This series provides a forum for monographs and essay collections that investigate the material culture, broadly conceived, of theatre and performance in England from the late Tudor to the pre-Restoration Stuart periods (ca. 1550–1650). The editors invite proposals for book-length studies engaging in the material vitality of the dramatic text, political culture, theatre and performance history, theatrical design, performance spaces, gendering court entertainments, child- and adult-actors, music, dance and audiences in London and on tour. We are also interested in the discursive production of gender, sex and race in early modern England in relation to material historical, social, cultural and political structures; changes to and effects of law; monarchy and the republic in dramatic texts; theatre and performance, including performance spaces that are not in theatres. Further topics might include the production and consumption of things and ideas; costumes, props, theatre records and accounts, gendering of spaces and geographies (court, tavern, street, and household, rural or urban), cross-dressing, military or naval excursions, gendered pastimes, games, behaviors, rituals, fashions, transnational encounters, the disabled and the demonic and their reflection in text and performance.
Keywords: Drama, theatre, performance, material culture, gender, Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
Geographical Scope: United Kingdom
Chronological Scope: c. 1550-1650
Series editor and editorial board
To submit a proposal or completed manuscript to be considered for publication by Medieval Institute Publications or to learn more about the series, please contact Tyler Cloherty, acquisitions editor for the series
The series' Editorial Board comprises:
- Cristina León Alfar, Hunter College, CUNY, USA, Series Editor
- Helen Ostovich, McMaster University, Canada, Series Editor
Performing Widowhood on the Early Modern English Stage
By Asuka Kimura
Placed between death and life, female submissiveness and male audacity, chastity and sexual awareness, or tragedy and comedy, widows were highly problematic in early modern patriarchal society. They were also popular figures in the theater, arousing both male desire and anxiety. How did Shakespeare and his contemporaries represent them on the stage? What kind of costume, props and gestures were employed? What influence did actors, spectators and play-space have? This book offers a fresh and incisive examination of the theatrical representation of widows by discussing the material conditions of the early modern stage. It is also the only comprehensive study of this topic covering all three phases of Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline drama.
ISBN: 978-1-50152-020-4 (clothbound), 978-1-50151-389-3 (PDF), 978-1-50151-395-4 (EPUB) © 2023
By Lisa Hopkins
This book explores how Shakespeare and his contemporaries represented places where Christians encountered Turks, including Malta, Tunis, Hungary and Armenia. Some forms of Christianity itself might seem alien, so the book also considers the interface between traditional Catholicism, new forms of Protestantism and Greek and Russian orthodoxy. It also finds the concept of Christendom was under threat in other places, some nearer to home. Edges of Christendom could be found in areas that were or had been pagan, such as Rome itself and the Danelaw, once covering northern England; they could even be found in English homes and gardens, where imported foreign flowers and exotic new ingredients challenged concepts of the native and natural.
ISBN: 978-1-50152-033-4 (clothbound), 978-1-50151-415-9 (PDF), 978-1-50151-417-3 (EPUB) © 2022
By Mark Kaethler
This book represents the first sustained study of Middleton's dramatic works as responses to James I's governance examines Middleton’s poiesis in relation to the political theology of Jacobean London. Kaethler explores early forms of free speech, namely parrhēsia, and rhetorical devices, such as irony and allegory, to elucidate the ways in which Middleton’s plural art exposes the limitations of the monarch’s sovereign image. Additionally, the author identifies that although Middleton’s drama spurs political awareness and questions authority, it nevertheless simultaneously promotes alternative structures of power, which manifest as misogyny and white supremacy.
ISBN: 978-1-50151-819-5 (clothbound), 978-1-50151-376-3 (PDF), 978-1-50151-399-2 (EPUB) © 2021
By Frederika Elizabeth Bain
The medieval and early modern English imaginary encompasses a broad range of dismemberments. This study argues that representations of bodily fragmentation illustrated and performed acts of exclusion and inclusion, detaching not only limbs from bodies but individuals from identity groups. Bain examines questions of legitimate and illegitimate violence, showing that such distinctions largely rested upon particular acts’ assumed symbolic meanings.
