Four Revenge Tragedies: (The Spanish Tragedy, The Revenger's Tragedy, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, and The Atheist's Tragedy): "Spanish Tragedy", ... "Atheist's Tragedy" (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 7 May 1998
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"A provocative selection with incisive apparatus."--Gale H. Carrithers, Jr., Louisiana State University
About the Author
Janet Clare is Professor of Renaissance Literature and Director of the Andrew Marvell Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Hull, UK.
Play texts edited by: Andrew Gurr (The Spanish Tragedy), Brian Gibbons (The Revenger's Tragedy), Martin Wiggins ('Tis Pity She's a Whore), Christina Luckyj (The White Devil). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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In fact, the only thing to say, is if you are a fan of Shakespeare's 'Titus Andronicus' and 'Hamlet' then read this, as Shakes nicked at least one scene from this play and split it over the two (he didn't even bother to hide it when he 'borrowed' from Marlowe's 'Jew of Malta')
If you are new to Renaissance tragedy, and want something that will get your heart pumping, then this is for you. Either way, it is a must. You MUST read it!! :D x
This edition offers a helpful critical introduction and notes - the latter especially important if you don't have Latin since Kyd is prone to throwing in great chunks, some of which is glossed, most of which isn't.
The play itself is a wonderfully macabre story framed by a ghost and the figure of Revenge who sit on stage throughout watching over the drama that we are watching, while the deaths pile up. Amongst the gore, though, are important debates about a feudal blood-price culture of personal revenge vs. a more social sense of legal justice - and the play questions the efficacy of the latter alongside the ethics of the former.
So while there are important matters at stake here, the play is also hugely and almost shockingly enjoyable. It's also fun to spot the way its plots, lines and props get lifted by a sneaky William Shakespeare: the scarf that turns into the handkerchief in Othello, the play-within-a-play which is repeated in Hamlet, Hieronymo's struggles with whether, and how, he can live which re-emerge in Hamlet's 'to be or not to be' speech.
It's a bit of a shame that Kyd's play has almost become a series of sources for Shakespeare: this is a good edition which gives back primacy to the drama for its own sake.
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