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The Origins of English Revenge Tragedy

George Oppitz-Trotman

Hardback (Forthcoming)

Investigates the figures and materials of English tragedy

Key Features

  • Establishes a new approach to the relationship between historical performance and printed literature
  • Complicates the popular concept of metatheatre
  • Offers boldly original readings of important English tragedies like Hamlet and The Spanish Tragedy
  • Shows how our encounter with difficulty in the reading of revenge plays can be equivalent to an imaginative confrontation with the contradictions of early modern theatrical action

Charting a new course between performance studies and literary criticism, this book explores how recognition of the dramatic person is involved in theatrical materiality. It shows how the moral difficulty of revenge in plays like The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet and The Duchess of Malfi is inseparable from the difficulty of discerning human shapes in the theatre and on the page. Intervening in a wide range of current debates within early modern studies, Oppitz-Trotman argues that the origins of English tragic drama cannot be understood without considering how the common player appears in it.




1. Verge

2. Points

3. A Brief Interlude of Vice

4. Servants

5. Figures

Bare Facts, Endless Tragedies

About the Author

George Oppitz-Trotman is a Research Associate in the Faculty of English and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of East Anglia, his graduate degrees from the University of Cambridge, and the venia legendi from the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg. He has held fellowships from the British Academy and the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung.

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