|About the Book|
Even though the interlibrary loan process delivered this book by mistake, I read it with interest. Shakespeare is upstaged here by Marston, Middleton, and Jonson and the genre of City Comedy, plays that are still occasionally performed though not as often as those of Shakespeare (I have seen Volpone and The Alchemist and Women Beware Women but not Michaelmas Term or The Malcontent). Subsequent scholars have confirmed the connections he suggests between Middleton and the style of The Revenger’s Tragedy (once attributed to Cyril Tourneur but now thought to be entirely by Middleton) and parts of Timon of Athens. While Gibbons’s approach is mostly through genre, the kind of reading prevalent in the 1960s, he does explore connections with social and economic conditions in Jacobean England, arguing that the City Comedies dramatize the conflicts rather than just reflecting manners. I’m surprised by the omission of Measure for Measure, which has much in common with the plays he does discuss, especially the Disguised Duke plot and the atmosphere of dark, urban confusion. And there’s no index or bibliography, with references only in footnotes.