Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion presents twenty-seven analytical essays on individual plays from the early modern period. Each essay is written by a leading scholar and examines a play in terms of a cultural or literary topic, from London to the law, servants to sovereigns, and geography to religion. Incorporating current perspectives in critical studies, the essays address issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and colonialism, as well as key aspects of intellectual and social history, including humanism, science, the law, and theology.
Featuring the authors and plays most often taught in college courses, Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion is an ideal supplement to both primary texts and anthologies of Renaissance drama. It offers extensive coverage of works by Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, and William Shakespeare and also analyzes plays by Francis Beaumont, Elizabeth Cary, John Fletcher, John Ford, Thomas Kyd, Henry Medwall, Thomas Middleton, William Rowley, John Webster, and others. The book is structured around authors and their works, which are related to the issue or topic in question. The essays are organized chronologically according to the dates of composition, performance, or publication of the plays discussed. This design corresponds perfectly with courses in which students first read a primary text and then expand their understanding of the work with detailed critical commentary that provides historical and cultural context. Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion is enhanced by a general introduction that looks at the conditions of playgoing in early modern England, recommended reading lists at the end of each chapter, a chronology of Renaissance drama tailored to the book's contents, and brief biographies of the included authors.