This examination of the relation between law and drama in Renaissance England establishes the diversity of their dialogue, encompassing critique and complicity, comment and analogy, but argues that the way in which drama addresses legal problems and dilemmas is nevertheless distinctive. As the resemblance between law and theatre concerns their formal structures rather than their methods and aims, an interdisciplinary approach must be alive to distinctions as well as affinities. Alert to issues of representation without losing sight of a lived culture of litigation, this study primarily focuses on early modern implications of the connection between legal and dramatic evidence, but expands to address a wider range of issues which stretch the representational capacities of both courtroom and theatre. The book does not shy away from drama's composite vision of legal realities but engages with the fictionality itself as significant, and negotiates the methodological challenges it posits.
Subha Mukherji is a lecturer at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University.
List of illustrations; List of maps; Acknowledgements; Glossary; A note on the text; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. 'Of rings, and things, and fine array': marriage law, evidence and uncertainty; 2. 'Unmanly indignities': adultery, evidence and judgement in Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness; 3. Evidence and representation on 'the theatre of God's judgements': A Warning for Fair Women; 4. 'Painted devils': image-making and evidence in The White Devil; 5. Locations of law: spaces, people, play; 6. 'When women go to law, the Devil is full of Business': women, law and dramatic realism; Epilogue. The Hydra head, the labyrinth and the waxen nose: discursive metaphors for law; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.