English Historical Drama, 1500-1660: Forms Outside the Canon by Theresa Grant, Barbara Ravelhofer

By Theresa Grant, Barbara Ravelhofer

Many readers this present day affiliate the early sleek historical past play with Shakespeare. whereas now not wishing to disregard the effect of Shakespeare, this number of essays explores different historic drama among 1500 and 1660, masking quite a lot of varied codecs outdoors the canon of 1590s historical past cycles. An creation presents a survey of present feedback, together with either early smooth and modern definitions of the 'history play'. person essays in chronological order discover genres that practice 'history' in numerous methods, akin to exhibits, moralities or closet drama. during this manner this assortment establishes replacement paradigms of early glossy old drama.

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1611–32). Others of his plays could be included in a loose grouping of the ‘historical’ – The Fair Maid of the West (pr. 1631), for instance. 56. Notably Gynaikeion or Nine Books of Various History Concerning Women (1624) and England’s Elizabeth, Her Life and Troubles (1631). 57. Sallust, The Two Most Worthy and Notable Histories, tr. Heywood, sig. [first quire] 4r . 58. , sig. ¶v . 59. We are grateful to Tom Freeman for a very helpful conversation about this. 60. Thomas Dekker, The Whore of Babylon (London: Nathaniel Butter, 1607), ‘To the Readers’, sigs.

6. William Haller, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and the Elect Nation (London: Cape, 1963); Judith Doolin Spikes, ‘The Jacobean History Play and the Myth of the Elect Nation’, Renaissance Drama, 8 (1977), 117–49; James Ellison, ‘Measure for Measure and the Executions of Catholics in 1604’, English Literary Renaissance, 33/1 (2003), 44–87 (pp. 80–2). As we are helpfully reminded by Kewes, ‘The Elizabethan History Play’, p. 189. Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory, I. Past and Present in Contemporary Culture (London: Verso, 1994), p.

With this aggressive satire, following hot on the heels of a historical event, the crypto-dramatists of the Civil War may have created a new type of historical drama – news drama which survives to the present day in satirical columns of journals and newspapers. In both performance and post-performance documentation, early modern historical drama offered spectators ways to learn about Time. Audiences were invited to immerse themselves into the fiction of the play and to make its history their own.

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