Readings in Renaissance Women's Drama: Criticism, History, and Performance, 1594-1998

Readings in Renaissance Women's Drama: Criticism, History, and Performance, 1594-1998

Readings in Renaissance Women's Drama: Criticism, History, and Performance, 1594-1998

Readings in Renaissance Women's Drama: Criticism, History, and Performance, 1594-1998

Synopsis

Readings in Renaissance Women's Drama is the most complete sourcebook for the study of this growing area of inquiry. It brings together, for the first time, a collection of the key critical commentaries and historical essays - both classic and contemporary - on Renaissance women's drama. Specifically designed to provide a comprehensive overview for students, teachers and scholars, this collection combines: * this century's key critical essays on drama by early modern women by early critics such as Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot * specially-commissioned new essays by some of today's important feminist critics * a preface and introduction explaining this selection and contexts of the materials * a bibliography of secondary sources Playwrights covered include Joanna Lumley, Elizabeth Cary, Mary Sidney, Mary Wroth and the Cavendish sisters.

Excerpt

Readings in Renaissance Women’s Drama addresses a wide variety of cultural and literary interests relating to women’s drama in England from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries. It was initially conceived as a collection of critical readings that would serve as a companion volume to the dramatic texts presented in the editors’ earlier volume, Renaissance Drama by Women (Routledge, 1996). However, it quickly became apparent that—as in that former volume—it was important to construe the sense of women’s dramatic activity as broadly as possible, to further the exploration of the ways in which women participated in theatrical culture not only as authors and translators, but also as patrons, performers, and even as part-owners of one particular public playhouse, the second Fortune. Additionally, in Part I (Early Commentaries) the editors have traced the critical heritage that informed Renaissance women’s drama previous to 1950 so that this might foreground the more contemporary critical commentaries in the collection.

In compiling Readings in Renaissance Women’s Drama the editors have thought primarily about the needs of readers who are approaching this area of inquiry for the first time. As a sourcebook it is intended to provide an overview of key issues and observations. As such, and also because this burgeoning field is fast becoming much more complex than any single collection can represent, the volume includes an extensive bibliography of secondary sources. By the time that this collection appears in print the bibliography will doubtless be out of date; however, if nothing else it suggests the richness that so many critics, historians and, more recently, theatre directors have discovered in Renaissance women’s drama, and it will provide some useful suggestions for further study.

Moreover, the present volume is a mixture of reprinted and newly written essays. The essays appearing here for the first time chart fresh territory that will contribute much to the conversation that will inform future scholarship; while the reprinted essays remind us how privileged scholars have previously been, both to listen to and to participate in the exciting conversation that has established Renaissance women’s drama as a dynamic area of inquiry. Consequently, it is hoped that Readings in Renaissance Women’s Drama will stimulate a broad audience among readers of many levels and backgrounds—from those who are already engaged in the scholarship surrounding this field to those who wish to begin their learning; and from those who are interested specifically in Renaissance drama and theatre history to those in women’s studies and cultural studies more generally.

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