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English Renaissance Drama

ISBN: 978-0-631-22630-7
334 pages
October 2006, Wiley-Blackwell
English Renaissance Drama (0631226303) cover image
The book considers the London theatrical culture which took shape in the 1570s and came to an end in 1642.

  • Places emphasis on those plays that are readily available in modern editions and can sometimes to be seen in modern productions, including Shakespeare.
  • Provides students with the historical, literary and theatrical contexts they need to make sense of Renaissance drama.
  • Includes a series of short biographies of playwrights during this period.
  • Features close analyses of more than 20 plays, each of which draws attention to what makes a particular play interesting and identifies relevant critical questions.
  • Examines early modern drama in terms of its characteristic actions, such as cuckolding, flattering, swaggering, going mad, and rising from the dead.
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Introduction.

Timeline.

The Set-Up.

The Moment.

Irreligious Drama.

Courtiers and Capitalists.

Actors and Writers.

The Stage.

Background Voices.

Allegory.

Ceremony.

Drama.

Festivity.

History.

Love.

Medicine.

Rhetoric.

Romance.

Satire.

The Writers.

Francis Beaumont (1584/5–1616).

Richard Brome (c. 1590–1652).

George Chapman (1559–1634).

Thomas Dekker (c. 1572–1632).

John Fletcher (1579–1625).

John Ford (1586–?1650).

Robert Greene (1558–1592).

Thomas Heywood (c. 1573–1641).

Ben Jonson (1572–1637).

Thomas Kyd (1558–1594).

Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593).

John Marston (1576–1634).

Philip Massinger (1583–1640).

Thomas Middleton (1580–1627).

Anthony Munday (1560–1633).

George Peele (1556–1596).

William Rowley (d. 1626).

William Shakespeare (1564–1616).

James Shirley (1596–1666).

Cyril Tourneur (d. 1626).

John Webster (c. 1579–c. 1630).

Key Plays.

Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy.

Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine the Great.

Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus.

William Shakespeare, Richard II .

Ben Jonson, Every Man In His Humour .

Thomas Dekker, The Shoemakers’ Holiday .

William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

John Marston, The Dutch Courtesan.

William Shakespeare, King Lear.

The Revenger’s Tragedy .

Ben Jonson, Volpone, or, The Fox .

Francis Beaumont, The Knight of the Burning Pestle.

Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, The Maid’s Tragedy.

Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton, The Roaring Girl.

William Shakespeare, The Tempest .

Thomas Middleton, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside.

Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair.

John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi.

Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, The Changeling.

Philip Massinger, The Roman Actor .

Thomas Heywood, The Fair Maid of the West.

John Ford, ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore.

Richard Brome, A Jovial Crew.

Actions That A Man Might Play.

Attending.

Being a Woman.

Conjuring.

Cuckolding.

Dressing Up.

Feigning.

Flattering.

Going Mad.

Inheriting.

Plotting.

Rising from the Dead.

Seducing.

Swaggering.

Bibliography.

Index

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Peter Womack is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of East Anglia. He is the co-author of English Drama: A Cultural History (Blackwell Publishing, 1996), and the author of Improvement and Romance: Constructing the Myth of the Highlands (1989) and Ben Jonson (Blackwell Publishing, 1986).
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  • This student guide to English Renaissance drama covers the London theatrical culture which took shape in the 1570s and ended in 1642.
  • Places emphasis on those plays that are readily available in modern editions and can sometimes to be seen in modern productions, including Shakespeare.
  • Provides students with the historical, literary and theatrical contexts they need to make sense of Renaissance drama.
  • Includes a series of short biographies of playwrights during this period.
  • Features close analyses of more than 20 plays, each of which draws attention to what makes a particular play interesting and identifies relevant critical questions.
  • Examines early modern drama in terms of its characteristic actions, such as cuckolding, flattering, swaggering, going mad, and rising from the dead.
See More
“A book surveying the field by introducing as many as twenty-one dramatists and generally considering the London theatrical culture between the 1570s and 1642. Among the key texts commented on are two of Shakespeare’s tragedies, namely Hamlet … and King Lear … .The book is of good use to readers needing a guide to the historical, literary and theatrical contexts in which English Renaissance drama took shape.” (Year's Work in English Studies, 2008)

“The ideal companion for both students and teachers of Tudor and Stuart plays. I … was able to use it and recommend it to my students … .They loved it almost as much as I did. The book features … excellent, thought-provoking readings of the major plays … and a wonderfully quirky, fascinating, and useful section on recurring tropes and patterns … .The major writers are represented, and the book will work nicely with the Norton and the Blackwell anthologies … .I recommend this book with the highest praise.” (Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, Spring 2008)

"...Womack offers insightful critical comments on English Renaissance playwrights, some major plays, and a variety of contextual topics...Womack is an astute critic." (CHOICE)

"Remarkably comprehensive … a very fine introduction for the non-specialist." (Touchstone)

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