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Spectators, aesthetics and encompletion
Author: Chloe Porter

This book discusses early modern English drama as a part of visual culture. It concerns the ideas about 'making and unmaking' that Shakespeare and his contemporaries may have known and formulated, and how these ideas relate to the author's own critical assumptions about early modern aesthetic experience. The study of drama as a part of visual culture offers the perfect context for an exploration of pre-modern aesthetic discourse. The book expounds the author's approach to plays as participants in a lively post-Reformation visual culture in the process of 're-formation'. It then focuses on the social meanings of patronage of the visual arts in a discussion of Paulina as patron of Hermione's image in The Winter's Tale. The discussion of The Winter's Tale pivots around the play's troubling investment in patriarchal notions of 'perfection'. The book also explores image-breaking in Robert Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay. This play presents an instance of onstage iconoclasm in the supernatural destruction of a demonic brazen head, a quasi-magical figure that had been depicted in English literature since at least the twelfth century. In focusing on the portrayal of invisibility in The Two Merry Milkmaids, the book explores early modern preoccupation with processes of visual construction in a play in which there is very little artisanal activity.

Chloe Porter

This book discusses early modern English drama as a part of visual culture. But what is visual culture, and why use this phrase in place of the ‘fine arts’ or the ‘visual arts’? In part, this choice is motivated by my concern with exploring the plays in their historical contexts. Shakespeare and his contemporaries would not have recognised the phrase ‘fine arts’. Nor would

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library

This book studies the mother figure in English drama from the mid-sixteenth to the early seventeenth centuries. It explores a range of genres from popular mystery and moral plays to drama written for the court and universities and for the commercial theatres, including history plays, comedies, tragedies, romances and melodrama. Familiar and less-known plays by such diverse dramatists as Udall, Bale, Phillip, Legge, Kyd, Marlowe, Peele, Shakespeare, Middleton, Dekker and Webster are subject to readings that illuminate the narrative value of the mother figure to early modern dramatists. The book explores the typology of the mother figure by examining the ways in which her narrative value in religious, political and literary discourses of the period might impact upon her representation. It addresses a range of contemporary narratives from Reformation and counter-Reformation polemic to midwifery manuals and Mother's Legacies, and from the political rhetoric of Mary I, Elizabeth and James to the reported gallows confessions of mother convicts and the increasingly popular Puritan conduct books. The relations between tradition and change and between typology and narrative are explored through a focus upon the dramatised mother in a series of dramatic narratives that developed out of rapidly shifting social, political and religious conditions.

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The unattractive body in early modern culture
Author: Naomi Baker

This book investigates representations of the unattractive human body in early modern English culture, examining in particular the role played by depictions of the unsightly body in the construction of specific models of identity. It provides a set of texts that can deepen their understanding of the culture and society of the twelfth-century German kingdom. The sources translated bring to life the activities of five noblemen and noblewomen. The book focuses on the ugly characters found in English literature and drama, and also refers to wider European texts and discourses, including Italian and other European visual art. It explores whether ugliness is an objective property or a subjective perception. Ugly men are often represented as Silenus figures, their unappealing exteriors belying their inner nobility. Carrier of diseases and transgressor of sexual, social and physical norms, the ugly woman horrifies and nauseates, provoking a violent response. The manner in which these women are 'defeatured' aligns their acquired ugliness with the erasure of identity rather than its consolidation. The usefulness of the ugly woman as a means of consolidating specific forms of masculine identity is particularly visible in some texts written in praise of unattractive mistresses. Works 'celebrating' ugly women ultimately draw attention to the male creative genius that is capable of transforming even unsightly female matter into compelling art. Eluding simple categorisations and dismantling the most fundamental of social and subjective binaries, ugly figures burst repeatedly on to the scene in early modern texts, often in the most unexpected of places.

The well- travelled tyrant and some of his unchecked baggage
Richard Hillman

Over the last ten years or so, a culture of war has returned to prominence in English-speaking societies, and war has broken out again as a favoured topic in the criticism of early modern English drama. Despite the much-heralded ‘Turn to Religion in Early Modern English Studies’, 1 the orientation has remained overwhelmingly materialist, often at the expense of the

in A knight’s legacy
The unknowable image in The Winter’s Tale
Chloe Porter

Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale presents one of the most famous depictions of a patron of the visual arts in early modern English drama. In the penultimate scene of the play, we are told that the Sicilian courtier, Paulina, is in possession of a ‘statue’ of the dead Sicilian queen, Hermione (5.2.93). ‘Hearing of her mother’s statue’, Perdita, Hermione’s long

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama
Richard Allen Cave

; the motive of territorial seizure for reasons of economic exploitation and political security were in consequence all too transparent. Irish characters appeared in English drama from Renaissance times; from the first a distinct unease and uncertainty are to be detected behind the creating of the stereotype of the Stage Irishman (more pronouncedly than seems to obtain with English caricaturing of the

in Acts of supremacy
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Erotic commodification, cross-cultural conversion, and the bed-trick on the English stage, 1580–1630
Daniel Vitkus

Burton, Traffic and turning: Islam and English drama, 1579–1624 (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005 ), pp. 246–56; and chapter 4 of Dennis Britton, Becoming Christian: race, reformation, and early modern English Romance (New York: Fordham University Press, 2014 ). 34

in Conversions
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.