Shakespeare was easily the most inventive writer using the English language. His plays give us intricacies of vocabulary and usage that have enriched us immeasurably. This book provides a series of analytical essays on the marginalia relating to the plays. Each of them is a searching and authoritative account, packed with details, of some of the more peculiar conditions under which Shakespeare and his peers composed their playbooks. Among the essays are two completely new contributions. Altogether they reveal fresh details about the input of the playing companies, playhouses, individual players and even their controller, the Revels Office, to the complex fragments that we now have of the Shakespearean world. Gurr examines Shakespeare's own choice between playwriting and poetry, the requirements of working in a playhouse that wraps itself around the stage, and its impact on the creation of such figures as Henry V, Shylock, Isabella, King Lear and Coriolanus.Read more
- Presents a collection of work that focuses on some of the more peculiar theatre conditions in which Shakespeare worked
- Features wide ranging subject matter, from Shakespearean audiences to theatre building practices
- Contains two previously unpublished essays from Andrew Gurr, 'Accommodating the Revels Office' and 'Headless Coriolanus'
Reviews & endorsements
'Andrew Gurr has spent his career illuminating what he calls the 'dark penumbra' around every early modern play … Gurr's approach, which has influenced so much of the field, moves from specific pragmatic or historical questions ('were there three doors for players to enter the stage, or only two? What might the first players have done to cope with the Globe's two large structural pillars on the stage?') to the much broader 'whether the ear or the eye had priority in early modern theatre?' Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, The Times Literary Supplement
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- Date Published: June 2022
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781316618271
- length: 294 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.4kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Note on the text
2. Henry Carey's peculiar letter
3. Venues on the verges: London's theatre government between 1594 and 1614
4. Three reluctant patrons and early Shakespeare
5. The great divide of 1594
6. The choice between plays and poems
7. Accommodating the Revels Office
8. The war of 1614–18: Jacobean absolutism, local authority, and a crisis of overproduction
9. Metatheatre and the fear of playing
10. Why was the Globe round?
11. The general and the caviar: learned audiences in the early theatre
12. Headless Coriolanus
13. Rethinking Shylock
14. Measure for Measure's hoods and masks: the Duke, Isabella, and liberty
15. The transforming of Henry V
16. Headgear as a paralinguistic signifier in King Lear
'The cause is in my will': a bibliography.
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