The genres of Renaissance tragedy

This collection of essays explores tragedy, the most versatile of Renaissance literary genres, revealing its astonishing thematic, stylistic and emotional range. Each chapter consists of a case study, offering not only a definition of a particular kind of Renaissance tragedy but also new research into an important example of that genre. There is only one chapter on Shakespeare; instead contributors attend to subgenres of tragedy – biblical tragedy and closet drama, for example – in which Shakespeare did not engage and others in which the nature of his influence is interrogated, producing original critical readings of individual plays which show how interventions in these subgenres can be mapped onto debates surrounding numerous important issues, including national identity, the nature of divine authority, early modern youth culture, gender and ethics, as well as questions relating to sovereignty and political intervention. The chapters also highlight the rich range of styles adopted by the early modern tragic dramatists and show how opportunely the genre as a whole is positioned for speaking truth to power. Collectively, these essays reassess the various sub-genres of Renaissance tragedy in ways which respond to the radical changes that have affected the critical landscape over the last few decades.

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