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Family and the State in Early Modern Revenge Drama

Economies of Vengeance

By Chris McMahon

Routledge – 2012 – 250 pages

Series: Routledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture

Purchasing Options:

  • Add to CartHardback: $140.00
    978-0-415-80775-3
    December 22nd 2011

Description

In this book, McMahon considers Early Modern revenge plays from a political science perspective, paying particular attention to the construction of family and state institutions. Plays set for close study are The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet, The Revenger’s Tragedy, The Malcontent and The Duchess of Malfi. The plays are read as unique events occupying positions in historical process concerning the privatisation of the family (by means of symbolism and concrete household strategies such as budgeting and surveillance) and the subsequent appropriation of the family and its methods by the state.

The effect is that family becomes an unofficial organ of the state. This process, however, also involves the reform of the state along lines demanded by the private family. McMahon’s critical method, derived from the theory of Bourdieu, Bataille, and Girard, maps capital transactions to reveal emotionally charged, often idiosyncratic responses to issues of shared concern. Such issues include state corruption, the management of women, the performance of roles according to gender, the uses of surveillance, and the ethics of sacrifice.

Contents

1. Introduction 2. Family and judiciary in The Spanish Tragedy 3. Competition and grace in Hamlet 4. Surveillance and consumption in The Revenger's Tragedy 5. Education and autocracy in The Malcontent 6. Meritocratic reform in The Duchess of Malfi 7. Conclusion

Author Bio

Chris McMahon holds a PhD in English from the University of Queensland. He is a Tutor in International Studies, University of Canberra, Australia.

Name: Family and the State in Early Modern Revenge Drama: Economies of Vengeance (Hardback)Routledge 
Description: By Chris McMahon. In this book, McMahon considers Early Modern revenge plays from a political science perspective, paying particular attention to the construction of family and state institutions. Plays set for close study are The Spanish Tragedy, Hamlet, The...
Categories: Early Modern/Renaissance Literature, Shakespeare, Drama Genres