The Creation of Lancastrian Kingship
Literature, Language and Politics in Late Medieval England
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2007
Online Publication Date:October 2009
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511585876.005
‘The diffusion of a language’, Pocock tells us, ‘may be a very different story from its creation.’ Because speakers and hearers (or writers and readers) do not own but share their languages, authors of texts cannot guarantee or circumscribe the ways in which statements will be understood and answered, producing instead ‘an open-ended series of effects’. Respondents engage with the paradigms put forward but their reaction cannot be secured or prescribed. Rather, the hearer or reader ‘begins to “read” the text, taking the words and speech acts it contains to himself and reiterating them in ways and in contexts of his own selection’. The deposition schedule thus acted like a pebble thrown in a lake, setting in motion a sequence of responses. Contrary to the laws of physical science, however, the linguistic ripples created were not predictably concentric but rather independent and ungovernable.
Stereotypes and paradigms of Richard and Ricardian rule were presented both to those at the 30 September ceremony and at Henry IV's first parliament and to those further afield who acquired information about the deposition at second hand. According to a London chronicle, during the first parliament of Henry's reign proper the Commons petitioned that the ‘horrible causes’ of the deposition might be ‘redde, shewed, and declared thurh England in euery shire’. The Record and Process was included in the roll of this parliament and also circulated independently.