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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $14.00
  • September 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93400-7
  • 336 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

The Spanish Tragedy

Norton Critical Editions


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Thomas Kyd (Author), Michael Neill (Editor, University of Kent)


Thomas Kyd’s highly influential and popular revenge play is now available in a richly documented and critically engaging Norton Critical Edition.

The freshly edited and annotated text comes with a full introduction and illustrative materials intended for student readers.

The Spanish Tragedy was well known to sixteenth-century audiences, and its central elements—a play-within-a-play and a ghost bent on revenge—are widely believed to have influenced Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This volume includes a generous selection of supporting materials, among them Kyd’s likely sources (Virgil, Jacques Yver, and the anonymous “The Earl of Leicester Betrays His Own Servant”), Thomas Nashe’s satiric criticism of Kyd, Michel de Montaigne and Francis Bacon on revenge, and “The Ballad of The Spanish Tragedy,” which suggests the play’s initial reception.

“Criticism” is thematically organized to provide readers with a clear sense of the play’s major themes. Contributors include Michael Hattaway, Jonas A. Barish, Donna B. Hamilton, G. K. Hunter, Lorna Hutson, Molly Smith, J. R. Mulryne, T. McAlindon, and Andrew Sofer.

A Selected Bibliography is also included.


Download Contents (pdf)

    List of Illustrations
    List of Abbreviations


    The Text of The Spanish Tragedy

        Sources and Biography
             Virgil • [Aeneas in the Underworld]
             Jacques Yver • [Soliman and Perseda]
             Anonymous • [The Earl of Leicester Betrays His Own Servant]
             Thomas Nashe • [Satiric Criticism of Kyd]
             From An Exhortation Concerning Good Order and Obedience to Rulers and Magistrates
             Michel de Montaigne • From Of Cruelty • From Cowardice, the Mother of Cruelty
             Francis Bacon • Of Revenge
        Contemporary Reception
             Anonymous • [The Ballad of The Spanish Tragedy]

             Michael Hattaway • From The Spanish Tragedy: Architectonic Design
        The Language of the Play
             Jonas A. Barish • From The Spanish Tragedy, or The Pleasures and Perils of Rhetoric
        Metadramatic Readings
             Donna B. Hamilton • From The Spanish Tragedy: A Speaking Picture
        Justice and Revenge
             G. K. Hunter • From Ironies of Justice in The Spanish Tragedy
             Lorna Hutson • From Hieronimo, Justice and Dramatist
        Violence and Death
             Molly Smith • From The Theater and the Scaffold: Death as Spectacle in The Spanish Tragedy
        Politics and Subversion
             J. R. Mulryne • From Nationality and Language in Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy
        The Play of Opposites
             T. McAlindon • From Thomas Kyd: The Spanish Tragedy
             Andrew Sofer • From Absorbing Interests: Kyd’s Bloody Handkerchief as Palimpsest

    Selected Bibliography