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The Creation of Lancastrian Kingship


  • Page extent: 202 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.47 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521874960)

The arguments used to justify the deposition of Richard II in 1399 created new forms of political discussion which developed alongside new expectations of kingship itself and which shaped political action and debate for centuries to come. This interdisciplinary study analyses the political language and literature of the early Lancastrian period, particularly the reigns of Henry IV (1399–1413) and Henry V (1413–22). Lancastrian authors such as Thomas Hoccleve and the authors of the anonymous works Richard the Redeless, Mum and the Sothsegger and Crowned King made creative use of languages and idioms which were in the process of escaping from the control of their royal masters. In a study that has far-reaching implications for both literary and political history, Jenni Nuttall presents a fresh understanding of how political language functions in the late medieval period.

• Detailed study of English literature in the reign of Henry IV • Provides models for the analysis of political and literary language in the medieval period • Explains the beginnings of the political language used in Shakespeare's history plays


Introduction; Part I. Household Narratives: 1. Stereotyping Richard and the Ricardian familia; 2. The dissemination of the Ricardian stereotype; 3. Politicizing pre-existing languages; 4. From stereotypes to standards; 5. Household narratives in Lancastrian poetry; Part II. Credit and Love: 6. Promises, expectations, explanations and solutions; 7. A discourse of credit and loyalty; 8. Credit and fraud in Hoccleve's regiment; Conclusion. Lancastrian conversations; Bibliography.


Review of the hardback: 'Nuttall's book is dense, thorough, and technically proficient … So Nuttall's book deserves credit for a monograph that will long be the last word on its subject. She is the painstaking chronicler of an age of discontent. All those concerned with politics and literature between the 1930s and early years of Henry V will then have to take account of her work. … The Creation of Lancastrian Kingship is, then, a book for historians of poetry and historians of politics. The former will thank her for wading through reams of official documentation (calendars of close rolls, proceedings of privy councils, and so on) to extract valuable data. The latter will find it in discussions of poetry altogether more expert and penetrating than those of some previous writers. Together, then will learn more readily what the poets of a turbulent epoch have to tell them, and understand the world better in which those poets lived.' Modern Language Review

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