Essays in the History of the Masque: Essence and Echoes

Date of Graduation

Summer 1995


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

James Baumlin


Literary genres are dynamic; they do not remain permanently fixed, but reflect the mutability of society and literary tradition. In this respect, genre development can be viewed as a series of evolutionary stages which culminate, not in a single or simple form but in "modes" which are then mixed and reshaped within subsequent works of literature. The essays included in this thesis explore the resiliency and the creative range of one particular genre, the English masque, in its development during the seventeenth century as a viable literary and political form (what I have called "essence") into its present appearance as mode--that is, as a more fragmentary collection of elements (what I have called "echoes") recurring within the framework of other genres. Contents: An account of the life and death of a political art form : the Jonsonian masque -- The masque as metaphor : symbols and structure in Much Ado About Nothing -- Art and arms : The poetry and politics of Alfred -- Echoes of the masque in the The Magus.

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Jane Ellen Robison