Engaging with a range of events-historical moments, theatrical performances, public presentations, and courtly intrigues - and the texts that record them, this book explores representational practice as a component of Elizabethan political culture. Considering the inscriptive production of mediated, indirect experience as an authorial challenge to the value of the immediate, direct experience of events, and conversely, recognizing the multi-valent impact of theatrical performance and performativity as a reinvigoration of the immediate, this study traces the emergence of 'realness' as a textual effect and a mode of political intervention. This interactive, refractive nexus of experience and inscription comprises what Sandra Logan calls the 'text/event'. The four primary foci of this investigation - the 1558 coronation entry; the 1575 entertainments at Kenilworth; the 1590s dramatizations of the reign of Richard II; and the Essex trial of 1601 - serve as exempla of four moments in the reign of Elizabeth I which suggest an increasingly complex interaction between events and texts developing in the last half of the sixteenth century. Logan argues that, in representing England's recent and distant past, a wide range of social subjects engaged in a struggle for intellectual credibility and social viability, and in the process generated a contingent public sphere within which history, framed as a coherent narrative shaped by causal relationships, was brought to bear on the concerns of the Elizabethan present and future. Assessing how these chronicles, short prose histories, and historical dramas each made use of the materials and techniques of the others, blurring the distinctions between historiography and poetry, as well as between past and present, Logan considers the conjunctions between the development of new genres and perceptions about inscription and experience, and changing socioeconomic institutions and practices.

chapter |29 pages


The Problem of History

part 1|153 pages

Contemporary Elizabethan Events and Accounts