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Prologues to Shakespeare's Theatre : Performance and Liminality in Early Modern Drama - Douglas Bruster

Prologues to Shakespeare's Theatre

Performance and Liminality in Early Modern Drama

Paperback Published: 11th November 2004
ISBN: 9780415334433
Number Of Pages: 208

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This eye-opening study draws attention to the largely neglected form of the early modern prologue. Reading the prologue in performed as well as printed contexts, Douglas Bruster and Robert Weimann take us beyond concepts of stability and autonomy in dramatic beginnings to reveal the crucial cultural functions performed by the prologue in Elizabethan England.
While its most basic task is to seize the attention of a noisy audience, the prologue's more significant threshold position is used to usher spectators and actors through a rite of passage. Engaging competing claims, expectations and offerings, the prologue introduces, authorizes and, critically, straddles the worlds of the actual theatrical event and the 'counterfeit' world on stage. In this way, prologues occupy a unique and powerful position between two orders of cultural practice and perception.
Close readings of prologues by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including Marlowe, Peele and Lyly, demonstrate the prologue's role in representing both the world in the play and playing in the world. Through their detailed examination of this remarkable form and its functions, the authors provide a fascinating perspective on early modern drama, a perspective that enriches our knowledge of the plays' socio-cultural context and their mode of theatrical address and action.

The Elizabethan prologue : text, actor, performancep. 1
Prologue as threshold and usherp. 31
Authority and authorization in the pre-Shakespearean prologuep. 57
Frivolous jestures versus matter of worth : Christopher Marlowep. 78
Kingly harp and iron pen in the playhouse : George Peelep. 98
From hodge-podge to scene individable : John Lylyp. 117
Henry V and the signs of power : William Shakespearep. 135
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415334433
ISBN-10: 0415334438
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 11th November 2004
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.64 x 15.7  x 1.22
Weight (kg): 0.22
Edition Number: 1