Friday, April 13, 2018

J is for Jacobian: Zelazny A to Z

"I am Vindici! The son of Death! Bred in the Senecan twilight of Jacobian demigods, and punctual as death!

Roger Zelazny's education was in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and his Master's thesis was an analysis of The Revenger's Tragedy, a seminal work of the era. It was titled Two traditions and Cyril Tourneur: an examination of morality and humor comedy conventions in The Revenger's Tragedy and interestingly, authorship of the piece was reassessed since Zelazny's piece and it is now generally held that Thomas Middleton was the author rather than Cyril Tourneur.

Tourneur did write The Atheist's Tragedy, or the Honest Man's Revenge, which is something of a subversion of the tropes of the revenge play, to the extent that the ghost of the murder victim shows up to tell his son, "Naw, it's all good. No need to seek revenge." I could absolutely imagine Zelazny writing such a twist.

Three hallmarks of the era are metatheatricality, madness and murder, traits we can agree Zelazny's work has in abundance. 

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