Selfhood on the Early Modern English Stage
The twelve essays in Selfhood on the Early Modern English Stage analyse the influences that shaped the fictional constructs that inhabited the drama of the early modern period. The contributors, all specialists in the field working in France and England, offer a wide spectrum of views and discuss a variety of dramatic texts ranging from late medieval cycle plays and interludes of the Tudor period, to plays by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Tourneur and Jonson. The early modern stage self emerges out of this collection as the site of a rich confluence of discursive and historical forces existing beyond the theatre itself.Three essays in the first section reveal how abstract figures like Mundus and Mankind gradually became endowed with personal motives and personalizing traits which brought into existence stage beings with a capacity for emotion. In the second section, three essays deal with specific cultural factors that influenced the representation of selfhood in John Lyly's Alexander, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, and in a selection of Stuart court masques presented at Whitehall. The third section offers new insights into the composition of Hamlet as a dramatized personality, the fourth investigates the way in which the poet-playwright's autobiographical impulses may have helped in the construction of early modern stage selves, the final, fifth section explores the kaleidoscopic sources of the royal protagonists in Rowley's When You See Me, You Know Me, and Shakespeare's Richard III. This collection of essays seeks to add a further contribution to the growing body of criticism that investigates the multi-facetted, multi-layered construction of early modern subjectivity.
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