Renæssanceforum 13 • 2018

Per Sivefors
"What Passions Call You These": Privacy and Metapoetic Foreignness in Marlowe's Edward II

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This essay argues that Marlowe's Edward II engages with English history and politics through a metadiscussion of the rhetorical, linguistic and aesthetic foundations of vernacular culture. The play's frequent referencing of Latin, Italian and French suggests a distinction between a public and orthodox understanding of history and politics, and an artful Latinate idiom connected to notions of privacy and Ovidian poetics as well as to non-English, demonised languages. By enriching its modes of expression with snatches of other languages as well as multiplicitous references to specific Latin literary patterns, Edward II privileges the irresponsibly 'private' and hence distances itself from a vernacular construction of public history and affairs.