Thomas Middleton and the Plural Politics of Jacobean Drama. DeGruyter/Medieval Institute Publications, 2021.
“This study seems destined to be referred to time and again in future scholarship, and I am not being hyperbolic to suggest that it deserves to be treated as one of the defining pieces of Middleton criticism.” – Will Green, review in Early Theatre
Thomas Middleton and the Plural Politics of Jacobean Drama is part of Cristina León Alfar and Helen Ostovich’s series Late Tudor and Early Stuart Drama: Gender, Performance, and Material Culture with Medieval Institute Publications and De Gruyter.
The book represents the first sustained study of Middleton’s dramatic works as responses to James I’s governance. Through examining Middleton’s poiesis in relation to the political theology of Jacobean London, Kaethler explores early forms of free speech, namely parrhēsia, and rhetorical devices, such as irony and allegory, to elucidate the ways in which Middleton’s plural art exposes the limitations of the monarch’s sovereign image. By drawing upon earlier forms of dramatic intervention, James’s writings, and popular literature that blossomed during the Jacobean period, including news pamphlets, the book surveys a selection of Middleton’s writings, ranging from his first extant play The Phoenix (1604) to his scandalous finale A Game at Chess (1624). In the course of this investigation, the author identifies that although Middleton’s drama spurs political awareness and questions authority, it nevertheless simultaneously promotes alternative structures of power, which manifest as misogyny and white supremacy.
Shakespeare’s Language in Digital Media: Old Words, New Tools. Routledge, 2017. Co-edited with Janelle Jenstad and Jennifer Roberts-Smith.
“this collection takes its place alongside the work of Flanders and Jannidis and McCarty, as well as such collections as Shakespeare and the Digital World (2014), edited by Christie Carson and Peter Kirwan, in preparing the reader to enter the brave new world of digital editing.” – Suzanne Gossett, review in Textual Cultures
“this volume is a wonderful introduction and reference for what scholars of language and literature in the early modern period can actually accomplish with the tantalizing promise of the digital.” – Heather Froelich, review in Renaissance Quarterly
“there is solid content and provocative ideas in this collection about the possible paths (or perhaps path?) to making Shakespeare’s texts digitally accessible in all their complexity as well as early modern English texts and culture more broadly.” – Jason Boyd, review in Digital Humanities Quarterly
Scholarly Editions (peer-reviewed)
London’s Tempe by Thomas Dekker. Map of Early Modern London Mayoral Shows, co-edited with Janelle Jenstad. MoEML and the University of Victoria on the Linked Early Modern Drama Online Platform, 2022.
This open-access digital edition of Thomas Dekker’s 1629 mayoral show is the first scholarly edition since Fredson Bowers’ Thomas Dekker: The Dramatic Works and the first modern-spelling edition ever published. It makes new bibliographical discoveries based upon the National Library of Scotland copy of the show, of which Bowers was unaware, and it positions the show within contemporary scholarship on civic pageantry and the politics of 1629. Users can access both a diplomatic transcription on the MoEML website, the modern-spelling edition with annotations and collations, a general introduction, and a textual introduction.
“The Triumphs of Repetition: Living Places in Early Modern Mayoral Shows.” The London Journal, vol. 47, no. 1, 2022, pp.68-84. https://doi.org/10.1080/03058034.2021.1991605
This article examines the merits of repetition as a rhetorical art in mayoral pageantry that mirrors the ways in which dramatists utilized conventions, ecologies, and London spaces on the early stage. It applies theories of environmental theatre to elucidate the ways in which civic performance employ London sites, places, and spaces as actants that bring the space to life and gradually decentre actors as the primarily performer or focus in these pageants.
“Walking with Vigilance: Middleton’s Edge in The Triumphs of Truth.” Early Theatre, vol. 24, no. 2, 2021, pp. 73-98. https://doi.org/10.12745/et.24.2.3863
Revisiting Tracey Hill’s notion that Middleton’s mayoral shows possess a critical edge, this article examines this edge as a form of irony that combines early morality traditions with topical matters to draw the Lord Mayor into the performance and counsel him. The attention to walking through the streets of London during performance, which is recreated in the rhetoric of the printed pageant book, establishes this technique both for the mayor in the moment and the reader who comes to understand the commemorative text simultaneously as live event. Looking to other Middleton shows, I argue that this defines his unique edge.
