Transnational versions of cross-class desire in Cardenio and Mujeres y criados

This chapter explores connections between lost and/or rediscovered texts of Shakespeare, Cervantes and Lope de Vega. Beyond the actual similarities between the recreated Cardenio that brings together the first two authors, on the one hand, and Lope’s Mujeres y criados, on the other, I analyse the parallels and divergences in their performance, as they are mobilized to promote particular versions of Spain. A more precise understanding of these connections, I argue, allows us to consider how evolving class dynamics enable or complicate erotic rivalries in the texts.

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
Performing quacks at court

The final tournament entry of a court festival of February 1638 at The Hague: ‘The knights of the dromedary and alchemists’, features actual farces and plays performed by a genuine troupe of street charlatans, and noblemen disguised as named healers, including two well-known quacks of the time, Mondor and Braguette. Drawing on English and Dutch images, and influences from London court masques and other European court festival, the Parisian stage, Spanish literature, and Italian commedia dell’arte, many previously disregarded in this context, this essay considers the itinerant charlatan, quack or street healer as a theme in early modern court festival, with particular reference to medical and theatrical influences on the stage names of the six courtiers of the 1638 tournament entry.

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
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Amsterdam 1617

From a cultural, political and literary perspective, the Low Countries have a claim to be the major cultural entrepôt of early modern Europe, part and parcel of the global mercantile pre-eminence of the United Provinces. Migration from the southern Netherlands into the Dutch republic in the north, and from elsewhere in northern Europe was extremely high at this time. This essay explores the treatment of migration in one of the most famous comedies of a reformed Dutch theatre, G. A. Bredero’s Spaanse Brabander (1617), an adaptation of the Spanish prose fiction Lazarillo de Tormes (1554), showing Bredero’s theatre as an analytical microscope of migration as dominant cause of city formation. Further comparison is made with Bredero’s Terentian play Moortje (1615), in which the presence of a southern African is related to the early activity of Dutch merchants in that region, and the presence of an African community in seventeenth-century Amsterdam. Bredero’s powerful insights into the nature and consequences of migration in his world of linguistic and racial confusion, hunger, bankrupt merchants, beggar boys, prostitutes and sex offenders puts his drama in the first rank of any literary canon, national or international.

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
Transcultural encounters in early modern Italian theatre

Drawing on comparative and imagologist methodologies, this essay assesses how Italian playwrights and actors represented Germans, Scandinavians and English people in ways that often modified and sometimes challenged ethnic stereotypes. Analysis of playscripts in relation to their specific historical contexts, such as the influence of Erasmus and of the Grand Tour, reveals the ambivalent fascination that Northern European culture held for early modern Venetians, Sienese and other Italians. Material exchanges vis-à-vis figurative representations form the core of this chapter, drawing on examples from Tasso’s Il Re Torrismondo (1587), through satirical musical comedies (Banchieri, Fasolo), the comedies of the Accademia degli Intronati of Siena, to Goldoni’s La vedova scaltra (1748). This essay argues that the notable variety of tone and purpose in theatrical figurations of the cultural other calls for a nuanced reassessment that counters the assumed xenophobia prevailing on early modern European stages.

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
Dramatic and civil logics of the European state-form

The familiar, deforming figure of the pirate knots together four sorts of lexicons whose relation determines how the so-called Mediterranean is imagined in British early modernity. These are the lexicons of theology, the law, logic and the theatre. Tracing out the translation-system; that is, the general system of relays or mechanisms of translation, determination and overdetermination at work between these lexicons and condensed within them, is the project of this essay. It asks what it meant to be a pirate, a Mediterranean pirate, a Ragusan pirate, the eponymous Ragusan pirate – what it meant to be Ragozine in Shakespeare’s time. The methodology is historical as well as philosophical; the primary texts considered are Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure; works in the legal tradition, like Anglicus Bartholomaeus’ De proprietatibus rerum, Coke’s Institutes, Matthew Tindal’s An essay concerning the laws of nations, and Charles Molloy’s De jure maritimo et navali; works in the philosophy of logic, from Porphyry, Boethius, and Richard Patterson. The chapter is a contribution to the historiography of piracy in the early modern period, and also to the philosophy of history (inasmuch as it provides a strong rebuttal to the so-called ‘secularization thesis’).

