English Revenge Tragedies, RSA Conference, Venice, April 8-10, 2010 (Deadline: May 15th, 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Emily King, Tufts University
contact email: 

Though revenge tragedies preoccupied Elizabethan and Jacobean spectators, these plays received little to no critical recognition. Even today, revenge tragedies comprise a seemingly marginalized sector of Renaissance drama. Observing their current status, Stevie Simkin quips in Revenge Tragedy: "Consequently, they are (with some reluctance) permitted to join the established canon of classical works, occasionally dragged out like exotic creatures for a season to be observed by curious audiences and often patronizing theatre critics, and then locked securely away for another ten years" (4). Furthermore, these works – as a genre – have garnered a remarkably small amount of scholarly attention, particularly in the past ten years.

Part of this panel, then, aims to address this gap in the critical discourse. Genre-wide considerations are not the only way to approach this topic; individual plays may be considered as well. Areas of particular interest include but are not limited to:

-Senecan, Italian, and French influences – how does English revenge tragedy differ from its influences? From a historical perspective, what factors may account for this difference?
-Genre specifications – what constitutes revenge tragedy?
-Contemporaneous legal and/or ecclesiastical responses to English revenge tragedies
-Relation between the scaffold and the stage – does the ubiquitous violence of English revenge tragedies trouble the boundaries between theatrical and "real" violence, particularly with regard to regicide?
-Ethics and revenge tragedies – how would contemporary theoretical discussions of ethics (Badiou, Zupančič, Lacan, and more) intersect with aspects of this genre?

Please send abstracts (150 word maximum) for a 20-min paper, a short CV, and contact information (current institutional affiliation, e-mail address) to Emily.King@tufts.edu by May 15, 2009.