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Description - English Renaissance Drama by Peter Womack

The aim of this book, in conformity with that of the series, is to provide sixth-form and university students with the historical, literary and theatrical contexts they need in order to make sense of the more widely studied and revived English renaissance plays. The field, then, consists of the scripts from that London theatrical culture which took shape in the 1570s and 80s, and came to an end in 1642. Within that large body of writing, the emphasis is on plays that are readily available in modern editions and occasionally to be seen in modern productions. This project runs immediately into the problem of what to do about Shakespeare. For over two hundred years, he has so dominated the reception of this drama that if one were to concentrate on, say, the twenty most studied or most performed English renaissance plays, it would turn out that they were all his. The book will resist this logic, so as not simply to reproduce Shakespeare's dehistoricising pre-eminence. On the other hand, to resist it by exclusion, so that 'Renaissance Drama' means, as it often does, 'Renaissance Drama Other Than Shakespeare', would produce a very skewed representation even of the others: the evidence of allusions, imitations, and publication suggests that Shakespeare did dominate playwriting between 1590 and 1610 - not so absolutely as has since come to be the case, but nevertheless decisively. The proposed compromise is this: in Section 3 ('key texts'), the number of Shakespeare plays will be restricted to four, and these will be placed in relation to non-Shakespearean drama: and then in sections 1 and 4, where the drama is discussed in generic and thematic terms rather than play-by-play, the many important Shakespeare plays which are rather arbitrarily not 'key texts' will be freely mined for examples and illustrations.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780631226307
ISBN-10: 0631226303
Format: Paperback
(233mm x 163mm x 17mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: Blackwell Publishers
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Publish Date: 30-Aug-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Peter Womack

Peter Womack is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of East Anglia. He is the co-author of English Drama: A Cultural History (Blackwell Publishing, 1996), and the author of Improvement and Romance: Constructing the Myth of the Highlands (1989) and Ben Jonson (Blackwell Publishing, 1986).

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