This study explores the Stuart history play, a genre often viewed as an inferior or degenerate version of the exemplary Elizabethan dramatic form. Writing in the shadow of Marlowe and Shakespeare, Stuart playwrights have traditionally been evaluated through the aesthetic assumptions and political concerns of the sixteenth century. Ivo Kamps's study traces the development of Jacobite drama in the radically changed literary and political environment of the seventeenth century. He shows how historiographical developments in this period materially affected the structure of the history play. As audiences became increasingly sceptical of the comparatively simple teleological narratives of the Tudor era, a demand for new ways of staging history emerged. Kamps demonstrates how Stuart drama capitalised on this new awareness of historical narrative to undermine inherited forms of literary and political authority. This book is the first sustained attempt to account for a neglected genre, and a sophisticated reading of the relationship between literature, history and political power.
'... a stimulating new contribution to this field of study.' Australasian Drama Studies