Let’s Talk about Titus Andronicus

I’ve just finished reading for the first time Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s first tragedy and one of his earliest plays–scholars date its composition to circa 1589-1592, and the first Quarto version of it was printed in 1594.  The play’s style is very much in keeping with a subgenre of plays popular in the 1580’s, known as … Continue reading

Pericles, Day 3

Pericles, Day 3 Pericles, Incest, and Patriarchy In my last post, I posed questions about the significance of Antiochus’ incestuous relationship with his daughter to the rest of the play, given the fact that Antiochus is only present during the play’s first scene.  While I do believe that this taboo father/daughter pair serves as a … Continue reading

Pericles, Day 2

*Pssst….Don’t miss the Tony Awards tonight at 8pm on CBS. **Click here for discussion questions for Pericles.  The discussion will extend into this coming week, and the Cymbeline discussion will begin later in the week… Antiochus, Incest, and Dr. Tiller You would have to have been living in a cave or under a rock not to … Continue reading

Eminem, Mariam & Motherhood

Eminem, Mariam, & Motherhood Admittedly, Eminem and Elizabeth Cary have little in common.  He is a contentious 21st century rapper who keeps nothing in the closet; his autobiographical and topical lyrics run the gamut from sexist and homophobic to scatalogical and taboo.  She is a little-known 17th century dramatist who wrote closet dramas, most notably The Tragedy of … Continue reading

The Tragedy of Mariam, Day 3

The Tragedy of Mariam, Day 3 All in a Day’s Drama: The Chorus vs. The Characters The Chorus plays an interesting part in Cary’s tragedy.  Unlike the characters, who infuse the work with multiple viewpoints that readers must weigh against each other, the Chorus takes a single, unequivocal, and conservative stance, particularly at the ends … Continue reading

The Tragedy of Mariam, Day 2

The Tragedy of Mariam, Day 2 On Language: Back on May 16th, I read an Op-Ed in the NYT by Verlyn Klinkenborg entitled “The Lost Art of Reading Aloud,” and this piece crossed my mind again yesterday as I was, well, reading aloud Cary’s closet drama, a work that by its very sub-genre calls for this, … Continue reading

The Tragedy of Mariam, Day 1

The Tragedy of Mariam, Day 1 Welcome to the first day of our discussion of Elizabeth Cary’s early 17th century closet drama, The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry. Discussion questions are here. Cary’s play is one whose readership today would typically be limited to academics and theatre historians, so it may seem like an … Continue reading

Dr. Faustus, Day 4

Dr. Faustus, Day 4 Dr. Faustus on the Stage Marlowe’s play has a rich and enduring stage history. It was his most successful play and was performed many times throughout the 1590’s and into the early 17th c. until the closing of London theatres in 1642.  As was typical of presentational theatre, the play was … Continue reading

Dr. Faustus, Day 3

Dr. Faustus, Day 3 Rereading Act 1 Scene 3, in which Dr. Faustus signs a contract with his own blood agreeing to give his soul over to Lucifer in exchange for 24 years of “liv[ing] in all voluptuousness,” made me recall a fairly common childhood ritual, often though not always involving ketchup as a substitute … Continue reading

Dr. Faustus, Day 2

A few facts about Marlowe: Born 1564 (2 months before Shakespeare). Died 1593. Cause of death was long believed to have been a fatal wound received during a duel outside a London tavern, though some suggested it was a plotted murder assassination. In 1925, a man named Leslie Hotson discovered the inquest that followed Marlowe’s … Continue reading

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