"Munday I Sweare Shalbee a Hollidaye": The Politics of Anthony Munday, from Anti-Catholic Spy to Civic Pageanteer (1579-1630)


Little-discussed and not widely-known, Anthony Munday (1560-1633) was one of the longest lived playwrights of the early modern period. This article examines the trajectory of Munday's public works alongside the shifting anti-Catholic policies and praxis of the Elizabethan and Jacobean governments. Beginning with his early comedies-Fidele & Fortunio (1584) and John a Kent and John a Cumber (1587)- this article examines the way in which Munday satirizes Catholic praxis and clergy. The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon and The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon (1598) serve as examples of Munday's political turn away from propaganda and toward a more critical perspective on the Elizabethan government's religious policy. In his later collaborative histories-Sir Thomas More (c.1597) and Sir John Oldcastle (1599)-Munday begins to argue for freedom of conscience, provided, of course, that the subject remains loyal to the Crown. Munday's Lord Mayor's Shows, which articulate English identity in terms of Protestant Empire, nevertheless refuse to participate in explicit anti-Catholicism.

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© 2018 Klincksieck. This article first appeared in Etudes Anglaises 71:4 (2018), 473-490.

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