Gender and politics in the Henrician court: The Douglas-Howard lyrics in the Devonshire manuscript (BL Add 17492)

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BL Additional MS 17492, the so-called DevonshireManuscript of Henrician courtly verse, is a prime example of how social and cultural phenomena contributed to early modern manuscript culture. Among the treasures of the Devonshire MS is a series of lyrics that chronicles a fascinating courtly intrigue of the 1530s: the illicit, clandestine marriage of Lord Thomas Howard and Lady Margaret Douglas, the headstrong niece of Henry VIII. After unpacking this historical drama, this essay advances the first substantial literary analysis of these poems by exploring the textual strategies through which Howard and Douglas attempted to negotiate the crown's insistent management of their erotic life. This treatment of the Douglas-Howard lyrics provides new opportunity to consider how the Devonshire MS reflects and refracts the gender dynamics of the contemporary Henrician court.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-114
Number of pages36
JournalRenaissance Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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