Politics and Aesthetics in European Baroque and Classicist Tragedy


Politics and Aesthetics in European Baroque and Classicist Tragedy is a volume of essays investigating European tragedy in the seventeenth century, comparing Shakespeare, Vondel, Gryphius, Racine and several other vernacular tragedians, together with consideration of neo-Latin dramas by Jesuits and other playwrights. To what extent were similar themes, plots, structures and styles elaborated? How is difference as well as similarity to be accounted for? European drama is beginning to be considered outside of the singular vernacular frameworks in which it has been largely confined (as instanced in the conferences and volumes of essays held in the Universities of Munich and Berlin 2010-12), but up-to-date secondary material is sparse and difficult to obtain. This volume intends to help remedy that deficit by addressing the drama in a full political, religious, legal and social context, and by considering the plays as interventions in those contexts.

Contributors are: Christian Biet, Jan Bloemendal, Helmer J. Helmers, Blair Hoxby, Sarah M. Knight, Tatiana Korneeva, Frans-Willem Korsten, Joel B. Lande, Russell J. Leo, Howard B. Norland, Kirill Ospovat, James A. Parente, Jr., Freya Sierhuis, Nienke Tjoelker and Emily Vasiliauskas.

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Front Matter
Pages: i–xi
Pages: 1–39
Pages: 429–442
Jan Bloemendal, Ph.D. (1997), Utrecht University, is senior researcher at the Huygens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research topics include neo-Latin literature, drama and Erasmus.

Nigel Smith, D.Phil. (1985), University of Oxford, is William and Annie S. Paton Foundation Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature at Princeton University. Among his publications are Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion, 1640-1660 (1989); Literature and Revolution in England 1640-1660 (1994); Is Milton better than Shakespeare? (2008) and Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon (2010).
“The collection vividly demonstrates the appeal of tragedy, whether classicist or Baroque, to both Catholics and Protestants. Biblical, classical, and modern histories made possible the staging of thinly (or not so thinly) veiled criticism, guidance, and warnings for modern rulers—and their subjects.”
Annette Tomarken, University of Kent. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 4 (Winter 2017), pp. 1622-1624.

“This is a first-rate collection of articles that adds significantly to the understanding of Baroque and Classicist tragedy and its politics and aesthetics within a broad European context. It explores the nuances underlying longstanding assumptions and offers exemplary original research.”
Yolanda Rodríguez Pérez, University of Amsterdam. In: Bulletin of the Comediantes, Vol. 69, No 1 (2017), pp. 123-127.

“[This] collection forms a strong and timely reminder of the benefits of an international and inclusive approach to literary studies.”
Astrid Stilma, Canterbury Christ Church University. In: Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal & Letterkunde, Vol. 133, No. 4 (September 2017), pp. 1-2.



Frans-Willem Korsten – What Roman Paradigm for the Dutch Republic? Baroque Tragedies and Ambiguities Concerning Dominium and Torture

Russ Leo – Grotius Among the Dagonists: Joost van den Vondel’s Samson, of Heilige Wraeck, Revenge and the Ius Gentium

Freya Sierhuis – Performing the Medieval Past: Vondel’s Gysbreght van Aemstel (1637)


Howard B. Norland – Political Martyrdom at the English College in Rome

James A. Parente, Jr. – Historical Tragedy and the End of Christian Humanism: Nicolaus Vernulaeus (1583–1649)

Blair Hoxby – The Baroque Tragedy of the Roman Jesuits: Flavia and Beyond


Emily Vasiliauskas – Mortal Knowledge: Akrasia in English Renaissance Tragedy

Sarah Knight – A fabulis ad veritatem: Latin Tragedy, Truth and Education in Early Modern England

Tatiana Korneeva – The Political Theatre and Theatrical Politics of Andrea Giacinto Cicognini: Il Don Gastone di Moncada (1641)

Christian Biet – French Tragedy During the Seventeenth Century: From Cruelty on a Scaffold to Poetic Distance on Stage and Critical Judgment


Joel Lande – German Trauerspiel and its International Nexus: On the Migration of Poetic Forms

Helmer Helmers – The Politics of Mobility: Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Jan Vos’ Aran and Titus and the Poetics of Empire

Nienke Tjoelker – French Classicism in Jesuit Theatre Poetics of the Eighteenth Century

Kirill Ospovat – Scenario of Terror: Royal Violence and the Origins of Russian Tragic Drama


All interested in European Baroque and Classicist Drama, early modern history and literature, those interested in politics and literature.
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