Frances A. Yates (1899-1981) taught at the Warburg Institute and the University of London. With the publication of Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (1964), she transformed Renaissance historiography, revealing the hermeticism with which the period was imbued. The Art of Memory, which followed in 1966, has been called one of the most significant non-fiction books of the twentieth century. Yates was awarded an OBE in1972. She was raised to Dame Commander in 1977.
Theatre of the World (Barnes & Noble Rediscovers Series)by Frances A. Yates
Originally published in 1969, Theatre of the World is the third book in a series, extending and refining arguments put forth in Frances Yates’s masterworks Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (1964) and The Art of Memory (1966). Here, Yates explores the influence of Vitruvius’s works in late Tudor and Jacobean England, particularly in their relation to Renaissance philosophy and outlook.
The book centers on John Dee and Robert Fludd, with special reference to evidence in their works of Vitruvian ideas. Yates discusses the Renaissance revival of the classical author and examines the English public theater as one of the products of the Vitruvian movement. She suggests that the London public theatres, including the Globe, were an adaptation of the ancient theatre as described by Vitruvius; that is, a theatre with cosmological proportions.
From this daring vantage point, it is possible to situate Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre within the context of great European movements, as the expression of a Renaissance outlook on man and the universe. Though no attempt is made to reconstruct the Globe Theatre, fresh approaches to the problems of its ground plan and its stage are outlined. Above all, it is the “idea of the Globe,” the meaning of the theatre, which Yates seeks to interpret by placing it in new contexts.
As she does in all her writings, Yates illuminates, deepens, and broadens our understanding of the currents and undercurrents of Renaissance thought.
Praise for the author
“Among those who have explored the intellectual world of the sixteenth century no one in England can rival Miss Yates. Wherever she looks, she illuminates.
—Hugh Trevor-Roper, The New Statesman
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