Staged Properties in Early Modern English Drama

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Overview

In a series of provocative essays, the volume's contributors offer valuable evidence and insight into the modes of production, circulation and exchange that brought such diverse properties as sacred garments, household furnishings, pawned objects and even false beards onto the stage. Departing from previous scholarship, which has focused solely on the symbolic or iconographic aspects of props, these essays explore their material dimensions, and in particular, their status as a special form of property. In the process, the volume reflects upon what the material history of stage props may tell us about the changing demographics, modes of production and consumption, and notions of property that contributed to the rise of the commercial theater in London.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[T]he collection makes a valuable contribution to the study of early modern drama and to an understanding of the uses and variety of materialist methodologies. Not only are the methodologies set out clearly, but their use in specific instances provides helpful models for those who are pursuing similar lines of research." M.G. Aune, North Dakota State University, Sixteenth Century Journal

"An outstanding anthology which achieves a newly energized convergence between cultural materialism and theater/performance history. [...] The book's rich essays develop a range of possible materialist engagements with the materiality of stage properties." Studies in English Literature

"Staged Properties in Early Modern English is a truly excellent anthology, one that delivers on its promised aims, and I can guarantee that its readers will learn a great deal from the essays."
Peter C. Herman, Comparative Drama

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521813228
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2003
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Gil Harris is Associate Professor of English at Ithaca College. He is the author of Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic: Discourses of Social Pathology in Early Modern England, (1998), as well as numerous articles on Renaissance drama and culture.

Natasha Korda is author of Shakespeare's Domestic Economies: Gender and Property in Early Modern England, (2002) and numerous essays on early modern drama and stage history. She is Associate Professor of English at Wesleyan University.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Notes on contributors
1 Introduction: towards a materialist account of stage properties 1
I Histories
2 Properties of skill: product placement in early English artisanal drama 35
3 The dramatic life of objects in the early modern theatre 67
II Furniture
4 Things with little social life (Henslowe's theatrical properties and Elizabethan household fittings) 99
5 Properties of domestic life: the table in Heywood's A Woman Killed With Kindness 129
6 "Let me the curtains draw": the dramatic and symbolic properties of the bed in Shakespearean tragedy 153
III Costumes
7 Properties in clothes: the materials of the Renaissance theatre 177
8 Women's theatrical properties 202
9 Staging the beard: masculinity in early modern English culture 230
IV Hand Properties
10 Properties of marriage: proprietary conflict and the calculus of gender in Epicoene 261
11 The woman's parts of Cymbeline 288
12 Wonder-effects: Othello's handkerchief 316
Appendix 335
Index 337
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