Alterations of State by Richard McCoy

By Richard McCoy

Conventional notions of sacred kingship grew to become either extra grandiose and extra complex in the course of England's turbulent 16th and 17th centuries. The reformation introduced by means of Henry VIII and his claims for royal supremacy and divine correct rule ended in the suppression of the Mass, because the host and crucifix have been overshadowed through royal iconography and pageantry. those adjustments started a spiritual controversy in England that will result in civil battle, regicide, recovery, and eventually revolution. Richard McCoy exhibits that, amid those occasionally cataclysmic adjustments of nation, writers like John Skelton, Shakespeare, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell grappled with the assumption of kingship and its symbolic and great energy. Their inventive representations of the crown exhibit the eagerness and ambivalence with which the English considered their royal leaders. whereas those writers differed at the primary questions of the day -- Skelton was once a staunch defender of the English monarchy and conventional faith, Milton was once an intensive opponent of either, and Shakespeare and Marvell have been extra equivocal -- they shared an abiding fascination with the royal presence or, occasionally extra tellingly, the royal absence. starting from regicides genuine and imagined -- with the very actual specter of the slain King Charles I haunting the rustic like a revenant of the king's ghost in Shakespeare's Hamlet -- from the royal sepulcher at Westminster Abbey to Peter Paul Reubens's Apotheosis of King James at Whitehall, and from the Elizabethan compromise to the fantastic Revolution, McCoy plumbs the depths of English attitudes towards the king, the nation, and the very suggestion of holiness. He unearths how older notions of sacred kingship elevated throughout the political and non secular crises that reworked the English country, and is helping us comprehend why the conflicting feelings engendered by way of this enlargement have confirmed so continual.

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The dead live on in the memory of the living . . ”19 In the long run, few proved more vulnerable to the actions of his heirs and executors than Henry VII. Within twenty years, his son  McCoy_Ch2 4/10/02 3:46 PM Page 34                         ’               broke with Rome and launched a Reformation that would destroy the monastic intercessory system he had so generously endowed at Westminster. Henry VI was never canonized, and his remains stayed at Windsor.

Having a red crosse of read velvett on both sydes over ye same holie Reliqe most artificiallie and cunyngly compiled & framed” was once “carried to any battell as occasion should serve, and . . (never) caryed or shewed at any battell, but by ye especial grace of god almightie, & ye mediacion of holie St. ”35 Skelton obviously shares the monks’ faith in the talismanic power of this Eucharistic relic. At the same time, Skelton’s attitude toward relics, miracles, and even the Eucharist itself is oddly ambiguous.

62 In Askew’s own account of her “examinations,” she seeks “to exonerate Henry VIII of wrongdoing, . . 64 John Bale couples Askew’s record of her interrogation with his own heated commentary in the versions he published shortly after Henry’s death. He too refrains from blaming the king, but he pours scorn on William Paget’s comparison of “Christes presence in the sacrament, to the kynges presence. . ”65 More ardent reformers like Bale had no patience for equations of the real presence with the royal presence and dismissed them with contempt.

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Alterations of State by Richard McCoy
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