Drama and Politics in the English Civil War

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In 1642 an ordinance closed the theaters of England. Critics and historians have assumed that the edict was firm and inviolate. Susan Wiseman challenges this assumption and argues that the period 1640 to 1660 was not a gap in the production and performance of drama. Rather, throughout the period writers focused instead on a range of dramas with political perspectives, from republican to royalist. In analyzing the diverse forms of dramatic production of the 1640s and 1650s, Wiseman offers new insights into the theater of the Civil War.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Susan Wiseman examines a neglected body of dramatic literature and exposes the fraility of the presumption of a sharp break between the Caroline and Restoration dramatic traditions." Bryon Nelson, Theatre Journal

"In this interesting study, Wiseman...argues that Parliament's 1642 edict to close the theaters was not primarily a measure of moral reform, but rather an attempt to suppress controversy and an appeal to public support in a time of political crisis. Graduate students; researchers; faculty." Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521472210
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2003
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; A note on texts and list of abbreviations; Acknowledgements; Preface; Introduction: how the drama disappeared; Part I. 1642–1649: Cases in Politics and Drama: 1. New news for a new world? Genre, politics and the news dialogues of the 1640s; 2. 'With the agreement of the people in their hands': transformations of 'radical' drama in the 1640s; 3. Royalist versus republican ethics and aesthetics: The Famous Tragedie of Charles I and The Tragedy of the Famous Orator Marcus Tullius Cicero; Interchapter: 'The Life of Action': playing, action and discourse on performance in the 1640s; Part II. The 1650s: Protectorate, Politics and Performance: 4. Gender and status in dramatic discourse: Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle; 5. Royal or reformed? The politics of court entertainment in translation and performance; 6. National identity, topic and genre in Davenant's Protectorate opera; 7. Genre, politics and place: the social body in the dramatic career of John Tatham; 8. True and loyal? Politics and genre in Civil War and Protectorate tragicomedy; Coda; Notes; Select bibliography; Index.

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