Editor: Ladan Niayesh

This volume brings together three little-known works by key playwrights from the late sixteenth-century golden age of English drama. All three convey the public theatre’s fascination with travel and adventure through the popular genre of heroic romance, while reflecting the contemporaries’ wide range of responses to cross-cultural contacts with the Muslim East and the Mediterranean challenges posed by the Ottoman empire.

The volume presents the first modern-spelling editions of the three plays, with extensive annotations catering for specialised scholars while also making the texts accessible to students and theatregoers. A detailed introduction discusses issues of authorship, dates and sources, and sets the plays in their historical and cultural contexts, offering exciting insights on Elizabethan performance strategies, printing practices, and the circulation of knowledge and stereotypes related to ethnic and religious difference.

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Mandeville and Mandevillian Lore in Early Modern England
Editor: Ladan Niayesh

It is surprising, at this point in the story of the rich and strange rediscovery of a text so important to French and English literary and social history, that no collection of scholarly essays related to Mandeville's Travels yet exists in English or French. This book is a collection of essays by scholars in England and France, who produce a complex and sometimes contradictory view of Mandeville's book as an important object of early modern attention, as well as a feature of early modern literary context. The chapters range in emphasis from textual and bibliographic studies of Mandeville's late medieval and early modern Nachleben to studies of 'Mandevillian ideologies', to readings of romances and especially theatrical productions, illuminated by understandings of the new life in print of the Travels and its excerpted account of the Levant. Part I of the book makes clear that there were profound changes in motives for publication, anthologisation and readerly reception of the text(s) from the time of the incunabula, through its use by explorers Columbus, Frobisher and Ralegh, to its appearance as a children's book in the Enlightenment. These changes underscore alterations of economies and geographical experience in the mostly post-medieval 'Age of Discovery'. Part II is on Mandevillian ideologies and examines the Nachleben of the Travels through a historical discourse on the Turks and Islam in early modern England, development and geography of scripture. Part III is on Mandevillian and focuses on the drama of the newly invented medium of the commercial theatre.

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Ladan Niayesh

Romance is a twilight zone in studies of late sixteenth-century literary genres in England. Half-way between the nostalgia of medieval chivalry and the enterprising spirit of early modern exploration, piracy and commerce as preludes to a future empire, it is both very old-fashioned and innovatively modern. Appearing in narrative as well as in dramatic forms, romance lays simultaneous claims to history and imagination, which were not necessarily in opposition in the period, and caters for a readership of servants and citizens while equally finding its way into Spenserian epic, Sidneyan pastoral or even late Shakespearian tragicomedy and Miltonian poetry. The three plays grouped in this volume are early modern attempts at conquering that twilight zone in a context of expanding contacts with Muslim lands around the Mediterranean.

in Three romances of Eastern conquest
Ladan Niayesh

This section contains the text of The comical history of Alphonsus, King of Aragon by Robert Greene, as collated and edited by Ladan Niayesh, Professor of English Studies at the University of Paris Diderot – Paris 7.

in Three romances of Eastern conquest
Ladan Niayesh

This section contains the text of The tragedy of Soliman and Perseda by Thomas Kyd, as collated and edited by Ladan Niayesh, Professor of English Studies at the University of Paris Diderot – Paris 7.

in Three romances of Eastern conquest
Ladan Niayesh

This section contains the text of The Four Prentices of London by Thomas Heywood, as collated and edited by Ladan Niayesh, Professor of English Studies at the University of Paris Diderot – Paris 7.

in Three romances of Eastern conquest
The legend and its early modern reworkings

This chapter is concerned with one of the staples of Mandevillian lore, the figure of Prester John, whom the 'knight of transmission' portrays as 'a grete Emperour of Ynde'. It attempts to retrieve part of the Priest-King Arthur's complex itinerary through medieval and early modern imaginations. The emergence of the Prester John legend and its success are first and foremost the products of crusading Europe's ambivalent attitude towards the East. A cited extract shows how, from his very first appearance, Prester John is an embodiment of the ambivalence, caught half-way between the pagan past of classical authorities and the present of Christian Crusaders. A look at the appellations for some of the early manuscripts and editions bears witness to the diversity of responses which the work elicited from its early audiences: it was described with terms as diverse as 'livre', 'geste', 'romant', 'tractatus', 'itinerarium', 'voiage and trauayle'.

in A knight’s legacy