“Shakespeare and Cognition: Scientism, Theory, and 4E.” Literature Compass, vol. 17, no. 3-4, 2020, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1111/lic3.12571
The review article takes a position on the state of cognitive approaches to Shakespeare by challenging the scientism of many studies over the course of the past two decades. In doing so, it also looks more optimistically to 4E cognition as a vital intersection between cognitive science and the humanities.
“The TEI Assignment in the Literature Classroom: Making a Lord Mayor’s Show in University and College Classrooms.” Journal of the Text Encoding Initiative, vol. 12, July 2019. https://journals.openedition.org/jtei/1804
The article offers suggestions for teaching TEI in classes with a DH component to novice students. The work also explores the difficulties involved with editing a mayoral show and reflects upon the need to be conscientious with DH projects to avoid subscribing to neoliberal tendencies.
“Tagging Time and Space: TEI and the Canadian Stratford Festival Promptbook Collection.” Second author with Jennifer Roberts-Smith and Toby Malone, with Joseph Takeda, Martin Holmes, and Janelle Jenstad. Digital Studies / Le champ numerique, vol. 9, no. 1, May 2019, https://doi.org/10.16995/dscn.307
The article examines the challenges promptbooks pose as performance texts in digital environments, specifically with TEI. The article offers new ways of conceiving of a tagset for promptbooks and performance texts. https://www.digitalstudies.org/articles/10.16995/dscn.307/
“Jean Barbier and Thomas Middleton Rewrite the Rules of Chess.” Ludica, Annali di storia e civilta del gioco vol. 23 (2017): pp. 2-8.
The article received the 2016 honourable mention for the Gaetano Cozzi Prize for studies on the history of games. It examines the ways in which Jean Barbier’s revisions to Arthur Saul’s early chess manual have been previously overlooked for their influence on Thomas Middleton’s play A Game at Chess (1624).
“‘See me, and learne to know me’: Teaching Lord Mayors’ Shows in the Undergraduate Classroom.” This Rough Magic: A Peer-Reviewed, Academic, Online Journal Dedicated to the Teaching of Medieval and Renaissance Literature (June 2016).
This piece covers my work in the classroom, specifically the integration of Lord Mayors’ Shows into the undergraduate curriculum. As I argue, these annual celebrations offer opportunities for interdisciplinary study and complex critical inquiry.
“Muffled Protest: Parrhēsia, Politics, and Platea in Thomas Middleton’s The Phoenix and William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.” Special Cluster: Literature of Protest, edited by Bob Darcy and Will Stockton. Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies (Aug. 2015).
In this article, I compare and contrast the stagecraft and statecraft of Thomas Middleton’s and William Shakespeare’s disguised dukes in relation to the accession celebrations for King James I. I argue that the two texts differ in how sharp their texts’ rhetorical challenges to patriarchal authority are.
“Improvisation and Birdman, or the Unexpected Virtue of Irony.” Think Pieces (Sept. 2015): pp. 1-4.
In this guest edited Think Piece for IICSI (International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation), I explore the ways in which ironic representations of improvisation operate in the Academy Award winning film Birdman to expose the filmmakers’ critique of Hollywood’s unbearable whiteness.
Click to access think_piece_kaethler.pdf
Chapters in Edited Collections
“All the Game is a Stage: The Controller and Interface in Shakespearean Videogames.” The Routledge Handbook of Shakespeare and Interface, edited by Clifford Werier and Paul Budra. Routledge, 2022. pp. 44-57.
My chapter examines the ways in which studies of Shakespeare in videogames have overlooked the controller’s capacity to generate critical thought and affect in ways that mirror the conventions of the Shakespearean theatre. The chapter examines Final Fantasy IX and Life Is Strange: Before the Storm.
“Building a Digital Geospatial Anthology of the Mayoral Shows,” co-authored with Janelle Jenstad. Civic Performance: Pageantry and Entertainments in Early Modern London, edited by J. Caitlin Finlayson and Amrita Sen. Routledge, 2020. pp. 217-36.
Janelle Jenstad (University of Victoria) and I provide an overview for the Map of Early Modern London’s (MoEML) progress to date and plans for creating an online, open-access anthology of the mayoral shows. We indicate the critical, pedagogical, and interpretive abilities of editions that utilize MoEML’s geospatial technologies and identify the scholarly and public need for this anthology.
