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The Cambridge Introduction to Early Modern Drama, 1576–1642


Part of Cambridge Introductions to Literature

  • Date Published: February 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107013568

£ 57.00

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About the Authors
  • Engaging and stimulating, this Introduction provides a fresh vista of the early modern theatrical landscape. Chapters are arranged according to key genres (tragedy, revenge, satire, history play, pastoral and city comedy), punctuated by a series of focused case studies on topics ranging from repertoire to performance style, political events to the physical body of the actor, and from plays in print to the space of the playhouse. Julie Sanders encourages readers to engage with particular dramatic moments, such as opening scenes, skulls on stage or the conventions of disguise, and to apply the materials and methods contained in the book in inventive ways. A timeline and frequent cross-references provide continuity. Always alert to the possibilities of performance, Sanders reveals the remarkable story of early modern drama not through individual writers, but through repertoires and company practices, helping to relocate and re-imagine canonical plays and playwrights.

    • Achieves a special focus by concentrating on commercial playhouses and their repertoires, revisiting familiar territory from new angles and opening up new areas of investigation alongside the canonical, the familiar and the known
    • Uses genre as an organising category for the chapters, assisting readers working with key concepts such as 'tragedy' and 'comedy' while also challenging overly simplistic categorisation and encouraging connection and overlap throughout the volume
    • Includes interspersed short case studies deploying different critical approaches and methodologies, providing a detailed snapshot of cutting edge critical scholarship on early modern drama
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The writing is lively and approachable, and both the chronology and bibliography are excellent.' Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107013568
    • length: 282 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface. An outline of approaches taken
    Introduction: brick, lime, sand, plaster over lath, and 'new oaken boards': the early modern playhouse
    Case study A. Richard III at the Globe
    Case study B. An outdoor theatre repertoire: the Rose on Bankside
    1. Tragedy
    Case study C. Opening scenes
    Case study D. Staging violence and the space of the stage
    2. Revenge drama
    Case study E. 'Here in the friars': the second Blackfriars indoor playhouse
    Case study F. The social life of things: skulls on the stage
    3. Histories
    Case study G. Title pages and plays in print
    4. Comedy, pastoral and romantic
    Case study H. The boy actor: body, costume, and disguise
    5. City comedies
    Case study I. The dramaturgy of scenes
    Case study J. Collaborative writing or the literary workshop
    6. Satire
    Case study K. Topical theatre and 1605–6
    Case study L. 'Little eyases': the children's companies and repertoire
    7. Tragicomedy
    Case study M. The visual rhetoric of dumb show
    Conclusion. The wind and the rain: the wider landscape of early modern performance

  • Author

    Julie Sanders, University of Nottingham
    Julie Sanders is Chair of English Literature and Drama at the University of Nottingham and currently Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at its Ningbo, China campus.

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