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Solo Performances

Staging the Early Modern Self in England

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Edited by Ute Berns

In this volume an international cast of scholars explores conceptions of the self in the literature and culture of the Early Modern England. Drawing on theories of performativity and performance, some contributors revisit monological speech and the soliloquy - that quintessential solo performance - on the stage of Marlowe, Shakespeare and Jonson. Other authors move beyond the theatre as they investigate solo performances in different cultural locations, from the public stage of the pillory to the mental stage of the writing self. All contributors analyse corporeality, speech, writing and even silence as interrelated modes of self-enactment, whether they read solo performances as a way of inventing, authorizing or even pathologizing the self, or as a mode of fashioning sovereignty. The contributions trace how the performers appropriate specific discourses, whether religious, medical or political, and how they negotiate hierarchies of gender, rank or cultural difference. The articles cut across a variety of genres including plays and masques, religious tracts, diaries and journals, poems and even signatures. The collection links research on the inward and self-reflexive dimension of solo-performances with studies foregrounding the public and interactive dimension of performative self-fashioning. The articles collected here offer new perspectives on Early Modern subjectivity and will be of interest to all scholars and students of the Early Modern period.

Series:

Edited by Alexandra F. Johnston and Wim Hüsken

This collection of essays presents the multiplicity of dramatic and paradramatic activity that flourished in medieval and early modern England at the parish level. The evidence here adduced is largely from churchwardens' accounts and from the records of the ecclesiastical courts. The book contains ten articles that consider the various money making ventures undertaken by English parishes for the support of the church. The authors study subjects ranging from paradramatic activities such as rushbearing, dancing and bull and bear baiting through more hybrid and problematical events such as the king games and Robin Hood gatherings and plays, to what can be considered 'true' drama with sets, props, texts and actors. All the contributors are editors in the Records of Early English Drama project and bring to their material the insights of scholars working with original material in what are still only partially charted waters.
»Ludus« intends to introduce those interested in literature, in the performing arts, or in history to the various aspects of theatre and drama from the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance. It publishes books on closely defined topics, mostly seen from a comparative point of view.