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Masque scenery and the tradition of immobilization in The First Part of The Countess of Montgomery's Urania

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This study addresses two of the pivotal magical interventions in The First Part of The Countess of Montgomery's Urania, specifically those in which Wroth makes use of the masque tradition of immobilization: the Three Towers of the House of Love and the Marble Theatre on an island in the Gulf of Venice. In these enchantments, which include architecturally fantastic structures, music, and the symbolically posed, stilled characters, Wroth creates masque-like ‘idealized fictions’ that emblematize the romantic relationships she depicts. They are meant to elevate the sometimes sordid realities of real relationships to a higher allegorical plane on which the virtue of constancy and the vice of inconstancy may contend. Within the narrative as a whole, Wroth uses these aspects of masque tradition to gesture toward and to complicate what Christopher Booker has called ‘the cosmic happy ending.’
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Keywords: Campion; Jonson; Urania; Wroth; masques

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Eastern Illinois University

Publication date: 01 April 2008

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