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The place of the stage : license, play, and power in Renaissance England /
Steven Mullaney.
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1988.
xiii, 178 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
More Details
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1988.
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
Bibliography: p. 153-171.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1987-12:
The drama is the most social of the arts, depending upon physical space, audience, and social factors for its existence. It is no surprise, therefore, that the most successful criticism approaches theater the way Barber and Mullaney do: as historical artifact. Barber is the better known, having authored the classic Shakespeare's Festive Comedy (1959); the present volume is based on his papers and examines three early Elizabethan tragedies``Tamburlaine'' and ``Dr. Faustus'' by Marlowe and ``The Spanish Tragedy'' by Kyd. Particularly interested in locating these plays in the unstable religious atmosphere of the late 16th century, Barber ably demonstrates his understanding of the social, historical, and economic factors that defined the era. Mullaney takes the novel approach of examining the theater in light of London topography; the title thus refers to the physical location of the playhouses as well as the social importance of the theater. Mullaney points out that the prejudice that forced the great theaters of the age to operate outside the city walls encouraged a drama that was radical and iconoclastichence its greatness. Mullaney's argument is fascinating and thought-provoking, convincingly presented. James Stephenson, Catholic Univ., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1988-05:
Early in the first chapter, Mullaney identifies his book as ``an inquiry into {Elizabethan and Jacobean} drama-or, more precisely, into the situation of the stage in relation to the society that, in one sense or another, produced it.'' He introduces a number of interesting and useful insights into theater and drama as they existed and as they were perceived during the reigns of Elizabeth and James. His comparisons of theaters to leprosariums, of the stage to the scaffold, of the player to the merchant, bring unfamiliar sources to bear upon dramaturgy and its place in the culture and society of Renaissance England. Unfortunately, he obscures his insights in clouds of foggy rhetoric. Two typical examples: ``... recent developments on both sides of the Atlantic have begun to problematize and break down the boundaries that literary study of the past has tended to enshrine...'' and ``Hegemonic culture is, moreover, a historical dynamic, an ongoing, diachronic negotiation between the old and the new.'' The effort required to wade through such language will, for most readers, outweigh the worth of the discoveries offered here. Graduate students.-T.A. Pallen, Austin Peay State University
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 1987
Choice, May 1988
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