Mobile menu

Books
Right arrow
England's Empty Throne

England's Empty Throne

Usurpation and the Language of Legitimation, 1399–1422

Paul Strohm

“Paul Strohm’s strikingly original . . . book offers rich opportunities for thinking about the relationships between textual analysis and historical understanding. . . . [His] analysis of Lancastrian texts and imagination will undoubtedly prove immensely energizing in medieval English literary and cultural studies. If its full implications for medieval history are also recognized and explored, its impact will be even more profound and enduring.” — Review of English Studies

“[Henry IV’s] usurpation stands exposed as a scandalous rupture in the line of succession. Strohm’s powerfully argued book deals with the usurper’s efforts to mend the rift with lies and propaganda, and explores the unpredictable and often fantastical forms in which the Lancastrian repressed staged its return.” — Times Literary Supplement

England’s Empty Throne . . . confirms Paul Strohm’s extraordinary ability to disclose and interpret elements of social and political contestation in texts produced in late medieval England, even (or especially) when such disclosure seems farthest from the overt intent of their composers or sponsors.” — Arthuriana

After the dethronement and subsequent murder of Richard II, the usurping Lancastrian dynasty faced an exceptional challenge. Interrupting a long period of Plantagenet rule, Henry IV and Henry V needed not only to establish physical possession of the English throne but to occupy it symbolically as well. In this boldly revisionary book, Paul Strohm provides a new account of the Lancastrian revolution and its aftermath.

Integrating techniques of literary and historical analysis, he reveals the Lancastrian monarchs as masters of outward display, persuasively “performing” their kingship through a variety of novel ceremonies in a quest for legitimacy. He also describes far-reaching Lancastrian experiments in domination, including the proscription of prophecy; the enlistment of poetry as court propaganda; the extensive use of spies and informers; and, most ambitiously, the redefinition of treason to cover not only overt deeds but words and thoughts as well.

Strohm’s account of the Lancastrian quest for legitimacy, and the uses of symbolic power, illuminates—indeed, recasts—our understanding of a period of unprecedented political upheaval.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04121-2
296 pages
Publication Year: 2006

Pdf   Download Table of Contents

Paul Strohm is Anna S. Garbedian Professor of Humanities at Columbia University.

“Paul Strohm’s strikingly original . . . book offers rich opportunities for thinking about the relationships between textual analysis and historical understanding. . . . [His] analysis of Lancastrian texts and imagination will undoubtedly prove immensely energizing in medieval English literary and cultural studies. If its full implications for medieval history are also recognized and explored, its impact will be even more profound and enduring.” — Review of English Studies

“[Henry IV’s] usurpation stands exposed as a scandalous rupture in the line of succession. Strohm’s powerfully argued book deals with the usurper’s efforts to mend the rift with lies and propaganda, and explores the unpredictable and often fantastical forms in which the Lancastrian repressed staged its return.” — Times Literary Supplement

England’s Empty Throne . . . confirms Paul Strohm’s extraordinary ability to disclose and interpret elements of social and political contestation in texts produced in late medieval England, even (or especially) when such disclosure seems farthest from the overt intent of their composers or sponsors.” — Arthuriana

“Strohm in this book moves beyond the more literary concerns of his earlier works and ‘str[ides] confidently into the historical mainstream’ in a work that is ‘quite clearly a book aimed at historians’ (p. x). As such, Strohm interrogates not only ‘literary’ works from the likes of Hoccleve and Lydgate, but narrative chronicles, legal documents, and prophetic utterances.” — Bulletin of International Medieval Research

Pdf   Download Excerpt

P01019

Politique

Languages of Statecraft between Chaucer and Shakespeare

Paul Strohm

P03361

Shadow and Substance

Eucharistic Controversy and English Drama across the Reformation Divide

Jay Zysk

P03310

Piers Plowman and the Poetics of Enigma

Riddles, Rhetoric, and Theology

Curtis A. Gruenler

P03262

Michael Psellos on Literature and Art

A Byzantine Perspective on Aesthetics

Michael Psellos
Edited by Charles Barber and Stratis Papaioannou

England's Empty Throne

Usurpation and the Language of Legitimation, 1399–1422

Paul Strohm

 England's Empty Throne: Usurpation and the Language of Legitimation, 1399–1422
Paper Edition

“Paul Strohm’s strikingly original . . . book offers rich opportunities for thinking about the relationships between textual analysis and historical understanding. . . . [His] analysis of Lancastrian texts and imagination will undoubtedly prove immensely energizing in medieval English literary and cultural studies. If its full implications for medieval history are also recognized and explored, its impact will be even more profound and enduring.” — Review of English Studies

“[Henry IV’s] usurpation stands exposed as a scandalous rupture in the line of succession. Strohm’s powerfully argued book deals with the usurper’s efforts to mend the rift with lies and propaganda, and explores the unpredictable and often fantastical forms in which the Lancastrian repressed staged its return.” — Times Literary Supplement

England’s Empty Throne . . . confirms Paul Strohm’s extraordinary ability to disclose and interpret elements of social and political contestation in texts produced in late medieval England, even (or especially) when such disclosure seems farthest from the overt intent of their composers or sponsors.” — Arthuriana

After the dethronement and subsequent murder of Richard II, the usurping Lancastrian dynasty faced an exceptional challenge. Interrupting a long period of Plantagenet rule, Henry IV and Henry V needed not only to establish physical possession of the English throne but to occupy it symbolically as well. In this boldly revisionary book, Paul Strohm provides a new account of the Lancastrian revolution and its aftermath.

Integrating techniques of literary and historical analysis, he reveals the Lancastrian monarchs as masters of outward display, persuasively “performing” their kingship through a variety of novel ceremonies in a quest for legitimacy. He also describes far-reaching Lancastrian experiments in domination, including the proscription of prophecy; the enlistment of poetry as court propaganda; the extensive use of spies and informers; and, most ambitiously, the redefinition of treason to cover not only overt deeds but words and thoughts as well.

Strohm’s account of the Lancastrian quest for legitimacy, and the uses of symbolic power, illuminates—indeed, recasts—our understanding of a period of unprecedented political upheaval.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04121-2

296 pages

“Paul Strohm’s strikingly original . . . book offers rich opportunities for thinking about the relationships between textual analysis and historical understanding. . . . [His] analysis of Lancastrian texts and imagination will undoubtedly prove immensely energizing in medieval English literary and cultural studies. If its full implications for medieval history are also recognized and explored, its impact will be even more profound and enduring.” — Review of English Studies

“[Henry IV’s] usurpation stands exposed as a scandalous rupture in the line of succession. Strohm’s powerfully argued book deals with the usurper’s efforts to mend the rift with lies and propaganda, and explores the unpredictable and often fantastical forms in which the Lancastrian repressed staged its return.” — Times Literary Supplement

England’s Empty Throne . . . confirms Paul Strohm’s extraordinary ability to disclose and interpret elements of social and political contestation in texts produced in late medieval England, even (or especially) when such disclosure seems farthest from the overt intent of their composers or sponsors.” — Arthuriana

“Strohm in this book moves beyond the more literary concerns of his earlier works and ‘str[ides] confidently into the historical mainstream’ in a work that is ‘quite clearly a book aimed at historians’ (p. x). As such, Strohm interrogates not only ‘literary’ works from the likes of Hoccleve and Lydgate, but narrative chronicles, legal documents, and prophetic utterances.” — Bulletin of International Medieval Research