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 l... iterature 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.
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