Incest, Drama and Nature's Law, 1550-1700

Overview

This is a full-length study of incest in English Renaissance and Restoration drama. Richard McCabe's comprehensive survey offers a literary history of this theme, informed by an investigation of the intellectual background, with particular emphasis on changing concepts of natural law, and consequent reassessments of classical tradition. It examines a wide range of theological, philosophical, legal and literary sources, in the context of modern psychological and sociological theories of family development. ...

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Overview

This is a full-length study of incest in English Renaissance and Restoration drama. Richard McCabe's comprehensive survey offers a literary history of this theme, informed by an investigation of the intellectual background, with particular emphasis on changing concepts of natural law, and consequent reassessments of classical tradition. It examines a wide range of theological, philosophical, legal and literary sources, in the context of modern psychological and sociological theories of family development. Extensive comparisons with classical models and contemporary European dramatists, from Tasso to Corneille and Racine, explore the volatile association between dramatic form and emotional content, structural experiment and sexual ambivalence. The centrality of the family to all human relationships, and the mutual reflection of familial politics and the patriarchal state make incest a powerful metaphor for the ambivalence of all concepts of 'natural' authority, and for various forms of social and political revolt.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521088749
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2008
  • Pages: 362
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; List of abbreviations; Part I. Issues: 1. Mythical archetypes; 2. Law and licence; Part II. Plays: 3. Classical models; 4. Sixteenth-century tragedy; 5. Incest averted, the comic perspective; 6. Shakespeare; 7. Beaumont and Fletcher; 8. Tragedy and atheism; 9. Tragedy and melancholia; 10. Dryden; Epilogue; Notes; Index.

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