Theatres and Encyclopedias in Early Modern Europe

Overview

This book analyzes the discourses and practices that defined Renaissance theater, as related to the development of encyclopedic texts and vice versa. Looking at what "theater" meant to medieval and Renaissance writers and critics, William West sets Renaissance drama within one of its cultural and intellectual contexts. Although the study focuses on the Renaissance, it also draws on and analyzes substantial classical and medieval material. It is of equal interest to intellectual historians, theater historians and ...
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Overview

This book analyzes the discourses and practices that defined Renaissance theater, as related to the development of encyclopedic texts and vice versa. Looking at what "theater" meant to medieval and Renaissance writers and critics, William West sets Renaissance drama within one of its cultural and intellectual contexts. Although the study focuses on the Renaissance, it also draws on and analyzes substantial classical and medieval material. It is of equal interest to intellectual historians, theater historians and students of early literature.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[West] covers medieval and Renaissance demonstrations of the ars combinatorium and theatrical performances, and with taste as well as erudition...This is an important contribution to the history of ideas seen from a very rewarding perspective." Renaissance Quarterly

"A fascinating and suggestive book." Studies in English Literature

"West has written a learned book that draws freely on several scholarly fields and a panoply of primary sources...A certain semantic slippage is necessary to West's project and I, for one, am happy to grant him the privilege, for the liberties he takes in constructing his larger argument are more than compensated for by the quality of his local readings and his clear presentation of engaging historical materials." Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England Ty Buckman

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Product Details

Meet the Author

William West has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of Nevada, Reno, and is currently assistant Professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has published on encyclopedism, the arts of memory, symbolic economies, and the epistemology of early modern performance in journals such as English Literary Renaissance, Renaissance Drama, and Comparative Literature. He is currently at work on a book on the significance of confusion and misunderstanding in early modern drama.
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Note on texts; Introduction: circles of learning; 1. The space of the encyclopedia; 2. The idea of a theatre; 3. Tricks of vision, truths of discourse: illustration, ars combinatoria, and authority; 4. Holding the mirror up to nature?: the humanist theatre beside itself; 5. The show of learning and the performance of knowledge: humors, Epigrams, and 'an universal store'; 6. Francis Bacon's theatre of Orpheus: 'literate experience' and experimental science; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
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