The Revenge Tragedy flourished in Britain in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy helped to establish the popularity of the genre, and it was followed by The Revenger's Tragedy, published anonymously and ascribed first to Cyril Tourneur and thento Thomas Middleton. George Chapman's The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois and Tourneur's The Atheist's Tragedy appeared soon after. Each of the four plays printed here defines the problems of the revenge genre, often by exploiting its conventions in unexpected directions. All deal with fundamental moral questions about the meaning of justice and the lengths to which victimized individuals may go to obtain it, whileregistering the strains of life in a rigid but increasingly fragile social hierarchy. Under the General Editoriship of Dr Michael Cordner, of the University of York, the texts of the plays have been newly edited and are presented with modernized spelling and punctuation. In addition, there is a scholarly introduction and detailed annotation.
The Spanish Tragedy, The Revenger's Tragedy, 'Tis Pity She's A Whore and The White Devil
Author: Thomas Kyd
Publisher: A&C Black
Category: Literary Criticism
Francis Bacon described revenge as a 'kind of wild justice'. Then as now, early modern playwrights and their theatre-going public were fascinated by the anarchic energies that a desire for retribution unleashes. Rather than rehearsing familiar conventions, each of these plays presents a unique social and cultural milieu where dark fantasies of revenge are variously played out. In Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy a grieving father seeks public justice for the murder of his son by envious princelings. When his attempts are thwarted he turns a court spectacle of murder into the 'real' thing. Blackly comic in its tone and style, The Revenger's Tragedy (anon.) presents vengeance as mimetic art, witty and cruel. Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore represents an innovative re-working of the genre as a brother's love for his sister leads to his spectacular revenge on his rival, her husband, in a society in which brutal retaliation for perceived wrong is the norm. In Webster's The White Devil crimes of passion ignite revenge in the courts of the Italian city states. This student edition contains fully annotated, modernized texts of each play together with an introduction discussing the dramatic and poetic style of each play, focusing on its action and play of ideas.
In this study of revenge tragedies - notably by Thomas Kyd, William Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, John Marston and John Webster - Janet Clare suggests that genres are not passively inherited, but made and re-made every time a new play is performed. The implication that there is an identifiable genre of revenge tragedy rehearsing common conventions is challenged as Clare examines Renaissance plays of revenge on their own terms. While disclosing evident inter-textual links and a similar appeal to classical material, revenge plays of the late Elizabethan and Jacobean period strive for a range of effects including satire, parody and farce. Some plays embody a providential outlook while others seem defiantly secular. Francis Bacon's famous maxim 'a kind of wild justice' captures the moral ambivalence of revenge: a rough justice on the point of anarchy. Janet Clare demonstrates the problematic nature of revenge as it defines dramatic action. As the exploration of plays in this study reveals, revenge is not only bound up with justice, honour and duty, but impelled by perverted impulses, envy and resentment.
This project takes the human body and the bodily senses as joints that articulate new kinds of connections between church and theatre and overturns a longstanding notion about theatrical phenomenology in this period.
The Contracts of Fiction reconnects our fictional worlds to the rest of our lives. Countering the contemporary tendency to dismiss works of imagination as enjoyable but epistemologically inert, the book considers how various kinds of fictions construct, guide, and challenge institutional relationships within social groups. The contracts of fiction, like the contracts of language, law, kinship, and money, describe the rules by which members of a group toggle between tokens and types, between their material surroundings - the stuff of daily life - and the abstractions that give it value. Rethinking some familiar literary concepts such as genre and style from the perspective of recent work in the biological, cognitive, and brain sciences, the book displays how fictions engage bodies and minds in ways that help societies balance continuity and adaptability. Being part of a community means sharing the ways its members use stories, pictures, plays and movies, poems and songs, icons and relics, to generate usable knowledge about the people, objects, beliefs and values in their environment. Exposing the underlying structural and processing homologies among works of imagination and life processes such as metabolism and memory, Ellen Spolsky demonstrates the seamless connection of life to art by revealing the surprising dependence of both on disorder, imbalance, and uncertainty. In early modern London, for example, reformed religion, expanding trade, and changed demographics made the obsolescent courts a source of serious inequities. Just at that time, however, a flood of wildly popular revenge tragedies, such as Hamlet, by their very form, by their outrageous theatrical grotesques, were shouting the need for change in the justice system. A sustained discussion of the genre illustrates how biological homeostasis underpins the social balance that we maintain with difficulty, and how disorder itself incubates new understanding.
In The End of Satisfaction, Heather Hirschfeld recovers the historical specificity and the conceptual vigor of the term "satisfaction" during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Focusing on the term’s significance as an organizing principle of Christian repentance, she examines the ways in which Shakespeare and his contemporaries dramatized the consequences of its re- or de-valuation in the process of Reformation doctrinal change. The Protestant theology of repentance, Hirschfeld suggests, underwrote a variety of theatrical plots "to set things right" in a world shorn of the prospect of "making enough" (satisfacere). Hirschfeld’s semantic history traces today’s use of "satisfaction"—as an unexamined measure of inward gratification rather than a finely nuanced standard of relational exchange—to the pressures on legal, economic, and marital discourses wrought by the Protestant rejection of the Catholic sacrament of penance (contrition, confession, satisfaction) and represented imaginatively on the stage. In so doing, it offers fresh readings of the penitential economies of canonical plays including Dr. Faustus, The Revenger’s Tragedy, The Merchant of Venice, and Othello; considers the doctrinal and generic importance of lesser-known plays including Enough Is as Good as a Feast and Love’s Pilgrimage; and opens new avenues into the study of literature and repentance in early modern England.
City Comedy and Revenge Tragedy in the London Theater, 1576-1980
Author: Wendy Griswold
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Category: Social Science
Renaissance Revivals examines patterns in the London revivals of two English Renaissance theatre genres over the past four centuries. Griswold's focus on revenge tragedies and city comedies illuminates the ongoing interaction between society and its cultural products. No cultural object is ever created anew, she argues, but is instead constructed from existing cultural genres and conventions, the visions and professional needs of the artist, and the interests of an audience. Thus, every "new play" is in part a renaissance and every "revival" is in part an entirely new cultural object.
The Admirable Crichton; Peter Pan; When Wendy Grew Up; What Every Woman Knows; Mary Rose
Author: J. M. Barrie
Publisher: Clarendon Press
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction
As well as being the author of the greatest of all children's plays, Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie also wrote sophisticated social comedy and political satire. The Admirable Crichton and What Every Woman Knows are shrewd and entertaining contributions to the politics of class and gender, while Mary Rose is one of the best ghost stories written for the stage.
Four of the playwright's greatest works: Hamlet; Macbeth; Othello; and Romeo and Juliet, the tale of the lovers whose names are synonymous with star-crossed romance. Includes two selections from the Common Core State Standards Initiative.