John Dickenson, Greene in Conceit: New Raised from His Grave to Write the Tragic History of Fair Valeria of London

Edited by Donald Beecher & David Margolies - BR19

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The story of Valeria is an archetypal tale of unequal marriage, escape and betrayal, abuse and retribution. Trapped in the social conventions of late sixteenth-century London, the heroine’s vitality and wilfulness make her ultimately a tragic figure. Dickenson, in keeping with the temper of the age, is a moralist, but he goes beyond conventional moralising to explore the position of women in a patriarchal society. He is an accomplished stylist yet also delivers a fast-moving narrative that makes him very accessible. The title refers to the late Robert Greene, an outstanding popular fiction writer of the period, who supposedly gains permission to return briefly to the land of the living to let the world know the tragic tale of Valeria, whose shade has recently arrived in Hades. Encountering Dickenson, Greene appoints him to bring the tale to the public.

Edited with an introduction and annotations by Donald Beecher & David Margolies

Donald Beecher is professor of English at Carleton University in Ottawa. He is the editor of some twenty critical editions of Renaissance texts, and, in his most recent writings, is concerned with the cognitive sciences and their significance for the study of literature.

David Margolies, emeritus professor of English at Goldsmiths College, London, has published extensively on the fiction of the Elizabethan period, on popular culture, and on Shakespeare’s plays from a social perspective.

151 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-7727-2043-6 softcover
Published: 2011


Parergon, Volume 28, Number 2, 2011, pp. 254-255 (Review)



The Life of John Dickenson
Art as Entertainment
Style as Performance
The Use of Verse
Orality and Culture
Narrative Structure
Fiction and Truth
Morality and Patriarchy

Textual Matters and Editorial Procedures


Greene in Conceit
To My Dear Friend
An Advertisement to the Reader
The Tragic Story of Fair Valeria of London

Textual Annotations

The Huntington and Bodleian Copies Compares