The first aim of this paper is to present the multifaceted personality of Alberico Gentili, Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford during the second half of the sixteenth century, who is generally considered one of the fathers of modern international law. Italian-born and educated at the University of Perugia, Gentili was forced to flee Italy because of his Protestant beliefs by the Catholic inquisition. Bringing to England his continental juridical expertise and personal views, Gentili can be taken as a perfect example of a not always easy encounter between two cultures, which would however produce significant outcomes in the Elizabethan cultural world. Such uneasiness, in his case, was mainly due to the relentless contrasts with the fierce Puritan faction of Oxford University, led by the eminent theologian John Rainolds. Their contrast exploded in the 1590s, when both were involved in a prolonged and harsh controversy over the legitimacy of academic drama. With this regard, after briefly outlining Gentili’s biography and the main stages of such controversy, I should like to focus on the correspondence between the jurist and the theologian, and the composition of Gentili’s rather neglected Disputationes duae (1599). This will show how Gentili’s positions ended up exceeding the limited context of academic drama. As a matter of fact, along with his previous Commentatio, Gentili’s Disputationes can be placed within the much more famous and topical controversy which the Puritans were bringing about against English public drama in London. At the same time, I will also highlight how Rainolds’s opposition against Gentili had less to do with literary issues than with his being part of the same high circles to which some of Elizabeth I’s most important advisors belonged too. This will give the opportunity to underscore the political side of the Puritan attacks against drama, as well as Gentili’s own involvement in the political life of his country of adoption.

“Necessitas facit licitum, quod in lege illicitum est”. Alberico Gentili, the Puritans, and the Oxford Controversy over Drama

Ragni C
2018

Abstract

The first aim of this paper is to present the multifaceted personality of Alberico Gentili, Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford during the second half of the sixteenth century, who is generally considered one of the fathers of modern international law. Italian-born and educated at the University of Perugia, Gentili was forced to flee Italy because of his Protestant beliefs by the Catholic inquisition. Bringing to England his continental juridical expertise and personal views, Gentili can be taken as a perfect example of a not always easy encounter between two cultures, which would however produce significant outcomes in the Elizabethan cultural world. Such uneasiness, in his case, was mainly due to the relentless contrasts with the fierce Puritan faction of Oxford University, led by the eminent theologian John Rainolds. Their contrast exploded in the 1590s, when both were involved in a prolonged and harsh controversy over the legitimacy of academic drama. With this regard, after briefly outlining Gentili’s biography and the main stages of such controversy, I should like to focus on the correspondence between the jurist and the theologian, and the composition of Gentili’s rather neglected Disputationes duae (1599). This will show how Gentili’s positions ended up exceeding the limited context of academic drama. As a matter of fact, along with his previous Commentatio, Gentili’s Disputationes can be placed within the much more famous and topical controversy which the Puritans were bringing about against English public drama in London. At the same time, I will also highlight how Rainolds’s opposition against Gentili had less to do with literary issues than with his being part of the same high circles to which some of Elizabeth I’s most important advisors belonged too. This will give the opportunity to underscore the political side of the Puritan attacks against drama, as well as Gentili’s own involvement in the political life of his country of adoption.
9781622733811
Alberico Gentili
John Rainolds
Controversy over drama
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1056089
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