On Stage: A History of Theatre

By Vera Mowry Roberts | Go to book overview

7
SHAKESPEARE AND THE ELIZABETHANS

While internal strife and foreign invasion effectively prevented the building of great nation-states in France, Germany, and Italy, Spain and England each succeeded in developing a political and spiritual unity which fostered the development of unique and virile drama. Great dramatic literature and great theatre reached a peak almost simultaneously in these two countries.

The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1467 and their subsequent defeat of the Moors marked the beginning of Spain's greatness, just as the end of the War of the Roses and the accession of Henry VII in 1485 marked the beginning of England's influence and prosperity. These two great powers were briefly united in 1554 by the uneasy marriage of Mary of England and Philip of Spain. But the increasingly nationalistic Englishmen refused to crown Philip, and he left England the next year. By 1558 Mary was dead, Philip was King of Spain, and Elizabeth was on the throne of England, Thenceforth the destinies of these two powers were divided and in conflict. The conflict culminated in the invasion of the Spanish Armada and its defeat at the hands of the English in 1558. England was preserved, Spain looked elsewhere for conquest, and the great age of the drama in both countries was shortly to get under way.

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On Stage: A History of Theatre
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - The Ever-Present Beginnings 1
  • 2 - Drama in Ancient Egypt 15
  • 3 - The Golden Age of Greece 21
  • 4 - Imitations and Innovations of the Romans 55
  • 5 - Theatre in the Middle Ages 78
  • 6 - Renaissance Theatre in Italy, France, and Germany 106
  • 7 - Shakespeare and the Elizabethans 134
  • 8 - Spanish Theatre in the Renaissance 172
  • 9 - The Golden Days in France 197
  • 10 - The Restoration in England 228
  • 11 - Developments in England and America 251
  • 12 - Cross-Currents in Continental Theatre 286
  • 13 - Oriental Theatre 320
  • 14 - European Romanticism 347
  • 15 - Commercial Theatre in England and America 378
  • 16 - Theatre's Great Revolution 409
  • 17 - Theatre Today 440
  • 18 - Summing Up 489
  • Glossary of Terms 506
  • Bibliography 509
  • Index 519
  • Index 527
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