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The Rhetoric of Providence: Thomas Middleton’s A Game at Chess (1624) and Seventeenth-Century Political Engraving*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Christina Marie Carlson*
Emerson College


This essay compares the rhetoric of providentialism in Samuel Ward’s 1621 engraving To God, In Memorye of his Double Deliveraunce from ye Invincible Navie and ye Unmatcheable Powder Treason with that in Thomas Middleton’s 1624 play A Game at Chess. Both satirize the negotiations over the Spanish Match by using providentialist discourse to modulate and veil their more satirical, and polemical, intentions. Ward and Middleton employ a technique of historical retrospection, referring to past events in order to present a simultaneously diachronic and synchronic world view.

Research Article
Copyright © Renaissance Society of America 2014

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My thanks to Richard Strier, David Bevington, Bradin Cormack, and the anonymous reviewer at Renaissance Quarterly for comments on earlier versions of this essay.


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