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Uncovering important links between acting and authorship in early modern England, Nora Johnson traces the careers of Robert Armin, Nathan Field, Anthony Munday and Thomas Heywood, actors strongly interested in marketing themselves as authors and celebrities. However, the authorship they imagined had little to do with modern ideas of control and ownership. Shakespeare's famous silence about his own work is one strategy among many available to writers for the stage. Johnson provides an alternative to the debate between traditional and materialist readers of dramatic authorship.Read more
- Contributes to debates on authorship in the Renaissance, and therefore belongs more to Renaissance studies than to theatre studies
- Explains the powerful connections between actors and authorship in early modern drama
- Resituates Shakespeare and Jonson in relation to their fellow actor-playwrights
Reviews & endorsements
"Johnson's style is lively, engaging and packed full of anecdotal detail, which brings a vividness and strong interest to her discussion."
- Early Modern Literary StudiesSee more reviews
"Refreshing and absorbing."
- Studies in English Literature
"Johnson's argument about dramatic authorship is strong and consistent." Essays in Theatre,/i> William W.E. Slights, University of Saskatchewan
"The Actor as Playwright in Early Modern Drama will undoubtably stand as a significant contribution to the recent critical conversation about the construction of dramatic authorship both in its implicit challenge to Jonson and Shakespeare-focused approaches and in its loud questioning of Foucault's 'principle of thrift' as the dominant paradigm for understanding authorial self-fashioning in the Elisabethan and jacobean periods." Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England Kirk Melnikoff
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- Date Published: July 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521117371
- length: 220 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 13 mm
- weight: 0.33kg
- contains: 2 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Introduction: playing author
1. Publishing the fool: Robert Armin and the collective production of mirth
2. The actor-playwright and the true poet: Nathan Field, Ben Jonson and the prerogatives of the author
3. Anthony Munday and the spectacle of martyrdom
4. 'Some zanie with his mimick action': Thomas Heywood and the staging of humanist authority
Coda: the Shakespearean silence
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