Shakespeare and the Power of Performance: Stage and Page in the Elizabethan Theatre

Overview

In this study, Lukas Erne argues that Shakespeare, apart from being a playwright who wrote theatrical texts for the stage, was also a literary dramatist who produced reading texts for the page. The usual distinction that has been set up between Ben Jonson on the one hand, carefully preparing his manuscripts for publication, and Shakespeare the man of the theatre, writing for his actors and audience, indifferent to his plays as literature, is questioned in this book. Examining the evidence from early published ...
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Overview

In this study, Lukas Erne argues that Shakespeare, apart from being a playwright who wrote theatrical texts for the stage, was also a literary dramatist who produced reading texts for the page. The usual distinction that has been set up between Ben Jonson on the one hand, carefully preparing his manuscripts for publication, and Shakespeare the man of the theatre, writing for his actors and audience, indifferent to his plays as literature, is questioned in this book. Examining the evidence from early published playbooks, Erne argues that Shakespeare wrote many of his plays with a readership in mind and that these "literary" texts would have been abridged for the stage because they were too long for performance. The variant early texts of Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and Hamlet are shown to reveal important insights into the different media for which Shakespeare designed his plays.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a dense, thoughtful work on how the language of Shakespeare's plays enacts and is enacted in performance...the study is though-provoking and adds significantly to understanding of early modern performance." —CHOICE

" [Shakespeare and the Power of Performance] ties together disparate ideas with a dose of remarkable insight that makes this work engaging...a deep and thought-provoking tome for scholars everywhere."
-Ron Severdia, Playshakespeare.com

"Permit me to go beyond this good book to say that Shakespeare in Performance is an area of Shakespeare studies we have always argued needs to be greatly upgraded, and here is a magnificent contribution to the approach, contributing much and setting a higher standard for others to meet."
-Leonard R.N. Ashley,CHRONIQUE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521182836
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/2/2010
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Weimann is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Irvine.

Douglas Bruster is Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Table of Contents

1 "Moralize two meanings" in one play: contrariety on the Tudor stage 26

2 Performance, game, and representation in Richard III 42

3 Mingling vice and "worthiness" in King John 57

4 Clowning: agencies between voice and pen 77

5 Clowning at the frontiers of representation 99

6 Cross-dressing and performance in disguise 117

7 Personation and playing: "secretly open" role-playing 139

8 Character/actor: the deep matrix 160

9 Character: depth, dialogue, page 178

10 King Lear: representations on stage and page 199

Notes 224

Index 256

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