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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2019
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Book description

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.


‘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 Source: Choice

‘Performances at Court in the Age of Shakespeare is a savoury, witty, learned tribute to this endlessly fascinating world.’

Barbara Ravelhofer Source: 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 Source: Early Theatre Review

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