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Problem Fathers in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama


  • Date Published: December 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316505274

£ 23.99

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About the Authors
  • Fathers are central to the drama of Shakespeare's time: they are revered, even sacred, yet they are also flawed human beings who feature as obstacles in plays of all genres. In Problem Fathers in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama, Tom MacFaul examines how fathers are paradoxical and almost anomalous characters on the English Renaissance stage. Starting as figures of confident authority in early Elizabethan drama, their scope for action becomes gradually more restricted, until by late Jacobean drama they have accepted the limitations of their power. MacFaul argues that this process points towards a crisis of patriarchal authority in wider contemporary culture. While Shakespeare's plays provide a key insight into these shifts, this book explores the dramatic culture of the period more widely to present the ways in which Shakespeare's work differed from that of his contemporaries while both sharing and informing their artistic and ideological preoccupations.

    • An exceptionally wide-ranging discussion of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, providing new readings of almost all Shakespeare's major plays
    • Provides a way of rethinking the idea of patriarchy and its role in shaping dramatic art by exploring the changing role of fathers in the culture of the English Renaissance
    • Enables an understanding of how Shakespeare's drama fits into the wider dramatic culture of his time
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This study is compact, yet dense. Problem Fathers in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama covers a wide swath of issues surrounding representations of father figures in early modern drama - paternal authority, historical contexts, genre development - and does so by surveying a large number of texts. Because of the range and depth of this study, Problem Fathers in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama is sure to initiate wider critical conversations about the roles of fathers in early modern drama, and it may well prove a seminal text in Renaissance studies.' Kimberly G. Reigle, Journal of British Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316505274
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 151 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Staying fathers in early Elizabethan drama: Gorboduc to The Spanish Tragedy
    3. Identification and impasse in drama of the 1590s: Henry VI to Hamlet
    4. Limiting the father in the 1600s: the wake of Hamlet and King Lear
    5. After The Tempest

  • Author

    Tom MacFaul, University of Oxford
    Tom MacFaul is Fellow and Departmental Lecturer in English at Merton College, University of Oxford. He is the author of Male Friendship in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries (2007), Poetry and Paternity in Renaissance England (2010) and many articles on Renaissance poetry and drama. He is also the co-editor of Tottel's Miscellany (2011) with Amanda Holton.

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