Monarchy and Incest in Renaissance England: Literature, Culture, Kinship, and Kingship

By Bruce Thomas Boehrer | Go to book overview

Introduction

Telling Stories About Incest

In 1534, Henry VIII's Reformation Parliament ratified a bill called An Act Concerning the King's Succession, and it became law that year. It was a landmark piece of legislation, being the first (and by no means the last) of Henry's attempts to sequence his heirs by statute, and its principal jobs were thus to legitimize Henry's recent marriage to Anne Boleyn and to place their offspring foremost in the line of succession to the English throne. But in achieving these ends, the Act did other things as well. First, it declared Henry's long-standing marriage to Catherine of Aragon -- "being before the lawful Wife to Prince Arthur, your elder brother" ( Statutes at Large, 25 Henry VIII c. 22) -- invalid because incestuous; then it extended the principle behind this declaration, making it apply to Henry's subjects and kingdom in a sustained, highly specific manner.

Since many inconveniencies have fallen, as well within this Realm as in other by reason of marrying within the Degrees of Marriage prohibited by God's Laws, that is to say, the Son to marry the Mother, or the Stepmother, the Brother the Sister, the Father his Son's Daughter or Daughter's Daughter, or the Son to marry the Daughter of his Father procreate and born by his Stepmother, or the Son to marry his Aunt, being his Father's or Mother's Sister, or to marry his Uncle's Wife, or the Father to marry his Son's Wife, or the Brother to marry his Brother's Wife, or any Man to marry his Wife's Daughter, or his Wife's Son's Daughter, or his Wife's Daughter's Daughter, or his Wife's Sister; which Marriages...be plainly prohibited and detested by the Laws of God...Be it therefore enacted..., That no Person or Persons, Subjects or Residents of this Realm...shall from henceforth marry within the said Degrees afore rehearsed. ( Statutes at Large, 25 Henry VIII c. 22)

Henry's Parliament worked hard -- presumably under the king's direction -- to make this passage sound as much like the Bible as possible. Nor was the labor wasted; the ponderous rehearsal of forbidden marital unions is closely modeled on similar texts in Leviticus (chapters 18 and 20), where the male reader is enjoined to avoid sex or marriage with his mother,

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Monarchy and Incest in Renaissance England: Literature, Culture, Kinship, and Kingship
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • I- Henry VIII and the Political Uses Of Incest Theory 19
  • 2. Incest and Tudor Literary Politics 42
  • 3- James I and the Fabrication Of Kinship 86
  • 4. the End of Kingship? 113
  • 5- Conclusions: the Politics of Incest Theory 138
  • Afterword 157
  • Notes 159
  • Bibliography 173
  • Index 185
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 194

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.