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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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The Mirror for Magistrates

The Mirror for Magistrates

Political Discourse and the Legal Magistracy

(p.127) 5 The Mirror for Magistrates
Lawyers at Play

Jessica Winston

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines one of the most popular literary works of the later sixteenth century, the Mirror for Magistrates (1559–63). The chapter argues that the Mirror, which was written in the 1550s, presents a literary community as the foundation for a political one, and the type of literary-cum-political culture imagined in the Mirror was realized at the Inns in the 1560s. The Mirror is the seminal, and arguably the most important, work in the literature of magistracy that appeared in the late 1550s and early 1560s. Why was the Mirror written at this time? Why was it so popular and influential? An important key to these questions lies in the literary and political community represented in its pages, and the related role it imagines for magistrates in the polity. Magistrates are an enlightened political group who have the authority to advise monarchs, and even to resist them.

Keywords:   The Mirror for Magistrates, The Mirror for Magistrates: prose frame, literary community, political community, representation of magistrates, political counsel, Inns of Court

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