“Failed Feminist Inventions in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.” Feminist War Games? Mechanisms of War, Feminist Values, and Interventional Games, edited by Jon Saklofske, Alyssa Arbuckle, and Jon Bath. Routledge, 2019. pp. 150-66.
The essay unravels the feminist guise of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus in order to identify the ways in which the videogame still reproduces the conventional toxic masculinities of first-person shooter war games. Despite these failures, the work nevertheless indicates that the game is an initial step toward a more conscientious war game.
“Against Opposition (at Home): Middleton and Rowley’s The World Tossed at Tennis as Tennis.” Games and Game-Playing in European Art and Literature, 16th-17th Centuries, edited by Robin O’Bryan. Amsterdam UP, 2019. pp. 203-18.
The essay explores the previously unexamined religio-political implications of early ways of playing tennis for Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s masque turned playhouse drama, The World Tossed at Tennis (1620).
Rev. of John Jowett, Shakespeare and Text: Revised Edition. Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 52, no. 2, 2021, pp. 496-98.
Rev. of Thomas Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy, edited by Gretchen E. Minton. Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 51, no. 2, 2020, pp. 527-29.
Rev. of Sara Briest, Married to the City: The Early Modern Lord Mayor’s Show Between Emblematics and Ritual. Kritikon Litterarum, vol. 47, no. 1-2, 2020, pp. 178-79.
Rev. of Kirk Melnikoff and Roslyn L. Knutson, eds. Christopher Marlowe, Theatrical Commerce, and the Book Trade. Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 50, no. 4, Winter 2019, pp. 1234-36.
Rev. of Thomas Dekker’s Four Birds of Noah’s Ark, A Prayer Book from the Time of Shakespeare, edited by Robert Hudson. Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 50, no. 3, Fall 2019, pp. 905-7.
Rev. of Julia Reinhard Lupton, Shakespeare and Dwelling: Designs for the Theater of Life. Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 50, no. 2, 2019, pp. 657-59.
Rev. of Hugh Craig and Brett Greatley-Hirsch, Style, Computers, and Early Modern Drama: Beyond Authorship. Review of English Studies, vol. 69, no. 292, 2018, pp. 989-90.
Rev. of Cynthia Susan Clegg, Shakespeare’s Reading Audiences: Early Modern Books and Audience Interpretation. Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 71, no. 4, 2018, pp. 1602-3.
Rev. of Jennifer Munroe, Edward J. Geisweidt, and Lynne Bruckner, eds. Ecological Approaches to Early Modern English Texts: A Field Guide to Reading and Teaching. Sixteenth Century Journal vol. 49 no.2 (Summer 2018): pp. 503-5.
Rev. of Noah Millstone, Manuscript Circulation and the Invention of Politics in Early Stuart England. Renaissance Quarterly vol. 70, no. 3 (Fall 2017): pp. 1141-43.
Rev. of Jane Rickard, Writing the Monarch in Jacobean England: Jonson, Donne, Shakespeare and the Works of King James. Review of English Studies vol. 68, no. 283 (Feb 2017): pp. 177-79.
Rev. of Mathew R. Martin, Tragedy and Trauma in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe. Renaissance Quarterly vol. 69 no. 4 (Winter 2016): pp. 1582-84.
Rev. of Randall Martin, Shakespeare and Ecology. Sixteenth Century Journal vol. 47 no. 3 (Fall 2016): pp. 768-70.
Rev. of Andrew Duxfield, Christopher Marlowe and the Failure to Unify. Sixteenth Century Journal vol. 47 no. 2 (Summer 2016): pp. 438-39.
Rev. of Sophie Chiari, ed., The Circulation of Knowledge in Early Modern English Literature. Sixteenth Century Journal vol. 47 no. 1 (Spring 2016): pp. 128-29.
Rev. of Helen Ostovich and Lisa Hopkins, eds. Magical Transformation on the Early Modern English Stage. Sixteenth Century Journal vol. 46 no. 4 (Winter 2015): pp. 487-88.
Rev. of Anna Bayman, Thomas Dekker and the Culture of Pamphleteering in Early Modern London. Sixteenth Century Journal vol. 46 no. 1 (Spring 2015): pp. 127-28.
Rev. of Vin Nardizzi, Wooden Os: Shakespeare’s Theatres and England’s Trees. Sixteenth Century Journal vol. 45 no. 2 (Summer 2014): pp. 548-49.