James VI of Scotland and I of England Criticism - Essay

Robert S. Rait (essay date 1900)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Rait, Robert S. Introduction to A Royal Rhetorician: A Treatise on Scottis Poesie, A Counterblaste to Tobacco, etc. etc. by King James VI and I, edited by Robert S. Rait, pp. ix-xlvii. Westminster: A. Constable and Co., 1900.

[In the following essay, Rait offers an overview of King James's literary, political, and theological works.]

‘Your Inheritance consists as much in the workes of your Father's Royall Vertues, as in the wealth of his mighty Kingdomes.’ So wrote the courtier Bishop of Winchester in his ‘Epistle Dedicatorie to the Thrice Illustrious and most Excellent Prince, Charles, the Onely Sonne of Our Soveraigne Lord the King’—an epistle...

(The entire section is 9187 words.)

Ronald D. S. Jack (essay date autumn 1967)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Jack, Ronald D. S. “James VI and Renaissance Poetic Theory.” English 16, no. 96 (autumn 1967): 208-11.

[In the following essay, Jack perceives Some Reulis and Cautelis to Be Observit and Eschewit in Scottish Poesie to be a valuable contribution to Renaissance poetic theory.]

During the Renaissance many critical treatises appeared in Europe. Scholars turned to a more minute study of classical authors and discovered that many of the metrical and theoretical principles underlying classical verse could not be applied to works in the vernacular. As a result it became clear that the critical manuals of Cicero and Quintilian were inadequate for evaluating...

(The entire section is 2874 words.)

Emrys Jones (essay date 1968)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Jones, Emrys. “Othello, Lepanto, and the Cyprus Wars.” Shakespeare Survey 21 (1968): 47-52.

[In the following essay, Jones explores the link between Lepanto and Shakespeare's Othello.]

In 1604 the theatrical company for which Shakespeare wrote and acted was taken under the patronage of the new king; and it is becoming increasingly clear that at least two of the plays written by Shakespeare during the early years of the new reign were probably intended to reflect James I's opinions and tastes.1Othello, acted at court on 1 November 1604, seems never to have been considered in relation to Shakespeare's new patron. I want...

(The entire section is 3441 words.)

G. P. V. Akrigg (essay date winter 1975)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Akrigg, G. P. V. “The Literary Achievement of King James I.” University of Toronto Quarterly 44, no. 2 (winter 1975): 115-29.

[In the following essay, Akrigg assesses King James's achievement as an author, translator, critic, and patron of the arts.]

Speaking at the University of Cambridge a good many years ago, Professor W. P. Ker assured his audience that King James I had ‘abilities which would have entitled him to be a Professor of Literature.’1 Of James's pedagogical bent there has never been any doubt—he has been described as a Scottish dominie at heart. Characteristically, King James, daily visiting his young favourite, Robert Ker,...

(The entire section is 6697 words.)

Rhodes Dunlap (essay date 1975)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Dunlap, Rhodes. “King James and Some Witches: The Date and Text of the Daemonologie.Philological Quarterly 54 (1975): 40-6.

[In the following essay, Dunlap investigates the publication date of Daemonologie through an analysis of the manuscript and dates of events included in the volume.]

MS 1125.1 in the Folger Shakespeare Library at Washington is described as follows in Seymour de Ricci's Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada:1 “James VI, Daemonologie in forme of ane dialogue. Pap. (ca. 1597), 64 ff. (20 × 16 cm.). Written by a professional scribe, but with numerous additions and...

(The entire section is 2845 words.)

Jacqueline E. M. Latham (essay date 1975)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Latham, Jacqueline E. M. “The Tempest and King James's Daemonologie.Shakespeare Survey 28 (1975): 117-23.

[In the following essay, Latham identifies James's Daemonologie as a possible source for the character of Caliban in Shakespeare's The Tempest.]

The Tempest offers a twentieth-century audience more problems for a full understanding than most of Shakespeare's plays, and these problems are the more insidious because action, language and characters seem transparently clear. Yet the play is highly intellectual and despite the work of scholars who have explored many of the ideas raised by the varied but scant sources there...

(The entire section is 4003 words.)

Sheldon Hanft (essay date spring 1981)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Hanft, Sheldon. “The True King James Version: His Bible or His Daemonologie?” Selected Papers from the West Virginia Shakespeare and Renaissance Association 6 (spring 1981): 50-7.

[In the following essay, Hanft asserts that James's intense interest in spirituality and religious practice led not only to his call for a new translation of the Bible but also to his study of witchcraft, Daemonologie.]

The effort to mark the emergence of modern society in Great Britain is an endeavour which has stirred substantial controversy among scholars over the last three decades. While different interpretations have suggested a variety of dates, events, and...

(The entire section is 3636 words.)

Terrell L. Tebbetts (essay date spring 1985)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Tebbetts, Terrell L. “Talking Back to the King: Measure for Measure and the Basilicon Doron.College Literature 12, no. 2 (spring 1985): 122-34.

