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A mirror for magistrates: Richard Niccols' 'Sir Thomas Overburies Vision (1616)'

O'Callaghan, M. (2016) A mirror for magistrates: Richard Niccols' 'Sir Thomas Overburies Vision (1616)'. In: A Mirror for Magistrates in Context: Literature, History, and Politics in Early Modern England. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 181-196. ISBN 9781107104358

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Richard Niccols' most striking innovation on the Mirror for Magistrates format comes not in his 1610 edition of this collection, but his ghost complaint, Sir Thomas Overburies Vision (1616), published at the height of the Overbury murder scandal. One of its most arresting features is its use of the ghost complaint not to give voice to the historical dead, but to the very recently deceased - those executed for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. Tragic history is domesticated in Sir Thomas Overburies Vision to speak to the interests of the urban citizenry. The pamphlet looks forward to an alternative mode of narrating political history that structures the ghost news pamphlets of the 1620s and secret histories of the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Sir Thomas Overburies Vision testifies to the continuing utility of the Mirror for Magistrates format and to the complex, nuanced and flexible model of public political poetry it made available.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Early Modern Research Centre (EMRC)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:21678
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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