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Performances at Court in the Age of Shakespeare


Sophie Chiari, John Mucciolo, Richard Dutton, W. R. Streitberger, Roy Eriksen, Janna Segal, Murat Öğütcü, Jason Lawrence, David M. Bergeron, Catherine Clifford, Anne Daye, Martin Butler, Leeds Barroll, Agnieszka Żukowska, William B. Long, John H. Astington, Chantal Schütz, Rebecca Olson
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  • Date Published: September 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108708180

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About the Authors
  • Even though Shakespeare openly dramatizes aristocratic shows in his own plays, the circumstances of early modern performance at court have received relatively little critical attention. With so much written on the playwright's wide and multi-layered audiences, the entertainment of the court itself has too long been dismissed as a secondary issue. This book aims to shed fresh light on the multiple aspects of Shakespearean performances at the Elizabethan and early Stuart courts, considering all forms of drama, music, dance and other entertainment. Taking the specific scenic environment and material conditions of early modern performance into account, the chapters examine both real and dramatized court shows in order to break ground for new avenues of thought. The volume considers how early modern court shows shaped dramatic writing and what they tell us of the aesthetics and politics of the Tudor and Stuart regimes.

    • Introduces and analyses specific dimensions of performances at court in the early modern period, including music, dance, architecture, painted cloths and shows within
    • Offers recent and innovative research on aristocratic entertainment in Shakespeare's time from literary, historical, cultural and political perspectives
    • Features chapters on Shakespeare's predecessors as well as his contemporaries, with a special focus on Ben Jonson
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The 16 essays, all comprehensive in their research and well documented, study Elizabethan and Jacobean court performances, and taken together they conclude that the plays during this time 'flowered into a robust, interconnected court and public theatre culture'.' J. S. Carducci, Choice

    'Performances at Court in the Age of Shakespeare is a savoury, witty, learned tribute to this endlessly fascinating world.' Barbara Ravelhofer, The Review of English Studies

    'The editors' stated goal with this volume is 'to show that the expansion of early modern commercial playhouses and the rise of lavishly elaborated courtly shows were not isolated events, but interdependent phenomena, which enables the birth of proto-capitalist, public enterprises'. The breadth and depth of the collection certainly underscore this intent, and the text is successful as well in demonstrating the ways Tudor and Stuart drama was both textual and visual, both diplomatic and aesthetic. As a contribution to the study of early modern performance, the culture of court performance, and the difference between court and public performance, this is a valuable new collection of knowledge.' Jess Hamlet, Early Theatre Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108708180
    • length: 294 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    General introduction Sophie Chiari and John Mucciolo
    Part I. Elizabethan Court Theatre:
    1. Palamon and Arcite: early Elizabethan court theatre Richard Dutton
    2. Revels at the court of Elizabeth I, 1594–1603 W. R. Streitberger
    3. Multiple Marlowe: Doctor Faustus and court performance Roy Eriksen
    4. The court theatre response to the public theatre debate in a Midsummer Night's Dream Janna Segal
    Part II. The Jacobean Tradition:
    5. Masculine dreams: Henry V and the Jacobean politics of court performance Murat Öğütcü
    6. Jacobean royal premieres? Othello and Measure for Measure at Whitehall in 1604 Jason Lawrence
    7. Pericles: a performance, a letter (1619) David M. Bergeron
    8. 'The old name is fresh about me': architectural mimesis and court spaces in All is True Catherine Clifford
    Part III. Reassessing the Stuart Masque:
    9. Dancing at court: 'the art that all arts doe approve' Anne Daye
    10. The Tempest and the Jonsonian masque Martin Butler
    11. Noble masquing at the Stuart court Leeds Barroll
    12. 'Animated porcelain of the court': Stuart masquers as magical automata Agnieszka Żukowska
    Part IV. The Material Conditions of Performances at Court:
    13. How did they do it? Problems of staging plays at court William B. Long
    14. The Jacobean banqueting house as a performance space John H. Astington
    15. Musicians at court Chantal Schütz
    16. Painted cloths and the making of Whitehall's playing space
    1611–12 Rebecca Olson

  • Editors

    Sophie Chiari, Clermont Auvergne University, France
    Sophie Chiari is Professor of Early Modern Studies at Clermont Auvergne University, France. She is the author of several monographs on Elizabethan drama, including Shakespeare's Representation of Weather, Climate, and Environment:The Early Modern 'Fated Sky' (2018).

    John Mucciolo
    John Mucciolo is an Independent Scholar and founding editor, with W. R. Elton, of The Shakespearean International Yearbook. He is particularly interested in Shakespeare's late plays and early modern political, intellectual and theatrical backgrounds.


    Sophie Chiari, John Mucciolo, Richard Dutton, W. R. Streitberger, Roy Eriksen, Janna Segal, Murat Öğütcü, Jason Lawrence, David M. Bergeron, Catherine Clifford, Anne Daye, Martin Butler, Leeds Barroll, Agnieszka Żukowska, William B. Long, John H. Astington, Chantal Schütz, Rebecca Olson

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