The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation by Peter France 28 Introduction



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Résumé (Czech)

Tato diplomová práce zkoumá vývoj ženských hrdinek anglického dramatu. Období raného novověku bylo v Evropě silně ovlivněno znovuobjevením kultury klasického Řecka a Říma, a proto je celá první kapitola věnována klasickému období. Poskytuje popis společenské pozice žen v Aténách pátého století před naším letopočtem, protože to je období, ve kterém vznikly první opravdové dramatické žánry, a je důležité pochopit společenské prostředí prvních ženských dramatických postav. Kapitola se dále zabývá čtyřmi představiteli klasické literatury, Euripidem, Vergiliem, Ovidiem a Senekou, a jejich díly, která později přivedla mnoho zajímavých hrdinek do literárního světa raného novověku. Druhá kapitola se zaměřuje na vlivy, které přišly z renesanční Itálie – literární obhajoby žen, inovace žánrů a cesty, jimiž se tyto inovace dostaly do alžbětinské Anglie. Mezi nejvlivnější inovace patří pastorály, tragikomedie a komplexnost žánrů komedie dell’arte. Poslední kapitola se zaměřuje na specifickou situaci v alžbětinské a jakobínské Anglii. Popisuje způsoby, jakými Alžběta vyvažovala svůj problematický nástup na trůn, a jak tím ovlivnila hrdinky soudobého anglického dramatu. Kapitola také popisuje vývoj anglického divadla a poskytuje tak kontinualitu s vývojem v předchozích obdobích. Podkapitoly se potom zaměřují na důležité dramatiky, jako jsou Lyly, Marlowe a Shakespeare. Jakobínská část kapitoly začíná komentářem problém spojených s Jakubem I. a jeho vládou a dále se zaměřuje na jakobínskou revenge tragedy (tragedii pomsty) – nejtemnější období pro hrdinky anglického dramatu - a na nové žánry městské komedie a domácí tragedie, které přinesly nové zpracování hrdinek, a posunulo anglické drama od předchozího renesančního typu ke komedii období restaurace.


Résumé (English)

This thesis examines the evolution of English female dramatic characters. The Early Modern period in Europe was greatly influenced by the rediscovery of the Classical Greece and Rome – that is why the whole first chapter is dedicated to the Classical era. It provides description of the social position of women in Athens of the fifth century BCE because that is when the first genuine dramatic genres appeared and it is important to understand the social background of the first female dramatic personae that were ever written. It also deals with four representatives of the Classical literature, Euripides, Virgil, Ovid and Seneca, and their works that later introduced many important female characters to Early Modern literary world. The second chapter is focused on the influences that came from the Renaissance Italy – the literary defences of women, generic innovations and the ways how these innovations got to the Elizabethan England. Among the most influential innovations important for the development of English dramatic female characters belong the pastoral, the tragicomedy and the following generic complexity of commedia dell’arte. The last chapter focuses on the particular situation in the Elizabethan and Jacobean England. It describes the ways in which Elizabeth dealt with her problematic accession and how it influenced the dramatic female characters. It also describes the evolution of the English drama to provide continuality in the development with the previous eras. The subchapters focus on important dramatics such as Lyly, Marlowe and Shakespeare. The Jacobean part begins with commenting on the problems connected with James I and his reign, and then focuses on the Jacobean Revenge tragedy – the darkest era for the English female dramatic characters – and on the new genres of city comedy and domestic tragedy that brought new treatment of the female characters and moved the English drama from the previous Renaissance type to the Restoration comedy.


1 The situation of women in Ancient Greek society is described in detail in Women on the Edge – Introduction, part “III. Women in Athens”.

2 Katz, Marilyn. “Ideology and ʻThe Status of Womenʼ in Ancient Greece.” History and Theory 31.4 (1992): 70-97.

3 For the criticism and support of female education in Early Modern Italy and England see Benson, Pamela. The Invention of the Renaissance Woman. Pennsylvania: Penn. UP, 1992.

4 Women on the Edge pg. 50. The authors deal with this topic in a part of the Introduction called “Athenian Women and the Ideology of Gender”.

5 Pamela Bennson

6 Euripides‘ Medea is an example of an outraged woman criticising the position of women in the society, after she is left by her husband who married another woman for the good of Medea and their children (Medea 214-66).

7 Aristophanes‘ comedies, mentioned in Women on the Edge, Introduction, pg. 62 and 80 – mentioned that in Frogs the character of Aeschylus accuses character of Euripides that he puts on stage “women who long for illicit sex”.

