Engaging with fiction and history-and reading both genres as texts permeated with early modern anxieties, desires, and apprehensions-this collection scrutinizes the historical intersection of early ...modern European superstitions and English stage literature. Contributors analyze the cultural mechanisms that shape, preserve, and transmit beliefs. They investigate where superstitions come from and how they are sustained and communicated within early modern European society. It has been proposed by scholars that once enacted on stage and thus brought into contact with the literary-dramatic perspective, belief systems that had been preserved and reinforced by historical-literary texts underwent a drastic change. By highlighting the connection between historical-literary and literary-dramatic culture, this volume tests and explores the theory that performance of superstitions opened the way to disbelief.
This book explores the threat of Christian conversion to Islam in twelve early modern English plays. In works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Massinger, and others, conversion from Christianity to Islam is ...represented as both tragic and erotic, as a fate worse than death and as a sexual seduction.
Focusing on Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, John Webster and John Milton, Martyrs and Players in Early Modern England argues that the English tragedians reflected an unease within the ...culture to acts of religious violence. David Anderson explores a link between the unstable emotional response of society to religious executions in the Tudor-Stuart period, and the revival of tragic drama as a major cultural form for the first time since classical antiquity. Placing John Foxe at the center of his historical argument, Anderson argues that Foxe's Book of Martyrs exerted a profound effect on the social conscience of English Protestantism in his own time and for the next century. While scholars have in recent years discussed the impact of Foxe and the martyrs on the period's literature, this book is the first to examine how these most vivid symbols of Reformation-era violence influenced the makers of tragedy. As the persecuting and the persecuted churches collided over the martyr's body, Anderson posits, stress fractures ran through the culture and into the playhouse; in their depictions of violence, the early modern tragedians focused on the ethical confrontation between collective power and the individual sufferer. Martyrs and Players in Early Modern England sheds new light on the particular emotional energy of Tudor-Stuart tragedy, and helps explain why the genre reemerged at this time.
Referencing early modern English play texts alongside contemporary records, accounts and statutes, this study offers an overdue assessment of the relationship between the dramatic efforts of the ...universities and early modern male identity. Taking into account the near single-sex constitution of early modern universities, the book argues that performances of university plays, and student responses to them, were key ways of exploring and shaping early modern masculinity. Christopher Marlow shows how the plays dealt with their academic and social contexts, and analyses their responses to competing versions of masculinity. He also considers the implications of university authority and royal patronage for scholarly performances of masculinity; the effect of the literary traditions of classical friendship and platonic love on academic representations of male behaviour; and the relationship between university drama and masculine initiation rituals. Including discussion of the Parnassus trilogy, Club Law and works by Thomas Randolph, William Cartwright, John Milton and others, this study shines new light on long neglected aspects of the golden age of English drama.
Surveying the development and varieties of blank verse in the English playhouses, this book is a natural history of iambic pentameter in English. The main aim of the book is to analyze the evolution ...of Renaissance dramatic poetry. Shakespeare is the central figure of the research, but his predecessors, contemporaries and followers are also important: Shakespeare, the author argues, can be fully understood and appreciated only against the background of the whole period. Tarlinskaja surveys English plays by Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline playwrights, from Norton and Sackville's Gorboduc to Sirley's The Cardinal. Her analysis takes in such topics as what poets treated as a syllable in the 16th-17th century metrical verse, the particulars of stressing in iambic pentameter texts, word boundary and syntactic segmentation of verse lines, their morphological and syntactic composition, syllabic, accentual and syntactic features of line endings, and the way Elizabethan poets learned to use verse form to enhance meaning. She uses statistics to explore the attribution of questionable Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, and to examine several still-enigmatic texts and collaborations. Among these are the poem A Lover's Complaint, the anonymous tragedy Arden of Faversham, the challenging Sir Thomas More, the later Jacobean comedy The Spanish Gypsy, as well as a number of Shakespeare's co-authored plays. Her analysis of versification offers new ways to think about the dating of plays, attribution of anonymous texts, and how collaborators divided their task in co-authored dramas.