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Drama English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

The Jew of Malta

by (author) Christopher Marlowe

edited by Mathew R. Martin

Broadview Press
Initial publish date
Dec 2011
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2011
    List Price

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First performed by Shakespeare’s rivals in the 1590s, Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta was a trend-setting, innovative play whose black comedy and final tragic irony illuminate the darker regions of the Elizabethan cultural imagination. Although Jews were banished from England in 1291, the Jew in the form of Barabas, the play’s protagonist, returns on the stage to embody and to challenge the dramatic and cultural anti-Semitic stereotypes out of which he is constructed. The result is a theatrically sophisticated but deeply unsettling play whose rich cultural significance extends beyond the early modern period to the present day.

The introduction and historical documents in this edition provide a rich context for the world of the play’s composition and production, including materials on Jewishness and anti-Semitism, the political struggles over Malta, and Christopher Marlowe’s personal and political reputation.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Mathew R. Martin is Full Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Brock University.

Editorial Reviews

“The great strength of Mathew Martin’s edition is the ease of access it gives scholars and students to one of Marlowe’s strangest and most disturbing plays. He achieves this not simply by exemplary annotations, but by framing Marlowe’s text within an introduction and richly informative appendices that place the play securely in its contemporary social, cultural, and political contexts, enabling readers to negotiate complexities of tone and racial attitudes with subtle insight. The effect is precisely to highlight the daring originality of Marlowe’s dramatic artistry and his exacting control of both the arts of performance and his audience’s responses.” — Richard Allen Cave, Emeritus Professor of Drama and Theatre Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London

The Jew of Malta is one of early modern England’s most controversial plays on its most controversial topic—the collision of world religions. Martin’s terrific new edition brilliantly captures the gist of its cut-and-thrust. The introduction offers readers a sophisticated entrée into Anglo-Ottoman relations, European anti-Semitism, theatre history, and Machiavellianism. The edition is elegantly edited, with many resources for readers who want to understand one of Marlowe’s greatest plays in its historical milieu.” — Alan Shepard, President of Concordia University

Other titles by Christopher Marlowe

Other titles by Mathew R. Martin