On 19 April 1621, a woman named Elizabeth Sawyer was hanged at Tyburn. Her story was on the bookstalls within days and within weeks was adapted for the stage as The Witch of Edmonton. The devil stalks Edmonton in the shape of a large black dog and, just as Elizabeth Sawyer makes her demonic pact, the newlywed Frank Thorney enters into his own dark bargain in the shape of a second, bigamous marriage. Torn between sympathy for Sawyer and Thorney and a clear-eyed assessment of their crimes, the play was the finest and most nuanced treatment of witchcraft that the stage would see for centuries. Lucy Munro's introduction provides students and scholars with a detailed understanding of this complex play.
Lucy Munro is Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature at King's College London, UK. She is also Secretary of the Marlowe Society of America, Publicity Officer for the Malone Society, and a member of the Architecture Research Group at Shakespeare's Globe and the steering group of the London Renaissance Seminar.
List of illustrations General editors' preface Preface Introduction Prince Charles's Men, 1618-22 Collaborations Reading Elizabeth Sawyer in 1621 Witchcraft and Bigamy: 1621 and 1658 Danger and Death: Tragicomedy and Domestic Drama in 1621 Curtain and Cockpit: Staging the Supernatural in 1621 London and Lancashire: Staging Witchcraft in 1634 The Witch and the Dog Staging The Witch of Edmonton: 1921 to 2014 Edmonton on Stage The Witch and the Dog: Reprise Forget the Hobby Horse! Printing The Witch of Edmonton: 1658 and 2014 Quarto Paratext THE WITCH OF EDMONTON Appendix: Doubling chart Abbreviations and References Abbreviations used in notes Works by and partly by Shakespeare Editions of The Witch of Edmonton collated Other works cited Modern productions cited