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The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama
This book offers students factual and interpretative material about the principal theatres, playwrights and plays of the most important period of English drama, from 1580-1642. Ten distinguished scholars offer fresh, informative and challenging studies of the drama. They give factual answers to the kind of questions that students raise and also provide critical analytical comment on individual plays and typical sequences, guidance on the special contributions of playwrights, attempting to distinguish the extraordinary from the merely conventional. Three wide-ranging chapters on theatres, dramaturgy and the social, cultural and political conditions in which the drama was produced and perceived, are followed by chapters describing and illustrating various theatrical genres: private and occasional drama, political plays, heroic plays, burlesque, comedy, tragedy, with a final essay on the drama produced during the reign of Charles I. Shakespeare's plays are discussed in appropriate contexts, but do not dominate the discussion. The aim is to show the rich variety of drama in the period. An extensive biographical and bibliographical section details the work of the dramatists discussed in the book and the best sources for further study. A chronological table provides a full listing of new plays performed from 1497-1642, with a parallel list of major political and theatrical events.