[In the following essay, Tebbetts asserts that individuals fare better in “a society based on what is organic to human life,” such as that portrayed in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, than in the paternalistic society of Basilikon Doron.]

The relationship of Measure for Measure to James I's Basilicon Doron has interested critics for some time. The King's little book advising his son on statecraft was London's best-seller in 1603. Critics early in this century disputed its...

(The entire section is 5657 words.)

J. Derrick McClure (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: McClure, J. Derrick. “‘O Phoenix Escossois’: James VI as Poet.” In A Day Estivall: Essays on the Music, Poetry and History of Scotland and England & Poems Previously Unpublished: In Honour of Helena Mennie Shire, edited by Alisoun Gardner-Medwin and Janet Hadley Williams, pp. 96-111. Aberdeen, Scotland: Aberdeen University Press, 1990.

[In the following essay, McClure surveys James's verse and assesses his contribution to Scottish poetry.]

In the great pageant of European royalty, King James the Sixth of Scots occupies a place all of his own. Not even the features of Henry VIII or Louis XIV can be more familiar than the oft-portrayed, very Scottish...

(The entire section is 6474 words.)

Jenny Wormald (essay date 1991)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Wormald, Jenny. “James VI and I, Basilikon Doron and The Trew Law of Free Monarchies: The Scottish Context and the English Translation.” In The Mental World of the Jacobean Court, edited by Linda Levy Peck, pp. 36-54. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

[In the following essay, Wormald elucidates James's political theory and places Basilikon Doron and The True Lawe of Free Monarchies into their historical and political contexts.]

The Trew Law of Free Monarchies was published in 1598. It is significant that the only writings in English of the period of the reign of Elizabeth that definitely...

(The entire section is 12277 words.)

Kevin Sharpe (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Sharpe, Kevin. “Private Conscience and Public Duty in the Writings of James VI and I.” In Public Duty and Private Conscience in Seventeenth-Century England: Essays Presented to G. E. Aylmer, edited by John Morrill, Paul Slack, and Daniel Woolf, pp. 77-100. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, Sharpe argues that an understanding of James's perceptions of conscience and duty is central to any study of his work.]

Conscience: ‘a man cannot steal, but it acuseth him; a man cannot swear but it checks him; a man cannot lie with his neighbour's wife but it detects him. 'Tis a blushing shame fac'd spirit that mutinies in a...

(The entire section is 8550 words.)

Susan Campbell Anderson (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Anderson, Susan Campbell. “A Matter of Authority: James I and the Tobacco War.” Comitatus 29 (1998): 136-63.

[In the following essay, Anderson examines James's attitude toward tobacco and its use through a survey of his writing on the subject.]

In the summer of 1604, only a year after acceding to the English throne, King James I implemented a daring, and some might say foolhardy, measure: complaining that, “at this day, through evil custom and the toleration thereof … a number of riotous and disordered persons of mean and base condition … do spend most of their time in that idle vanity,”1 he raised the duty on tobacco from 2d. to 6s.8d....

(The entire section is 11142 words.)

Sandra Bell (essay date 1999)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Bell, Sandra. “Writing the Monarch: King James VI and Lepanto.” In Other Voices, Other Views: Expanding the Canon in English Renaissance Studies, edited by Helen Ostovich, Mary V. Silcox, and Graham Roebuck, pp. 193-208. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1999.

[In the following essay, Bell argures that James's heroic poem Lepanto formed part of the king's statecraft.]


James VI of Scotland entered the print market in an at tempt to shape the role of the monarchy in a rapidly changing Scottish nation. James's writings include the well-known prose treatises The Trew Law of Free...

(The entire section is 6573 words.)

Robert Appelbaum (essay date February 2000)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Appelbaum, Robert. “War and Peace in The Lepanto of James VI and I.” Modern Philology 97, no. 3 (February 2000): 333-63.

[In the following essay, Appelbaum explores the meaning of war and peace in Lepanto, contending that James's epic poem “tells its tale of peace in a complicated way.”]

War and Peace. The topos antedates Leo Tolstoy's novel by two thousand years, and its utility is obvious. War is one thing. Peace is another. And so a discourse of differences, of contrasts, may begin. But as terms of rhetoric and representation, war and peace can also be held to resemble, to interpenetrate, or even to become one another. “Much remains /...

(The entire section is 13329 words.)

Peter C. Herman (essay date winter 2001)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Herman, Peter C. “Authorship and the Royal ‘I’: King James VI/I and the Politics of Monarchic Verse.” Renaissance Quarterly 54, no. 4 (winter 2001): 1495-1530.

[In the following essay, Herman contends that James's position as a monarch influenced both his poetry and its reception, and he discusses the diplomatic value of his verse.]

Despite the reinvigoration of historicism in literary studies over the last twenty years or so, the poetry of King James VI/I has remained practically unexamined despite the copious attention given to his prose works.1 The lack of attention, however, is part of the general neglect of monarchic verse. While one...

(The entire section is 12394 words.)