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Shakespeare's Domestic Tragedies
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Book description

Domestic tragedy was an innovative genre, suggesting that the lives and sufferings of ordinary people were worthy of the dramatic scope of tragedy. In this compelling study, Whipday revises the narrative of Shakespeare's plays to show how this genre, together with neglected pamphlets, ballads, and other forms of 'cheap print' about domestic violence, informed some of Shakespeare's greatest works. Providing a significant reappraisal of Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth, the book argues that domesticity is central to these plays: they stage how societal and familial pressures shape individual agency; how the integrity of the house is associated with the body of the housewife; and how household transgressions render the home permeable. Whipday demonstrates that Shakespeare not only appropriated constructions of the domestic from domestic tragedies, but that he transformed the genre, using heightened language, foreign settings, and elite spheres to stage familiar domestic worlds.

Reviews

‘This is an elegantly written, important book: it firmly situates Shakespeare's works in the wider culture of his time and makes particularly enlightening links between cheap print, domestic drama and canonical tragedy.'

Tom Macfaul - University of Oxford

'Whipday convincingly demonstrates that Shakespeare's tragedies are very much in dialogue with common cultural conceptions of the English home.'

Laura Kolb Source: The Times Literary Supplement

‘… Whipday’s book presents fresh and convincing new readings that leave the reader with not simply a greater understanding of Shakespeare, but of domestic tragedy and popular crime literature … extremely impressive work of scholarship that stands as a vital addition to the study of domestic tragedy …’

Lucy J.S. Clarke Source: Early Theatre

‘Shakespeare’s Domestic Tragedies provides a fresh perspective on the centrality of household violence to early modern debates about the domestic sphere, as acts of violence put pressure on the ideologies that sustained the moral, political, and religious integrity of the home.’

Katherine Gillen Source: Shakespeare Quarterly

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