James Shirley and Early Modern Theatre: New Critical Perspectives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

James Shirley and Early Modern Theatre

New Critical Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Barbara Ravelhofer


234 pages

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Hardback: 9781472480361
pub: 2016-10-06
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315590271
pub: 2016-10-04
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James Shirley was the last great dramatist of the English Renaissance, shining out among other luminaries such as John Ford, Ben Jonson, or Richard Brome.

This collection considers Shirley within the culture of his time, and highlights his contribution to seventeenth-century English literature as poet and playwright. Individual essays explore Shirley’s musical theatre and spoken verse, performance conditions, female agency and politics, and the presentation of his work in manuscript and print. Collectively, the essays assemble a larger picture of Caroline drama, showing it to be more than simply a nostalgic endgame, its poets daintily sipping hemlock on the eve of the Civil Wars.

Shirley’s literary versatility and long life, spanning the last days of Queen Elizabeth I to the ascension of Charles II, make him an ideal writer through whom to examine the distinctive qualities of Caroline theatre.

Table of Contents




Barbara Ravelhofer


Time for James Shirley

Jeremy Lopez


The Comic and the Apocalyptic in Shirley’s Drama

Rebecca Hasler


‘And you meane to rise at court, practise to caper’:

The Representation of the Court in James Shirley’s Plays, 1631-36

Peter Happé


Rebellion in Arcadia: Caroline Anti-Militarism in Dramatic Adaptations of Sidney

Rachel Ellen Clark


A Conflict More Fierce than Many Thousand Battles: Staging the Politics of Treason and Allegiance in James Shirley’s Maritime Plays, The Young Admiral and The Court Secret

Rebecca Bailey


Shirley’s Tragedies

Barbara Ravelhofer


Shirley’s Dublin Days: A Nervous Première of St. Patrick for Ireland

Robert Lublin


Papers Most Foul: The Melbourne Manuscript and the ‘Foul Papers’ Debate

Dan Starza Smith


Plotting Paratexts in Shirley’s The Politician

Jitka Štollová


The Drama of Shirley’s Poems

Philip West


Music in the Work of James Shirley

Andrew Ashbee


Versification from Shakespeare to Shirley: Implications for Performance

Marina Tarlinskaja



About the Editor

Barbara Ravelhofer is Professor of English Literature at Durham University and a general editor on The Oxford Complete Works of James Shirley. Her publications include The Early Stuart Masque: Dance, Costume, and Music (2006).

About the Series

Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama

Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama
This series presents original research on theatre histories and performance histories; the time period covered is from about 1500 to the early 18th century. Studies in which women's activities are a central feature of discussion are especially of interest; this may include women as financial or technical support (patrons, musicians, dancers, seamstresses, wig-makers) or house support staff (e.g., gatherers), rather than performance per se. We also welcome critiques of early modern drama that take into account the production values of the plays and rely on period records of performance.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General