The Thracian Wonder
The Thracian Wonder was first published in 1661, attributed to John Webster and William Rowley. The play was edited three times in the nineteenth century as part of Webster's collected works, a connection that, ironically, damaged the play's reputation. This edition attempts to demonstrate the strengths of the work and to correct some inaccuracies about dating, sources and authorship. The debt to Robert Greene's Menaphon is acknowledged, but the play's creativity in utilizing its source is newly recognized; the relationship with William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale is re-examined; the authorship of William Rowley is also confirmed. Yet The Thracian Wonder's interest lies not in the names associated with it, but in the fact that it is unique among pastoral dramas. Its structure echoes that of the citizen romance and its politics is not of the court but of the citizenry.
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