Introduction to English Renaissance comedy explores the interconnected themes of politics, magic and sex in a number of representative comedies by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. It ranges across the Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline periods, covering both public and private theatres, emphasising the eclectic, experimental nature of this comedy: its departures from the mainstream New Comedy tradition, its searching, witty analysis of social and personal relations in court, city and country.
This book offers not a broad general survey but a close analysis of some of the richest comedies of the period, making sometimes unexpected connections between them: Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest, Lyly's Endymion, Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, Marston's The Malcontent, Middleton's Michaelmas Term, Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, Shirley's The Lady of Pleasure and Brome's A Jovial Crew. Through these plays the reader is given a comprehensive picture of English comedy in one of its most creative periods.
The book is aimed at students and teachers of English and drama, and at general readers with an interest in theatre.