Untimely Deaths in Renaissance Drama

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University of Toronto Press, Sep 11, 2019 - Drama - 240 pages

In the decades before history was institutionalized as a scholarly discipline, historical writing was practiced variously by poets, record keepers, lawyers, sermonizers, mythologizers, and philosophers. In this welter of competing forms of historical thought, early modern drama often operated as a site in which claims about the nature of historical change could be treated in a frequently conflicting manner.

To explore this arena of competing forms of historical explanation, Untimely Deaths in Renaissance Drama focuses on the problem of narrative abruption in a selection of historically minded early modern plays as they rely on various strategies to make sense of biography and fatality. Arguing that narrative forms fail in the face of untimely death, Andrew Griffin shows that the disruption appears as a matter of trauma, making the untimely death both a point of narrative conflict and a social problem. Exploring the formula that early modern dramatists used to make sense of life and death, this book draws on the wider context of this period's culture of historical writing.

 

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Contents

Biography History Catastrophe
3
Richard II Problem Tragedy
35
A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and the Histories of London
63
Epic Tragedies in Marlowes Dido Queen of Carthage
91
Military Catastrophe and Elegiac History in in The Atheists Tragedy
117
Making Good the Conclusion Ben Jonson and Bathetic Overliving
147
Notes
159
Works Cited
173
Index
189
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About the author (2019)

Andrew Griffin is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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