Introduction: The Theater as a Loaded Gun

Ellen Mackay

in Persecution, Plague, and Fire

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780226500195
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226500218 | DOI:
Introduction: The Theater as a Loaded Gun

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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For theater historians, early modern England is an awkward subject: a golden age fettered to a shadowy past. In accord with Peggy Phelan's famous axiom that performance “becomes itself through disappearance,” there is little indication of the way the English theater became itself during the period that has been subsequently hailed as its “greatest flourish.” The result is an illustrious drama that happened off the record, absent the narrative that would place dramatic texts in clear relation to their theatrical contexts. So palpable is this absence that it is hard not to take it as evidence withheld.

Keywords: English theater; early modern England; drama; narrative; dramatic text; performance

Chapter.  8004 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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