Theatrical performance, suggest the contributors to this volume, can be an unpredictable, individual experience as well as a communal, institutional or cultural event. The essays collected here use the tools of theatre history in their investigation into the phenomenology of the performance experience, yet they are also careful to consider the social, ideological and institutional contingencies that determine the production and reception of the living spectacle. Thus contributors combine a formalist interest in the affective and aesthetic dimensions of language and spectacle with an investment in the material cultures that both produced and received Shakespeare's plays.
Six of the chapters focus on early modern cultures of performance, looking specifically at such topics as the performance of rusticity; the culture of credit; contract and performance; the cultivation of Englishness; religious ritual; and mourning and memory. Building upon and interrelating with the preceding essays, the last three chapters deal with Shakespeare and performance culture in modernity. They focus on themes including literary and theatrical performance anxiety; cultural iconicity; and the performance of Shakespearean lateness.
This collection strives to bring better understanding to Shakespeare's imaginative investment in the relationship between theatrical production and the emotional, intellectual and cultural effects of performance broadly defined in social terms.
Contents: Introduction, Patricia Badir and Paul Yachnin; Part 1 Shakespeare and Early Modern Cultures of Performance: Shakespeare and the theatrical performance of rusticity, David Bevington; Payback time: on the economic rhetoric of revenge in The Merchant of Venice, Linda Woodbridge; 'To give and to receive': performing exchanges in The Merchant of Venice, Sean Lawrence; To 'gase so much at the fine stranger': Armado and the politics of English in Love's Labours Lost, Lynne Magnusson; 'Does not the stone rebuke me?' The Pauline rebuke and Paulina's lawful magic in The Winter's Tale, Huston Diehl; Shakespeare and secular performance, Anthony B. Dawson. Part 2 Shakespeare and Modern Cultures of Performance: 'Discharging less than the tenth part of one': performance anxiety and/in Troilus and Cressida, Gretchen E. Minton; Forbidden mixtures: Shakespeare in blackface minstrelsy, 1844, Coppélia Khan; The Tempest and the uses of late Shakespeare in the cultures of performance: prospero, Geilgud, Rylance, Gordon McMullan; Afterword: 'performance', 'culture', history, Edward Pechter; Bibliography; Index.
About the Editor: Paul Yachnin is Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies at McGill University, Canada. Patricia Badir is Associate Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
Reviews: ‘… these essays are valuable not only for the richness of their research, but also for their engagement with a plethora of cognate scholarly debates. Questions of authorship and biography, sit alongside debates about textual and performance studies, fashioning a critically creative discussion of 'Shakespeare and the Cultures of Performance.'’ Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen
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