ISBN: 978-1-50151-786-0 (clothbound), 978-1-50151-323-7 (PDF), 978-1-50151-295-7 (EPUB) © 2020
Edited by Aidan Norrie and Mark Houlahan
This collection examines some of the people, places, and plays at the edge of early modern English drama. Engaging with topics such as child actors, alterity, sexuality, foreignness, and locality, this volume demonstrates the people and concepts long seen as on the edge of early modern English drama made vital contributions both within the fictive worlds of early modern plays, and without, in the real worlds of playmakers, theatres, and audiences.
ISBN: 978-1-50151-821-8 (clothbound), 978-1-50151-374-9 (PDF), 978-1-50151-402-9 (EPUB) © 2020
Edited by Domenico Lovascio
This volume explores the diverse issues connected to female identities in the early modern English plays set in ancient Rome and puts Shakespeare’s Roman world in dialogue with a number of Roman plays by writers as diverse as Gwinne, Jonson, Fletcher, Massinger, May, and Richards. Thus, the collection seeks to challenge conventional wisdom about the plays under scrutiny by specifically focusing on their female characters, as well as sharpening our awareness of the fact that the Roman world on the early modern stage cannot be simplistically equated with Shakespeare’s.
ISBN: 978-1-50151-856-0 (clothbound), 978-1-50151-420-3 (PDF), 978-1-50151-405-0 (EPUB) © 2020
By Vanessa L. Rapatz
This study examines how the English came to terms with the meanings of convents and novices even after they disappeared from the physical and social landscape. In five chapters, it traces convents and novices across a range of dramatic texts by such writers as William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Margaret Cavendish, and Aphra Behn. Convents, novices, and problem plays emerge as parallel sites of ambiguity that reflect the social, political, and religious uncertainties England faced after the Reformation.
ISBN: 978-1-50151-790-7 (clothbound), 978-1-50151-334-3 (PDF), 978-1-50151-314-5 (EPUB) © 2020
By Lisa Hopkins
The Trojan prince Aeneas was supposedly the ancestor of the Tudors; given the English connection, no story was more interesting to Shakespeare and his contemporaries than that of Troy. This book explores the wide range of allusions to Greece and Troy in plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Chettle, Ford and Beaumont and Fletcher, looking not only at plays actually set in Greece or Troy but also those which draw on characters and motifs from Greek mythology and the Trojan War.
ISBN 978-1-50151-858-4 (clothbound) © 2019
By Ursula A. Potter
This study provides an accessible, informative and entertaining introduction to women’s sexual health as presented on the early modern stage, and how dramatists coded for it. Beginning with the rise of green sickness (the disease of virgins) from its earliest reference in drama in the 1560s, Ursula Potter traces a continuing fascination with the womb by dramatists through to the oxymoron of the chaste sex debate in the 1640s. She illuminates how playwrights both satirized and perpetuated the notion of the womb’s insatiable appetite.
ISBN 978-1-58044-370-8 (clothbound) © 2019
By Theodora A. Jankowski
Theodora Jankowski looks at both the light and the dark side of the Elizabeth character in each of John Lyly's court plays, while at the same time considering how that allegory works in terms of the various issues Lyly debates within the plays. She demonstrates how Lyly, while praising the queen and accepting her beneficence, simultaneously manages to present his audiences with the "dark queen," the opposite side of the positive image of the Queen of England.
ISBN 978-1-58044-333-3 (clothbound), 978-1-58044-334-0 (PDF) © 2018
Forthcoming titles in this series
Performing Widowhood on the Early Modern English Stage
By Asuka Kimura
The deaths of husbands radically changed women's lives in the early modern period. While losing male protection, widows acquired rare opportunities for social and economic independence. Placed between death and life, female submissiveness and male audacity, chastity and sexual awareness, or tragedy and comedy, widows were highly problematic in early modern patriarchal society. They were also popular figures in the theater, arousing both male desire and anxiety. How did Shakespeare and his contemporaries represent them on the stage? What kind of costume, props, and gestures were employed? What influence did actors, spectators, and play-space have? This book offers a fresh and incisive examination of the theatrical representation of widows by discussing the material conditions of the early modern stage. It is also the only comprehensive study of this topic covering all three phases of Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline drama.