The Dramatist and the Received Idea

Overview

Dr Sanders' book grew out of uneasiness over commonly accepted ways of talking about Elizabethan literature. Phrases like 'world picture', 'received ideas' are so easily used that we bypass important questions: A picture of whose word? Ideas received by whom? and in what way? The heart of Dr Sanders' book is a critical account of seven plays by Marlowe and Shakespeare (The Massacre at Paris, The Jew of Malta, Edward II, Dr Faustus, Richard II, Richard III and Macbeth). In his examination, Dr Sanders is at pains ...

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Overview

Dr Sanders' book grew out of uneasiness over commonly accepted ways of talking about Elizabethan literature. Phrases like 'world picture', 'received ideas' are so easily used that we bypass important questions: A picture of whose word? Ideas received by whom? and in what way? The heart of Dr Sanders' book is a critical account of seven plays by Marlowe and Shakespeare (The Massacre at Paris, The Jew of Malta, Edward II, Dr Faustus, Richard II, Richard III and Macbeth). In his examination, Dr Sanders is at pains to analyse the nature of the intellectual and cultural environment in which the plays were written, to define the ways in which this environment influenced Marlowe and Shakespeare and thus to come to a full understanding of the manner in which a work of art can be simultaneously 'of an age' and 'for all time'.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the hardback: 'This long book achieves real consonance. In the discussion of the history-plays, and of Marlowe especially, it finally closes one chapter and opens another; the excellent studies of Doctor Faustus and of Macbeth must be read by all those who find criticism useful at all. This is an ipressive book, an example of the best that is nowadays done in its kind.' Modern Language Quarterly

Review of the hardback: 'Mr Sanders writes intelligently, and his aim, to reconcile historical and purely critical approaches to the drama, is splendid.' Review of English Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521298001
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/15/1980
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

A note on editions; Preface; 1. Literature as history: with some questions about 'historical imagination'; 2. Dramatist as jingoist: The Massacre at Paris; 3. Dramatist as realist: the Jew of Malta; 4. Machiavelli and the crisis of Renaissance political consciousness; 5. Providence and policy in Richard III; 6. Providence and history in Elizabethan thought; 7. History without morality: Edward II; 8. Shakespearean history: critique of 'Elizabethan policy'; 9. Shakespeare's political agnosticism: Richard II; 10. Supernature and demonism in Elizabethan thought; 11. The new wine and the old bottles: Doctor Faustus; 12. Marlowe and the Calvinist doctrine of reprobation; 13. 'An unknown fear': The Tragedie of Macbeth; 14. Macbeth and the theology of evil; 15. Artist and ethos; Appendices; Notes; Index.

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