‘This Citie of insufficience’: Heraldic Text and the Representation of Authority in York’s 1486 Entertainment for Henry VII
Keywords:civic drama, Henry VII, York, heralds, chronicle history, REED, royal entry, pageant, royal progress, textual criticism, comparative criticism
This essay compares the two extant texts that record the York welcome pageants for King Henry VII in 1486. An assessment of the professional, political, and personal places of heralds as servants of the court yet also as somewhat independent members of a corporation sets up a reading of the ‘herald’s memoir’ version of the York entertainment. Scholars have, until recently considered the herald’s text little more than propaganda for the new Lancastrian monarchy. A reading of selected cruxes, changes, and contrasts in and between the two versions, however, demonstrates the unique work of heralds as they toed the line between roles as conservative court functionaries keeping records of proper display and nascent literary historians with some sense of voice and narrative.
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