Thomas Middleton is one of the few playwrights in English whose range and brilliance comes close to Shakespeare's. This handsome edition makes all Middleton's work accessible in a single volume, for the first time. It will generate excitement and controversy among all readers of Shakespeare and the English classics. - ;Thomas Middleton (1580-1627) - 'our other Shakespeare' - is the only other Renaissance playwright who created lasting masterpieces of both comedy and tragedy; he also wrote the greatest box-office hit of early modern London (the unique history play A Game at Chess). His range extends beyond these traditional genres to tragicomedies, masques, pageants, pamphlets, epigrams, and Biblical and political commentaries, written alone or in collaboration with Shakespeare, Webster,
Dekker, Ford, Heywood, Rowley, and others. Compared by critics to Aristophanes and Ibsen, Racine and Joe Orton, he has influenced writers as diverse as Aphra Behn and T. S. Eliot. Though repeatedly censored in his own time, he 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 more than sixty 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. Though closely connected, each volume can be used independently of the other.
The Collected Works brings together for the first time in a single volume all the works currently attributed to Middleton. It is the first edition of Middleton's works since 1886. 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. A self-consciously 'federal edition', The Collected Works applies contemporary theories about the nature of literature and the history of the book to editorial
practice. - ;The Collected Works is, of course a prodigious achievement that only someone with Taylor's infectious energy and obsessive determination could have brought off. - Michael Neill, London Review of Books;fine introductory essays - Plays International;The Oxford Middleton is a monumental achievement. Gary Taylor and his team of scholars have managed to do for Thomas Middleton what Heminges and Condell did for Shakespeare in the 1623 First Folio: they've collected a great playwright's work in a landmark edition, one that enables us to appreciate afresh an extraordinary literary career. Taken together, The Collected Works of Thomas Middleton and its companion volume Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual
Culture, provide an essential guide to matters at the heart of the English literary world in the early seventeenth century, from authorship and collaboration to censorship, civic pageantry, and the London book trade. - James Shapiro, author of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare and Professor of English, Columbia University;a monumental work of scholarship - Jonathan Bate, Times Literary Supplement;It is not, I think, overstating the case to say that the release of this edition feels epochal, and the sense of recognition at what it has added, as well as what it will inspire over the ensuing decades, is already palpable. The Oxford Middleton is a truly momentous work, and it is now in the hands of you, the Great Variety of Readers. - Will Sharpe, The Shakespeare Bookshop Newsletter;All of us who care deeply about the history of English drama welcome with great enthusiasm and excitement the publication of the Collected Works of Thomas Middleton, a major achievement in textual scholarship that represents the collective expertise and critical wisdom of scholars from all over the world. Gary Taylor and his many collaborators have given us a new and remarkably versatile Thomas Middleton-a great tragic playwright, a brilliant creator of sly and cynical
urban comedies, a thoroughly gifted man of the theater and citizen of London. With this massive collected edition, the history of English drama is much more complete and we can hope for many more professional productions of these neglected plays. - Gail Paster, Director, Folger Shakespeare Library;It is hard to exaggerate the scale of the Oxford Middleton particularly since this is the kind of scholarship which is--in its diversity and eclecticism--designed to open up debate rather than close it off. It is a colossal achievement representing a decisive expansion of Renaissance studies which will percolate throughout scholarship and teaching. But what is, perhaps, most exciting, is that the collection must surely generate a rediscovery of these eminently stageable plays in the
theatre. - Andrew James Hartley, Editor, Shakespeare Bulletin;The publication of The Complete Works of Middleton will be a major event for all those who care about the theatre of Shakespeare's time. The scholarship is meticulous, the commentary is fascinating and the international team of experts displays the field of Renaissance Drama studies at its finest. In modern times, productions of The Changeling and Women Beware Women have shown the dark side of sex and power that Shakespeare touched on but never fully explored.
The Complete Works now shows us the full range of Middleton's talent for comedy and social drama and, controversially, the full extent of his collaboration with and development of Shakespeare's plays. - Kathleen E. McLuskie, The Shakespeare Institute;Few editorial projects have been as eagerly anticipated as the Oxford Middleton, which will utterly transform how we understand early modern drama, both in the classroom and in our research. As with Shakespeare, Gary Taylor and his team have set a new gold standard for textual editing and interpretive criticism, leaping from the 19th century to the 21st - finally an edition that captures Middleton's tremendous accomplishments. - Henry Turner, Rutgers University, New Jersey, author of The English Renaissance Stage: Geometry, Poetics, and the Practical Spatial Arts, 1580-1630 (Oxford, 2006);Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works [is] the first time all his play, poems and manuscripts have appeared in a single volume. The timing of this 2,016-page monument couldn't be better. Academic interest in Middleton has burgeoned since the 1900s as scholars have discovered that the more time passes, the more relevant his work becomes. - Jumana Farouky, TIME