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.
to compass or imagine the death of the king, his queen or the royal heir; to violate the king's consort, his eldest daughter or the wife of his eldest son; to levy war against the king in his realm or adhere to the king's enemies and be ...
Apparently derived from Lord Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk's contracting a marriage to Lady Margaret Douglas, natural daughter of the Queen of Scots, this act had no precedents; no earlier king had considered a subject's matrimonial ...
Throckmorton was accused of compassing to deprive the queen of her crown and dignity and destroy her, and to take the Tower of London and levy war against her. Though adhering to the queen's enemies or destroying her were treason under ...
... apparently “self—evident” case, such as Essex's riding through the streets of London toward the queen in 1601 with drawn sword, there were many in which the incident and its evidence were the object of heated interpretive contests.
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