This book presents a biography of the poetics and politics of London in 1613, from Whitehall to Guildhall, that is, Shakespeare's London. It examines major events at court, such as the untimely death of Prince Henry and its aftermath, and the extravagant wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Frederick of Germany and her journey to the Continent. The city flourished with scores of publications on a vast array of topics, including poetry, travel narratives, music, and, of course, plays. The book offers summaries and analyses of most of these texts, knowing that some of them may not be well-known to all readers. Many of these publications had a kind of link to the court. In order to understand the context of the year 1613, the book actually begins in October 1612 with Prince Henry's illness and death in November, which had a major impact on what happened in 1613. It proceeds more or less chronologically from this event to Princess Elizabeth's wedding and the stunning array of dramatic performances at court, and includes the journey to her new home in Germany. As part of the year's cultural nexus, the narrative reaches into the Guildhall experience to explore the riches of the books that emanated from London's printers and to examine specifically the drama performed or published in 1613. The final major focus centres on the Carr-Howard wedding at the year's end, full of cultural activities and ripe with political significance.
the networks are attempting to win back. (In Rosenthal, 2005: 454–5) Hence what he describes as the ‘Mantra’ of American television executives: docudrama works because it is ‘rootable’, ‘promotable’, and ‘relatable’.16 Performing docudrama For the remainder of this chapter the focus will be on the dramatic performance itself – in terms of the realisation of the docudrama in front of the camera-eye and microphone-ear, and in terms of what actors do when they act. It is common practice for those who write on docudrama to use a deficiency model, as I argued in the
The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.
Leicester Chartism’s rank-and-file staging serious drama provoked scandal in the town.5 Such was the cultural trespass that on the day of the trial, the ‘Town-hall … was crowded with persons anxious to hear the information against Mr. Cooper for unlicensed theatrical performances!’6 Although the prosecutor asserted that Cooper not only ‘caused plays to be acted’ but took ‘the part of “Hamlet”’ himself, the proceedings ended anti-climatically when charges were withdrawn in exchange for Cooper’s ‘public pledge’ that all dramatic performances ‘should cease from that time
What happens when Chaucer turns up where we don’t expect him to be? Transporting Chaucer draws on the work of the British sculptor Antony Gormley alongside more traditional literary scholarship to show that Chaucer’s play with textual history and chronological time prefigures how his poetry becomes incorporate with later (and earlier) texts. The shuttling of bodies, names, and sounds in and amongst works that Chaucer did write anticipates Chaucerian presences in later (and earlier) works that he did not. Chaucer’s characters, including ‘himself’ refuse to stay put in one place and time. This book bypasses the chronological borders of literary succession to read The Canterbury Tales and Chaucer’s Dream Vision poetry in present company with Chaucerian ‘apocrypha’, and works by Shakespeare, Davenant and Dryden. Conventional models of source and analogue study are re-energised to reveal unexpected (and sometimes unsettling) literary cohabitations and re-placements. Transporting Chaucer presents innovative readings of relationships between medieval texts and early modern drama, and between literary texts and material culture. Associations between medieval architecture, pilgrim practice, manuscript illustration, and the soundscapes of dramatic performance reposition how we read Chaucer’s oeuvre and what gets made of it. Written for scholars and students (undergraduate and graduate) who work in medieval English literary studies and early modern drama, Transporting Chaucer offers a new approach to how we encounter texts through time.
This book focuses on performance construed in the largest sense, as the deployment of a personal style, as imagery of various kinds, and even as books, which in the early modern era often include strongly performative elements. The chapters in the book fall logically into four groups: on personal style and the construction of the self, on drama, on books, and on the visual arts. Personal style is performative in the simple sense that it is expressive and in the more complex sense that it thereby implies that there is something to express. The book takes a broad view of the question of performance through disguise. Disguises in Elizabethan drama are nearly always presumed to be impenetrable, effectively concealing the self, whereas costume is designed to adorn the self, to make the self more strikingly recognizable. The book considers the changing effects of disguise and costume both on concepts of the self and on assumptions about the kind of reality represented by theater. As a practice that makes performance visible as such, theater is characterized by an ongoing reflection on the very norms that make dramatic performance legible and indeed possible. Images are never more performative in and for a culture than when they offer a view onto the differences through which culture is made.
Focusing on early modern accounts of execution and murder in drama and cheap print, this chapter draws upon a group of broadside and pamphlet execution narratives from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, including accounts of the regicide of Charles I, and upon Thomas Preston’s (1537-1598) Cambyses, King of Persia (1569) and Shakespeare’s Richard III (c.1592-3). In their representation of the rhetorical performances of the passions of the key players, these texts illustrate not only how emotion might be communicated from one character to another, but also how they might persuade and ‘infect’ audiences and readers with contagious passion by manipulating the linguistic and dramatic conventions deemed appropriate in such deadly situations. Through dramatic performances of passion, the texts communicate important (and at times subversive) political arguments about the nature of tyranny versus legitimate rule, illustrating the potency of emotional performance on the early modern page and stage.
dramatic performance legible and indeed possible. The book’s second section, on those shifting norms, includes essays on King Lear , Othello , Hamlet and Comus. “ Othello and the end of comedy” starts from the familiar observation that Othello is a tragedy that has the structure of a comedy and, indeed, opens where traditional comedies end, with the secret lovers publicly united in a happy
While ‘the spatial, the literary, and the cultural liminality’ of the theatres doubtless allowed the satirists-cum-playwrights ‘a sanctuary’, the performative aspect of theatre opened vistas for satiric expression far beyond what had been possible in the print medium, while the tradition of English verse satire, cut off so abruptly, provided the prototype for the malcontent, the satirist-figure who expresses subversive rhetoric and, in the case of satiric tragedy, enacts violence against the corrupted state. Indeed, dramatic performance allowed the authors to move
period (1603–25), the court averaged about twenty dramatic performances a year (sometimes more and sometimes fewer); these dramatic events included regular plays, most of which had also been performed in London’s public theatres, and masques. But 1613 reveals some forty-three performances; no other year in this period matches this number. 7 Also, perhaps acknowledging the significance of this year, the