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Clowning and Authorship in Early Modern Theatre

£70.00

  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107036574

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About the Authors
  • To early modern audiences, the 'clown' was much more than a minor play character. A celebrity performer, he was a one-man sideshow whose interactive entertainments - face-pulling, farce interludes, jigs, rhyming contests with the crowd - were the main event. Clowning epitomized a theatre that was heterogeneous, improvised, participatory, and irreducible to dramatic texts. How, then, did those texts emerge? Why did playgoers buy books that deleted not only the clown, but them as well? Challenging the narrative that clowns were 'banished' by playwrights like Shakespeare and Jonson, Richard Preiss argues that clowns such as Richard Tarlton, Will Kemp, and Robert Armin actually made playwrights possible - bridging, through the publication of their routines, the experience of 'live' and scripted performance. Clowning and Authorship tells the story of how, as the clown's presence decayed into print, he bequeathed the new categories around which theatre would organize: the author, and the actor.

    • Examines a species of performer who played a vital role in the shape of early modern playhouse entertainment, expanding our knowledge of how audiences and performance functioned relative to one another
    • Looks beyond printed plays as sources of evidence of theatrical practice, enabling a more composite understanding of early modern theatrical production
    • Presents new readings of non-canonical texts written by stage clowns, using these to provide new analysis of canonical plays by Shakespeare, Jonson and others
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Original, sophisticated and deeply researched.' The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107036574
    • length: 298 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 147 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the play is not the thing
    1. What audiences did
    2. Send in the clown
    3. Wiring Richard Tarlton
    4. Nobody's business
    5. Private practice
    Epilogue: the principal verb.

  • Author

    Richard Preiss, University of Utah
    Richard Preiss is Associate Professor of English at the University of Utah, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on Shakespeare, early modern drama, and Renaissance literature. He has edited The Tempest: Shakespeare in Performance (2008), and his essays have appeared in publications including Renaissance Drama, Shakespeare Yearbook, and From Performance to Print in Shakespeare's England (2005). He is also a contributor to the forthcoming collections The Cambridge Guide to the Worlds of Shakespeare and Early Modern Theatricality.

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