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    Botonaki, Effie 2011. Representations of Elizabeth I in Early Modern Culture. p. 140.

  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: March 2008

15 - The Stuart masque and its makers

There is probably no literary genre more elusive of reconstruction, more fugitive of interpretation, yet more significant as a cultural symptom than the court masque. In its fully developed form it lasted only from 1604 to 1640; the scripts that survive give a very partial sense of the mix of words, music, scene, dance and audience participation that characterised the entertainments. The Stuart masque most often formed a central part of the court's extended Christmas festivities, alongside plays and other entertainments, though they were also performed at other times of the year. The main entry of masquers had its roots in 'disguisings' or 'mummings' which can be traced back into the Middle Ages, and were an often anarchic part of Christmas revelry at every level of society. The court masque was deeply embedded in traditions of celebration and habits of representation which had a long history.
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The Cambridge History of British Theatre
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