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The Tragedy of Mariam 

The Tragedy of Mariam

Written by: Elizabeth Cary
Edited by: Stephanie Hodgson-Wright

Series: Broadview Editions
1st Edition

Publication Date: December 31, 2000
194pp • Paperback
ISBN: 9781551110431 / 1551110431
Volume: 0

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First published in 1613, The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry is probably the first play in English known to have been authored by a woman, and it has become increasingly popular in the study of early modern women's writing. The play, which Cary based on the story of Herod and Mariam, turns on a rumour of Herod's death, and unfolds around the actions taken by the patriarch's family and servants in his absence. In part a critique of male power, the play sets gender politics in sharp relief against a background of dynastic conflict and Roman imperialism.


"Anyone interested in early modern women writers owes a debt of gratitude to Broadview Press, who produce an unrivalled range of fascinating—and affordable—texts, many available nowhere else. To this they now add Elizabeth Cary's The Tragedy of Mariam. Stephanie Hodgson-Wright's excellent edition of this important work is the most user-friendly available. It contextualises the play by providing full historical sources and a good range of relevant contemporary writings about gender, and it resolves some previously unsolved questions about the play. Its full, informative and subtle introduction allows the reader to engage with its key themes, like gender, performance, public and private language and public and private spaces." - Jacqueline Pearson, University of Manchester

"Stephanie Hodgson-Wright's edition provides the reader with both a sense of the writer's historical context and of the play's dramatic power." - Christy Desmet, University of Georgia

Stephanie Hodgson-Wright teaches at the University of Gloucestershire. Among her publications is the groundbreaking monograph Women and Dramatic Production 1550-1700 (with Alison Findlay and Gweno Williams). She is involved as well with practical theatre work, including productions of The Tragedy of Mariam, The Rover, Iphigenia at Aulis, and Love's Victory.

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Elizabeth Cary: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text

The Tragedy of Mariam

Emendations and Variant Readings

Appendix A: Main Sources

  1. The Antiquities of the Jews
  2. The Wars of the Jews

Appendix B: Extracts from Selected Didactic and Polemical Texts

  1. Instruction of a Christian Woman
  2. The second tome of homilies
  3. A godly form of household government
  4. The Book of Common Prayer
  5. Basilikon Doron
  6. The true law of free monarchies
  7. The Mothers Blessing
  8. A Muzzle for Melastomus
  9. Ester Hath Hang’d Haman
  10. A Bride-Bush, or A Wedding Sermon
  11. The Mother’s Legacy to her Unborn Child

Appendix C: Photographs from the Tinderbox Theatre Company Production of The Tragedy of Mariam

Bibliography and Works Cited

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The Tragedy of Mariam

2000 • 194pp • Paperback • 9781551110431 / 1551110431

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.