Sport, Politics, and Literature in the English Renaissance

By Gregory M. Colón Semenza | Go to book overview

Notes

INTRODUCTION
1.
The syntax of this somewhat cryptic sentence demands clarification. I read it in the following way: "The second sort of sports should not be used ei- ther by Christians, who should be more serious, or Nobles, who should be more civilized.”
2.
Lawrence Humphrey, The Nobles (1563; reprint, Amsterdam: Thea- trum Orbis Terrarum Ltd., 1973), sig. a2 v.
3.
I typically use the term "godly” as a substitution for "puritan.” In order to avoid the numerous problems accompanying use of the term "puritan, ” this study will follow the advice of Christopher Durston and Jacqueline Eales in defining it as a particularly distinctive mentalité, "a peculiarly severe yet vi- brant spirituality” ("The Puritan Ethos, 1560—1700, ” in Christopher Durston and Jacqueline Eales, ed. The Culture of English Puritanism, 1560—1700, [New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996], 9). Sport was one major target of this vibrant spirituality. Patrick Collinson has noted that after 1600 the term "was the label often attached to those who held . . . `stoical' views on plays, sports, and pastimes, especially when conducted on the sabbath” ("Elizabethan and Jaco- bean Puritanism as Forms of Popular Religious Culture, ” Culture of English Puritanism, 34).
4.
Philip Stubbes, The Anatomie of Abuses, (London, 1583), 101. Even Sir Thomas Elyot, in The Governour, felt compelled to title his first chapter on dancing, "That all daunsinge is not to be reproved, ” suggesting how common attacks on the recreation had become by so early a date as 1531 (The Boke Named the Governour, ed. Henry Herbert Stephen Croft [New York: Burt Franklin, 1967], 203).
5.
Stubbes, The Anatomie of Abuses, 117.
6.
Institution of a Gentleman (London, 1555; reprint, London: Charles Whittingham, 1839), sig. I v.
7.
In fact, the sport was prohibited to all non-nobles by monarchical proc- lamations issued in 1541, 1570, and 1572 (see Paul L. Hughes and James F. Larkin, eds., Tudor Royal Proclamations, [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969] 2:359—60, 361—62; 3:279). The various "unlawful” sports and games specified in these proclamations—bowls, dicing, tennis, carding—are problem- atic because they attract rowdy crowds and, more important, because they dis- tract men from the practice of archery, which is vital to England's military preparedness. For a more detailed discussion of these proclamations and their medieval precursors, see above, 63—66.
8.
For descriptions of individual sports in Renaissance England, see espe- cially Joseph Strutt, The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England (Lon- don, 1801); and Marcia Vale, The Gentleman's Recreations: Accomplishments

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