Domestic Life and Domestic Tragedy in Early Modern England: The Material Life of the Household

Manchester University Press
Free sample

In a theatre which self-consciously cultivated its audiences' imagination, how and what did playgoers 'see' on the stage? This book reconstructs one aspect of that imaginative process. It considers a range of printed and documentary evidence - the majority previously unpublished - for the way ordinary individuals thought about their houses and households. It then explores how writers of domestic tragedies engaged those attitudes to shape their representations of domesticity. It therefore offers a new method for understanding theatrical representations, based around a truly interdisciplinary study of the interaction between literary and historical methods. The plays she cites include Arden of Faversham, Two Lamentable Tragedies, A Woman Killed With Kindness, and A Yorkshire Tragedy.
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About the author

Catherine Richardson is Lecturer in English and History and Fellow of The Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham
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Additional Information

Publisher
Manchester University Press
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Published on
Jul 19, 2013
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781847795786
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Renaissance
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Addressing the subject of clothing in relation to such fundamental issues as national identity, social distinction, gender, the body, religion and politics, Clothing Culture, 1350-1650 provides a springboard into one of the most fascinating yet least understood aspects of social and cultural history. Nowhere in medieval and early modern European society was its hierarchical and social divisions more obviously reflected than in the sphere of clothing. Indeed, one of the few constant themes of writers, chroniclers, diarists and commentators from Chaucer to Pepys was the subject of fashion and clothes. Whether it was lauding the magnificence of court, warning against the vanity of fashion, describing the latest modes, or decrying the habit of the lower orders to ape the dress of their social superiors, people throughout history have been fascinated by the symbolism, power and messages that clothes can project. Yet despite this contemporary interest, clothing as a subject of historical enquiry has been a largely neglected field of academic study. Whilst it has been discussed in relation to various disciplines, it has not in many cases found a place as a central topic of analysis in its own right. The essays presented in this volume form part of a growing recent trend to put fashion and clothing back into the centre ground of historical research. From Russia to Rome, Ireland to France, this volume contains a wealth of examples of the numerous ways clothing was shaped by, and helped to shape, medieval and early modern European society. Furthermore, it demonstrates how the study of clothing can illuminate other facets of life and why it deserves to be treated as a central, rather than peripheral, facet of European history.
The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (1577, 1587), issued under the name of Raphael Holinshed, was the crowning achievement of Tudor historiography, and became the principal source for the historical writings of Spenser, Daniel and, above all, Shakespeare. While scholars have long been drawn to Holinshed for its qualities as a source, they typically dismissed it as a baggy collection of materials, lacking coherent form and analytical insight. This condescending verdict has only recently given way to an appreciation of the literary and historical qualities of these chronicles. The Handbook is a major interdisciplinary undertaking which gives the lie to Holinshed's detractors, and provides original interpretations of a book that has lacked sustained academic scrutiny. Bringing together leading specialists in a variety of fields - literature, history, religion, classics, bibliography, and the history of the book - the Handbook demonstrates that the Chronicles powerfully reflect the nature of Tudor thinking about the past, about politics and society, and about the literary and rhetorical means by which readers might be persuaded of the truth of narrative. The volume shows how distinctive it was for one book to chronicle the history of three nations of the British archipelago. The various sections of the Handbook analyse the making of the two editions of the Chronicles; the relationship of the work to medieval and early modern historiography; its formal properties, genres and audience; attitudes to politics, religion, and society; literary appropriations; and the parallel descriptions and histories of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. The result is a seminal study that shows unequivocally the vitality and complexity of the chronicle form in the late sixteenth century.
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