A sense of humor against tyranny: a timely lesson from the 16th century.


A sense of humor against tyranny: a timely lesson from the 16th century.

Walker is currently writing a biography of the Tudor writer and musician John Heywood. At the Stanford humanities center, walker finished a paper about Heywood “forgive” and “monks” the paper, and at the Stanford center for research in medieval and early modern Heywood in public speaking. Walker also Shared a three-week undergraduate course with Treharne and met with graduate and post-doctoral students working in early modern research.

Who is John Heywood?

Heywood experienced four Tudor monarchs, Henry viii, Edward vi, Mary I and Elizabeth I. He is a professional singer and keyboard player, like a virgin and a princess. He seems to have taught Mary how to play when she is a young woman. He was a clown, a wit, long known as the “happy John Heywood” after his death because of his humor and loveliness. He wrote in the royal family and other places of special performance, wrote a poem, collected a large number of popular proverbs and aphorisms, he published six volumes, and produced a great fable epic poem called “the spider and the fly”. He was also the grandfather of the poet John donne.

What makes you write his biography?

Part of the reason is that he is humorously talking about serious political issues, and when it comes to increasing sectarian violence and social disintegration, he is talking about the sound of relative rationality and moderation. I have been interested in how to find a way to “go back” is the writer and the artist, or the truth of the political power, through their work to counter the requirement of authoritarian regime, especially in resist the authority of the political culture. And Heywood is a good example, he experienced British political and religious life of significant change, from a relatively open and tolerant cultural shift, in this culture, discussion and debate are encouraged to some extent, become intolerance and oppression in 20 years these issues now seems particularly important,

How do you study it?

I have been reading Heywood’s plays and contemporary literature and the historical records of this period. I have also been reading the ambassador reports, parliamentary debates, chronicle and personal letters written by Heywood’s family and friends to increase the details of my reactions to his work. I’ve been trying to listen to what people use to describe them, and to associate it with Heywood’s dramatic vocabulary. This is exciting when you find that the re-enactment of a word in a particular game actually responds to important events in parliament or on the streets of London. One of the words is “hardship”, a term that seems to have gained a temporary notoriety in the late 1529, and is more used to describe the crimes and misdemeanors that have been called in to reform the parliament. Interestingly, Heywood used it in two of his plays to describe the state of the country – one in the context of a parliamentary session.

At Stanford, I began to pay close attention to Heywood’s songs and the music environment, and I was a novice. With music scholars and the humanities center researcher Kevin VAN oden (KATE VAN ORDEN) scholars meet to talk, he is very generous in a very short period of time to teach me a lot about Tudor polyphonic music works. It really demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary centers like the humanities center, which brings together researchers from all disciplines.

Who would be surprised to learn about your research?

Many of the same problems faced by the modern world were the tudors, and the Tudor writers responded in a similar way. Writers such as Heywood were often surprised by the performance before the court of Henry viii. When the king controversially declared himself is the supreme leader of the church of England, or in a few weeks ago, Henry viii secrets to marry Anne boleyn, he said jokingly, it is a brave man joked that suddenly there is a lot of the man’s head. I sometimes wonder how he escaped.

People would also be surprised at how innovative and creative the writers of Heywood and his contemporaries were. We tend to see the 20th century as an era of radical innovation, inspired by brecht’s political activism or playful postmodernism. But it is Mr Heywood who have two actors playing at the same time is over before the battle, shouted their lines in the top of each other, marks in the early 1530 s religion is not the idea of the Pardoner and fryer. It wasn’t until 1982, when Caryl Churchill wrote “Top Girls,” that anyone dared to try the experiment again on the professional stage.

Why study John Heywood?

I believe it is valuable because it allows us to enter into a world that is very different from our own, but very similar. Heywood shows how a reasonable, decent man can respond to unreasonable, inhumane events through his art, and speak and challenge the government of the day. He also provides a case study of satire and comedy as the ultimate challenge to tyranny. No matter what his sharp sarcasm, Henry viii or written for his embattled community, the government is still prevalent, embodies the practice of his faith was washed away, his many common religious activists, including, Thomas, his uncle, he finally had to leave the country in exile in Catholicism in the Netherlands. What if he tried to tell the truth and overthrow the failure? What else could he do? What does a liberal man or woman do in an informal life? These questions have never been relevant.


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