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Title: Playgrounds : the theatrical landscape of Shakespeare's London and Lope de Vega's Madrid
Author: Amelang, David J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 4567
Awarding Body: University of Kent and Freie Universität Berlin
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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There has always been a high degree of interest in contextual and historical awareness of the situation in which the plays of Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists were conceived. The same can be said of the works of the playwrights of the Spanish Golden Age. In the last half-century or so, the quality of research and research tools has increased exponentially, and the picture we draw of these early modern playworlds is ever more detailed and colourful. And yet, the corrosive nature of time has left gaps in our canvas that a single-country corpus of documents and evidence may not allow us to fill. A comparative transnational approach, however, often provides researchers with the sought-after ways through which one can take the limits of investigation one step further. With this intention in mind, this thesis surveys the landscape of the theatrical culture of early modern London and Madrid, the two most comparable 'playgrounds' in Renaissance Europe. The impressive similarities in infrastructures, arrangements and production of these two theatrical capitals not only begs for an in-depth comparison between them, but also invites consideration of whether the knowledge of one 'playground' can help shed light on the obscurities of the other. The project is divided into four different topics: the city and the neighbourhoods in which the playhouses were built, the playhouses themselves and their physical and social attributes, the playmakers (dramatists, actors, managers and all those agents participating in the theatrical event) and the relationship between the theatre and the emerging print culture. Each topic or chapter provides a comparative survey of the theatre history developed for each country's theatrical cultures in the first sub-chapter, and in the second an example of how this newly acquired knowledge benefits the early modern English and Spanish literary critic alike. In particular, the thesis is geared toward explaining the fundamental differences between the theatrical landscapes of Shakespeare's London and Lope de Vega's Madrid: why there were no indoor commercial playhouses in Madrid like the Blackfriars theatre of the English capital, and why there was such a large quantitative difference in dramatic production between the playwrights of both nations.
Supervisor: O'Connor, Marion ; Mahler, Andreas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Litt.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: D History (General) ; PN1655 Drama