Emphasizing a performative and stage-centered approach, this book considers early modern European theater as an international phenomenon. Early modern theater was remarkable both in the ways that it represented material and symbolic exchanges across political, linguistic, and cultural borders (both "national" and "regional") but also in the ways that it enacted them. Contributors study various modalities of exchange, including the material and causal influence of one theater upon another, as in the case of actors traveling beyond their own regional boundaries; generalized and systemic influence, such as the diffused effect of Italian comedy on English drama; the transmission of theoretical and ethical ideas about the theater by humanist vehicles; the implicit dialogue and exchange generated by actors playing "foreign" roles; and polyglot linguistic resonances that evoke circum-Mediterranean "cultural geographies." In analyzing theater as a medium of dialogic communication, the volume emphasizes cultural relationships of exchange and reciprocity more than unilateral encounters of hegemony and domination.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, Robert Henke; Part I Traveling Actors: Border crossing in the commedia dell' arte, Robert Henke; English troupes in early modern Germany: the women, M.A. Katritzky. Part II Transportable Units: A Midsummer Night's Dream and Italian pastoral, Richard Andrews; Dramatic bodies and novellesque spaces in Jacobean tragedy and tragicomedy, Melissa Walter. Part III The Question of the Actress: Moral and Theoretical Transnationalisms: Ophelia sings like a prima donna innamorata: Ophelia's mad scene and the Italian female performer, Eric Nicholson; Theorizing women's place: Nicholas Poussin, The Rape of the Sabines, and the early modern stage, Jane Tylus. Part IV Performing Alteriety: Doubled National Identity: The Dutch diaspora in English comedy: 1598 to 1618, Christian M. Billing; Foreign emotions, Susanne L. Wofford; Translated Turks on the early modern stage, Jacques Lezra. Part V Performing a Nation: Transregional Exchanges: Epicene in Edinburgh (1672): city comedy beyond the London stage, Clare McManus; Proto-nationalist performatives and trans-theatrical displacement in Henry V, David Schalkwyk; Shakespeare on the Indian stage: resistance, recalcitrance, recuperation, Shormishtha Panja. Epilogue: Reading Shakespeare, reading the masks of the Italian commedia: fixed forms and the breath of life, Mace Perlman; Select bibliography; Index.
Robert Henke is Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, USA, the author of Pastoral Transformations: Italian Tragicomedy and Shakespeare's Late Plays (1997) and Performance and Literature in the Commedia dell'Arte (2002). Eric Nicholson is a Lecturer at Syracuse University in Florence, where he teaches courses in comedy and theater. He has directed over twenty full-scale productions of plays by Shakespeare, Molière, Flaminio Scala, and others.
'Henke's and Nicolson's volume is an indispensible exploration in early modern transnational studies, introducing approaches that will become as important as the familiar approaches we may increasingly find constrained by their national borders and boundaries.' Don Hedrick, Professor of English, Kansas State University, USA