8 Women on the Edge, Introduction, part “Women and Athenian Tragedy”

9 Women 66

10 This will be important later in discussing the importace of Greek influence of Early Modern writers from Italy and England.

11 The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation, pg. 364

12 Women on the Edge, Introduction, part “Women in Euripides,” pg.:80-3. All the information used in this paragraph comes from this particular part of the Introduction

13 Socrates’ philosophy is available in many encyclopaedias of philosophy, for example in Nails, Debra. “Socrates.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 26 Dec. 2009. Web. 20 Mar 2012.

14 The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation by Peter France


15 This information, as well as other specific dates and names from this subchapter are quoted from The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation – it provides viable and interesting information about translations from various languages into English, from the earliest experiments to 20th century.

16 Michael Andrews in “Virgil’s Camilla and the Death of Hector” quotes this passage from the eleventh book of the Aeneid from Virgil, ed. and trans. H. Rushton Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library, 2 vols. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harward UP, 1940).

17 In Hardin, Richard. “Ovid in Seventeenth-Century England”. Comparative Literature 24.1 (1972): 44-72.

18 from Introduction to Phaedra by Michael Coffey ad Roland Mayer, pg. 34

19 Dewar-Watson, Sarah. “Aristotle and Tragicomedy”. Early Modern Tragicomedy. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2007. The author quotes Aristotle’s Poetics on pg. 16.

20 Jonathan Bate quotes Juan Luis Vives, the Spanish scholar, who wrote, among other things, De institutione feminae christinae, a book about education of women, dedicated to Catherine of Aragon and her daughter, future queen Mary I.

21The information about Elizabeth’s succession and rule are from Allman, Eileen Jorge. Jacobean Revenge Tragedy and the Politics of Virtue. Delaware: U of Delaware P, 1999. Google Books Search. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.

22 Francis James Child wrote Introduction to the collection Four old plays: Three interludes: Thersytes, Jack Jugler and Heywood's Pardoner and frere: and Jocasta, a tragedy by Gascoigne and Kinwelmarhs. Michigan: UP, 1848.

23 Heywood is quoted by Robertson in “Oxford Theatre in Tudor Times”, pg. 42

24 Quoted again in Robertson, pg. 43

25 This aspect of Lyly’s writing is discussed by Wilson on page 67

26 These numbers are taken from the lists of dramatis personae of Lyly’s plays as they are reprinted in The Complete Works of John Lyly, edited by R. Warwick Bond, Vol. II and III.

27 The scholars focusing on Lyly and his works assume that the end of his career was connected to the Martin Marprelate issue, which was the reason for the 1589 Act of Censorship that banned authors from writing disputes or pamphlets (or any kind of literary work) that would include religious topics. Lyly’s anti-Martinist work includes Pappe with an Hatchet and a lampoon called A Whip for an Ape: Or Martin Displaied and are both included in Bond, vol 3. The 1589 Act of Censorship is included as “A Proclamation Against Certain Seditious And Schismatical Books and Libels” in Documentary Annals of the Reformed Church of England, edited by Edward Cardwell in 1839, pg. 18-22.

28 These theories are the subject of many studies; one of them is James Shapiro’s Contested Will, printed in New York by Simon & Schuster, 2010.

29 Dr. Gerard Kilroy, head of English Department at King Edward's School in Bath, author of works on Edmund Campion, analyzes the play as a symbolic story that criticizes the outcomes of the Reformation – some people hiding their true beliefs, some acting rashly and getting executed – Romeo is representing a Roman Catholic (based on Dante’s division of pilgrims – romei are pilgrims to Rome), Juliet is at the beginning in the symbolic world of Protestant England but after meeting Romeo, she is no longer a Capulet, but becomes an English Catholic – her plan to feign death is then symbolic for the English Catholics who pretended to “be dead” but were still alive, and Romeo’s reckless behaviour leads to real death – it is a warning that reckless actions (such as Catholic plots, e.g. the Babington Plot), will lead only to death and tragedy, but waiting in piece and pretending to be eliminated, dead, might be the better plan. He supports this hypothesis for example by the textual evidence in the famous sonnet of Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting – there is a repetition of words pilgrim and palmer (according to Dante a pilgrim to Jerusalem). The lecture called “Changing Eyes: Fate and Fluctuation in Romeo and Juliet” is available both as a text and a recorded video in the archive of Portsmouth Institute – year 2011, theme The Catholic Shakespeare? (http://www.portsmouthinstitute.org).


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