William Rowley, The Birth of Merlin

Download PDF Save to Bookshelf Tweet Report an Error
Tyler Jean Dukes (Texas Christian University)

The Birth of Merlin, or, The Childe Hath Found His Father, has few equivalents in the catalog of Jacobean drama. Willliam Rowley and his mysterious collaborator(s) ambitiously pack multiple plots and even more generic peculiarities into the play. It is a journey into the absurd and anachronistic that can dizzy, if not divide, audiences. All five acts are “chaotic and surprising” (Kirwan). The play’s central theme — Things-Being-What-They-Are-Not — finds its most potent expression in the main characters Merlin and Joan, as well as the two sisters Constantia and Modestia.

Context & Reception

The Birth of Merlin was first performed in 1622. Scholars …

4591 words

Citation: Dukes, Tyler Jean. "The Birth of Merlin". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 February 2022 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11986, accessed 06 February 2023.]

11986 The Birth of Merlin 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.