The Dragon and the Dove makes the original and controversial claim that Thomas Dekker, the author of plays blending satire, hagiography, and propaganda, was a militant Protestant. This study, whilst carefully analysing seven of his plays, takes The Whore of Babylon to be his central work and the definitive militant Protestant play. Militant Protestants were uncompromising in their beliefs and frequently came into conflict with the policies of the Crown. Apocalyptic ideas, and a vision of the international True Church struggling against the dragon of Rome, provide the key to understanding all Dekker's work. This book takes a completely fresh view of Dekker and presents him as a bold, pugnacious dramatist, writing for the London public, not merely the
Court, and constantly experimenting with form in order to find a vehicle for his strong convictions.
Readership: Scholars, second and third year undergraduates interested in Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre; historians of early seventeenth-century England; some theologians and church historians.
Julia Gasper, Lecturer in English, Stanford University Centre, Oxford
"`Drawing richly from contemporaneous events and texts of many kinds ... Gasper's overall argument is both convincing and ground-breaking ... This is a fine scholarly work, both sensible and readable.'
"`The Dragon and the Dove is thoroughly researched, well-documented, and densely written ... it makes a significant contribution to the contextualization of these Dekker plays and should be read by everyone interested in historical approaches to literature.'
T.H. Howard-Hill, Review of English Studies"
"'Gasper's trenchant and well-informed study makes sense of a great deal in Dekker and in the political culture he was addressing ... It is the most illuminating book on him.'
John Stachniewski, University of Manchester, YES, 23, 1993"
"'Gasper has transformed her doctoral study into a crisply researched, eminently readable book which studies Dekker's Protestant plays. The Dragon and the Dove will certainly serve to rekindle discussion about the work of Thomas Dekker. More importantly, it may encourage scholars to re-investigate other dramatists, poets, musicians, and artists who may have shared Dekker's conviction as a militant Protestant.'
John Harmon, Syracuse University, English Studies, Volume 73, Number 6, December 1992"