Reference > Cambridge History > The Drama to 1642, Part One > Some Political and Social Aspects of the Later Elizabethan and Earlier Stewart Period > Education of the Courtier
  Elizabeth’s Court Contrast between Court and Country  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume V. The Drama to 1642, Part One.

XIV. Some Political and Social Aspects of the Later Elizabethan and Earlier Stewart Period.

§ 12. Education of the Courtier.


In this sketch of the complete training of an English gentleman, as in the early life of the actual Sidney and the Hamlet of the tragedy, the element of foreign travel must not be over-looked. There was not much travelling at home (partly in consequence of the state of the roads, which forced even the queen to make most of her progresses on horseback). Even more than in the earlier days of the English renascence, Italy, with all its great memories and treasures, and with all its charms and seductions, was the favourite resort of English travellers, and such it remained during the long reach of years which bridge the interval between the times of Ascham and those of Milton. 31  The frequency with which the Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists lay the scenes of their plays in Italy, no doubt, was originally due to the use made by them of Italian fiction; but we often find a play localised in Italy for no better reason than deference to custom, or the possibility of greater freedom of movement. 32    15

Note 31. Harrison repeats Ascham’s lament over the dangers of the seductions of Italy. Coryate, to whose travels there are many allusions in later Elizabethan dramatists (e. g. Fletcher’s Queen of Corinth, act IV, sc. 1, and Shirley, The Ball, act II, sc. 1), is an admirable example of a traveller conscientiously intent upon seeing and describing everything. [ back ]
Note 32. So, the scene of the first version of Every Man in his Humour is laid at Florence. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Elizabeth’s Court Contrast between Court and Country  
 
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