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Preview — The Witch of Edmonton by William Rowley
The Witch of Edmonton
This edition of the multi-authored text The Witch of Edmonton offers a thorough reconsideration of the text, comprehensive notes and glossary, together with a complete transcription of the original pamphlet by Henry Goodcole.
Paperback, 150 pages
Published December 10th 1999 by Manchester University Press
(first published 1658)
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Jul 18, 2013 Maxwell Heath rated it 3 of 5 stars · review of another edition
This play was interesting. I certainly like Mother Sawyer's portion of the plot, as I find her reasons for making a deal with the Devil understandable, and she is in general a sympathetic character who makes a lot of good points about the unfairness of her position in life. The demon in the guise of a dog that serves her is also an interesting character, and the parts of the plot focused on him and a foolish young man are also fairly good. I didn't really enjoy the part of the plot focused on Fr...more
Jan 02, 2013 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars · review of another edition
I thought Elizabeth Sawyer (the eponymous witch) had some excellent speeches. I think the portrayal of her transformation from an isolated old woman who is suspected of witchcraft, into an actual witch that seems to communicate with the Devil was really well-written and interesting. However, 'The Witch of Edmonton' suffers as a whole from forced, jarring plot points such as (view spoiler)[Frank's abrupt, unquestioning murder of his second wife, Susan. I also found Susan's meek acceptance of her...more
It was good to read a play from 16th Century England that wasn't written by Shakespeare. Although there were some similarities between this play and Shakespeare, it was overall a different reading experience. The Witch of Edmonton is described as a tragi-comedy - although there is the deaths expected in a tragedy, there are marriages, reconciliations and humour that you expect to see in a comedy. I am interested in the use of witchcraft as a storytelling device and reading this play has made me...more
I read this Renaissance tragedy in grad school and it intrigued me so much I made it the topic of my thesis. It is a rarely studied play that centers around the true story of a old woman charged and hanged for witchcraft in 1621. At the time (back in 1989) when I was working on my thesis, I was heavily into deconstruction and thought to take this very modern critical approach to the play. It is still of interest to me and is a play that I think bears up well even today.
William Rowley (1585?? – February 1626) was an English Jacobean dramatist, best known for works written in collaboration with more successful writers. His date of birth is estimated to have been c. 1585; he was buried on 11 February 1626. (An unambiguous record of Rowley's death was discovered in 1928, but some authorities persist in listing his death-date as 1642.)More about William Rowley...