In this addition to the English Dramatists Series, Kathleen McLuskie uses the work of Dekker and Heywood to investigate the relationship between plays and the cultural moment into which they are produced. As professional playwrights, Dekker and Heywood debated and constructed the categories of popular theatre and engaged over a long period with the changing politics of culture, religion and state. Their work, and this book, provide an insight into the working context of Shakespeare and two of his most important contemporaries. This book offers an analysis of Dekker and Heywood's major plays (eg "The Golden Age", "The Fair Maid of the West", "The Shoemaker's Holiday" and "The Wise Women of Hogsdon"). The dramatic and theatrical history of the period is considered as well as the 20th-century revival of interest in Elizabethan and Stuart drama. The plays are explored from both a feminist and a performance point of view.