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In January of this year (2019), English Department staff member Dr Rudolph Glitz took a trip to frosty Cambridge to attend and present a paper at an interdisciplinary and multi-lingual conference. This three day event was titled ‘Monarchy and Modernity: 1500-1945’ and drew scholars from all over the world.

The following abstract outlines what Rudolph talked about:

'In the late sixteenth century perhaps more than ever before, monarchical power derived its legitimacy from heredity and the Divine Right of Kings. As Richard I put it, "Dieu et mon droit" had long been regarded as the only authorities to which the English monarch needed to submit. These sources were not, however, the only ones that mattered. Among other, somewhat less canonical ones, the competent social performance of what might be called adulthood or maturity, too, was widely expected and neglected at some peril – at least by male monarchs who did not delegate the task of governing. This paper will argue that the perceived age-group membership of an Early Modern king could help to make or break him, and further that this was recognized and reflected upon in the literature of the period. My case in point is that of Richard II, whose deposition in 1399 spurred much historiographical mythmaking in the succeeding two centuries, including, most famously, the first part of William Shakespeare’s second history tetralogy. Next to The Life and Death of King Richard II, which Shakespeare wrote around 1595, I will close-read and highlight the age politics informing the so-called Thomas of Woodstock, a near-contemporary tragedy whose actual title and author are unknown, but which constitutes one of Shakespeare’s confirmed sources and foregrounds even more strikingly than his own play the relevance of age to the status of the monarch.'

If your own research intersects with Rudolph's – or you have any other questions related to it – feel free to get in touch with him.

dr. R.W.H. (Rudolph) Glitz

Faculty of Humanities

Capaciteitsgroep Engelse taal en cultuur

Call for proposals ‘Monarchy and Modernity: 1500-1945'