07 January 2008

Archival Review: The Malcontent by John Marston with John Webster

Trade paperback, 136 pages
Published 1998 (originally c. 1603)
Acquired January 2007

Read December 2007
The Malcontent
by John Marston with John Webster

This is one of the plays we were supposed to read in the revenge tragedy course that I took last spring, but after I had purchased it, the professor dropped it from the syllabus in favor of Titus Andronicus.  My interest in Tudor revenge tragedy was sparked by the (brilliant) cinematic adaptation of The Revenger's Tragedy, and none of the other examples of the genre have ever quite lived up to that one-- full of wit, melancholy, and cheerful violence. (Well, Hamlet is better, of course, but it's not exactly a typical revenge tragedy.) Still, I was looking forward to this one, but as I was reading it, I was struck by the fact it sure was taking a while for the revenging to happen.  Well, it never did.  Marston wrote a subversive take on the genre, where everyone reconciles in the end.  I don't know if it was good or not; I just wanted my bloodbath!

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