First published in 1998, this volume explores the period 1585-1649, identifying it as rich in innovative drama which challenged the boundaries between social, political and cultural activities of various kinds. Molly Smith examines ways in which texts by Renaissance authors reflect, question and influence their society’s ideological concerns. In the drama of Kyd, Shakespeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, Webster, Middleton, Massinger and Ford, she identifies the simultaneously serious and playful appropriation of popular cultural practices, an appropriation which is expertly reversed by authorities in the political drama of Charles I’s public trial and execution in 1649. This compelling interpretation of Renaissance drama will prove of value to students of literature and social history.
Table of Contents
1. Breaking Boundaries: Politics and Play on the Renaissance Stage. 2. Theatre and Punishment: Spectacles of Death and Dying on the Stage. 3. Theatre and Cruelty: Renaissance Notions of Alterity in Roman Tragedies. 4. Theatre and Carnival License: Exploring the Boundaries of Comic Freedom and Tragic Excess. 5. Theatre and Transgression: Secularizing the Sacred and Sacralizing the Secular. 6. Theatre and the Scaffold: Social Drama and Public Spectacle in 1649.