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Tony Grist

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Elizabethans [May. 22nd, 2012|11:59 am]
Tony Grist
So, how many of the original Elizabethans still matter to us? Well, there's Shakespeare and- erm- well- after that it gets tricky. A few playwrights and poets, an adventurer or two, a couple of composers, Dr John Dee, Francis Bacon. But it would be really difficult to come up with 60 names. In fact 20 would be pushing it. Most kinds of fame are transitory. Will any of the 60 new Elizabethans being feted on Radio 4 still be household names in another 400 years? 

Here's the list

I'll venture a guess that the well-informed person in 2412 might be expected to have heard of Hitchcock, Britten, Larkin, Lennon and McCartney, Bacon and Hockney- and that's it.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2012-05-22 11:31 am (UTC)
Christopher Marlowe.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-05-22 03:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, certainly.

And Ben Jonson.
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[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2012-05-22 03:30 pm (UTC)
The Elizabethans and Cavaliers knew how to make love without slobbering (I'm not partial to the Victorians' sickly sentimentality).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-05-22 03:38 pm (UTC)
The Victorians tried to pretend it had nothing to do with sex.

Not all of them. Browning was on the money I think.
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[User Picture]From: veronikos
2012-05-22 12:56 pm (UTC)
Simon Forman, Nicholas Culpeper, William Lilly.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-05-22 03:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, but none of them household names.
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2012-05-22 01:12 pm (UTC)
It's my period, so the fact that I could give you 60 doesn't mean much, but I can't let that pass without throwing in Edmund Spenser and Sir Philip Sidney - the Elizabethan's Elizabethan.

In a different field, I also think most people will have heard of Walter Ralegh, Francis Drake, and probably Frobisher. But I suppose they are your adventurers.

Amongst politicians, I'd suggest Cecil (pere et fils) and Walsingham - and Leicester and Essex - are still more or less household names. But maybe not.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-05-22 03:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, they were my adventurers, with Raleigh also coming under the heading "poet".

The politicians are remembered as builders of great houses and characters in costume dramas but do any of their achievements endure?
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[User Picture]From: ashlyme
2012-05-22 03:30 pm (UTC)
I'd add Bowie and Dahl to the "New Elizabethan" list, but Enoch Powell? Good god, no. He's best forgotten.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-05-22 03:47 pm (UTC)
I hesitated over those two.

Most politicians are soon forgotten. Powell's continuing notoriety rests on one ill-judged speech. I guess he'll be remembered for as long as "race" remains an issue in this country.

For some reason the compilers of the list chose to include a number of rogues and vagabonds- hence the inclusion of Fred Goodwin and (arguably) Powell.

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[User Picture]From: mrwaggish
2012-05-22 07:22 pm (UTC)
Putting the cutoff at 1603 really splits what I think of as an integral period down the middle. Does Robert Burton count? Middleton didn't do anything until after Elizabeth's death. None of them household names but I think they'll endure.

And since it's not my period, I will still put in Donne and Thomas Nashe...I think Nashe will continue to endure with a cult following.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-05-22 08:16 pm (UTC)
I totally agree. We tend to think of Shakespeare as an Elizabethan, but much of his best work is Jacobean.

I sometimes fall back on "Jacobethan" to convey my sense of the cultural homogeneity of the two reigns.
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[User Picture]From: qatsi
2012-05-22 07:32 pm (UTC)
I would say that a well-informed person might be expected to have heard of Tim Berners Lee, in the same way we might expect someone to have heard of Caxton or Gutenberg.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-05-22 08:17 pm (UTC)
Good point.
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