"This is no world in which to pity men" : a study of Thomas Heywood as a Jacobean social critic

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mary Gates Brittain (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Christopher Spencer

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to place Thomas Heywood and his works in the mainstream of Jacobean drama rather than in the ebb tide of the Elizabethan. Traditionally, beginning with Lamb in 1808 and continuing to the present, Heywood has been extolled by critic after critic as the kindly, genial spokesman for middle-class morality and ideals. To most critics, Heywood appears to be an optimistic Elizabethan playwright with a staunch faith in human nature as well as a view of the world in which good ultimately triumphs over evil. In opposition to these commonly-held and seldom-questioned assumptions, this study attempts to show that Heywood is actually an instructive and constructive social critic not only of middle-class morality and ideals but also of contemporary English life in general. Moreover, he is a pessimistic Jacobean dramatist with a realistic, and sometimes satiric or ironic, view of man and of evil in a world where evil, not good, generally dominates as a sinister, brooding, and pervasive force.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1978
Heywood, Thomas, $d d. 1641 $x Criticism and interpretation
Heywood, Thomas, $d d. 1641 $x Political and social views
English drama $y 17th century $x History and criticism

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