“Beautiful Serpents” and “Cathedras of Pestilence”: Antitheatrical Traditions, Gendered Decline, and Political Crisis in Early Modern Spain and England

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This article examines how, in both early modern Spain and England, antitheatrical polemicists responded to the increased popularity and visibility of playhouses by attacking them as pernicious, diabolical, and effeminizing.Antitheatrical tracts and sermons drew upon the authority of ancients and propagated understandings of the body politic as an organism that could be diagnosed with a corrupting and womanish disease.These arguments resonated during moments of political and social crisis.A historical analysis, however, demonstrates the different trajectories and impacts of antitheatrical wr

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Ennobling Reform in Tudor Ireland

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The Tudor sovereigns’ attempts to restore central authority in Ireland were beleaguered by endemic war and the reality of a realm politically and culturally divided. These problems drew the attention of social and religious reformers whose aims were to perfect a civil and godly commonwealth. The major intellectual movements of the sixteenth century provided the English with justifications for eradicating independent power, prohibiting Irish language and culture, confiscating Irish land, and introducing English settlers with mandates to build, plant, and reorganize the landscape.

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Where Palace and Convent Met: The Descalzas Reales in Madrid

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Since its 1559 foundation in Madrid, the royal convent of the Descalzas Reales was a vital extension of the court, serving as a retreat for the women of the royal family, the royal children, and the king himself. Founded by Juana de Austria, sister of Philip II, the convent was later home to another of Philip’s sisters, Empress María of Austria, who brought numerous features of the court to the convent, including a large entourage.

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Politic Magnificence: Deciphering the Performance of the French and Spanish Rivalry during the Entrevue at Bayonne

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Between 1559 and 1589, Catherine de Médicis developed an acute understanding of the role of the arts in expressing power and political influence. This article argues that the celebrations organized for the meeting of the French and Spanish courts at Bayonne in 1565 demonstrate Catherine’s keen understanding of the power of visual culture, and skill at manipulating images in the service of diplomacy.

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“Moving Mortals to Tears and Devotion”: Cinzio Passeri Aldobrandini, Torquato Tasso, and the Sorrowing Virgin

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Torquato Tasso was inspired to pen his Stanze per le lagrime di Maria Vergine santissima e di Gies. Cristo nostro (Rome, 1593) by a painting of the sorrowing Virgin belonging to Cardinal Cinzio Passeri Aldobrandini (1551–1610). A nephew of Pope Clement VIII by his sister, Cinzio took on the Aldobrandini name in a practice known as an “aggregation.” The publication of Tasso’s Lagrime allowed Cinzio to promote himself as a devout prelate favored by the pope, but it did not ensure his influence and a true “blood” nephew, Pietro Aldobrandini, successfully challenged his authority.

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