England's Empty Throne

England's Empty Throne: Usurpation and the Language of Legitimation, 1399-1422

Hardback Published on: 04/08/1998
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Synopsis

After the dethronement and subsequent murder of Richard II, the usurping Lancastrian dynasty faced a challenge. Interrupting a long period of Plantagenet rule, Henry IV and Henry V needed not only to establish physical possesion of the English throne, but to occupy it symbolically as well. In this revisionary book, Paul Strohm provides an account of the Lancastrian revolution and its aftermath. Integrating techniques of literary and historical analysis, he explores the new dynasty's quest for legistimacy and the importance of symbolic activity to the making of kingship. Strohm reveals the Lancastrian monarchs as masters of outward display, persuasively "performing" their kingship in a variety of novel ceremonies. Henry IV is crowned with a newly discovered coronation oil. The murdered Richard II is reburied. Opinion is courted and deceived with invented chronicles, false prophecies, and bogus genealogies. Strohm's account of the Lancastrian quest for legitimacy and the uses of symbolic power aims to illuminate our understanding of a period of unprecedented political upheaval.

  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • ISBN: 9780300075441
  • Weight: 710g
  • Dimensions: 242 x 162 x 29 mm

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