The Third Citizen


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A compelling, lucid, and critically important intervention in a series of overlapping fields: Shakespeare studies, Renaissance studies, and cultural studies. In addition to startlingly fresh and persuasive interpretations of familiar plays, Oliver Arnold offers a whole new way of understanding the politics of the Elizabethan and Jacobean theater. -- Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University

Table of Contents

Note on References and Abbreviations
Part I: Parliament in Shakespeare's England
1. "An epitome of the whole realme": Absorption and Representation in the Elizabethan and Jacobean House of Commons
2. Cade's Mouth: Swallowing Parliament in the First Tetralogy
Part II: Political Representation in Shakespeare's Rome
3. "Their tribune and their trust": Political Representation, Property, and Rape in Titus Andronicus and The Rape of Lucrece
4. "Caesar is turn'd to hear": Theater, Popular Dictatorship, and the Conspiracy of Republicanism in Julius Caesar
5. "Worshipful mutineers": From Demos to Electorate in Coriolanus
Epilogue: Losing Power, Losing Oneself: The Third Citizen and Tragedy
Works Cited

About the Author

Oliver Arnold is an associate professor of English at Princeton University.


Arnold's dense book explores the fertile ground left mostly unturned by new historicist approaches of early modern politics... Brilliant and well-documented analysis of Shakespeare's 'representational plays'. -- Marie-Dominique Garnier Cercles A compelling historical refinement... Recommended. Choice Remarkably scholarly... This seminal redrawing of power and politics in late Tudor and early Stuart England takes its authority from the tight analogies it makes between political events and governmental practice in Shakespeare's time and its detailed examination of key scenes in a half-dozen of his plays. In confronting our common assumptions of the period, it forces us to rethink our own historical beliefs. -- Arthur F. Kinney Renaissance Quarterly Intelligent and important book... A bracing riposte to revisionist historians. -- Anne McLaren English Historical Review A superb look at Shakespearean politics. Studies in English Literature Promises a fresh and original approach. -- Richard McCoy Comparative Drama Provides some needed and very stimulating ideas and evidence with which to develop scholarly analysis of the ways in which contemporaries thought about parliamentary representation, and about the problems involved in making such a system both meaningful and practicable. -- Jason Peacey H-Net Reviews A serious book about an important subject and a work that anyone interested in Shakespeare's political thought should read carefully... I admire The Third Citizen. Clio Arnold quite convincingly documents his major claim. -- Maurice Hunt English Studies

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