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
Metamorphoses of early modern comedy in eighteenth-century bourgeois theatre

This chapter analyses the poetics and aesthetics of the ‘other theatre’ (Münz) in mid-eighteenth-century Vienna, on the example of Joseph Felix von Kurz’s medley Der aufs neue begeisterte und belebte Bernardon (1754). Inspired by transnational performative traditions (commedia dell’arte, English Comedy, Haupt- und Staatsaktionen), the Bernardonians experienced a shift in meaning in the context of the emerging middle class. This paper explores the role of popular theatre in the ideological construction of bourgeois ideals of emotional distance and decorum. By pushing the limits of theatre as play to the full, and by openly displaying a playful character through acting techniques rather than trying to hide it, popular performers such as Bernardon crossed the narrow borders of bourgeois notions of identity and gender roles.

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
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This fourth empirical chapter is called ‘Reconstruction’ and describes the use of the clean 800-year-long tree-ring chronology to reconstruct the Scottish climate before the start of temperature records in the early nineteenth century. The main body of the chapter describes how the scientists compared the 800-year-long temperature reconstruction for Scotland against other datasets. I show that the scientists established the accuracy of the Scottish reconstruction by assessing its similarity to canonical reconstructions and temperature datasets. This conclusion is important for public debates about the nature of scientific consensus. Rather than conceiving consensus-building as if it were a matter of simply piling up datasets (like the widespread metaphor of ‘the brick wall’), this chapter shows that agreement among scientists is always temporary and partial, and involves ongoing negotiations and disagreements.

in Into the woods
Musical spectacle at the Paris court of Maria de’ Medici, the Italian Minerva of France

Starting with Giambattista Guarini and Emilio de’ Cavalieri’s theatrical dialogue Giunone e Minerva, performed in Florence in 1600 for the wedding of Maria de’ Medici and Henry IV of France, this chapter analyses the Florentine-designed iconography adopted by Maria in her patronage of French court spectacle and her development of powerful personal representations using female imagery and the Astraean cult as part of a series of transnational exchanges and appropriations between Florence and Paris. Drawing on new archival finds (previously unknown eyewitness accounts of Maria’s 1609 Ballet de la Royne), this essay publishes the discovered documents and argues that Maria was highly active as a patron of court productions while deploying a personal imagery soon after her ascent to the French monarchy (1600) and throughout her regency (1610–17). The essay explores the inclusion of the avant-garde Florentine style of solo singing imported to Paris, showing that despite French preference for ballet de cour, Maria promoted imported Italian musical fashions. Maria’s court productions combined a transnational cultural heritage, including new musical forms (accompanied monody), theatrical models (commedia dell’arte) and prestigious Italian musicians and poets.

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
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This third empirical chapter is entitled ‘Standardisation’, which is the term used by dendroclimatologists to refer to the removal of non-climatic factors from tree-ring chronologies so that the resulting data represent, as clearly as possible, the effects of climate on tree growth over time (the so-called ‘climate signal’). The main body of the chapter outlines the process by which the scientists refined existing methods for removing ‘noise’ from the Scottish data. I show how they learnt about and further developed these methods through informal seminar conversations and laboratory visits and by being attuned to the needs of their peers. This conclusion addresses public discussions about the need for a ‘disinterested’ and ‘depoliticised’ climate science. I argue that the advancement of science – as shown in the stage of standardisation – occurred due to the existence of personally implicated and fully socialised individuals who used the communicative channels of their academic community to pursue both professional and political goals. In this way, I suggest that climate science free from social influences and politics would be irrelevant and inexistent.

in Into the woods

This volume considers transnational and intercultural aspects of early modern theatre, drama and performance. Its twelve chapters, loosely cosmographically grouped into West, North and South, compose a complex image of early modern theatre connections as a socially, economically, politically and culturally realised tissue of links, networks, influences and paths of exchange. With particular attention to itinerant performers, court festival, and the significant black, Muslim and Jewish impact, they combine disciplines and methods to place Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the wider context of early performance culture in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Czech and Italian speaking Europe. Their shared methodological approach examines transnational connections by linking abstract notions of wider theatre historical significance to concrete historical facts: archaeological findings, archival records, visual artefacts, and textual evidence. Crucial to the volume is this systematic yoking of theories with surviving historical evidence for the performative event – whether as material object, text, performative routine, theatregrams, rituals, festivities, genres, archival evidence or visual documentation. This approach enables it to explore the infinite variety of early modern performance culture by expanding the discourse, questioning the received canon, and rethinking the national restrictions of conventional maps to reveal a theatre that truly is without borders.