Solon and Thespis: Law and Theater in the English Renaissance

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $3.90
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 89%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $3.90   
  • New (4) from $8.12   
  • Used (3) from $3.90   


"In this attractively titled collection of essays on law and theater in the English Renaissance, Dennis Kezar has assembled an impressive array of talent to focus on the productive and yet vexed relationship of theater and the state. Plays 'tell lies' to their audiences: so argued Solon in his riposte to Thespis, to be followed in due course by Plato's attack on poetry in the Republic and all that Jonas Barish has studied under the rubric of The Antitheatrical Prejudice. This battleground here affords a rich opportunity for an exploration of 'an institutional antagonism over the tenuous distinction between theater's inconsequential fiction and the real world's socially consequential fact.' This volume is a truly valuable contribution to the growing interest in law and literature, here brought to bear on the great drama of Shakespeare, Jonson, Dekker, Marston, Chapman, and their contemporaries." —David Bevington, Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities, University of Chicago
"The diversity of topics explored in this excellent collection makes it a valuable addition to the burgeoning field of early modern law, theater, and literature studies. The essays included here touch on a wide range of material—from Dekker to Shakespeare to Chapman and Bacon; and in doing so, they explore the tensions between Solon and Thespis in such a way as to make the work of analyzing the relationship between literature and the law seem not only fruitful, but in fact essential to a deeper understanding of both." —Jeremy Lopez, University of Toronto
This volume contains contributions by literary critics and historians who demonstrate that theater and law were not simply relevant to each other in the early modern period; they explore the physical spaces in which early modern law and drama were performed, the social and imaginative practices that energized such spaces, and the rhetorical patterns that make the two institutions far less discrete and far more collaborative than has previously been recognized.         

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The recent ‘law and literature’ movement has produced several intriguing studies of the relation between these discourses and Solon and Thespis . . . [is an] exciting addition to that corpus. It suggests that fiction and the law are mutually determining. The essays collected in Solon and Thespis focus on the complicated relation of the law and the theatre in Early Modern England . . . . [The] analyses are incisive and warnings timely.” —Times Literary Supplement, May 4, 2007

“Dennis Kezar's superb collection of essays Solon and Thespis: Law and Theater in the English Renaissance also interrogates the extent to which theater's 'professional deceit' can do any more than debase 'privileged truth.' Taken as a whole, this volume is the place to send both undergraduates and graduates who want to get up to speed on this fascinating field of early modern studies.” —Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 48, 2, Spring 2008

“. . . The introduction admirably outlines the field within which the essays examine the negotiations between law and theatre; it also pre-empts worries about randomness by foregrounding its conscious decision to represent the variety of critical negotiations addressing and extending the diversity of the interrelation.” —The Review of English Studies, vol. 59, no. 240, June 2008

“Kezar offers nine essays, plus an introduction and epilogue, which investigate connections and interactions between English law and the theater in the 16th and 17th centuries. As one might expect, half the essays deal with plays by Shakespeare and Jonson, with contributions on lesser writers such as Chapman and Sackville rounding out the collection. The essays avoid the standard legal concerns of the Renaissance theater and instead investigate more subtle connections.” —Choice, August 2007, Vol. 44, No. 11

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780268033132
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2007
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis Kezar is associate professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

Contributors: Matthew Greenfield, Paul Cantor, Frances Teague, Heather Dubrow, Ernest B. Gilman, Dennis Kezar, Debora Shuger, Karen J. Cunningham, Luke Wilson, and Deak Nabers.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)