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Staged Properties in Early Modern English Drama


Jonathan Gil Harris, Natasha Korda, Douglas Bruster, Lena Cowen Orlin, Catherine Richardson, Sasha Roberts, Peter Stallybrass, Will Fisher, Juana Green, Valerie Wayne, Paul Yachnin
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  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521032094

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About the Authors
  • This collection of essays studies the material, economic and dramatic roles played by stage properties in early modern English drama. Often, the received wisdom about the commercial stage in Shakespeare's time is that it was a bare one, uncluttered by objects. Staged Properties offers a critique of this view. The volume offers valuable evidence and insight into the modes of production, circulation and exchange that brought such properties as sacred garments, household furnishings, pawned objects and even false beards on to the stage. Departing from previous scholarship which has mainly focused solely on the symbolic or iconographic aspects of props, these essays explore their material dimensions, and in particular, their status as a special form of property. The volume reflects upon what the material history of stage props may tell us about the changing demographics, modes of production and consumption, and notions of property that contributed to the rise of the commercial theatre in London.

    • Offers a book-length history of stage properties
    • Brings together a number of disciplines: theatre history, cultural history and literary criticism
    • Includes work from team of senior scholars including Peter Stallybrass, Valerie Wayne and Lena Cowen Orlin
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… splendid collection …' The Times Literary Supplement

    'For anyone who thought the early modern actor stood in a 'wooden O', this book is a must.' Journal of New Theatre Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521032094
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 154 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.544kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Notes on contributors
    1. Introduction: towards a materialist account of stage properties Jonathan Gil Harris and Natasha Korda
    Part I. Histories:
    2. Properties of skill: product placement in early English artisanal drama Jonathan Gil Harris
    3. The dramatic life of objects in the early modern theatre Douglas Bruster
    Part II. Furniture:
    4. Things with little social life (Henslowe's theatrical properties and Elizabethan household fittings) Lena Cowen Orlin
    5. Properties of domestic life: the table in Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness Catherine Richardson
    6. 'Let me the curtains draw': the dramatic and symbolic properties of the bed in Shakespearean tragedy Sasha Roberts
    Part III. Costumes:
    7. Properties in clothes: the materials of the Renaissance theatre Peter Stallybrass
    8. Women's theatrical properties Natasha Korda
    9. Staging the beard: masculinity in early modern English culture Will Fisher
    Part IV. Hand Properties:
    10. Properties of marriage: proprietary conflict and the calculus of gender in Epicoene Juana Green
    11. The woman's parts of Cymbeline Valerie Wayne
    12. Wonder-effects: Othello's handkerchief Paul Yachnin

  • Editors

    Jonathan Gil Harris, Ithaca College, New York
    Jonathan Gil Harris is Associate Professor of English at Ithaca College. He is the author of Foreign Bodies and the Body Politic: Discourses of Social Pathology in Early Modern England, (1998), as well as numerous articles on Renaissance drama and culture.

    Natasha Korda, Wesleyan University, Connecticut
    Natasha Korda is author of Shakespeare's Domestic Economies: Gender and Property in Early Modern England, (2002) and numerous essays on early modern drama and stage history. She is Associate Professor of English at Wesleyan University.


    Jonathan Gil Harris, Natasha Korda, Douglas Bruster, Lena Cowen Orlin, Catherine Richardson, Sasha Roberts, Peter Stallybrass, Will Fisher, Juana Green, Valerie Wayne, Paul Yachnin

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