English Renaissance Scenes: From Canon to Margins

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This book throws new light on the complexity and variety of practices which may be defined as `theatrical' in a broad sense in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English drama. The volume deals first with the mainstream of dramatic production, starting from the anti-theatrical debate which characterized the whole period and increased in intensity as it went on. Here Shakespeare and Ben Jonson come on stage with their rejoinders to this issue. At the same time, while the universities were offering a kind of theatre workshop importing Latin and Italian models, popular performances were being staged in non-theatrical spaces. Tournaments, and their aristocratic codes, are explored as well as more popular and `marginal' spectacles - such as those of conny-catching improvisers, jugglers, gypsy dancers and fortune-tellers, clowns and prophetesses.