Imaginary Betrayals: Subjectivity and the Discourses of Treason in Early Modern England
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013 M05 29 - 224 páginas
In 1352 King Edward III had expanded the legal definition of treason to include the act of imagining the death of the king, opening up the category of "constructive" treason, in which even a subject's thoughts might become the basis for prosecution. By the sixteenth century, treason was perceived as an increasingly serious threat and policed with a new urgency. Referring to the extensive early modern literature on the subject of treason, Imaginary Betrayals reveals how and to what extent ideas of proof and grounds for conviction were subject to prosecutorial construction during the Tudor period. Karen Cunningham looks at contemporary records of three prominent cases in order to demonstrate the degree to which the imagination was used to prove treason: the 1542 attainder of Katherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, charged with having had sexual relations with two men before her marriage; the 1586 case of Anthony Babington and twelve confederates, accused of plotting with the Spanish to invade England and assassinate Elizabeth; and the prosecution in the same year of Mary, Queen of Scots, indicted for conspiring with Babington to engineer her own accession to the throne.
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The form of national identity perceived as threatened in these trials may be as explicit as that symbolized by the life of a particular queen or as implicit as that conveyed in an unspoken teleology of marriage for women.
22) protected Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn by making into treason deeds or written or printed words imperiling the king's person or prejudicing or slandering his recent marriage. In November 1534, another act (26 Hen. VIII c.
24) that made it treason in the future to marry the king's sister, niece, or aunt without royal consent or to “defile or ... Apparently derived from Lord Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk's contracting a marriage to Lady Margaret Douglas, ...
... embedded in an unprece— dented legal situation in which a monarch supports his marriages by exploiting treason laws, marks an early event in the developing gender ideology that would fix women as repositories of secret sexuality.
The fifth of Henry VIII's wives, Howard was attainted of treason in 1542 for allegedly having had sexual relations with two men before she married. The proceedings formulate uncertainties among epistemology, secrecy, and truth in terms ...
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