A comprehensive reassessment of Middleton's cultural importance, this wide-ranging study examines both the writer's dramatic and non-dramatic texts to show how he laid bare the complicit interests at work behind assumptions about sex, morality, society, and politics in late feudal culture. Middleton's importance has long been acknowledged in the modern theatre, but academic criticism still seems distracted by questions regarding his morals and `Puritanism'. Swapan Chakravorty argues again the reductivism of such enquiries, and demonstrates the complexity behind the texts'disengagement from received ideological premises and gneric formulae. Combining close reading with lively historical analysis, Society and Politics in the Plays of Thomas Middleton reveals Middleton to have been a pioneer of politically self-conscious theatre. Full of insight, this study bringsalive the plays' meanings by engaging with the social, political, and cultural concerns of Middleton's day.