On November 19 we are proud to host a KiSSiT WiP session called ‘Between the monarch and subject – Early Modern Sovereignty’ – happily coinciding with the KiSS Shakespeare and Sovereignty series. The seminar begins at 5 pm in the Gallery at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. Our speakers are Katrina Marchant and Nicole Mennell from the University of Sussex. See also this session’s Facebook event page.
Katrina Marchant will give a paper entitled ‘“Perfect counsell”: Sir Thomas Smith’s and the governance of the English commonwealth’. Here is the abstract:
Sir Thomas Smith’s Discourse of the Commonweal (manuscript 1549, printed 1581) asserts the right, or even obligation, for all the members of the English commonwealth to take a role in the defense of the ideologies, prosperity and security of their nation. This was particularly true for ‘university men’ whose learning had enabled them to wield political power as elite advisors to the monarch. This paper explores the shifting dynamics of this advisorial relationship and the way it impacted the government of England during the sixteenth century.
Katrina Marchant was recently awarded her doctorate in early modern literature and culture (University of Sussex, May 2015). Her thesis was titled ‘Things “Necessary” and “Unnecessary”: Trash and Trifles in Early Modern England’. It illustrates how the deployment of the terms trash and trifles in early modern England can be productively used to trace the shaping of the Protestant English commonwealth as a distinct, secure and valuable entity in an unstable and increasingly global post-Reformation world. Katrina is also known to KiSSiT goers for her talk at the Shakespeare and Waste conference.
Nicole Mennell‘s paper is entitled ‘“A Game of State”: Falconry and the Nature of Power and Obedience in Early Modern Drama’ and her abstract is as follows:
This paper will discuss how the language of power and obedience used in early modern hawking manuals reflects the power dynamic between monarch and subject. While hawks and falcons were traditionally used to symbolise the status, power and wealth of royals and nobles who possessed them, a selection of Shakespeare’s plays appropriate this association to explore tensions which existed between social classes, the nature of sovereignty and servitude, and concerns of tyrannical rule.
Nicole Mennell is a doctoral candidate at the University of Sussex, researching the representation of animals in the early modern period. Her thesis, ‘Shakespeare’s Sovereign Beasts: Political Discourse and Human/Animal Relations in Early Modern Drama’, explores the connections made between figures of sovereignty and animals in early modern texts. She is primarily interested in the ways in which animals were used to symbolise the power and status of political leaders both figuratively and literally in the early modern period and how this reliance conversely serves to undermine anthropocentrism.