Though individual prologues and epilogues have been treated in depth, very little scholarship has been published on early modern framing texts as a whole. The Framing Text in Early Modern English Drama fills a gap in the literature by examining the origins of these texts, and investigating their growing importance and influence in the theatre of the period. This topic-led discussion of prologues and epilogues deals with the origins of these texts, the difficulty of definition, and the way in which many prologues and epilogues appear to interact on such subjects as the composition of the theatre audience and the perceived place of women in such an audience. Author Brian Schneider also examines the reasons for, and the evidence leading to, the apparently sudden burgeoning of these texts after the Restoration, when prologues and epilogues grace nearly all the dramas of the time and become a virtual cottage industry of their own. The second section-a comprehensive list of prologues and epilogues-details play titles, playwrights, theatres and theatre companies, first performance and the earliest edition in which the framing text(s) appears. It quotes the first line of the prologue and/or epilogue and uses the printer's signature to denote the page on which the texts can be found. Further information is provided in notes appended to the relevant entry. A final section deals with 'free-floating' and 'free-standing' framing texts that appear in verse collections, manuscripts, and other publications and to which no play can be positively ascribed. Combining original analysis with carefully compiled, comprehensive reference data, The Framing Text in Early Modern English Drama provides a genuinely new angle on the drama of early modern England.
Brian Schneider is the Administrative Assistant to the Lexis project at the University of Manchester, UK.
'This book is researched with astonishing thoroughness: the author has even consulted a handwritten, partially illegible, 1893 doctoral thesis on his chosen topic. He also brings to bear an engaging passion for his subject... Under his affectionate coaxing, prologues and epilogues do in fact reveal themselves to be more interesting than one might previously have supposed: Schneider shows that they bear on issues such as the period’s on-going debate about the nature of drama and the roles and desires of audiences in general, and of female spectators in particular.' Theatre Research International 'The Framing Text in Early Modern English Drama offers some interesting close analysis of a subset of dramatic framing texts...' Times Literary Supplement '... [Schneider’s] discussion of pre-Restoration paratextual strategies is nevertheless a welcome contribution to the history of both paratextual poetics and seventeenth-century drama. The strengths of this book clearly lie in the broad approach it takes to its textual material and in its willingness to move far beyond the well-trodden paths around early modern theatrical and literary figures.' Anglia