On Monday, February 8, the Department of English Language and Literature is going to host a lecture by Dr. Gabriel Lonsberry at 18:00-19:00.
The lecture is open to the public and will take place via Zoom.
To request the event link, please contact to the department.
The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale on the Contested Court Stage, 1611–12
When, during the 1611–12 entertainment season, Shakespeare’s The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale were staged for King James I and his court, they would have waded into the middle of an escalating, mythmaking war between the King and his ideologically adversarial son, Prince Henry. The preceding year had seen Henry usurp the court stage’s legitimizing power, mounting a series of masques and spectacles that grew his chivalric cult and promoted militant Protestant values detested by his father. 1611–12, then, was James’s opportunity to reestablish his supremacy: not only would Henry be excluded from the season’s sole masque and centerpiece, Ben Jonson’s Love Restored, but Jonson would explicitly condemn all challenges to the royally approved mythology and demonstrate the King’s absolute authority over the masquing space. In response, Henry turned to alternative means of advancing his cause, while James negotiated a Catholic match that would deal a crushing blow to his son’s supporters. These are the circumstances in which the Stuart court first saw The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale, and this presentation argues that viewers could not have helped but relate the plays’ interrogations of spectacle and royal authority to their present political moment.
Gabriel Lonsberry is a Lecturer at Purdue University in the US. His dissertation, titled The King, the Prince, and Shakespeare: Competing for Control of the Stuart Court Stage, puts Shakespeare’s late plays into dialogue with the court entertainments and factional tensions coinciding with Prince Henry Frederick’s short life. His essay, “‘The purchase is to make men glorious’: Pericles on the Stuart Court Stage,” will appear in a forthcoming issue of The Shakespearean International Yearbook. Another essay, “Prince Henry’s Investiture on the Stuart Court Stage,” will appear in the edited collection, Reconceptualizing Renaissance Performance: Beyond the Public Stage.