Stillness in Motion in the Seventeenth Century Theatre

By P. A. Skantze | Go to book overview
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This book has had its own moving journey with three principal stops, Columbia University, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and Rome, Italy. My inspiration began in classes at Columbia with Carolyn Heilbrun and Nancy Miller, and continued outside those classes in discussions with Sue Heath and Lucy Reinhardt. Just when my affection for the novel was beginning to be superseded by my preference for performance and theatre, I heard the siren call of John Milton in the voice of Margaret Ferguson. As the director of my dissertation, Margie brought to bear all her talents as a teacher: acute insights, generosity, and patience when the project seemed to expand beyond the boundaries of all reason. She remains a model for scholarship and teaching. Jean Howard’s arrival at Columbia was a boon to many of us; her clarity correcting my confusion and the wealth of knowledge she brought to the process made my work richer. Julie Stone Peters granted me the gift of an inability to read and work in the seventeenth century without seeing the effects of print culture everywhere. Sue Winnet offered friendship and a passionate interest in thinking about teaching and writing. Susan Manning was a model for me of the independent scholar working in the academy; her pursuit of her work on dance in the midst of a very textual world showed me the way with my own performance work. Mike Seidel and Martin Meisel, two scholars and gentlemen, cheered my time at Columbia with jokes about Restoration theatre only a specialist could love or understand. Martin’s classes in European drama still provide me with a foundation for thinking about contemporary issues of identity, tradition, and nationality in European performance.

I am grateful to many people at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. From the first pleasure of being welcomed and supported by Enoch Brater and our delight at being able to talk “theatre,” through all the classes and the many, many students who offered themselves as sacrifice to my experiments in using music, dance, scene production, and film clips to show them “how” Shakespeare, Behn, and Milton (!) made theatre work. Parts of this book came into being across the table on Sunday nights when


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