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Laughing and Weeping in Early Modern Theatres

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Laughing and Weeping in Early Modern Theatres

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Laughing and Weeping in Early Modern Theatres by Matthew Steggle
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Description

Did Shakespeare's original audiences weep? Equally, while it seems obvious that they must have laughed at plays performed in early modern theatres, can we say anything about what their laughter sounded like, about when it occurred, and about how, culturally, it was interpreted? Related to both of these problems of audience behaviour is that of the stage representation of laughing, and weeping, both actions performed with astonishing frequency in early modern drama. Each action is associated with a complex set of non-verbal noises, gestures, and cultural overtones, and each is linked to audience behaviour through one of the axioms of Renaissance dramatic theory: that weeping and laughter on stage cause, respectively, weeping and laughter in the audience. This book is a study of laughter and weeping in English theatres, broadly defined, from around 1550 until their closure in 1642. It is concerned both with the representation of these actions on the stage, and with what can be reconstructed about the laughter and weeping of theatrical audiences themselves, arguing that both actions have a peculiar importance in defining the early modern theatrical experience.

Author Biography

Matthew Steggle is Reader in English at Sheffield Hallam University, UK.
Release date NZ
September 28th, 2007
Contributor
Series edited by Helen Ostovich
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Illustrations
Includes 3 b&w illustrations
Imprint
Ashgate Publishing Limited
Pages
172
ISBN-13
9780754657026
Product ID
1835625

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