Renaissance Drama, an annual and interdisciplinary publication, is devoted to drama and performance as a central feature of Renaissance culture. The essays in each volume explore traditional canons of drama, the significance of performance (broadly construed) to early modern culture, and the impact of new forms of interpretation on the study of Renaissance plays, theatre, and performance.
This special issue of Renaissance Drama "Embodiment and Environment in Early Modern Drama and Performance" is guest-edited by Mary Floyd-Wilson and Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr. Anatomized, fragmented, and embarrassed, the body has long been fruitful ground for scholars of early modern literature and culture. The contributors suggest, however, that period conceptions of embodiment cannot be understood without attending to transactional relations between body and environment. The volume explores the environmentally situated nature of early modern psychology and physiology, both as depicted in dramatic texts and as a condition of theatrical performance. Individual essays shed new light on the ways that travel and climatic conditions were understood to shape and reshape class status, gender, ethnicity, national identity, and subjectivity; they focus on theatrical ecologies, identifying the playhouse as a "special environment" or its own "ecosystem," where performances have material, formative effects on the bodies of actors and audience members; and they consider transactions between theatrical, political, and cosmological environments. For the contributors to this volume, the early modern body is examined primarily through its engagements with and operations in specific environments that it both shapes and is shaped by. Embodiment, these essays show, is without borders.
About the Author
Mary Floyd-Wilson is associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina. She is the author of English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge, 2003) and co-editor with Gail Kern Paster and Katherine Rowe of Reading the Early Modern Passions: A Cultural History of Emotion (Pennsylvania, 2004).
Garrett A. Sullivan Jr. is associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. He is most recently the author of Memory and Forgetting in English Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster (Cambridge, 2005) and co-editor with Patrick Cheney and Andrew Hadfield of Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion (Oxford, 2006).