All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Alison A Chapman

Advisory Committee Members

Rebecca A Bach

Bruce M McComiskey

Catherine F Danielou

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2010

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

This paper examines the implications of Sir Thomas Wyatt's use of the rondeaux during the English Reformation and the reception and editorial emendations of that French poetic form in subsequent anti-Reformation publications. The first chapter, "Contemporary Publications and Controversy," explores the two texts by which Wyatt's works would have been disseminated to the public, namely, Tottel's Songes and Sonettes (or Miscellany) and The Court of Venus. In addition to these texts, I also consider the relationship between Wyatt and his deeply Protestant patrons, Sir Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn, and how these relationships would have influenced the public perception of Wyatt and his work during the reinstatement of Catholicism during Mary I's reign. In the second chapter, "French Influence and Religious Connotations," I consider the French origin of the rondeau form. The medieval rondeau form was regularized by the French poet Clément Marot. Although Marot claimed that he was not a supporter of Martin Luther, his opposition to the Catholic church identified him as a Protestant sympathizer. His religious exile in Italy and later work with John Calvin in Geneva ties him and his work to Protestantism. Because Wyatt likely learned this form, which was obscure in England, from Marot himself, Wyatt's rondeaux would have been connected to Marot, and, subsequently, Marot's Protestant reputation. This Protestant connection would have become a liability for Wyatt's later editors during the resurgence of Catholicism in Marian England, and is, I believe, responsible for the significant changes that occurred to Wyatt's rondeaux. The third chapter, "Anne Boleyn and the Courtly Context," explores the domestic, biographical context of the rondeaux, focusing on the relationship between Wyatt and Boleyn. Anne Boleyn spent much of her early life in France and was seen as French by both the French and English people. Since the two were alleged and commonly believed to have had an affair, Wyatt's rondeaux - romantic poetry in a distinctly French form - would have likely underscored the existing connection between himself and Boleyn. Wyatt's choice to work with the rondeau form would have associated him with Boleyn, the estranged stepmother of Mary I, and Protestantism.

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