What was it like to be in the audience of the Globe Theatre in 1606? By demonstrating fundmental connections between audience reaction then and the use of computers today, Renaissance scholar Arthur Kinney explores the cultural moment of one of Shakespeare's most popular tragedies. Examining the cultural practices and beliefs that influenced Shakespeare's writing of ""Macbeth"", Kinney reconstructs how playgoers in 1606 understood that drama when it was first presented and shows how many congruent and often conflicting perspectives played on their minds. Calling on hundreds of documents with which Shakespeare might have been familiar - books and pamphlets circulating in England from 1600 to 1606 as well as manuscripts and statutes - he records a wide range of cultural practices related to nearly every aspect of a society in that day: politics, religion, economics, medicine, family life, witchcraft and more. Kinney proposes a new way of reading this period's texts, drawing us closer to the way dramatic plays such as ""Macbeth"" were understood from early modern times to beyond today's technological revolution. In the course of this inquiry, he seeks to determine whether the 1623 text of ""Macbeth"" that we now have is anything like the original 1606 performance. ""Lies Like Truth"" shows that the computer revolution of our time can help us revisit Shakespeare's works in their own time and thereby enhance our understanding of them. This work unlocks a cultural moment frozen in time and broadens our appreciation of Shakespeare.
Arthur F. Kinney is the Thomas W. Copeland Professor of Literary History and Director of the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has published more than thirty books, including Humanist Poetics: Thought, Rhetoric and Fiction in Sixteenth Century England (University of Massachusetts Press, 1986) and, most recently, Renaissance Drama (Blackwell, 1999).
Chapter 1: Macbeth and the; Cultural Moment; Chapter 2: Cultural Practices; A World of Bytes and Lexias; Theatrical Lexias; Royal Lexias; Political Lexias; Lexias of Resistance; Lexias of Justice; Economic Lexias; Social Lexias; Lexias of Lineage and Honor; Military Lexias; Lexias of Family; Lexias of Household; Medical Lexias; Lexias of Disease; Eschatological Lexias; Religious Lexias; Puritan Lexias; Catholic Lexias; Lexias of Witchcraft; Chapter 3: Shakespeare, Macbeth, and the Common Understanding; Appendix A: The Text of Macbeth; Appendix B: Gutenberg and Hypertext; Appendix C: Literary Criticism and Hypertext