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Heterodox Drama: Theater in Post-Reformation London

Gurnis, Musa

In "Heterodox Drama: Theater in Post-Reformation London," I argue that the specific working practices of the theater industry generated a body of drama that combines the varied materials of post-Reformation culture in hybrid fantasies that helped audiences emotionally negotiate and productively re-imagine early modern English religious life. These practices include: the widespread recycling of stock figures, scenarios, and bits of dialogue to capitalize on current dramatic trends; the collaboration of playwrights and actors from different religious backgrounds within theater companies; and the confessionally diverse composition of theater audiences. By drawing together a heterodox conglomeration of Londoners in a discursively capacious cultural space, the theaters created a public. While the public sphere that emerges from early modern theater culture helped audience members process religious material in politically significant ways, it did so not primarily through rational-critical thought but rather through the faculties of affect and imagination. The theater was a place where the early modern English could creatively reconfigure existing confessional identity categories, and emotionally experiment with the rich ideological contradictions of post-Reformation life.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Thesis Advisors
Howard, Jean
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 27, 2017
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