The Culture of Playgoing in Shakespeare's England: A Collaborative Debate

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Cambridge University Press, 2001 M03 26 - 215 pages
How was the experience of watching a play influenced by practices beyond the walls of the playhouse, and what were the broader social and historical implications of the culture of playgoing? The book sets out to answer such questions. Interested first in what happened within the playhouse itself, the authors focus on the person of the actor, on stage props, visual pleasure and audience behaviour. At the same time, their discussion moves outward to consider a range of cultural assumptions and practices - such as eucharistic controversy, prostitution, social mobility, iconoclasm, Renaissance optics, the formation of national memory, and the dissemination of news. Since the two authors have very different perspectives on these issues, they have chosen a unique format: rather than submerging their opposition, they have highlighted it. Their attacks and counter-attacks, as they contest each other's views in paired chapters, result in a lively and illuminating debate.

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Contents

Acknowledgments page ix
1
The populuxe theatre
38
Eye to eye opposed
69
The distracted globe
88
Magical properties III
111
Props pleasure and idolatry
131
PART FOUR NATIONAL PASTIMES
161
The house of fame
182
Afterword
208
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About the author (2001)

Anthony B. Dawson is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia.

Paul Yachnin is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia.

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