Expanding the Political Nation: Gorboduc at the Inns of Court and Succession Revisited

Jessica Winston


First performed at the Inner Temple in 1562, Gorboduc has usually been viewed as a topical comment on the Elizabethan succession. Drawing on an array of documents concerning the occasion, production, and reception of the play, I argue that this view is too narrow. Gorboduc responds to a specific occasion, the Inner Temple revels of 1561-2. Members of the inn also used the occasion to offer a challenging political comment on the nature of the English political nation, broadly defined as those individuals and institutions that could legitimately contribute to discussions of matters of state.

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