Depicting with shocking openness the sexual and political violence of its central characters’ fates, Edward the Second broke new dramatic ground in English theatre. The play charts the tragic rise and fall of the medieval English monarch Edward the Second, his favourite Piers Gaveston, and their ambitious opponents Queen Isabella and Mortimer Jr., and is an important cultural, as well as dramatic, document of the early modern period.
This modernized and fully annotated Broadview Edition is prefaced by a critical but student-oriented introduction and followed by ample appendix material, including extended selections from Marlowe’s historical sources, texts bearing on the play’s complex sexual and political dynamics, and excerpts from contemporary poet Michael Drayton’s epic rendition of Edward the Second’s reign.
“This is a first-rate edition of an increasingly important play. Mathew Martin’s editing of the quarto text of Edward the Second is detailed and thoughtful, with copious, insightful annotations, and his critical introduction lucidly explores the play’s theatrical contexts, historiographical concerns, and thematic imperatives. The extensive appendices that conclude the volume are invaluable for understanding the larger historical, political, and sexual contexts of the work. All in all, this is an edition that will greatly benefit both the student reader and the experienced scholar.” — Ian Munro, University of California, Irvine
“Mathew Martin’s new edition of Edward the Second will serve well the needs of students. The introduction contains a succinct and helpful summary of the pertinent aspects of Marlowe’s life and of the practical concerns of the Elizabethan stage, details the reign of the historical Edward II, and considers early modern and postmodern evaluations of “sodomitical” relationships. Appendices offer important cultural contexts, including passages from Marlowe’s historical sources in Holinshed and Stow, Michael Drayton’s very different poetic account of Edward’s reign, a selection of early modern versions of the tradition of amity (or friendship between men), and Renaissance legal and moral descriptions of sodomy.” — Ian McAdam, University of Lethbridge