David Bevington's volume on George Peele looks at the literary achievement of that dramatist and author, who was born in London some time around 1556-8, was educated at Oxford, and returned to London to become a prolific writer until his death in 1596. He died at the age of forty, in poverty, and was never far from the threat of debtors' prison throughout his adult life. Peele, like Greene and Marlowe, was caricatured in his immediate afterlife as the embodiment of a popular and thriving literary culture in London of the late sixteenth century: a world that was competitive and relentlessly unforgiving in its economic pressures, but also colourful, adventuresome, and vital. This volume collects together for the first time the best contemporary published work on Peele by a group of renowned scholars. They discuss Peele's Lord Mayor's Pageants, Court Entertainments, occasional poems, and his plays The Arraignment of Paris, The Old Wives Tale, The Battle of Alcazar, Edward I, David and Bathsheba, and Titus Andronicus. The essays are accompanied by David Bevington's substantial introduction which discusses Peele's life and works, particularly in the context of the other five University Wits.

    Contents: Introduction; Part I Lord Mayor's Pageants, Court Entertainments, Occasional Poems: Entertainments for court and city, A.R. Braunmuller; 'Many a 'Herdsman' more disposde to morne': Peele, Campion, and the Portugal expedition of 1589, Hugh Gazzard. Part II The Arraignment of Paris: Gifts and reasons: the contexts of Peele's 'The Araygnement of Paris', Louis Adrian Montrose; The triumph of chastity: form and meaning in The Arraignment of Paris, Andrew von Hendy; Pastoral poetry: the vitality and versatility of a convention, Hallett Smith; Elizabethan epideictic drama: praise and blame in the plays of Peele and Lyly, R. Headlam Wells. Part III The Old Wives Tale: The Protestant context of George Peele's 'pleasant conceited' 'Old Wives Tale', Frank Ardolino; Homely matter and multiple plots in Peele's 'Old Wives Tale', John D. Cox; 'Seeing is believing': action and narration in 'The Old Wives Tale' and 'The Winter's Tale', Philip Edwards; Old wives' tales, George Peele, and narrative abjection, Mary Ellen Lamb; 'Soft, who have we here?': the dramatic technique of 'The Old Wives Tale', Joan C. Marx; The hearth and the cell: art in 'The Old Wives Tale', Susan T. Viguers. Part IV The Battle of Alcazar: 'Alcazar': the text and the sources, David Bradley; Moors, villainy and 'The Battle of Alcazar', Peter Hyland; The Battle of Alcazar, Eldred Jones. Part V Edward I: 'Edward I': in peace triumphant, fortunate in wars, A.R. Braunmuller. Part VI David and Bathsheba: Peele's 'David and Bethsabe': reconsidering Biblical drama of the long 1590s, Annaliese Connolly; The House of David in Renaissance drama: a comparative study, Inga-Stina Ewbank; 'What words, what looks, what wonders?': language and spectacle in the theatre of George Peele, Inga-Stina Ewbank. Part VII Peele and Titus Andronicus: Mutius: an obstacle removed in Titus Andronicus, Brian Boyd; Name index.


    David Bevington is Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and Professor in English Language and Literature and Comparative Literature, University of Chicago, USA.

    '... Bevington's critical anthology is a worthwhile and substantial collection of essays on the life and work of this early and influential dramatist. ...' Sixteenth Century Journal