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5.0 out of 5 stars
Fascinating and insightful, 24 Jun 2010
The Elizabethan age was a turning point in patronage of the arts. Some of the beneficiaries are well known: Shakespeare on the stage, and pictorial artists following in the wake of Holbein such as van Dyke and Rubens.
What Heaton does, in absorbing style, is tease out from the manuscript sources the manifestation of this same phenomenom in the more conservative context of courtly entertainment.
Nor does the book conveniently stop there: the second half of the book follows the changing values attributed to these works:
"If the manner in which these texts passed from one person to another - as a gift from an author to a prince, as an enclosure in a letter, or as a puchase in the marketplace - reveals how those texts were valued and understood at the particular moment of exchange, then the later circulation of those same texts can tell us something about their changing value, and about the later understanding of early modern entertainment culture."
A good read, and will be of great interest to the commited bibliophile, the informed collector and the scholar for whom they hold an enduring fascination.