Elizabethan Theater: Essays in Honor of S. Schoenbaum

Elizabethan Theater: Essays in Honor of S. Schoenbaum

Elizabethan Theater: Essays in Honor of S. Schoenbaum

Elizabethan Theater: Essays in Honor of S. Schoenbaum


"Elizabethan Theater is a collection of essays offered in celebration of the long career of Samuel Schoenbaum. Throughout his career as biographer, bibliographer, historian, critic, and editor of scholarly journals, he has greatly enriched our appreciation of Shakespeare and his fellows. These essays celebrate the many ways in which he has enhanced our understanding through his skill in balancing historical contexts with a recognition and respect for the importance of individual authorship. Distinguished scholars from many countries, representing many points of view, have chosen to honor Schoenbaum by contributing essays that explore the four overlapping areas with which his own research has mainly been concerned: biographical scholarship, the concept of authorship, the hand of the author perceived within the play, and the multiple historical contexts that helped to determine how Elizabethan plays were written and received." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


A festschrift for Sam Schoenbaum is something of a superfluity. To borrow the observation made about Sir Christopher Wren: if you seek his festschrift, look about you. Much of the current research on Renaissance drama depends, if silently, on foundations solidified by his investigations of Shakespeare's life and theater.

This collection, however, is not the usual arbitrary bouquet. Variety there is—in outlook from Freudian to classically archival, in provenance from Auckland to Toronto—but the collection honors Sam by exemplifying ways that extend his particular contributions. Those contributions focus on the idea of the centrality of the individual—author, actor, entrepreneur—in Renaissance theater.

Nowadays a collection with this theme can hardly claim the innocence of simple scholarly neutrality. Since the eighties there have been, clamorously, a revaluation and shifting of priorities, at least for those who profess to have them. As poststructuralism, historicism, and their offshoots are increasingly contested, refined, or ignored, the role of authorship and the individual contribution becomes increasingly a locus of concern. This collection then is both timely and at times appropriately contentious.

The collection is organized around the four (obviously overlapping) areas that Sam's own work so greatly enhanced: the biographical record, the concept of authorship, evidences of the author in the play, and the multiple contexts in which plays were created and received.

The section on biographical record opens with Stanley Wells's survey of work on Shakespeare's biography since Sam's major contribution, continues with Mary Edmond's demonstration of the possibilities for further digging in the archives, and ends with Brian Gibbons's rethinking of Jonson's self-portraiture as part of the biographical record. Richard Dutton, Barbara Mowat, Ian Donaldson, Sandy Leggati, and Annabel Patterson provide, not only in the substance of their essays but in their mutual . . .

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