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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.

This book writes a performance history of Antony and Cleopatra from 1606 to 2018. After considering the particular challenges Shakespeare’s script offers any actors, directors or designers who stage it, the book looks in detail at Antony and Cleopatra on the Jacobean stage and then at Dryden’s All for Love (the play that replaced Shakespeare’s from the Restoration to 1849). Fast-forwarding across a number of Victorian adaptations and early twentieth century English productions, it arrives at 1953, when, directed by Glen Byam Shaw at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre with Peggy Ashcroft as Cleopatra and Michael Redgrave as Antony, the play’s modern performance history begins. Thereafter, chapters offer in-depth analyses of fifteen productions by (among others) the Royal Shakespeare Company, Citizens’ Theatre Glasgow, Northern Broadsides, Berliner Ensemble and Toneelgroep Amsterdam in five countries and three languages. Combining close readings of theatre records – promptbooks, stage managers’ reports, costume bibles, reviews – with deep historical contextualisation, it sees how, and what, this play has meant each time it has brought its thoughts on power, race, masculinity, regime change, exoticism, love, dotage and delinquency into alignment with a new present. It ends seeing Shakespeare’s black Cleopatra restored to the English stage. Tragedy, comedy, history, farce: this book demonstrates that in performance Antony and Cleopatra is all four.

‘Minde on honour fixed’
Author: Jean R. Brink

This revisionary biographical study documents that Spenser was the protégé of a circle of churchmen who expected him to take holy orders, but between 1574, when he left Pembroke College, and 1579, when he published the Shepheardes Calender, he decided against a career in the church. At Pembroke College and in London, Spenser watched the Elizabethan establishment crack down on independent thinking. The sequestration of Edmund Grindal was a watershed event in his early life, as was his encounter with Philip Sidney, the dedicatee of to the Shepheardes Calender. Once Spenser exchanged the role of shepherd-priest for that of shepherd-poet, he understood that his role was not just to celebrate the victories of Protestant England over the Spanish empire, immortalize in verse the virtues of Gloriana’s knights, but also to ‘fashion a noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline’. The received biography of the early Spenser emphasizes Gabriel Harvey, who is reported to have been Spenser’s tutor. Brink shows that Harvey could not have been Spenser’s tutor and argues that Harvey published Familiar Letters (1580) to promote his ambition to be named University Orator at Cambridge. Brink shows that Spenser had already received preferment. His life is contextualized by comparisons with contemporaries including Philip Sidney, Lodowick Bryskett, Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Ralegh. Brink’s provocative study, based upon a critical re-evaluation of manuscript and printed sources, emphasizes Philip Sidney over Harvey and shows that Spenser’s appointment as secretary to Lord Grey was a preferment celebrated even years later by Camden.

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Josette Bushell-Mingo’s Cleopatra, Royal Exchange, Manchester, 2005; Tarell Alvin McCraney’s ‘radical edit’, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Public and GableStage, 2013
Carol Chillington Rutter

9 April 2005 An actor comes rushing barefoot across the massive stone flags of what was once an international commodities trading floor where, a century and a half back, brokers in top hats dealt principally in raw cotton imported from the slave states of America to feed the spinning mills of Lancashire. It's now the foyer of the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. The self-contained theatre-in-the-round sits like a futuristic space pod inside the cavernous Victorian structure. The actor is bundled into a thick towelling

in Antony and Cleopatra
Spenser’s Busirane and Donne’s ‘A Valediction of my name, in the window’
Yulia Ryzhik

. They are also a synecdoche for the epistles (a material, fragmentary version of metonymy) that were, or might be, exchanged by parties hostile to their interests. Magical in their efficacy, the characters are imagined to exert a continued potency, literally ‘superscrib[ing]’ the influence of those who would threaten the amorous or political integrity of the signatory. The proposition that undergirds ‘A Valediction of my name, in the window’, that a full person could be resurrected from these vestigial ‘grav’d’ ‘characters’, implicates the

in Spenser and Donne
Guillaume Coatalen

poetic form and a tool for social advancement. More specifically, such sonnets played a decisive part in wooing strategies. The following exchange excerpted from Delectable Demaundes, and Pleasaunt Questions, with their Seuerall Aunswers, in Matters of Loue, Naturall Causes, with Morall and Politique Deuises (1566) stresses how potent verse is to

in The early modern English sonnet
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Jean R. Brink

will make the case in Chapter 4 , ‘Southerne shepheardes boye’, that from 1574 to 1578 Spenser was probably in London working for John Young, Master of Pembroke and then Bishop of Rochester in 1578. There is no solid evidence of why or how Spenser moved from service under Bishop Young to the patronage of Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton. At some point between 1578 and 1579, Spenser exchanged the role of shepherd-priest for that

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
Transforming gender and magic on stage and screen
Katharine Goodland

Goepfert's remarks about Merritt Janson's Miranda, whose rebelliousness and sexual desire for Ferdinand were barely contained, are especially curious here. The confrontation between Janson's Miranda and Dukakis's Prospera throbbed with tension and conflict. It is entirely possible that the evening Goepfert saw the production this exchange was more conciliatory than on the several evenings I saw the production. At the same time, it also suggests that the critical response is implicitly biased. As Frank Rizzo put in a more positive way: ‘[n]o one can give a wary look

in Shakespeare and the supernatural
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A play that ‘approves the common liar’
Carol Chillington Rutter

makes is an oxymoron, the rhetorical trope linking opposites. Structurally, oxymoron exclaims (from one side of the opposition or the other) ‘You lie!’, and I dwell on her exchange with Dolabella to offer it at the beginning of this book as an epitome of the whole play. From the outset, this is a play that traffics in oxymorons. Its regular business is to ‘make defect perfection’, to ‘approve[ ] the common liar’ (2.2.241, 1.2.61). But something else is going on in this exchange with Dolabella. It, too, epitomises the play, for Cleopatra's memorial

in Antony and Cleopatra
Making room for France
Richard Hillman

. 1–25. In fact, much of the recent critical discourse concerning cultural transfer and exchange with Italy employs such terminology, although not necessarily with conceptual precision. One may cite the titles of three (further) collections of essays edited by Michele Marrapodi: Shakespeare and Intertextuality: The Transition of Cultures between Italy and England in the Early Modern Period , Biblioteca Di Cultura (Rome: Bulzoni, 2000); Shakespeare, Italy, and Intertextuality (Manchester: Manchester University Pres, 2004); and (with A. J. Hoenselaars) The Italian

in The Shakespearean comic and tragicomic