Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Law and the literary imagination in early modern England had shared stakes in the relation between face and intent, surface and significance, truth and semblance, nature and artifice. Using the legally attuned dramatist John Webster’s The White Devil as its central example, this chapter probes law’s preoccupation with legibility and the way in which drama enters into dialogue with it. In the process, law emerges an interface between an expressive mode and a hermeneutic model, and thus an imaginative resource for literary writers interested in selfhood and inwardness. Ultimately, the argument intimates how the gaps and dualities of the interrelation between the theatre and the law are used by early modern dramatic practice to conceptualize the larger interrelation between literary and legal epistemologies.

Keywords: evidence, character, hearsay, physiognomy, legibility, hermeneutic/s, transparent/transparency, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Webster, The White Devil

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.