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Title: Producing the history play : the agency of repertory companies, stationers, and patronage networks in early modern England
Author: Lidster, Amy Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 1620
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis offers a reappraisal of the early modern history play, locating the genre in the participation of its producers and users, and concentrating in particular on the repertory companies, stationers, and patronage networks that have shaped historical drama in England. While previous accounts have tended to focus on Shakespeare’s English histories, as catalogued in the First Folio, and used these plays to define the genre retrospectively, this study recognizes the classificatory elusiveness of terms such as ‘history’ and the diverse ideas of genre and history that were circulating during the period. This study prioritizes a selection of plays and production networks from the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline periods to examine local engagements that more fully reflect the shifting position and utility of history plays on stage and in print. In interrogating assumptions about what constitutes a history play, this thesis examines five chronological case studies that suggest the importance of a more inclusive understanding of ‘history’, demonstrate how theatrical companies, publishers, and patrons have influenced the history play, and provide evidence of the synchronic readings that this study aims to privilege. Chapters are devoted to production networks involving Thomas Creede and Queen Elizabeth’s Men, Andrew Wise and the Chamberlain’s Men, and the Herbert family and the King’s Men, as well as to the agency of individual stationers, including Nathaniel Butter, and censoring authorities, such as the Master of the Revels. Taken together, these case studies draw attention to the political valencies of history plays as they are negotiated by their agents of production and to wider issues of play performance, publication, and patronage. Moving away from ideas of generic fixity and defined canons, this study positions the history play through networks of participation and influence that reveal the varied ways in which the past was negotiated.
Supervisor: Munro, Lucy Catherine ; Massai, Sonia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available