How was the experience of watching a play influenced by practices beyond the walls of the playhouse, and what were the broader social and historical implications of the culture of playgoing? The book sets out to answer such questions. Interested first in what happened within the playhouse itself, the authors focus on the person of the actor, on stage props, visual pleasure and audience behaviour. At the same time, their discussion moves outward to consider a range of cultural assumptions and practices - such as eucharistic controversy, prostitution, social mobility, iconoclasm, Renaissance optics, the formation of national memory, and the dissemination of news. Since the two authors have very different perspectives on these issues, they have chosen a unique format: rather than submerging their opposition, they have highlighted it. Their attacks and counter-attacks, as they contest each other's views in paired chapters, result in a lively and illuminating debate.
Anthony B. Dawson is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. Paul Yachnin is Professor of English at the University of British Columbia.
Acknowledgments; Introduction Paul Yachnin and Anthony B. Dawson; Part I. Participation vs Populuxe: Two Theories of Early Modern Theatre: 1. Performance and participation Anthony B. Dawson; 2. The Populuxe theatre Paul Yachnin; Part II. Theatrical Pleasure and the Contest of Vision: 3. Eye to eye opposed Paul Yachnin; 4. The distracted Globe Anthony B. Dawson; Part III. Objects of Wonder and Desire: 5. Magical properties Paul Yachnin; 6. Props, pleasure and idolatry Anthony B. Dawson; Part IV. National Pastimes: 7. The arithmetic of memory Anthony B. Dawson; 8. The house of fame Paul Yachnin; Afterword Paul Yachnin and Anthony Dawson; Index.