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Lawyers at PlayLiterature, Law, and Politics at the Early Modern Inns of Court, 1558-1581$
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Jessica Winston

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769422

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769422.001.0001

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‘Minerva’s Men’

‘Minerva’s Men’

The Inns of Court in the 1560s

(p.46) 2 ‘Minerva’s Men’
Lawyers at Play

Jessica Winston

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys the literary culture of the Inns in the 1560s, exploring several central questions: What prompted the formation of this literary environment in the 1560s? What did it mean to the men who participated in it? Why did it form at the Inns? And what impact did this network have on early modern culture, particularly the arenas of literature, politics, and law? Beginning with a prosopographical analysis of inns-of-court authors in the 1560s, the chapter argues that the literary culture of the Inns in the 1560s resulted from the fortuitous meeting of several trends: first, developments in humanist education; second, the presence of humanist lawyers, such as Nicholas Bacon, in Elizabeth’s government; and third, recent changes in the legal profession, namely the rise in litigation and the undersupply of legally trained men who could meet England’s litigious and administrative needs.

Keywords:   Inns of Court, literary culture, 1560s, Preface to Thyestes, commonweal, humanist education, rise in litigation, legal profession, prosopography, Nicholas Bacon

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