Tudor and Jacobean Tournaments

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9780911378757: Tudor and Jacobean Tournaments

This is the first book to trace the history and significance of the tournament in all its aspects in the Tudor and Jacobean periods. In its original medieval form, the tournament was a cross between sport and warfare, often an event involving two large opposing groups of knights who fought each other across a wide area of country. Loss of life or limb was common. These brutal events were a far cry from the carefully controlled and staged affairs that tournaments had become by Tudor times, a development that mirrors a profound change in role.

As a vehicle for training in warfare, the Tudor and Jacobean tournament was largely anachronistic, but it played a crucial part in the political and cultural life of the country. These events were a major instrument of political propaganda, a public spectacle which the monarch could use in the profoundly serious business of displaying his or her magnificence. They were frequently staged and lavishly financed, with the provision of rich and costly trappings for participants and key spectators alike.

Tournaments were also of considerable importance in keeping alive the ideals of chivalry, and all that these implied about service to king and country. Unlike later court entertainments, tournaments were spectacles at which even the meanest citizen could bask in the display of royal magnificence.

Drawing on much original research, Professor Young fully explores all aspects of the tournament and its significance, including the construction of tiltyards, the tournament as theatre, and tournament literature, some of which was contributed by such great figures as Philip Sidney and Ben Jonson. But above all Young makes clear that the tournament was never mere entertainment, extravagant fantasy, or the archaic exercise of obsolete military skills. In fact, Tudor and Jacobean tournaments helped to keep alive values and ideals which perhaps contributed to the English Civil War, the American Civil War and even World War I.

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About the Author:

Alan R. Young is Professor Emeritus of Acadia University. He is a graduate of the University of Bristol, the University of East Africa, the University of East Anglia, and the University of Alberta. He began his teaching career as a Government Education Officer in Kenya and later taught English at Simon Fraser University, the University of Alberta, and Acadia University. He is Professor Emeritus of Acadia University. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Emblematica and has published extensively on the Renaissance emblem, Shakespeare, the tournament, and Atlantic Canadian Literature. His books that deal with emblematic topics include a facsimile edition of Henry Peacham's Emblemata Varia (1976),Henry Peacham (1979), Tudor and Jacobean Tournaments (1987), The English Tournament Imprese (1988), His Majesty's Royal Ship: A Critical Edition of Thomas Heywood's "A True Description" (1990), The Art of the Emblem: Essays in Honor of Karl Josef Höltgen (ed. with Michael Bath and John Manning) (1993), Emblematic Flag Devices of the English Civil Wars 1642-1660 (1995), and Henry Peacham's Manuscript Emblem Books (1998). He has long been interested in the application of computer technology to research in the humanities. Three of the books mentioned above - The English Tournament Imprese, Emblematic Flag Devices of the English Civil Wars, and Henry Peacham's Manuscript Emblem Books - were based upon computer databases that recorded information concerning collections of emblematic material. His most recent books - Hamlet and the Visual Arts, 1709-1900 (2002) and Punch and Shakespeare in the Victorian Era (2007) - also made use of extensive databases of visual materials compiled by the author. The database for Hamlet has been published separately as part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Shakespeare Electronic Archive.

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Alan Young
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