Walking with Vigilance: Middleton's Edge in The Triumphs of Truth
Keywords:Thomas Middleton, civic pageantry, London, Triumphs of Truth, Anthony Munday, mayoral shows, printed pageant books, walking, Thomas Dekker
Scholars have frequently regarded Thomas Middleton's mayoral shows as exemplary for their moral dramatic structure. More recently, Tracey Hill has remarked upon their critical edge. Taking Middleton’s first show, The Triumphs of Truth (1613), as its primary focus and drawing upon selections from his other civic writings, this article examines the ways that Middleton's attention to the peripatetic nature of these events establishes a moral and critical reflection that is uniquely captured in the printed books he and other pageant writers saw through to publication. While arguing that this aspect of Middleton’s shows represents his unique contribution to the genre, the essay also explores the influences of Munday and Dekker, whose shows precede Middleton’s. Middleton does not entirely reinvent the genre but instead reminds the mayor and reader to walk with vigilance during both the live and imagined event.
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