Dr. Samantha Dressel

Dr. Samantha Dressel (Department of English) and Matthew Carter (Clayton State University) recently published their co-edited book, Boundaries of Violence in Early Modern England (Routledge Press). The book explores the possibilities and limitations of violence in the Early Modern world through a collaboration of scholars who participated in the 2021 Shakespeare Association of America seminar “Boundaries of Violence.”

The book was written and edited in light of the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the subsequent hearings, when the nation was suddenly struggling with its own “boundaries of violence.”

“This resonance highlights that these are still questions our society is grappling with, and we can edge closer to answers by understanding the answers given in the past,” said Dressel.  

As editors of the book and experts of literary violence, Dressel and Carter divided the book into three sections allowing readers to easily find intertextual materials: History-cal Violence, (Un)Comic Violence, and Revenge Violence. Each section of the book contains one chapter engaging with modern dramatic practice along with several that take textual or historical approaches.

“We wanted to bring together a larger community of scholars in the same field,” said Dr. Dressel. “We were particularly excited to have intentionally presentist approaches in the book.”

Dressel’s chapter focuses on the #MeToo movement in conversation with a little-known Renaissance play, while other contributors of the book deal with similar modern issues, performances, and pedagogy as they relate to early modern sources.

“I hope that students [or academics] reading a chapter here or there for research, for example, will be fascinated by the strange and interesting approaches to violence in our chapters.”