Mourning Thomas Kyd's Lost Works

15 Jan 2018

This essay examines the related questions of mourning, knowledge and authorship in Thomas Kyd’s elusive corpus. In The Spanish Tragedy, Isabella cannot begin to mourn her murdered son until she knows “the author of this endles woe;” her melancholic state helps us to revisit fragments from Kyd’s lost works, preserved in two 1600 anthologies. Connecting together recent bibliographic criticism, theoretical writing from Freud to Gillian Rose, and a consideration of the infamous ur-Hamlet, this essay argues that these fragments, taken from their settings, are characterized by a melancholic loss that uncannily replays the preoccupations of Kyd’s drama.