The irony of identity : self and imagination in the drama of Christopher Marlowe / Ian McAdam.

By: McAdam, Ian, 1960-Material type: TextTextPublisher: Newark : London : University of Delaware Press ; Associated University Presses, c1999Description: 283 p. ; 25 cmISBN: 0874136652 (alk. paper); 9780874136654 (alk. paper)Subject(s): Marlowe, Christopher, 1564-1593 -- Knowledge -- Psychology | Identity (Psychology) in literature | Psychoanalysis and literature -- England | Drama -- Psychological aspects | Irony in literature | Self in literature | ImaginationAdditional physical formats: Online version:: Irony of identity.DDC classification: 822/.3 LOC classification: PR2677.I35 | M37 1999Also issued online.
Contents:
Introduction -- Dido Queen of Carthage: Tenuous Manhood -- Tamburlaine the Great: Tenuous Godhood -- Doctor Faustus: The Exorcism of God -- The Jew of Malta: The Failure of Carnal Identity -- The Massacre at Paris: The Exorcism of Machevil -- Edward II: The Illusion of Integrity -- Conclusion.
Summary: This work makes a valuable contribution to Marlowe studies because it is the first to consider closely the connection between sexual and religious conflicts in the plays, emphasizing psychological readings while also attending to historical matter and recent theoretical developments. Engaging the theories of Heinz Kohut on the individual's struggle for "manliness" and personal wholeness, McAdam illustrates how two fundamental points of destabilization in Marlowe's life and work - his subversive treatment of Christian belief and his ambivalence toward his homosexuality - clarify the plays' interest in the struggle for self-authorization.Summary: The author posits a post-Freudian argument in favor of pre-Oedipal narcissistic pathology in Marlowe's plays, in contrast to Kuriyama's psychoanalytic study, Hammer or Anvil, which is Freudian in approach and concerned with Oedipal patterns. The book argues for a dialectical pattern of psychological development.
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PR2677.I35 M37 1999 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001394725

Includes bibliographical references (p. 271-278) and index.

Also issued online.

1. Introduction -- 2. Dido Queen of Carthage: Tenuous Manhood -- 3. Tamburlaine the Great: Tenuous Godhood -- 4. Doctor Faustus: The Exorcism of God -- 5. The Jew of Malta: The Failure of Carnal Identity -- 6. The Massacre at Paris: The Exorcism of Machevil -- 7. Edward II: The Illusion of Integrity -- 8. Conclusion.

This work makes a valuable contribution to Marlowe studies because it is the first to consider closely the connection between sexual and religious conflicts in the plays, emphasizing psychological readings while also attending to historical matter and recent theoretical developments. Engaging the theories of Heinz Kohut on the individual's struggle for "manliness" and personal wholeness, McAdam illustrates how two fundamental points of destabilization in Marlowe's life and work - his subversive treatment of Christian belief and his ambivalence toward his homosexuality - clarify the plays' interest in the struggle for self-authorization.

The author posits a post-Freudian argument in favor of pre-Oedipal narcissistic pathology in Marlowe's plays, in contrast to Kuriyama's psychoanalytic study, Hammer or Anvil, which is Freudian in approach and concerned with Oedipal patterns. The book argues for a dialectical pattern of psychological development.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Wise and attentive readers of this book will be instantly on guard when they realize how heavily indebted McAdam (Univ. of Lethbridge, Alberta) is to Constance Kuriyama's hopelessly outdated Hammer or Anvil (CH, Feb'81). Those who follow Marlowe scholarship will recall that the same baneful influence spoiled much of Matthew Proser's Gift of Fire (CH, Jul'96). McAdam seems to take for granted that Marlowe was homosexual (an unproven and probably unprovable assumption) and argues that Marlowe's emotional struggles over his homosexuality colored many of the characters in his plays. Thus, one is left with yet another dreary psychoanalytical reading of Marlowe based more on what the critic thinks might have been the case than on demonstrable proof. After wading through the pages of Kuriyama, Proser, and McAdam, readers will experience profound relief to return to the sensible writings of Harry Levin, Douglas Cole, Clifford Leech, and most recently Fred Tromly (Playing with Fire, CH, Sep'99), to name only a few of the most important and coherent contributors to Marlowe scholarship. Finally, though this probably is not the fault of McAdam, a book as densely annotated as this one should have footnotes instead of crowded endnotes that necessitate a disagreeable amount of flipping back and forth. For comprehensive collections only. L. L. Bronson; Central Michigan University

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