Echoing Texts
George Chapman's Conspiracy &
Tragedy of Charles Duke of Byron

By Gunilla Florby
August 2005
Lund University Press
ISBN: 9197402389
188 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 8 "
$75.00 Paper Original

This book is an inter-textual study, offering a close comparative exploration of the discourses behind Chapman's text and the text itself with a view to activating the interpretive potential of the intertextual links. Chapter 2 investigates the French chronicle material from Edward Grimeston's General Inventorie and how Chapman's departures from this material influence our reading.

Chapters 3 and 4 look at the effects of the classical subtexts, above all transpositions from Homer's Iliad, Plutarch's Moralia and Seneca's Oedipus, but also Lucan's Pharsalia. Chapter 5 deals with the cultural and political negotiations in the double play, tracing references to the earl of Essex and his rebellion and allusions to topical issues of Stuart kingship.

The intertextual reading projects a problemitization of the concept of the patriarchical monarch and the absolute state and a veiling of the representative of liberty and individual heroism in a nostalgic light. Together with the overlays of meaning caused by the classical texts, the changes in the chronicle material and the topical allusions register an ideological stance. Repressed, represented in sometimes devious ways, Chapman's version of near-contemporary history nevertheless makes a powerful statement about the relationship between ruler and ruled, pointing to problems of contemporary statecraft.

Literary Criticism
Lund Studies in English, No. 109

Return to Coronet Books main page