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