• Jesuits and Philosophasters: Robert Burton’s Response to the Gunpowder Plot

    Author(s):
    Kathryn Murphy
    Date:
    2009
    Subject(s):
    Burton, Robert, 1577-1640, Anatomy of melancholy (Burton, Robert), Philosophaster (Burton, Robert), English literature--Early modern, English drama--Early modern and Elizabethan
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/eans-dv25
    Abstract:
    [opening paragraph:] Robert Burton’s Latin play Philosophaster, performed in the hall at Christ Church, Oxford, on 16 February 1618,[1] has received more attention than most of the other surviving examples of university drama.[2] Since the mid-nineteenth century, Philosophaster has been published four times, once in Latin, twice with facing-page English translation, and once as a facsimile of a manuscript; it has even been performed.[3] Yet the same circumstances which have prompted sustained attention to the play have paradoxically hampered readings of the text on its own terms. Interest has been raised almost entirely by the later activities of its author: by the hope that Philosophaster’s satire on university life and false philosophy might inform the reader further about The Anatomy of Melancholy. As a result the play’s own circumstances and satirical targets have been imperfectly understood. Its topicality has been ignored, and its importance for our understanding of Burton’s writing thus paradoxically underestimated.[4] This essay hopes to put some of these omissions right.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Online publication    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

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