Renaissance Transformations: The Making of English Writing (1500-1650)

Renaissance Transformations: The Making of English Writing (1500-1650)

Renaissance Transformations: The Making of English Writing (1500-1650)

Renaissance Transformations: The Making of English Writing (1500-1650)

Synopsis

Renaissance Transformations is a distinctive collection original essays exploring the dynamic cultural, intellectual, and social processes that shaped literary writing and its world between 1500 and 1650. Acutely attentive to the complexities of confronting the past, twelve leading scholars of the Renaissance engage with the interactions among texts, material culture, ideas, and literary form.

Divided into three parts: making writing, shaping communities, and embodying change, the volume demonstrates the "making" of Renaissance writing, incorporating matters of authorship, originality, circulation, and the conception of a "text." Drawing on ideas about process and provisionality, the world of the Renaissance is shown to be protean rather than fixed.

Excerpt

Margaret Healy and Thomas Healy

The year 1608 witnessed the publication of M. William Shak-speare: HIS True Chronicle Historie of the life and death of King LEAR and his three Daughters. With the vnfortunate life of Edgar, sonne and heire to the Earle of Gloster, and his sullen and assumed humor of TOM of Bedlam. The title-page continues to claim that its text represents the play: ‘As it was played before the King’s Maiestie at Whitehall vpon S.Stephans night in Christmas Hollidayes. By his Maiesties seruants playing vsually at the Gloabe on the Bancke-side.’ Though this quarto was republished in 1619, by the time the First Folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays appeared in 1623, the work had been renamed The Tragedie of King Lear and placed in the book’s section labelled tragedies and not with Shakespeare’s other English history plays. Though revived when the theatres re-opened at the Restoration, King Lear’s bleak vision was unpalatable to audiences and Nahum Tate’s 1681 adaptation, in which Cordelia lives to marry Edgar, became the play’s performed version for the next 150 years.

King Lear serves to illustrate some of the key issues addressed in this book. Renaissance Transformations commences from a critical perspective that views sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writing as formed by complex processes beyond a solitary writer penning his or her craft. Preparing Lear for the press almost certainly did not involve Shakespeare directly and, despite the 1608 quarto’s claim, we have no way of knowing whether its text is exactly the play performed at Whitehall. Further, as current editors acknowledge, the differences between the play in the 1608 edition and the one printed in the 1623 Folio are so substantial that they may be apprehended as separate entities, with the later substantially revised and significantly re-imagined in a number of areas. Then there is the issue of genre. Was the True Chronicle Historie of the life and death of King Lear and his three Daughters imagined by Shakespeare as a history play, with the 1623 . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.