Drama and Religion in English Provincial Society, 1485-1660
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 260
Width: 15.8 cm
Height: 23.5 cm
In this book, Paul Whitfield White examines the interplay between theatre and religion in provincial England from the early Tudors to 1660. In challenging the critical narrative of secularization, suppression, and demise, he recasts the history of that drama in the light of fresh sources and scholarship. The project engages with recent interests in Shakespearean criticism concerning the theatrical culture of the north of England, where a documented contemporary touring troupe performed Shakespeare's plays in Catholic households. Defying the 'medieval/renaissance' divide of past drama/literature scholarship, the book begins in the early Tudor period, when parish revels flourished as part of a nationwide surge in religious fund-raising and charity. It proceeds with the argument that the history of early modern theatre in provincial society, as in London, remained vibrant and diverse for popular audiences in many parts of the country, and that religion contributed to that vitality and variety.
Review of the hardback: 'White has researched meticulously, as some 16 pages listing works cited testify. He has drawn on English and American sources and on archives in provincial and national record offices. Nor does he neglect the contributions of the nobility, like the Earls of Essex and Northumberland. The index is comprehensive.' The Historical Association Review of the hardback: 'This book is a welcome addition to the current flowering of interest in the religious aspects of early modern drama, grounding interpretations of both well-known and rarely discussed plays ... in their historical context.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History