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Paul Edmondson, Kevin Colls and William Mitchell

The closest Shakespeare comes to depicting an archaeological excavation is the clearing of a space for Ophelia’s grave. Hamlet looks on (with Horatio), appalled at the matter-of-factness with which the two clownish gravediggers set about their task: skulls ‘knocked about the mazard with a sexton’s spade ... Did these bones cost no more the breeding but to play at loggats

in Finding Shakespeare’s New Place
Steve Sohmer

to be unearthed by literary archaeology, there’s bountiful evidence that he and his contemporary dramatists (like all writers since Genesis) modelled many of their characters on lovers, friends, and enemies. Frances Trollope (1799–1863), a writer and social critic before her time who skewered Americans’ manners in 1823 and Parisians’ in 1835, said of the way she constructed

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
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Spenser, Donne, and the trouble of periodization
Yulia Ryzhik

social, political, and intellectual pressures of the time. To what extent should we consider the political and intellectual unrest of the late sixteenth century as a crisis of poetic imagination? Where do Spenser’s and Donne’s reactions to this crisis coincide, and where do they diverge? What insights might be gained from juxtaposing two poets so apparently unlike one another for comparison rather than contrast? How might this juxtaposition change our understanding of each poet individually? Reading Donne in the context of Spenser not only modifies our view of Donne as

in Spenser and Donne
Spenser, Sidney, and the early modern chivalric code
Jean R. Brink

Mulcaster, Ascham, and others … had propagated a myth of social mobility, of a career open to talents, with ‘learning’ as the ladder by which the heights might be attained. In effect, the norm they established resolved the old debate of whether the active or the contemplative life were preferable by combining the two, though in such a way as to give the active life priority. (68

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
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Richard James Wood

Sidney’s works as examples of cultural analysis in the terms outlined by Raymond Williams in his book The Long Revolution , The Defence of Poesy could be considered as an example of the ‘ideal’ category, ‘in which culture is a state or process of human perfection, in terms of certain absolute or universal values’. In such terms, the Arcadia would fall into the ‘social’ category, in which the ‘analysis of culture … is the clarification of the meanings and values implicit and explicit in a particular way of life, a particular culture’. 21 Here, it is the

in Sidney's Arcadia and the conflicts of virtue
Foreign Antony and Cleopatra in Britain and abroad
Carol Chillington Rutter

done, the play's full text. Zadek kept his audiences in the theatre for just under four hours. With no interval. But reviewers didn't complain. ‘Light, fast, witty, ironic’ and ‘stripped of its usual archaeological clutter’, the play raced by ‘on the wings of Mercury’, telling a ‘queasily anti-heroic’ story by ‘emphasising those elements that undercut the lovers’ word-drunkenly glorified estimate of themselves’ ( Guardian , 18 August 1994). To one reviewer, this Antony and Cleopatra had more in common with Troilus and Cressida , that

in Antony and Cleopatra
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Shakespeare and the supernatural
Victoria Bladen and Yan Brailowsky

performative considerations, Kapitaniak argues that the various nicknames that Hamlet gives the ghost do not necessarily invoke a demonic connotation, as is commonly assumed, but may well have their origins in previous theatrical precedents. These precedents, or traditions, suggest that embodying the supernatural requires a leap of faith, one in which audiences choose to believe, basing their choice on (often obscure) knowledge from the past. While Kapitaniak's work of linguistic archaeology reinvestigates the theatrical space of the ghost in terms of the

in Shakespeare and the supernatural
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Spenser, Donne, and the philosophic poem
Yulia Ryzhik

emerges from the notion of ‘encounter’ itself. In a now-famous address, Mary Louise Pratt evoked the notion of ‘contact zones’ – ‘social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power’ – as opposed to the more cohesive, egalitarian, and stable notion of ‘community’. 45 Quickly absorbed into theoretical vocabulary across a range of fields, the idea of the ‘contact zone’ as a shifting locus of encounter, often identified with trading posts and border cities, is now ubiquitous in discussing early

in Spenser and Donne
An archaeological biography

This book provides an abundance of fresh insights into Shakespeare's life in relation to his lost family home, New Place. It first covers the first 6,000 years of the site, from its prehistoric beginnings through its development into a plot within the economic context of early medieval Stratford-upon-Avon, and the construction of the first timber-framed building. The book then describes the construction and distinctive features of Hugh Clopton's brick-and-timber house, the first New Place. Stratford-upon-Avon gave Shakespeare a deeply rooted love of family, loyal neighbours and friends, and although he came to enjoy a prominent social standing there, he probably had little or no time at all for its puritanical side. The book provides a cultural, religious and economic context for Shakespeare's upbringing; education, work, marriage, and early investments up to his son, Hamnet's death, and his father, John Shakespeare, being made a gentleman. It discusses the importance of New Place to Shakespeare and his family during the nineteen years he owned it and spent time there. The book also takes us to just beyond the death of Shakespeare's granddaughter, Elizabeth, Lady Bernard, the last direct descendant of Shakespeare to live in the house. It further gives an account of James Halliwell's acquisition of the site, his archaeology and how New Place has become an important focus for the local community, not least during the 'Dig for Shakespeare'.

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.