Holger Syme presents a radically new explanation for the theater's importance in Shakespeare's time. He portrays early modern England as a culture of mediation, dominated by transactions in which one person stood in for another, giving voice to absent speakers or bringing past events to life. No art form related more immediately to this culture than the theater. Arguing against the influential view that the period underwent a crisis of representation, Syme draws upon extensive archival research in the fields of law, demonology, historiography and science to trace a pervasive conviction that testimony and report, delivered by properly authorized figures, provided access to truth. Through detailed close readings of plays by Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare - in particular Volpone, Richard II and The Winter's Tale - and analyses of criminal trial procedures, the book constructs a revisionist account of the nature of representation on the early modern stage.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.67(d)|
About the Author
Holger Schott Syme is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto. His essays have appeared in publications including English Literary Renaissance, Shakespeare Quarterly and Textual Cultures and he is the co-editor of Locating the Queen's Men, 1583-1603: Material Practices and Conditions of Playing (2009). For the third edition of the Norton Shakespeare he is editing Edward III and The Book of Sir Thomas More and is writing an extended essay on the theatre of Shakespeare's time.
Table of ContentsIntroduction: the authenticity of mediation; 1. Trial representations: live and scripted testimony in criminal prosecutions; 2. Judicial digest: Edward Coke reads the Essex papers; 3. Performance anxiety: bringing scripts to life in court and on stage; 4. Royal depositions: Richard II, early modern historiography, and the authority of deferral; 5. The reporter's presence: narrative as theatre in The Winter's Tale; Epilogue: the theatre of the twice-told tale; Select bibliography.