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Magic on the Early English Stage

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  • Date Published: June 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521153065

$ 47.99 (C)
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About the Authors
  • Magic on the Early English Stage investigates the performance of magical tricks, illusions, effects and their staged appearance in the medieval and early English theatre. Performers who created such magic were not known as conjurors, as we might refer to them today, but as jugglers. Records concerning jugglers on the medieval stage have been hitherto misunderstood or misapplied. These references to jugglers are re-examined in the light of discussions of 'feats of activity' that also include tumbling, vaulting and 'dancing on the rope'; appearances and disappearances of the 'Now you see it, now you don't' variety; and stage versions of these concepts; magic through sound in terms of ventriloquy and sound through pipes; mechanical images and puppets; and stage tricks. Information that has remained dormant since original publication is discussed in relation to jugglers such as Thomas Brandon, the King's Juggler, and William Vincent, alias 'Hocus Pocus'. • Investigates the nature of the work of medieval jugglers for the first time • Identifies and discusses individual jugglers and their work • Draws upon analysis of stage directions, civic records, ecclesiastical accounts, eye-witness descriptions, and early books on magic to form a picture of the representation of magic on the medieval stage

    • Investigates the nature of the work of medieval jugglers for the first time
    • Identifies and discusses individual jugglers and their work
    • Draws upon analysis of stage directions, civic records, ecclesiastical accounts, eye-witness descriptions, and early books on magic to form a picture of the representation of magic on the medieval stage
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    Awards

    • This book received the David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Philip Butterworth is rapidly establishing himself as the pre-eminent authority on special effects of the medieval stage … His approach is cautious, scholarly, and thorough … Magic on the Early English Stage is a valuable addition to our knowledge of stage effects and other technical 'tricks' of the period.'
    Comparative Drama

    "Magic on the Early English Stage provides an unprecedentedly precise and impeccably thorough survey of the historical records within its purview." - Bruce Boehrer, Studies in English Literature

    "This valuable compendium should be acquired by university libraries and academies of dramatic art." --DuBruck: The Current State of Research

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521153065
    • length: 320 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Jugglers: the creators of magic
    2. Feats of activity: juggling, tumbling and dancing on the rope
    3. Conveyance and confederacy
    4. Appearances and disappearances
    5. Magic through sound
    6. Mechanical images, automata, puppets and motions
    7. Substitution
    8. Stage tricks
    9. Terminology
    Appendix 1. Edward Melton's Text
    Appendix 2. Wily Beguiled (1606)
    Appendix 3. Beggars' Bush (1622)
    Appendix 4. The Knave in Graine (1640).

  • Author

    Philip Butterworth, University of Leeds

    Awards

    • This book received the David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies

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