This Dictionary, the first of its kind, defines and explains over 900 terms found in the stage directions of English professional plays from the 1580s to the early 1640s. The terms are drawn primarily from surviving printed and manuscript sources, and from the plays performed on the London stage, by both minor and major dramatists. The authors draw on a database of over 22,000 stage directions drawn from around 500 such plays. Each entry offers a definition, gives examples of how the term is used, cites additional instances, and gives cross-references to other relevant entries. Terms defined range from the obvious and common to the obscure and rare, including actions, places, objects, sounds and descriptions. The authors have also provided a user's guide and an introduction which describes the scope and rationale of the volume. This will be an indispensable work of reference for scholars, historians, directors and actors.
'The Dictionary as a whole is a superb scholarly resource. It presents a huge body of information in an astonishingly small space ... Although this is primarily a work of reference, to be consulted for specific items, the book can be read from cover to cover almost as if it were pure entertainment. Its self-denying economy of presentation is a great virtue; it gives the whole work a cutting edge that stimulates and invigorates. As one goes through it, one gets a remarkably intimate feeling for the moment-by-moment actualities of stage performance. I can't imagine anyone using this Dictionary whose reading of early modern drama won't be sharpened and improved.' Emrys Jones, Times Literary Supplement