Thomas Middleton(1580-1627) —‘our other Shakespeare’—is the only other Renaissance playwright to create acknowledged masterpieces of comedy, tragedy, and history. His revolutionary English history play, A Game at Chess, was also the greatest box-office hit of early modern London. His achievements extend beyond these traditional genres to tragicomedies, masques, pageants, pamphlets, pamphlets, epigrams, and Biblical and political commentaries, written alone or in collaboration with Thomas Dekker, John Ford, Thomas Heywood, William Rowley, William Shakespeare, John Webster, and others. Compared by critics to Aristophanes and Ibsen, Racine and Joe Orton, he has influenced writers as diverse as Aphra Behn, Anthony Trollope, and T. S. Eliot. Though repeatedly censored in his own time, Middleton has since come to be particularly admired for his representations of the intertwined pursuits of sex, money, power, and God.
The Oxford Middleton, prepared by seventy-five scholars from a dozen countries, follows the precedent of The Oxford Shakespeare in being published in two volumes, an innovative but accessible Collected Works and a comprehensive scholarly Companion. Hailed a “landmark edition” and a “monumental work of scholarship”, these volumes have been well received by scholars and students alike.
The Collected Works brings together for the first time in a single volume all the works currently attributed to Middleton. The texts are printed in modern spelling and punctuation, with critical introductions and foot-of-the-page commentaries; they are arranged in chronological order, with a special section of Juvenilia. The volume is introduced by essays on Middleton’s life and reputation, on early modern London, and on the varied theatres of the English Renaissance. Extensively illustrated, it incorporates much new information on Middleton’s life, canon, texts, and contexts; twenty per cent of the works included have never before been annotated. A self-consciously ‘federal edition’, The Collected Worksapplies contemporary theories about the nature of literature and the history of the book to editorial practice; its unusual features are described and explained in How to Use This Book (doc) (p. 000).The table of contents is here and additional topical indexes may be found here. Also, additional images referenced in the text may be found here.
Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to The Collected Works. Because Middleton is more representative than any of his contemporaries of the full range of textual practices in early modern England, his works provide an ideal focus for understanding the history of the book, and its relation to the larger history of culture, in this pivotal period. The Companion begins, accordingly, with eleven original essays placing Middleton’s career in the context of larger cultural patterns governing the creation, reproduction, regulation, circulation, and reception of texts. These essays are followed by a textual introduction and full editorial apparatus for each work, including an account of evidence for its authorship and date of composition. This combination of detail and context provides a foundation for future studies both of Middleton and of early modern culture. The table of contents may be found here.
The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Middleton is comprised of 37 essays which reinterpret the English Renaissance through the lens of one of its most original, and least understood, geniuses. The largest collection of new Middleton criticism ever assembled, this ambitious Handbook provides a comprehensive, in-depth, cutting-edge reaction to OUP’s Collected Works of Thomas Middleton, winner of the 2009 MLA prize for editing, the first complete scholarly text of his voluminous and diverse oeuvre. The Handbook brings together an international, cross-generational team of experts to discuss all these genres through an equally diverse range of critical approaches, from feminism to stylistics, ecocriticism to performance studies, Aristotle to Zizek. Reinterpretations of canonical plays such as The Changeling, Women Beware Women, The Roaring Girl, and A Chaste Maid in Cheapside mingle with explorations of neglected or recently-identified works. Middleton’s dramatic use of dance, music, and clothing, Middletonian adaptation, his relationships to the classical world and to continental Europe, his fascinating explorations of sexuality and religion, all receive attention. The collection also provides new essays on modern and postmodern reactions to Middleton, including recent Middleton revivals and films, and living artists’ responses to his work-responses that range from the actresses who play Middleton’s women to writers in various genres who have been inspired by his artistry. The Handbook establishes an authoritative foundation for the rapidly-expanding growth of interest in this extraordinarily protean, funny, moving, disturbing, and modern writer. Its Table of Contents may be found here.
Purchase and Corrections
Though closely connected, each volume can be used independently of the other. The two volume set can be purchased here. Or the Companion, the Collected Works, and the Handbook may be purchased individually. For corrections to the three volumes, please see here.