A New History of Early English Drama

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Overview

David Scott Kastan is professor of English at Columbia University.
Winner, Association for Theatre in Higher Education Book Prize
Twenty-six original essays by leading theorists and historians of the pre-seventeenth-century English stage chart a paradigmatic shift within the field. In contrast to the traditional emphasis on individual authors, the contributors to this storehouse of new historical information and critical insight explore the place of the stage within the larger society, as well as issues of performance and physical space, providing an innovative approach to both literary studies and cultural history.

Winner, Association for Theatre in Higher Education Book Prize

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
The twenty six essays in this valuable and much-needed work focus particularly on the social and material implications of performance spaces from street to court; the ways in which religious, civic, domestic, courtly, literary, and popular expectations affected the drama [prior to 1642]; and the conditions under which plays were produced and disseminated. The collection provides an accurate and authoritative overview of the early English drama, embeds it in the historical conditions of its production, and suggests directions for future study. The bibliography, index, and play index all cover the entire book, so that one can easily locate a topic wherever it appears.
Peter Stallybrass
Splendidly redefines the whole field of early modern drama. Its individual essays are both definitive accounts of the state of knowledge today and striking provocations to further thought-and in combination they provide the most inclusive, innovative, and important overview of the drama that we have had to date.
Alan Somerset
It is a book that every serious student of early English drama will want to own.
Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
It is a book that every serious student of early English drama will want to own.

— Alan Somerset

Choice

The twenty six essays in this valuable and much-needed work focus particularly on the social and material implications of performance spaces from street to court; the ways in which religious, civic, domestic, courtly, literary, and popular expectations affected the drama [prior to 1642]; and the conditions under which plays were produced and disseminated. The collection provides an accurate and authoritative overview of the early English drama, embeds it in the historical conditions of its production, and suggests directions for future study. The bibliography, index, and play index all cover the entire book, so that one can easily locate a topic wherever it appears.

Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England - Alan Somerset

It is a book that every serious student of early English drama will want to own.

Choice

The twenty six essays in this valuable and much-needed work focus particularly on the social and material implications of performance spaces from street to court; the ways in which religious, civic, domestic, courtly, literary, and popular expectations affected the drama [prior to 1642]; and the conditions under which plays were produced and disseminated. The collection provides an accurate and authoritative overview of the early English drama, embeds it in the historical conditions of its production, and suggests directions for future study. The bibliography, index, and play index all cover the entire book, so that one can easily locate a topic wherever it appears.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231102421
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Pages: 565

Meet the Author

John D. Cox is the DuMez Professor of English at Hope College.

David Scott Kastan is professor of English at Columbia University.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Foreword
Introduction: Demanding History 1
1 World Pictures, Modern Periods, and the Early Stage 7
2 The English Church as Theatrical Space 25
3 "A Commonty a Christmas gambold or a tumbling trick": Household Theater 39
4 The Universities: Early Staging in Cambridge 59
Early Staging in Oxford 68
5 Streets and Markets 77
6 The Theaters 93
7 "Rowme" of Its Own: Printed Drama in Early Libraries 113
8 Theater and Religious Culture 133
9 Wonderfull Spectacles: Theater and Civic Culture 153
10 The Theater and Domestic Culture 173
11 Entertainments at Court 195
12 The Theater and Literary Culture 213
13 Theater and Popular Culture 231
14 Touring 251
15 "Cloathes worth all the rest": Costumes and Properties 269
16 Censorship 287
17 Audiences: Investigation, Interpretation, Invention 305
18 Rogues and Rhetoricians: Acting Styles in Early English Drama 321
19 Personnel and Professionalization 337
20 Playwrighting: Authorship and Collaboration 357
21 The Publication of Playbooks 383
22 Patronage and the Economics of Theater 423
23 The Revision of Scripts 441
24 The Repertory 461
25 Plays in Manuscript 481
Bibliography 499
Contributors 545
Index 549
Index of Plays 561
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