‘Time’s Subjects’ and the Subject of Time in Shakespeare’s Histories

  • David Scott Kastan

Abstract

In spite of the anomalous presence of Cymbeline among the tragedies in the First Folio, there is little doubt that John Heminges and Henry Condell conceived of comedy and tragedy in ways very similar to the majority of their contemporaries. Individual differences among these plays are subordinated to a commonplace generic sense of comedy’s movement from confusion to happiness, and of tragedy’s from prosperity to disaster. The third of the Folio’s classifications, however, poses more vexing problems. For the two editors of the volume, the ten plays called ‘histories’ are seemingly linked by their common origin in English (rather than legendary or classical) history, but this principle of arrangement does not reveal a sense of genre comparable to that which informs the grouping of the two other dramatic modes.

Keywords

Clay Assure Posit Kelly Tame 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Palladis Tamia (1598), in Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. G. Gregory Smith, u, p. 318.Google Scholar
  2. 20.
    Irving Ribner, ‘The Morality Roots of the Tudor History Play’, Tulane Studies in English, 4 (1954) 21–43;Google Scholar
  3. A. P. Rossiter, ed., Woodstock: A Moral History (London: Chatto & Windus, 1946) pp. 6–10.Google Scholar
  4. 23.
    David J. Leigh, The Doomsday Mystery Play: An Eschatalogical Morality’, MP, 67 (1970) 217.Google Scholar
  5. 24.
    Robert A. Potter, ‘The Idea of a Morality’, Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama 13–14 (1970–1) 239–47.Google Scholar
  6. 27.
    David Riggs, Shakespeare’s Heroical Histories (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971) pp. 29–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 55.
    M. M. Reese, The Cease of Majesty (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1961) p. 278.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Scott Kastan 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Scott Kastan

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