Intertextuality and Romance in Renaissance Drama: The Staging of Nostalgia

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This collection of essays applies the postmodernist theory of intertextuality to the romantic drama of the English Renaissance, including work by Heywood, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ford and especially Shakespeare. Placing the plays into dynamic relation with a wide variety of literary, cultural and political intertexts , ranging from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to the mythology surrounding King James' son, Prince Henry, causes them to signify in ways not previously appreciated, as well as to illuminate neglected features of the staged romances of the period, chiefly the complex element of nostalgia. Equally important is the objective of experimenting with intertextuality, originally conceived by French theorists to be a condition of textuality itself, as a critical methodology - one with a particular affinity for the genre and the period. A theoretical introduction reviews various understandings of intertextuality and suggests how the concepts may be adapted to the specific intellectual and social contexts of Renaissance drama.