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Title: Shakespeare's unwritten contract with his audience : a study of his professional practices.
Author: Lawrence, Mike.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3605 9993
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1996
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Shakespeare's Unwritten Contract With His Audience, A Study at His Professional Practices proposes that Shakespeare had a manifesto tor the theatre as rigorous as that of Ben Jonson whose writings leave lIS in doubt as to how he saw the function of drama and the dramatist. This thesis concentrates on the plays Shakespeare wrote after he became a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1594 - when he could exercise more control over his work than his unattached contemporaries. It argues that of equal importance to what Shakespeare wrote are the choices he had, but which he chose not to exercise. Alone of his contempories he wrote no authorial address to his audience or readers; his professional output was unlike any other Elizabethan or Jacobean playwright and so was his use, or avoidance, of common theatrical devices and conventions. This thesis undermines the conventional theory of a 'War of the Theatres' and proposes that there was a much longer and wider literary debate than has hitherto been recognised and that Shakespeare was actively involved in that debate. Further, it argues that Hamlet was his main contribution to this debate and that Hamlet is essentially a play which expresses Shakespeare's manifesto for the theatre. Evidence for the argument is culled from Shakespeare's contemporary rivals, from pre-Elizabethan drama, from my knowledge of stage magic and from such details as the number of neologisms which appeared in the language during the period 1596-1602, when Shakespeare was the sole survivor of the first generation of identifiable London playwrights and was therefore the man against whom new writers, such as Jonson and Marston, had to measure themselves.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: War of the Theatres; Poetomachia