Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

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.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Gurnis_columbia_0054D_10357.pdf Gurnis_columbia_0054D_10357.pdf application/pdf 1.59 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Thesis Advisors
Howard, Jean
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 27, 2017
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.