Sunday, July 11, 2010

Making Shakespeare Notes: Prologue

Important Citations:

Plays were written for performance in specific playhouses, which informs the construction of the play text (1).

Playhouses of Shakespeare's time demanded a "flexible and fluid text" (3).

The study of history is no longer separable from the study of literature (6).


In the prologue, Stern introduces her argument and describes how she will make it in subsequent chapters. She notes that archaeological advances made in the 90s, such as the discover of the wall of the Rose, the completion of the Globe in London, and the construction of the Blackfriars in VA (which was actually completed in 2001) have inspired new historical interest in the ways the spaces the plays were written for might have influenced their creation.

For consideration:

Merry Devil is advertised as a Globe play, but it was also performed at court.

Scenes described in Life and Death that are missing from play call for an above, which suggests that the version of the play we have represents edits for a space without an above, such as one might find at court or on tour.

The technology of available theatre spaces influences playwrites of the time: this is demonstrable with the increasing richness and complexity of stage directions through time.

Likewise, the technology of the printing industry influences how materials are prepare for print, and how printed materials are used.

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