Late Tudor and Stuart Drama: Gender, Performance and Material Culture

Series introduction

Travelling players, (1605-1615); British Library, Add. MS 18991,

Travelling players, (1605-1615); British Library, Add. MS 18991,

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 (c. 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, and encounters with the exotic, the non-European, 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

See forthcoming titles in this series.


Cover image of The Unruly Womb in Early Modern English Drama: Plotting Women's Biology on the StageThe Unruly Womb in Early Modern English Drama: Plotting Women's Biology on the Stage

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

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Cover image of Elizabeth I, the Subversion of Flattery, and John Lyly's Plays and Entertainments: William Adolphe Bouguereau, A Young Girl Defending Herself against Eros, about 1880, oil on canvas.Elizabeth I, the Subversion of Flattery, and John Lyly's Plays and Entertainments

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

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Forthcoming in this Series

Dismemberment in the Medieval and Early Modern English Imaginary: The Performance of Difference

By Frederika Elizabeth Bain

The medieval and early modern English imaginary encompasses a broad range of negative and positive dismemberments, from the castration anxieties of Turk plays to the elite practices of distributive burial. This study argues that representations and instances of bodily fragmentation illustrated and performed acts of exclusion and inclusion, detaching not only limbs from bodies but individuals from identity groups. Within this context, it examines questions of legitimate and illegitimate violence, showing that such distinctions largely rested upon particular acts’ assumed symbolic meanings.

Convents and Novices in Early Modern English Dramatic Works

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.

Mourning Men in Shakespeare's England

By Andrew D. McCarthy

Exploring plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Mourning Men in Shakespeare's England argues that early modern playwrights deployed the classical lament so to consider the profound cultural trauma of the Reformation, but also complicate early understandings of masculinity.

Greeks and Trojans on the Early Modern English Stage

By Lisa Hopkins

No story was more interesting to Shakespeare and his contemporaries than that of Troy, partly because the story of Troy was in a sense the story of England, since the Trojan prince Aeneas was supposedly the ancestor of the Tudors. This book explores the wide range of allusions to Greece and Troy in plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, 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. Texts covered include Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, Othello, Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Pericles and The Tempest as well as plays by other authors of the period including Marlowe, Chettle, Ford and Beaumont and Fletcher.