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Douglas Bruster's provocative study of English Renaissance drama explores its links with Elizabethan and Jacobean economy and society, looking at the status of playwrights such as Shakespeare and the establishment of commercial theatres. He identifies in the drama a materialist vision which has its origins in the climate of uncertainty engendered by the rapidly expanding economy of London. His examples range from the economic importance of cuckoldry to the role of stage props as commodities, and the commercial significance of the Troy story in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, and he offers new ways of reading English Renaissance drama, by returning the theatre and the plays performed there, to its basis in the material world.
1. Towards a material theatre; 2. Drama and the Age; 3. 'City comedy' and the materialist vision; 4. Horns of plenty: cuckoldry and capital; 5. The objects of farce: identity and commodity; 6. The farce of objects: Othello to Bartholomew Fair; 7. 'The alteration of men': Troilus and Cressida, Troynovant, and trade.