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Court masques were multi-media entertainments, with song, dance, theatre, and changeable scenery, staged annually at the English court to celebrate the Stuart dynasty. They have typically been regarded as frivolous and expensive entertainments. This book dispels this notion, emphasizing instead that they were embedded in the politics of the moment, and spoke in complex ways to the different audiences who viewed them. Covering the whole period from Queen Anne's first masque at Winchester in 1603 to Salmacida Spolia in 1640, Butler looks in depth at the political functions of state festivity. The book contextualizes masque performances in intricate detail, and analyzes how they shaped, managed, and influenced the public face of the Stuart kingship. Butler presents the masques as a vehicle through which we can read the early Stuart court's political aspirations and the changing functions of royal culture in a period of often radical instability.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521883542
ISBN-10: 0521883547
Format: Hardback
(228mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Pages: 462
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 5-Feb-2009
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


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Author Biography - Martin Butler

Martin Butler is Professor of English Renaissance Drama at the University of Leeds.

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