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War, Liberty, and CaesarResponses to Lucan's Bellum Ciuile, ca. 1580 - 1650$
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Edward Paleit

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602988

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602988.001.0001

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Thomas May and the Fall of English Liberty

Thomas May and the Fall of English Liberty

(p.215) 6 Thomas May and the Fall of English Liberty
War, Liberty, and Caesar

Edward Paleit

Oxford University Press

Chapter Six is devoted to Thomas May’s engagements with Lucan of the late 1620s, with particular reference to his translation (published 1626 to 1627) and The Tragedy of Cleopatra (published 1639, but first performed in 1626). It begins by situating May’s works in relation to Ben Jonson’s literary circle, detailing his friendship with figures such as John Selden, John Vaughan or Edward Hyde (later Earl of Clarendon). It argues that May chiefly assimilated the demise of the Roman republic to the fears among some members of the English political order that Charles’s increasingly absolutist style would put an end to laws, liberties and Parliaments, but that he was divided about how to react to these developments.

Keywords:   Thomas May, Edward Hyde (Earl of Clarendon), Lucan, 1620s, Parliaments, law, liberty, ancient constitution, John Selden, Ben Jonson, Cleopatra, translation, literary communities, providentialism, Martial

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