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As well as 'play-makers' and 'poets', playwrights of the early modern period were known as 'play-patchers' because their texts were made from separate documents. This book is the first to consider all the papers created by authors and theatres by the time of the opening performance, recovering types of script not previously known to have existed. With chapters on plot-scenarios, arguments, playbills, prologues and epilogues, songs, staged scrolls, backstage-plots and parts, it shows how textually distinct production was from any single unified book. And, as performance documents were easily lost, relegated or reused, the story of a play's patchy creation also becomes the story of its co-authorship, cuts, revisions and additions. Using a large body of fresh evidence, Documents of Performance in Early Modern England brings a wholly new reading to printed and manuscript playbooks of the Shakespearean period, redefining what a play, and what a playwright, actually is.Read more
- Presents a large quantity of fresh research revealing new documents never written about before, demanding a rethinking of performance and theatre history
- The fullest account of documents to date, with new information about their circulation and onstage manifestation
- Brings together the disparate fields of theatre history, manuscript studies and bibliography, showing the overlaps between them
Reviews & endorsements
"...essential reading for theater historians, critics and editors alike"
-Ross King, TLSSee more reviews
‘Very occasionally a book comes along which should have a significant revisionary effect across a number of academic areas of study. Documents of Performance is such a book … Tiffany Stern calls into question many of the assumptions behind current early modern scholarship on authorship attribution, editing theory and practice, paratextual materials, playhouse performance, and play interpretation … Stern's important arguments on the patchiness of plays […] all early modern theater scholars will now have to take into account’.
-Anne Lancashire, Renaissance Quarterly
‘a major contribution to our understanding of early modern theater practice … required reading’.
-Alan Dessen, Shakespeare Studies
‘a wealth of intriguing insights … teaches us more about [documents’] use and importance than we thought could be known‘.
-Lukas Erne, Around the Globe
‘an important and fascinating book … challenges many misconceptions and sheds new light on the personnel and practices of early modern theaters and on the fragmentary character of the texts they required, produced, used, … Documents of Performance is … constantly enlightening … lively … impressive …’.
-C. E. McGee, Shakespeare Quarterly
‘outstrips the magisterial E. K. Chambers’.
-Katherine Duncan-Jones (book of the year, TLS)
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- Date Published: September 2012
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107656208
- length: 376 pages
- dimensions: 226 x 151 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.59kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Introduction: playwrights as play-patchers
2. Playbills and title-pages
3. 'Arguments' in playhouse and book
4. Prologues, epilogues, interim entertainments
5. Songs and masques
7. Backstage plots
8 and 9. The approved 'book' and actors' parts
Conclusion: repatching the play.
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