Drama, Performance and Debate

Theatre and Public Opinion in the Early Modern Period


Early modern theatre was a visual matter, even though the authors wrote plays which were mainly meant to be read. But whether they wrote their plays to have them performed or not, authors could use comedies, tragi-comedies or tragedies to influence public opinion, to make a statement in a debate, or to convey explicit or implicit lessons that they carried out or had carried out by linguistic, rhetorical and theatrical means. How explicit they were in expressing their views depended on the characters of the authors or the circumstances in which they wrote. Questions regarding the opinion-forming and opinion-following functions of theatre, the means by which authors and theatre makers expressed their ideas, and the role of theatre and plays in public debate are discussed from various angles. Such questions refer not only to ‘literary’ plays, but also to other forms of theatrical event, such as royal entrances.

Contributors include: Imre Bésanger, Hartmut Beyer, Stijn Bussels, Jean-Frédéric Chevalier, Verena Demoed, Arjan van Dixhoorn, Ron Gruijters, Jelle Koopmans, Frans-Willem Korsten, Katell Lavéant, Hubert Meeus, Marco Prandoni, and Helmar Schramm.

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Jan Bloemendal (1961) is a Senior Researcher at the Huygens ING (The Hague) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. His research interests include early modern drama, Erasmus, bilingualism and emblematics. He published on Dutch drama and edited G.J. Vossius's Poeticae institutiones.

Peter G.F. Eversmann (1955) is Associate Professor at the Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Amsterdam and editor-in-chief of the FIRT/IFTR series Themes in Theatre - Collective Approaches to Theatre and Performance. His research topics include theatrical space, theatrical events and empirical audience and reception research.

Elsa Strietman is a Senior Lecturer in Dutch in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages in the University of Cambridge. She is a Fellow, Graduate Tutor and Vice President of Murray Edwards College (formerly New Hall) in the University of Cambridge. She specializes in Dutch rhetoricians’ drama.
‘’Timely, engaging, and thought provoking, this selection of essays will be of interest even to those whose concerns lie far afield from early modern Dutch theater.’’
Steven Mullaney, University of Michigan. In: Renaissance Quaterly, Vol. 67, No. 3, Fall 2014, p. 1080.
List of Illustrations

Drama, Performance, Debate. Theatre and Public Opinion in the Early Modern Period: An Introduction
Jan Bloemendal, Peter G.F. Eversmann and Elsa Strietman

Ch. 1: Personal Expression of a Playwright or Public Discourse of a Confraternity? A Performance at the Puy de Notre-Dame in Amiens in 1473
Katell Lavéant

Ch. 2: Carlo and Marcellino Verardi’s Fernandus servatus and the Poem Supra casum Hispani regis by Petrus Martyr: Drama and Diplomacy in Papal Rome under Alexander VI
Hartmut Beyer

Ch. 3: The University out on the streets: Drama, Debate and Public Space in France (1490–1520)
Jelle Koopmans

Ch. 4: Theatre Society in the Early Modern Low Countries: Theatricality, Controversy, and Publicity in Amsterdam in the 1530s
Arjan van Dixhoorn

Ch. 5: Theatre in Court: The Heresy Trial Against the Playwright Gnapheus and the Confessionalization of the Lutheran Church
Verena Demoed

Ch. 6: All About Eve: Genesis and Gender in a Fireworks Display in the Antwerp Entry of Charles V and his Son Philip
Stijn Bussels

Ch. 7: Staged Conversations: Topical Discourse in Sixteenth-Century Dutch Biblical Rhetoricians’ Plays
Elsa Strietman

Ch. 8: The peasant as a mouthpiece of public opinion in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Dutch theatre
Hubert Meeus

Ch. 9: Public Debate and Early Modern Drama: Intended or Unintended Topicality in Lummenaeus à Marca’s Carcer Babylonius (1610)
Ron J. Gruijters

Ch. 10: Contextualizing Nicolas Caussin’s Tragoediae sacrae (1620): Moral issues in the portrayal of passions
Jean-Frédéric Chevalier

Ch. 11: ‘Founded for the Ears and Eyes of the People’: Picturing the Amsterdam Schouwburg from 1637
Peter Eversmann

Ch. 12: Staging the History of Amsterdam in Vondel’s Gysbreght van Aemstel: A Non-Confessional Dramatic Contribution to the Narrative of the Dutch Revolt
Marco Prandoni

Ch. 13: Mundus Dramaticus: A School Drama and Dramatization – Franciscus van den Enden
Frans-Willem Korsten

Ch. 14: Ballet de la Paix: Staging a Seventeenth-century Theatre Performance
Imre Bésanger

Ch. 15: Masks and Skulls: Towards an Anatomy of Drama in the Seventeenth Century
Helmar Schramm

About the authors


Index of names

All those interested in early modern history, the history of drama, the history of public opinion, Neo-Latin scholars.
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