influenced by Bruce Smith’s The Acoustic World of Early Modern England (1999) and Wes Folkerth’s The Sound of Shakespeare (2002). Uniting these multiple critical discourses about early modern drama, it is Montgomery’s objective to open a new line of thinking by suggesting that the use of European language in plays could make audible early English concern with national, civic and social identity, as well as English self-identification through drama. One of the book’s strongest features is its reluctance to accept the satirizing of foreign languages as their only raison d’être in English plays. Indeed, the study offers an excellent discussion of how the use of foreign languages in the playhouse defined communities, and forged ‘aural bonds between fictional strange speakers and the playgoers who hear, understand, and respond to their languages’ (p. 133). As such she offers an optimistic view of cosmopolitan exchanges of a social and commercial nature in early modern London.

[3] Montgomery’s book opens with an extensive methodology chapter, followed by four chapters which concern five European languages that featured on the commercial London stage between 1590 and 1620: Welsh, French, Dutch, Spanish and Latin. Each of these languages make perceptible a different set of cultural issues and each chapter shows, through a selection of individual plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, how these issues were explored and made audible on stage, as well as how they were ‘understood as part of a performance’ (p. 17).

[4] Foreign language featuring as a prop is the subject of the first chapter: ‘Mother Tongues’. This chapter considers the gendered representations of speakers of French and Welsh in Shakespeare’s second Tetralogy. Starting off with the question ‘to what extent … people [are] mastered if they still speak native languages’ (p. 21), Montgomery contrasts two female characters with respectively Welsh and French as their mother tongues, which offer ‘theatrically powerful alternatives to English’ (p. 18). The Welshwoman in Henry IV, Part 1 when speaking her native language on stage utters a stage language. Her language makes ‘Wales audible in the theater and performs Wales as distant from and resistant to the king’s England’ (p. 47). Katherine in Henry V speaks French in order to maintain her cultural identity and to avoid ‘becoming an English queen and an English mother’ (p. 47). Identified as the mother of the Tudor line, Katherine’s language problematically also becomes the Tudor mother-tongue. Montgomery convincingly argues that what the Welshwoman in Henry IV, Part 1 and Katherine in Henry V have in common, is that they ‘both speak in ways that complicate the history plays’ visions of English dynastic power and conquest’ (p. 47). Montgomery identifies the self-referential theatricality of language in Shakespeare’s Tetralogy, and the relationship between the King’s triumph over his foreign antagonists and the languages that they speak. Therefore, it is surprising that Montgomery omits any reference to James Calderwood’s Shakespeare’s Henriad: Richard II to Henry V (1979). This work was one of the pioneers of metatheatrical theory, and the first to draw a link between the metatheatrical potential of language in Shakespeare’s historical Tetralogy and the notion of rulership.

[5] Language as a disguise is the issue at the heart of Chapter 2, in which Montgomery studies Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan, Middleton’s No Wit, No Help Like a Woman’s, and Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday. This chapter argues that the Dutch language provides early English playwrights with a way of thinking about ‘commercial identity, identity based not on nation but on occupation’ (p. 49). Montgomery reflects that the ‘Dutch’ plays engage with the distinctions between persons of different social classes and geographical circumstance within England, as much as with the difference between English and foreignness emphasized in the plays. Furthermore, by staging issues of economic and social identity in the economic institution of the commercial theatre (p. 57), plays that use Dutch are self-referential about drama as a commodity.

[6] The last two chapters are concerned with the use of foreign languages on stage as a metatheatrical device. Chapter 3 focuses on Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy and Jonson’s The Alchemist. It observes that Spanish on the early English stage is only ever a stage language, made up of a combination of languages, and a convention of cultural identifiers. This convention made it possible for playgoers to understand the codes and signs used to ‘produce’ the stage Spaniard (p. 83), a type of role that became essentially metatheatrical (p. 94). Chapter 4 studies Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. The chapter argues that making the sound of Latin available in the commercial playhouse was in itself a metatheatrical act that reflected on ‘problems of perception’, and on ‘what happens to language when it sounds beyond the text and thus is received by ears unprepared to interpret its cadences and capitalize on its potential’ (p. 127).

[7] Montgomery successfully dismisses the stereotype that foreign languages on the early English stage only served to provide stereotypes for mockery and easy laughter. Indeed, her positive view of the ways in which early English spectators were invited to identify with characters speaking a foreign tongue is refreshing and important. This book makes a welcome contribution to the field and is a must-read for anyone interested in the representation of cultural identity in early modern England, as well as students of and specialists in theatricality and performativity.

University of Southampton, June 2014