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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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Gorboduc in the Political Nation

Gorboduc in the Political Nation

(p.173) 7 Gorboduc in the Political Nation
Lawyers at Play

Jessica Winston

Oxford University Press

This chapter is the first of two that examines the complex social function of the institutional drama at the mid-Tudor Inns. Surveying a number of documents concerning the occasion, production, and reception of Thomas Sackville and Thomas Norton’s Gorboduc (1562), this chapter argues that the play began as an entertainment to fit a specific occasion, the Christmas revels of 1561–2, and developed into a play on the succession. Following critics who have argued that the play is more deliberative than didactic, the chapter shows that Gorboduc addresses the nature and makeup of the English political nation, broadly defined as those individuals and institutions that could legitimately contribute to discussions of matters of state.

Keywords:   institutional drama, Thomas Sackville, Thomas Norton, Gorboduc, Inner Temple, Christmas revels, succession question, didactic drama, political nation, political discourse

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