Jonathan Atkin

in Domestic Life and Domestic Tragedy in Early Modern England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780719065446
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701164 | DOI:

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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Henry Hitch Adams argued that the realism of domestic tragedies ‘made the moral lesson effective by illustrating, directly in terms of the experiences of the audience, the punishments for sin’. This book has been an attempt to unpick the ways in which that realism might have engaged the experiences of the plays' first audiences, through a reconstruction of attitudes towards house and household and an extended consideration of staging practices. Throughout these plays, the progression of property and family values that smoothes the disjunctures of death is pointedly interrupted. Domestic space is violated by individuals who cannot relinquish their own physical purchase on what they see around them in favour of guaranteeing a future for their families. The book has argued for the materiality of a contemporary understanding of the domestic, and for the sensory qualities of memories of the household. In domestic tragedies, objects reflect more than status.

Keywords: plays; domestic tragedies; house; household; property; family; domestic space; materiality

Chapter.  5693 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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