The collection of articles gathered in this volume grew naturally and spontaneously out of the Second International Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Thought hosted by Sam Houston State University in April 2016. This anthology reflects the diverse fields of study represented at the conference. The purpose of the conference, and consequently of this book of essays, is partially to establish a place for medieval and renaissance scholarship to thrive in our current intellectual landscape. This volume is not designed solely for scholars, but also for generalists who wish to augment their knowledge and appreciation of an array of disciplines; it is an intellectual smorgasbord of philosophy, poetry, drama, popular culture, linguistics, art, religion, and history.
In this new collection, Cynthia Greenwood’s essay investigates the structure and rhetoric of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, a “problem” comedy that was performed for the court of James I on December 26, 1604. For decades scholars and theatre directors have grappled with the play’s palpable departure from the norms and patterns of festive comedies that Shakespeare wrote during the 1590s. Greenwood’s essay is important because it explores the possible influence of ecclesiastical (‘bawdy’) court hearings upon Measure for Measure’s structure and design in order to posit how the play would have resonated with Jacobean-era audiences. By situating the play in its contemporary legal context, the essay effectively elucidates why it remains less accessible to twenty-first-century audiences and continues to challenge stage directors.
Dr Darci N. Hill is Professor of British Literature at Sam Houston State University, USA. She received her PhD from Texas Woman’s University, USA, and specializes in classical rhetoric and the literature of the English Renaissance. Hill’s publications focus generally on Renaissance literature, with particular emphasis on seventeenth-century poet George Herbert. She is also the editor of News from the Raven: Essays from Sam Houston State University on Medieval and Renaissance Thought (2014). She also speaks and writes on rhetoric, as well as the works of C. S. Lewis and the Oxford Inklings.