Many readers today associate the early modern history play with Shakespeare. While not wishing to ignore the influence of Shakespeare, this collection of essays explores other historical drama between 1500 and 1660, covering a wide range of different formats outside the canon of 1590s history cycles. The introduction provides a survey of current criticism, including both early modern and contemporary definitions of the 'history play'. Individual essays in chronological order discuss a wide variety of possible sources for historical drama, ranging from oral traditions to chronicles. They explore genres which think of 'history' in different ways, such as shows, moralities and closet drama. Finally, the book investigates the way sources are turned into script and performance, and the way playwrights spin history-in-performance, establishing exciting alternative paradigms of early historical drama.

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