The Plays and Poems of William Heminge
Edited by Carol A. Morley

About the Author :
Carol A. Morley was born in Leeds, Yorkshire. A first degree in English at Newnham College, Cambridge was followed by an mA in Shakespeare Studies at the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham. She combined a freelance career as a theater director with teaching, educational tourism, and academic editing. She returned to full-time academic research with a Quintin Hogg scholarship at the University of Westminster, working on the doctoral thesis that is at the basis of this book. She has recently held a British Academy research fellowship at the University of Aberdeen, working on seventeenth-century manuscript diaries, and is now a lecturer in drama at Rose Bruford College, Kent.

This is the first edition of the complete works of William Heminge (1602-c. 1653), son of Shakespeare's colleage and first co-editor, John Heminge. It contains a biography, critical old-spelling texts of his two surviving plays, The Jewes Tragedy and The Fatal Contract, and the small group of poems assigned to him in contemporary manuscripts. Heminge's tragedies in particular reveal him to be an innovative writer deserving far greater critical attention than he has previously received. He is both the first dramatist in English to see the theatrical potential of Josephus's account of the Fall of the Temple, and the first to challenge the conventions of revenge drama by presenting a fully autonomous female avenger on the English stage.

The introductions to the plays offer an investigation of Heminge's historical sources and theatrical techniques. His literary and theatrical debts to Shakespeare are investigated, together with the stage history and afterlife of the plays and the provenance of the poems' manuscrips.

In the case of the Jewes Tragedy, three early modern analogues to the narrative of the siege of Jerusalem are discussed, along with the contemporary context of Roman dramas and representations of Jews on the English stage. The Fatal Contract depicts the first female revenge protagonist in English drama, and is examined in the tradition of revenge tragedy, with special reference to portrayals of cross-dressed women, Africans, and eunuchs.

ISBN 0-8386-4039-7

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