Shakespeare's Theatre of War

Shakespeare's Theatre of War

by Nick De Somogyi
     
 

ISBN-10: 1840142073

ISBN-13: 9781840142075

Pub. Date: 10/01/1998

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited

The period between 1585 (when Elizabeth formally committed her military support to the Dutch wars against Spain) and 1604 (when James at last brought it to an end) was one in which English life was preoccupied by the menace and actuality of war. The same period spans English drama's coming of age, from Tamburlaine to Hamlet. In this thought-provoking book, Nick de

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Overview

The period between 1585 (when Elizabeth formally committed her military support to the Dutch wars against Spain) and 1604 (when James at last brought it to an end) was one in which English life was preoccupied by the menace and actuality of war. The same period spans English drama's coming of age, from Tamburlaine to Hamlet. In this thought-provoking book, Nick de Somogyi draws on a wide range of contemporary military literature (news-letters and war-treatises, maps and manuals), to demonstrate how deeply wartime experience influenced the production and reception of Elizabethan theatre. In a series of vivid parallels, the roles of soldier and actor, the setting of battlefield and stage, and the context of playhouse and muster are shown to have been rooted in the common experience of war. The local armoury served as a props department; the stage as a military lecture-hall. News from the front line has always been shrouded in the fog of war. Shakespeare's Rumour is here seen as kindred to such equally dubious messengers as his Armado, Falstaff or Pistol; soldiers have always told tall tales, military ghost-stories that are here shown to have seeped into such narratives as The Spanish Tragedy and Henry V. This book concludes with a sustained account of Hamlet, a play which both dramatises the Elizabethan context of war-fever, and embodies in its three variant texts the war and peace that shaped its production. By affording scrutiny to each of its title's components, Shakespeare's Theatre of War provides a compelling argument for reassessing the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries within the enduring context of the military culture and wartime experience of his age.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781840142075
Publisher:
Ashgate Publishing, Limited
Publication date:
10/01/1998
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
9.21(w) x 6.14(h) x 0.91(d)

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Casualties of War: ‘Her privates we'; ‘Now art thou my lieutenant'; ‘You a captain?'; The Art of War: Matters mathematical; Model soldiers; Theatre of War: Playing at soldiers; War games; Rumours of War: True reports; Old soldiers; Ghosts of War: Soldiering on; Airborne troops; The Question of These Wars: ‘Implements of war'; ‘Is there no offence in't?'; Unearthing skulls; Bibliography; Index.

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