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Thomas Middleton and the Plural Politics of Jacobean Drama represents the first sustained study of Middleton’s dramatic works as responses to James I’s governance. Through examining Middleton’s poiesis in relation to the political theology of Jacobean London, Kaethler explores early forms of free speech, namely parrhēsia, and rhetorical devices, such as irony and allegory, to elucidate the ways in which Middleton’s plural art exposes the limitations of the monarch’s sovereign image. By drawing upon earlier forms of dramatic intervention, James’s writings, and popular literature that blossomed during the Jacobean period, including news pamphlets, the book surveys a selection of Middleton’s writings, ranging from his first extant play The Phoenix (1604) to his scandalous finale A Game at Chess (1624). In the course of this investigation, the author identifies that although Middleton’s drama spurs political awareness and questions authority, it nevertheless simultaneously promotes alternative structures of power, which manifest as misogyny and white supremacy.
Mark Kaethler, Medicine Hat College, Alberta, Canada.
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