A New History of Early English Drama

Edited by John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan. Foreword by Stephen J. Greenblatt

Columbia University Press

A New History of Early English Drama

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Pub Date: June 1997

ISBN: 9780231102438

384 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $50.00£40.00

A New History of Early English Drama

Edited by John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan. Foreword by Stephen J. Greenblatt

Columbia University Press

For many years the study of pre-seventeenth-century English drama was shaped largely by an understanding that everything written revolved around the individual author, either as part of the tradition that prepared the way for Shakespeare or as part of his legacy.

Now twenty-five original essays by leading theorists and historians chart a paradigmatic shift within the field. In contrast to the traditional emphasis on individual authors, the contributors here explore the place of the stage within the larger society, as well as issues of performance and physical space.

The essays are organized into three sections: "Early English Drama and Physical Space" examines the settings in which plays were acted; "Early English Drama and Social Space" juxtaposes the theater with such contemporary subcultures as the church, the city, and the court. Finally, "Early English Drama and Conditions of Performance and Publication" explores a wide range of material conditions and contexts, from props to printers.

A major summary of contemporary scholarship and a storehouse of new theoretical and historical information, A New History of Early English Drama skillfully illustrates the complex influence of physical and social elements woven into the texts, and provides an innovative approach to literary studies and cultural history.
It is a book that every serious student of early English drama will want to own. Alan Somerset, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England
The twenty six essays in this valuable and much-needed work focus particularly on the social and material implications of performance spaces from street to court; the ways in which religious, civic, domestic, courtly, literary, and popular expectations affected the drama [prior to 1642]; and the conditions under which plays were produced and disseminated. The collection provides an accurate and authoritative overview of the early English drama, embeds it in the historical conditions of its production, and suggests directions for future study. The bibliography, index, and play index all cover the entire book, so that one can easily locate a topic wherever it appears. Choice
Introduction: Demanding History
World Pictures, Modern Periods, and the Early Stage, by Margreta de Grazia
The English Church as Theatrical Space, by John M. Wasson,
A Commonty a Christmas gambold or a tumbling trick: Household Theater, by Suzanne Westfall
The Universities: Early Staging in Cambridge, by Alan H. Nelson
Early Staging in Oxford, by John R. Elliott, Jr.
Streets and Markets, by Anne Higgins
The Theaters, by John Orrell
Rowme of its Own: Printed Drama in Early Libraries, by Heidi Brayman Hackel
Theater and Religious Culture, by Paul Whitfield White
Wonderful Spectacles: Theater and Civic Culture, by Gordon Kipling,
The Theater and Domestic Culture, by Diana E. Henderson
Entertainments at Court, by Graham Parry
The Theater and Literary Culture, by Barbara A. Mowat
Theater and Popular Culture, by Michael D. Bristol
Touring, by Peter H. Greenfield
Cloathes worth all the rest: Costumes and Properties, by Jean MacIntyre and Garret P.J. Epp
Censorship, by Richard Dutton
Audiences: Investigation, Interpretation, Invention, by Ann Jennalie Cook
Rogues and Rhetoricians: Acting Styles in Early English Drama, by Peter Thomson
Personnel and Professionalization, by W.R. Streitberger
Playwriting: Authorship and Collaboration, by Jeffrey Masten
The Publication of Playbooks, by Peter W. M. Blaney
Patronage and the Economics of Theater, by Kathleen E. McLuskie and Felicity Dunsworth
The Revision of Scripts, by Eric Rasmussen
The Repertory, by Roslyn L. Knutson
Plays in Manuscript, by Paul Werstine

Winner, 2017 Research Award for an Outstanding Book in Theatre Practice and Pedagogy

About the Author

John D. Cox is the DuMez Professor of English at Hope College.

David Scott Kastan is professor of English at Columbia University.