Pageantry and Power

A cultural history of the early modern Lord Mayor's Show 1585-1639

By Tracey Hill

Pageantry and Power


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9012-7
  • Pages: 416
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.99
  • Published Date: April 2013
  • BIC Category: LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Pageants, Parades, Festivals, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Early Modern Literature, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800, Literature, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Literature: history & criticism, Literary studies: general, Ireland, RELIGION / Holidays / Other


Pageantry and power is the first full and in-depth cultural history of the Lord Mayor's Show in the early modern period. It provides new insight into the culture and history of the London of Shakespeare's time and beyond.

Central to the cultural life of London, the Lord Mayor's Shows were high-profile and lavish entertainments produced by some of the most talented writers of the time. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, Pageantry and power explores various important factors, including the relationship between the printed texts of the Shows and actual events.

This full-scale study of the civic works of important writers enhances our understanding of their other, often better-known, dramatic works contributing to a fuller estimation of their literary careers.

This book is an invaluable resource for scholars and students of early modern literature, drama, history, civic culture, pageantry, urban studies, cultural geography, book history, as well as the interested general reader.

Pageantry and power won the 2011 David Bevington Award for the Best New Book in Early Drama Studies.


Pageantry and Power succeeds admirably in rescuing the early modern Lord Mayor's show from scholarly obscurity. The book also-and it is this which will probably appeal to the greatest number of readers-fleshes out our knowledge of the careers of a number of writers associated with these shows, including Thomas Middleton, Thomas Dekker, Anthony Munday, Thomas Heywood, John Taylor, and John Webster.'
Elizabeth Goldring , Journal of British Studies, 01/07/2012

'[Tracey] Hill is fast establishing herself as one of the most respected authorities on the Lord Mayor's pageant' and Pageantry and Power is 'heavyweight, seriously researched book [that] . makes a considerable contribution to advancing knowledge in this area'
The London Review, 01/06/2012

Hill's Pageantry and Power is an impressive achievement, presenting an authoritative argument in accessible and largely jargon-free language.


List of figures
1. 'From low-obscure Beginnings raysde to Fame': critical and historical
contexts of the Lord Mayor's Show
2. 'Our devices for that solemne and Iouiall daye': the writers, artificers, and
the livery companies
3. 'A day of well Compos'd Variety of Speach and shew': bringing the Shows to
4. 'A briefe narration of each seuerall shew': the Show from street to print
5. 'To prune and dresse the Tree of Gouernment': political and contemporary
contexts of the Shows
Appendix: the Lord Mayor's Shows, 1585 - 1639: summary


Tracey Hill is Head of the Department of English Literature and Cultural Studies at Bath Spa University

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