Playing Dumb: Diplomacy and Dramatised Multilingualism in Thomas Heywood's If you know not me, you know nobody, part 2

Nathalie Rivere de Carles
2021 Arrêt sur scène  
Michael Clyne defines multilingualism as the ability to speak several languages and that of using several languages, whether by an individual, an entire nation or society. 1 Defining multilingualism in terms of use and territory echoes the Humanist approach to languages and, particularly, to Latin. The Humanist philological project promoted Latin to create a neutral zone where one would reach an audience beyond their linguistic community 2 while increasingly codifying vernacular languages. 3
more » ... se two dynamics underpin the relationship of the Renaissance audience with the language of the Other: language is in turn a conflict zone and a way to diminish hostility. 2 Multilingualism in the Renaissance is both a matter of delocalising and re-localising languages in a less adversarial linguistic territory. It is a subtle form of linguistic diplomacy that Thomas Heywood dramatises in the literal context of two diplomatic scenes in the second part of If you know not me, you know no bodie or The Troubles of the Queene Elizabeth, first registered in 1605. 4 Heywood's is a rare play dramatising this form of diplomatic multilingualism blending Latin and vernacular language through the voice of an ambassador and his interpreter. Written and performed within the two years following Elizabeth I's death in 1603, Heywood's two-part play dramatises immediate-to-recent history. Part 1 chronicles Mary I's reign, ending with Elizabeth's accession. Part 2 is a hotchpotch of significant events symbolising the creativity, threats and victories of the Elizabethan era: the first three acts deal with Thomas Gresham's building of the Royal Exchange, then the action shifts from city comedy to historical play as the plot focuses on Elizabeth and her political entourage, with Doctor William Parry's assassination attempt and the Spanish Armada's failed invasion of England. 5 The play was written and first performed at the same time as the 1604 Treaty
doi:10.4000/asf.1149 fatcat:xjqjik67ifh4dd6uykhqt5pqhe