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"The Service I am Here for": William Herle in the Marshalsea Prison, 1571

ADAMS, R; (2009) "The Service I am Here for": William Herle in the Marshalsea Prison, 1571. Huntington Library Quarterly , 72 (2) 217 - 238. 10.1525/hlq.2009.72.2.217. Green open access

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Abstract

This essay examines the letters of the Elizabethan intelligencer and agent provocateur William Herle, written to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, from the Marshalsea prison when the Ridolfi plot was unfolding in the spring of 1571. Imprisoned on a charge of piracy, Herle was drawn into the role of prison spy, a role sanctioned and directed by the Elizabethan authorities and explicitly documented in rich detail in this sequence of letters. Moreover, Herle's letters record his experiences of Tudor prison life, offering the modern reader a glimpse of the conditions and layout of the ramshackle Marshalsea. The letters also reveal the prisoners' efforts to circumvent the restrictions of prison life by smuggling letters and objects through the porous membrane of the prison walls.

Type: Article
Title: "The Service I am Here for": William Herle in the Marshalsea Prison, 1571
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1525/hlq.2009.72.2.217
Publisher version: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/hlq.2009.72.2....
Language: English
Additional information: Published as, 'The Service I am Here for": William Herle in the Marshalsea Prison, 1571 Huntington Library Quarterly Vol. 72, No. 2 (June 2009), pp. 217-238. ©2009 University of California.
Keywords: William Herle, Prison spies, Prison literature
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Centre for Editing Lives and Letters
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1367037
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