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Critically, theatrically, and politically, the time is ripe for a new edition of Christopher Marlowe's Edward II. Critically, the play has come to be, in the past several decades, a central document in histories and analyses of sexuality in early modern England, with the major figures in gay/queer history and literature of the period contributing to the discussion of male homoeroticism, same-sex friendship, and early modern sodomy in the play. Marlowe - and the relation of his life and death to his writing - has continued to generate interest and controversy among critics as well as the general reading public. At the same time, more traditional questions asked of the play- its contested status as history or tragedy, its status as an early exemplar of the history play, its relation to Shakespeare's histories-have continued to attract critical attention.
Edited to the highest Arden standard, the edition gives students a modernised, comprehensively annotated text with a lengthy, illustrated introduction discussing the play's treatment of same-sex relationships both in Marlowe's day and our own, an analysis of the play in performance and in relation to other plays of the period, and a discussion of changing critical views of its themes of obsessive love, power and politics.