Author: John Webster
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Category: Literary Criticism
The great English Renaissance tragedy—violent, powerful, unforgettable—in a freshly edited and annotated student edition. This Norton Critical Edition of John Webster’s 1612–13 tragedy offers a newly edited and annotated text together with a full introduction and illustrative materials intended for student readers. The Duchess of Malfi’s themes of love, loyalty, and betrayal have resonated through the centuries, making this a perennially popular play with audiences and readers alike. This volume includes a generous selection of supporting materials, among them Webster’s likely sources for the play (William Painter, George Whetstone, Simon Goulart, and Thomas Beard) as well as related works by Webster and George Wither on widows, funerals, and memorializing death. A generous selection from Mark H. Curtis’s classic essay, “The Alienated Intellectuals of Early Stuart England,” tells readers as much about the character of Bosola as it does about his creator. Henry Fitzgeffrey (1617) and Horatio Busino (1618) provide early responses to the play. “Criticism” is thematically organized to provide readers with a clear sense of The Duchess of Malfi’s central themes of dramaturgy; the politics of family, court, and religion; and gender. Also included are essays on contemporary re-imaginings of the play and its critical reception over time. Contributors include Don D. Moore, Inga-Stina Ewbank, Christina Luckyj, Barbara Correll, D. C. Gunby, Lee Bliss, Rowland Wymer, Brian Chalk, Theodora Jankowski, and Pascale Aebischer. A selected bibliography is also included.