Women against Marriage: Wiliam Rowley’s The Birth of Merlin

William Rowley’s The Birth of Merlin depicts women characters that utilize linguistic skills to disrupt the expectations of marriage held by other male characters in the play. Modestia rejects marriage because she sees it as fleeting and voluntarily chooses what she sees as the more stable, everlasting life attained in a nunnery…

“After the pure manner of Amsterdam”: Baptism in the Post-Reformation Church of England and Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside

This paper uncovers a reference to puritan contentions about baptism in The Chaste Maid in Cheapside so far unnoticed by scholarship. Puritan objections to the liturgy for baptism had remained fairly constant from early on in the Reformation: the surplice worn by the minister in church services, crossing of the infant’s forehead, surrogation of the godparents for the infant in baptismal interrogatories, and lay baptism…

Ben Jonson’s The Gypsies Metamorphosed: Gypsies’ Transgressive Identities as a Political Metonym of Subversiveness

Ben Jonson’s masque, The Gypsies Metamorphosed, derived wildly successful responses from the courtly audience in 1621 by presenting various medleys of transgressive exoticism of gypsies: their tawny faces striped with colourful streaks, their offbeat dances accompanying their gibberish canting songs, their mysterious chiromancy combined with their dazzling legerdemain, and their protean capability to shift into kaleidoscopic identities…

Land, City, and Mimetic Fantasy in Middleton’s Michaelmas Term

This paper examines Thomas Middleton’s Michaelmas Term that dramatizes both the attraction and danger of London through class conflict between a landed gentry Easy and a London merchant Quomodo. Easy tries to embrace conspicuous consumption and self-indulgence in the urban life that he regards as a highly developed and refined culture…

Food and Eating As Religious Metaphor: Focusing on Chaucer’s Religious Tales

Food and its consumption play a significant role in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales that extends far beyond the concepts of sustenance and survival. Given the significant value of food because of the increasing scarcity that resulted from recurring famine in the late fourteenth century, Bailly’s suggestion of providing ‘a soper at oure aller cost’ for the best storyteller is quite realistic…

“Morgen” in the Vita Merlini and Celtic Mythology

This paper aims to investigate the indeterminate complexity of “Morgen” [i.e. Morgan] in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini in relation to relevant motifs of the Celtic mythology. Written in Latin in the mid twelfth-century (between 1148 and 1154), the Vita Merlini is a highly important piece of work in the study of Morgan, in that she made her debut as a literary character in this work, and that it is Geoffrey in this poem who is claimed to have first made the connection between Morgan and King Arthur, who, though, are not siblings as yet…