1st Edition

Community-Making in Early Stuart Theatres Stage and audience

Edited By Anthony W. Johnson, Roger D. Sell, Helen Wilcox Copyright 2017
    432 Pages
    by Routledge

    450 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Twenty-two leading experts on early modern drama collaborate in this volume

    to explore three closely interconnected research questions. To what extent did

    playwrights represent dramatis personae in their entertainments as forming, or

    failing to form, communal groupings? How far were theatrical productions likely

    to weld, or separate, different communal groupings within their target audiences?

    And how might such bondings or oppositions among spectators have tallied with

    the community-making or -breaking on stage? Chapters in Part One respond to

    one or more of these questions by reassessing general period trends in censorship,

    theatre attendance, forms of patronage, playwrights’ professional and linguistic

    networks, their use of music, and their handling of ethical controversies.

    In Part Two, responses arise from detailed re-examinations of particular plays

    by Shakespeare, Chapman, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Cary, Webster, Middleton,

    Massinger, Ford, and Shirley. Both Parts cover a full range of early-Stuart

    theatre settings, from the public and popular to the more private circumstances

    of hall playhouses, court masques, women’s drama, country-house theatricals,

    and school plays. And one overall finding is that, although playwrights frequently

    staged or alluded to communal conflict, they seldom exacerbated such divisiveness

    within their audience. Rather, they tended toward more tactful modes of

    address (sometimes even acknowledging their own ideological uncertainties) so

    that, at least for the duration of a play, their audiences could be a community

    within which internal rifts were openly brought into dialogue.

    Table of Contents to come


    Roger D. Sell is Emeritus H.W. Donner Research Professor of Literary Communication

    at Åbo Akademi University, Finland.

    Anthony W. Johnson is J.O.E. Donner Professor of English Language and Literature

    at Åbo Akademi University, Finland.

    Helen Wilcox is Professor of English at Bangor University, Wales.

    "The essays in Community-Making in the Stuart Theatres offer an important addition to an ongoing reassesment of the theatre's place among the disparate communities in which it was immersed." -- Mark Bayer, University of Texas at San Antonio, Early Theatre, 21.1 (2018)