Interludes and Early Modern Society: Studies in Gender, Power and Theatricality (Ludus v. 9)
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The essays in this collection, contributed by an internationally distinguished group of scholars, bring up to date many aspects of the criticism of the English Interludes. The development of these plays was a significant part of the history of the growth of English drama in the sixteenth century to the extent that they may be regarded as its main stream. Arising by means of a felicitous combination of the development of printing and the growth of a professional theatre, plays of this type quickly became a forum for the presentation and exploration of many contemporary themes. They became a useful means of disseminating a wide variety of opinions and public concerns as well as exhibiting at times the intellectual brilliance of the Renaissance. The essays here are concentrated upon power, particularly in its religious and political aspects, gender and theatricality. The political and religious upheavals of the Reformation under the Tudor monarchy form a background as well as a focus at times. In particular the position of women in sixteenth-century society is examined in essays on several plays.
There is also discussion of the development of theatrical techniques as playwrights worked closely with small acting companies to reach a wide audience ranging from the royal court to the common streets. This was achieved, as a number of essays make clear, through a variety of entertaining theatrical devices.
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