Solon and Thespis: Law and Theater in the English Renaissance

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Overview

"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.         

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“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

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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.

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