Untimely Deaths in Renaissance Drama

By Andrew Griffin

© 2019

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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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP005127

  • AVAILABLE SEP 2019

    From: $45.00

    Regular Price: $60.00

    ISBN 9781487503482
  • AVAILABLE OCT 2019

    From: $45.00

    Regular Price: $60.00

Quick Overview

Thoughtful and thorough, Untimely Death in Renaissance Drama explores the interplay between historiography and Renaissance English drama.

Untimely Deaths in Renaissance Drama

By Andrew Griffin

© 2019

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.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Untimely Deaths is a thoughtful, learned, and wide-ranging study of the interplay between historiography and Renaissance English drama. Taking the narrative problem of untimely death as a thematic through line, Andrew Griffin argues for the historiographical seriousness of major works of English drama and for the hybrid nature (that is, pointedly literary and mythic character) of even the most modern historical writing of the period."


    Julia Lupton, Department of English, University of California, Irvine

    "Taking Shakespeare, Middleton, Marlowe, and Tourneur as case studies, Untimely Deaths is an interesting, compelling, and original work that makes a useful intervention into early modern studies."


    Brian Chalk, Department of English, Manhattan College

    "Untimely Deaths makes a major contribution to the field of history writing in the English Renaissance, the genre of the history play on the English Renaissance stage, and the durable dilemma of how to narrate a life effectively."


    Vin Nardizzi, Department of English, University of British Colombia
  • Author Information

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

    Introduction: Biography, History, Catastrophe

    1. Richard II, Problem History
    2. A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and the Histories of London
    3. Epic Tragedies in Marlowe’s Dido, Queene of Carthage
    4. Military Catastrophe and Elegiac History in The Atheist’s Tragedy
    5. “Making Good the Conclusion”: Ben Jonson and Bathetic Overliving

    Works Cited

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