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Rachel E. Hile

5 Thomas Middleton’s satires before and  after the Bishops’ Ban Among the books burned by order of the Bishops’ Ban on June 4, 1599, was nineteen-year-old Thomas Middleton’s Micro-Cynicon: Sixe Snarling Satyres, a collection of verse satires. T.M. the young satirist would of course soon become Thomas Middleton the seasoned dramatist, and criticism of Middleton’s work has not surprisingly focused primarily on his more mature work for the theater. Nevertheless, early satires such as Micro-Cynicon and Father Hubburds Tales; or, The Ant and the Nightingale (1604

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Spenserian satire

A tradition of indirection

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Rachel E. Hile

This book examines the satirical poetry of Edmund Spenser and argues for his importance as a model and influence for younger poets writing satires in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The book focuses on reading satirical texts of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in relation to one another, with specific attention to the role that Edmund Spenser plays in that literary subsystem. The book connects key Spenserian texts in The Shepheardes Calender and the Complaints volume with poems by a range of authors in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, including Joseph Hall, Thomas Nashe, Tailboys Dymoke, Thomas Middleton, and George Wither to advance the thesis that Spenser was seen by his contemporaries as highly relevant to satire in Elizabethan England. For scholars of satire, the book offers a fuller discussion and theorization of the type of satire that Spenser wrote, “indirect satire,” than has been provided elsewhere. A theory of indirect satire benefits not just Spenser studies, but satire studies as well. For scholars of English Renaissance satire in particular, who have tended to focus on the formal verse satires of the 1590s to the exclusion of attention to more indirect forms such as Spenser’s, this book is a corrective, an invitation to recognize the importance of a style of satire that has received little attention.

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Eric Pudney

in the form of a brilliant satire by Thomas Middleton, whose play The Witch (1615–16?) exploited the previous dramatic associations of court and witch in ways which were considerably less flattering to the former. Sophonisba John Marston’s Sophonisba may have been written and performed shortly before Macbeth, as some scholars have speculated;5 the two plays are at any rate very close in date. Marston’s play is discussed first here because it is, in one sense, more conventional in its representation of witchcraft; it follows the pattern, already well established in

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‘To prune and dresse the Tree of Gouernment’

Political and contemporary contexts of the Shows

Tracey Hill

’.118 As we have already seen, careful scrutiny of Middleton’s Shows can therefore reveal much implicit – and sometimes quite explicit – critique. In The triumphs of truth, written for his namesake Sir Thomas Middleton, a man of decidedly Calvinist views, Middleton takes the moral high ground from the outset. He has Error claim, for instance, that there are ‘a thousand of our Parish, besides Queanes, / That nere knew what Truth meant’ (sig. B3r).119 In this text Middleton’s tendency towards criticism of the City’s inhabitants can also be seen to extend to its

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‘Our devices for that solemne and Iouiall daye’

The writers, the artificers and the livery companies

Tracey Hill

transparent and recorded in enough detail for us to see the negotiations in action. In 1619 the Skinners’ Company note that Middleton 60 Pageantry and power competed successfully with two other ‘poets’ for their Show: ‘Anthonie Mondaie, Thomas Middleton and Richard Grimston poetts, all shewed to the table their severall plotts for devices for the shewes and pagentes against St Symon and St Judes tide and each desired to serve the Companie’. A decision was not made then and there on this occasion, but instead ‘it was wholie referred to the Consideracon of the Committee

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‘A briefe narration of each seuerall shew’

The Show from street to print

Tracey Hill

Middleton’s share and Thomas Snodham, Munday’s. Munday, in fact, is the least likely of these writers to have developed a consistent relationship with one particular printing house. Of the nine mayoral works by Munday printed between 1605 and 1623, five different printers were involved, including Okes, Purslowe and Allde. Nicholas Okes was also the printer of some of Webster’s plays and his solitary mayoral Show. Indeed, John and Nicholas Okes were by some measure the most commonly used printers for the Shows, being responsible for seventeen of the thirty-one extant works

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‘From low- obscure Beginnings raysde to Fame’

Critical and historical contexts of the Lord Mayor’s Show

Tracey Hill

events, also survive – in a more complex way than one might assume – in the printed texts often produced as part of the event. These texts were produced by a body of professional writers, including Thomas Middleton, Thomas Dekker, Anthony Munday, Thomas Heywood, John Taylor and John Webster, who worked in collaboration with artificers and others to design and stage the entertainment. The Shows have a presence elsewhere in early modern culture too, featuring, often satirically, in a wide range of other dramatic and prose works. Their heyday (and the period covered by

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Tracey Hill

’ for Busino.187 In the textual commentary, in contrast, Middleton invests this pageant with considerable importance as he here outlines the Grocers’ history: the Noble Allen de la Zouch, Grocer, who was Maior of London the two and fiftieth yeare of the same Henry the third, which Allen de la Zouch, for his good Gouernement in the Time of his Maioralty, was by the sayd King Henry the third, made both a Baron of this Realme, and Lord Chiefe Iustice of England: Also that Famous Worthy, Sir Thomas Knoles, Grocer, twice Maior of this Honorable Citty. (sig. B3v) This

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Rachel E. Hile

another, Chapter 5 considers two early works of Thomas Middleton with reference to the social and political context of the turn of the seventeenth century, with special attention to how the Bishops’ Ban of 1599, which banned several books and restricted the future publication of satirical works, affected the literary subfield of satire in England. Following the 1591 calling-in of Spenser’s Complaints volume, which included the satirical animal fable Mother Hubberds Tale, authors largely avoided publishing anything like an animal fable. I find, though, that the young

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Conclusion

Behind the screen

Chloe Porter

many studies in this area. From this perspective, playwrights’ depictions of and allusions to incomplete objects that are ‘under construction’ contribute to the development of a mode of aesthetic formalism. This contribution to aesthetic discourse can be seen, for example, in the epilogue to Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker’s The Roaring Girl. This epilogue tells of a