Alexander Samson, lecturer in Golden Age Literature at UCL, on his book 'Mary Tudor and the Habsburg Marriage: England and Spain 1553 – 1557'.
The historiography of Mary Tudor’s reign has been revolutionised in the last decade with important contributions on her religious policy like Fires of Faith and The Theology and Spirituality of Mary Tudor’s Church, as well as five new biographies and numerous other academic studies. In this lecture I propose to look for the first time at cultural exchange between England and Spain, and examine the extent to which Philip and Mary established a common court culture during his period as king of England. The Queen Mary Atlas and Thomas Geminus’s maps of England and Spain were part of a sharing of expertise and technology in navigation and mapping that was critical to England’s emergence as an imperial power, but what of the translations of Peter Martyr and Luis de Zuñiga y Avila and the Anlgo-Spanish language-learning texts produced for the first time. How did these texts shape the nature of the mutual gaze that in the future saw John Fletcher, Shakespeare’s successor as principal playwright to the King’s Men, base a quarter of his plays on Cervantine prose fictions? It will conclude by looking at the relationship between the real cultural influence England and Spain exercised upon each other in this period and the ways in which Philip and Mary’s union has been written and represented down to the present day.
Alexander Samson is a lecturer at University College London, where he teaches the literature, history and culture of early modern Spain and Latin America. He has edited volumes on The Spanish Match: Prince Charles’s Journey to Madrid, 1623 (Ashgate, 2006), a Companion to Lope de Vega with Jonathan Thacker (Tamesis, 2008) and Locus amoenus: Gardens and Horticulture in Early Modern Europe, a special issue of the journal Renaissance Studies, as well as publishing numerous articles on topics ranging from the marriage of Philip II and Mary Tudor, historiography and royal chroniclers in sixteenth-century Spain, Lope de Vega, firearms, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, Cervantes, Spanish renaissance gardens, and female Golden Age dramatists. His book Mary Tudor and the Habsburg Marriage: England and Spain 1553 – 1557 is in press. His research interests include the influence of Spanish culture in early modern England, festival texts, the Habsburg empire under Charles V and New World chronicles.
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