Anthony Munday Criticism - Essay

M. St. Clare Byrne (essay date 1921)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Byrne, M. St. Clare. “Anthony Munday and His Books.” Library 1, no. 4 (March 1921): 225-56.

[In the following essay, Byrne claims that, while he is not regarded by many as a great writer, Munday does provide an interesting life study and his works do merit critical consideration.]

Anthony Munday has sometimes been under-rated, but I have no wish to put in a claim for him as a long-neglected genius. If justification for this paper is needed I would rather base it on his inconvenient Jack-in-the-box habit of appearing suddenly in the midst of some respectable academic controversy, as if maliciously determined to introduce as many complications and...

(The entire section is 10233 words.)

Jack Stillinger (essay date 1963)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Stillinger, Jack. Introduction to Zelauto: The Fountaine of Fame, 1580, edited by Jack Stillinger, pp. vii-xxix. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1963.

[In the following excerpt, Stillinger provides a thorough examination of Munday's Zelauto, assessing the nature of the work and its merit.]

Anthony Munday's single original contribution to Elizabethan prose fiction appeared in 1580 with the following title page:

ZELAVTO. / THE FOVN- / taine of Fame. / Erected in an Orcharde / of Amorous Aduentures. / Containing / A Delicate Disputation, gallantly / discoursed betweene two...

(The entire section is 6306 words.)

John C. Meagher (essay date 1966)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Meagher, John C. “Hackwriting and the Huntingdon Plays.” In Elizabethan Theatre, edited by John Russell Brown and Bernard Harris, pp. 197-219. London: Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd., 1966.

[In the following essay, Meagher examines Munday's Robin Hood plays for what they reveal of Elizabethan popular taste.]

By the late 1590's, the theatrical entertainment of the London populace had become a substantial business, and most of the trade was divided between two dramatic companies, the Chamberlain's Men and the Admiral's Men. We know little about whatever pressure the public might have exerted for quality in the plays they presented, but the survival of the diary...

(The entire section is 9408 words.)

David M. Bergeron (essay date 1967)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Bergeron, David M. “Anthony Munday: Pageant Poet to the City of London.” Huntington Library Quarterly 30, no. 4 (August 1967): pp. 345-68.

[In the following essay, Bergeron evaluates Munday's role in the development of Jacobean civic pageantry.]

Our knowledge of Anthony Munday, especially his contribution to English civic pageantry, is generally confined to what some of his contemporaries said about him in their various satirical barbs hurled in Munday's direction. There is a real need for a fresh assessment of Munday's work in the area of the lord mayor's shows. The only scholarly work which has attempted to discuss Munday and his contribution to...

(The entire section is 9053 words.)

David M. Bergeron (essay date 1971)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Bergeron, David M. “Anthony Munday.” In English Civic Pageantry 1558-1642, pp. 140-62. London: Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd., 1971.

[In this essay, Bergeron closely examines Munday's Lord Mayors' Shows and explores their relation to stage plays.]

Out of an enormously varied and prolific career it was all but inevitable that Anthony Munday try his hand at Lord Mayors' Shows, and it is his spirit which broods over almost the entire Jacobean period. For his dramatic productions Munday had earned recognition from Francis Meres in Palladis Tamia where he is cited as being among ‘the best for comedy’ with the additional compliment that he is our...

(The entire section is 9791 words.)

J. M. R. Margeson (essay date 1974)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Margeson, J. M. R. “Dramatic Form: The Huntington Plays.” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 14, no. 2 (spring 1974): 223-38.

[In the following essay, Margeson examines The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington and The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington within the romance tradition.]

Recent editions by the Malone Society of The Downfall and The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington may renew interest in these plays which have been looked at in the past chiefly because of complicated problems of authorship and revision,1 or because of their place in the Robin Hood canon. There are indeed good reasons for a new...

(The entire section is 6754 words.)

Paul A. Scanlon (essay date 1980)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Scanlon, Paul A. “Munday's Zelauto: Form and Function.” Cahiers Elisabéthains, no. 18, (1980): 11-15.

[In the following essay, Scanlon attempts to demonstrate the underlying coherence of Zelauto, despite its episodic structure.]


According to Stillinger, had Anthony Munday finished Zelauto. The Fountaine of Fame (1580) «it could have been one of the most structurally sophisticated novels of the period.»1 In support of this claim he proceeds to compare it with epic poetry, particularly The Odyssey. And there is undoubtedly some truth in what he says. If the structure of Munday's narrative is...

(The entire section is 2145 words.)

William D. Wolf (essay date 1980)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Wolf, William D. “Anthony Munday as Popular Artist.” Journal of Popular Culture 13, no. 4 (spring 1980): 659-62.

[In the essay below, Wolf discusses The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington as a work of mass entertainment.]

Studying the “high art” of the English Renaissance through popular works is hardly a new direction, since sociological, historical and biographical approaches have provided a good start.1 Yet these are too often audience- rather than text-oriented; studying the popular arts requires and yields an even stricter historicism, and a sense of why and how previously Apocryphal mass culture (as Shakespeare's plays...

(The entire section is 2107 words.)

Carole Levin (essay date 1991)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Levin, Carole. “‘Lust being Lord, there is no trust in kings’: Passion, King John, and the Responsibilities of Kingship.” In Sexuality and Politics in Renaissance Drama, pp. 255-78. Lewiston, Penn.: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1991.

[In the following essay, Levin considers how The Downfall of Robert, Earl of Huntington and The Death of Robert, Earl of Huntington “explicate the ideology of uncontrolled sexuality as a metaphor for all manner of ill-rule.”]

One consistent political concern in late sixteenth-and early seventeenth-century England was what attributes a ruler needed to govern well. While the monarchy could represent a hope for...

(The entire section is 8759 words.)

David M. Bergeron (essay date 1996)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Bergeron, David M. “Thomas Middleton and Anthony Munday: Artistic Rivalry?” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 36, no. 2 (spring 1996): 461-79.

[In the following essay, Bergeron questions the accepted belief by many scholars that Middleton had nothing but contempt for Munday.]

Artistic lives have intersected in varied, challenging, and sometimes productive ways, whether T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, or Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. In the early seventeenth century Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher seem a fixture of artistic collaboration. We know that Thomas Middleton worked with Thomas Dekker...

(The entire section is 7325 words.)

Jeffrey L. Singman (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Singman, Jeffrey L. “Munday's Unruly Earl.” In Playing Robin Hood: The Legend as Performance in Five Centuries, edited by Lois Potter, pp. 63-76. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1998.

[In the essay below, Singman considers Munday's depiction of Robin Hood in his Huntington plays, which he claims was not only unprecedented, but one of the most influential interpretations ever written.]

At the end of a century that witnessed both the apex of the Robin Hood games and their precipitous decline, Anthony Munday's Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon and his Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon stand as a momentous yet little-examined milestone...

(The entire section is 5192 words.)