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Shakespeare's Clown
Actor and Text in the Elizabethan Playhouse

£32.99

  • Date Published: June 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521673341

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About the Authors
  • This book argues that a professional Elizabethan theatre company always contained one actor known as 'the clown'. Its focus is Will Kemp, clown to the Chamberlain's Men from 1594 to 1599 and famed for his solo dance from London to Norwich in 1600. David Wiles combines textual, theatrical and biographical lines of research in order to map out Kemp's career. He shows how Shakespeare and other dramatists made use of Kemp's talents and wrote specific roles as vehicles for him. He discerns a perpetual and productive tension between the ambitions of a progressive writer and the aspirations of a traditional actor whose art was rooted in improvisation. The book also describes the clown tradition in general, dealing with Kemp's inheritance from medieval theatre, with the work of Richard Tarlton, the great comic actor of the 1570s and 1580s, and with Kemp's successor, Robert Armin, who created the 'fool' parts in Shakespeare.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521673341
    • length: 240 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.31kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Preface
    Acknowledgements
    Note
    1. The Vice: from Mankind to Merchant of Venice
    2. Tarlton: the first 'clown'
    3. Kemp: a biography
    4. Kemp's jigs
    5. 'The clown' in playhouse terminology
    6. The roles of Kemp 'the clown'
    7. The genesis of the text: two explorations
    8. The conventions governing Kemp's scripted roles
    9. Falstaff
    10. Robert Armin
    11. William Kemp and Harry Hunks: play as game, actor as sign - a theoretical conclusion
    Appendix
    Notes
    Select Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    David Wiles, University of London

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