Britland, Karen 1970–
Britland, Karen 1970–
Born December 30, 1970. Education: Attended Lincoln College, Oxford University; University of Leeds, Ph.D.
Office—Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG, England. E-mail—[email protected]
University of Keele, Keele, Staffordshire, England, senior lecturer in English; previously taught at the University of Leeds and the University of Hull, both in England.
Contributor to books, including A Pleasing Sinne: Drink and Conviviality in Seventeenth-Century England, edited by Adam Smyth, Boydell and Brewer (Woodridge, England), 2004; The 1630s: Interdisciplinary Approaches, edited by Julie Sanders and Ian Atherton, Manchester University Press (Manchester, England), 2006; and The Spanish Match: Prince Charles's Journey to Madrid, edited by Alexander Samson, Ashgate (London, England), 2006.
Karen Britland was born December 30, 1970. She attended Lincoln College and the University of Oxford, and eventually earned her doctorate degree from the University of Leeds. A writer and educator, she has served on the faculties of both the University of Leeds and the University of Hull, and now serves as a senior lecturer in English at Keele University in Staffordshire, England. Her primary areas of academic and research interest include both English and French early modern literature, with a particular emphasis on drama, as well as feminist theory. She has been named the assistant editor for the Cambridge University Press Complete Works of Ben Jonson project, and has contributed chapters or essays to a number of books, including A Pleasing Sinne: Drink and Conviviality in Seventeenth-Century England, which was edited by Adam Smyth, The 1630s: Interdisciplinary Approaches, edited by Julie Sanders and Ian Atherton, and The Spanish Match: Prince Charles's Journey to Madrid, 1623, edited by Alexander Samson. She is also the author of Drama at the Courts of Queen Henrietta Maria, published in 2006 by the Cambridge University Press.
Britland's Drama at the Courts of Queen Henrietta Maria offers readers a very different look at Queen Henrietta Maria, the consort to Charles I, who has had a long-standing reputation as a frivolous woman who thought too much of herself and little of anything of a more serious nature, particularly affairs of state or anything political. During her time at court, she was famous for hosting lavish entertainments, and that reputation followed her into exile when the political situation in England resulted in the execution of Charles I. Britland has done careful, in-depth research to reveal a different side of the Queen consort, who had not been crowned due to her Catholic faith, which was in direct opposition to the reigning Anglican religion in her adopted country. In reality, according to Britland, while both Charles and Henrietta Maria enjoyed their courtly diversions, the entertainments themselves generally reflected both political and religious agendas. In the case of religion, Charles himself developed strong leanings toward the Catholic faith as he grew to adulthood, and therefore was not as opposed to his wife's personal beliefs as he was initially upon their marriage.
Over the course of the book, Britland systematically addresses a number of objections to both Queen consort Henrietta Maria and to her behavior as recorded by various historians. Britland explains that the Queen consort's initial reticence toward England was easily accounted for given the nature of the marriage between Henrietta Maria and Charles from the outset. A political alliance, they were joined by proxy, and their first impressions of each other were far from favorable, particularly given Charles's young age at the time. It was also the wish of the French monarchy that she be successful in turning the tide in England toward Catholicism, through Charles, and in that case, it would not have served her purpose to immediately concede to all of Charles's wishes. Britland goes on to describe ways in which Henrietta Maria became more entrenched in the English court and in her husband's thoughts. In addition, Britland depicts the Queen consort's progression as deeply rooted in political machinations and motivated by political goals. Julie D. Campbell, writing for H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, called the book "an ambitious study that re-invigorates both religio-political discussions and considerations of English theater history pertaining to court entertainments during the seventeenth century." Malcolm Smuts, in a review for the Canadian Journal of History, declared: "Other scholars may disagree with some of Britland's interpretations, but this is a thoughtful and well-researched study that deserves attention from historians as well as students of court theatre."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, April 1, 2007, Mark S. Dawson, review of Drama at the Courts of Queen Henrietta Maria, p. 584.
Cambridge Quarterly, Richard Rowland, December 1, 2006, "A Mobled Queen?," p. 391.
Canadian Journal of History, March 22, 2007, Malcolm Smuts, review of Drama at the Courts of Queen Henrietta Maria, p. 102.
Renaissance Quarterly, December 22, 2007, Harriette Andreadis, review of Drama at the Courts of Queen Henrietta Maria, p. 1484.
Review of English Studies, April 1, 2007, Clare McManus, review of Drama at the Courts of Queen Henrietta Maria, p. 219.
Theatre Research International, July 1, 2007, "Children of the Queen's Revels: A Jacobean Theatre Repertory," p. 225.
Times Literary Supplement, January 26, 2007, "Get Me My Shoes," p. 26.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (September 1, 2007), Julie D. Campbell, review of Drama at the Courts of Queen Henrietta Maria.