Book Review

Maus, Katharine Eisaman. Inwardness and Theater in the English Renaissance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Reviewed by Patricia Fumerton | August 14, 2001

This is an important contribution to the ongoing investigation into early modern notions of inwardness and subjectivity. Maus begins her study by situating herself in opposition to recent cultural critics who argue that interiority in the English Renaissance was either nonexistent or only publicly rendered. Instead, she finds evidence in the period of a widespread and urgent preoccupation with inwardness and with “the discrepancy between ‘inward disposition’ and ‘outward appearance'” (13). Maus attributes this preoccupation primarily to the disruptions caused by the English Reformation and sees it best enacted and explored in the culture’s drama (Shakespeare’s Richard III, Othello, and Measure for Measure; Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and Tamburlaine plays; Jonson’s Volpone and Epicoene; Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy; and Milton’s Comus). For a longer, published version of this review, see Shakespeare Studies 28 (1998).

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