Gentility and the Comic Theatre of Late Stuart London

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März 2015



Where Adam delved and Eve span Who was then the gentleman? Mark Dawson's approach to this riddle is not to study the lives of those said to belong to early modern England's gentry. He suggests we remain skeptical of all answers to this question and consider what was at stake whenever it was posed. We should conceive of gentility as a mutable process of social delineation. Gentility was a matter of power and language; cultural definition and social domination. Neither consistently defined nor applied to particular social groups, gentility was about identifying society's elite. The book examines how gentility was portrayed through plays at London's theatres (1660-1725). Employing a rich assembly of sources, comedies with their cits and fops, periodicals, correspondence of theatre patrons and polemic from its detractors, Dawson revises several of social history's conclusions about the gentry and offers new interpretations to students of late Stuart drama.


Part I. Gentility and Power: 1. The citizen cuckold and the London repertoire; 2. Confronting ambiguities of genteel birth and city wealth; 3. Genteel authority and the virtue of commerce; Part II. The Social Microcosm of London's Playhouses: 4. Stratifying the playhouse; 5. Excluding the riff-raff; 6. Profiles of the genteel and rich; Part III. Gentility as Culture: 7. The fop as social upstart; 8. Suspect sexuality and the fop; 9. Succession crises and the politics of foppery; Part IV. Managing the Theatre's Social Discourse: 10. Society and the Collier controversy; 11. Caught in the act: promiscuous players and blushing spectators; 12. Rival claims to a genteel authorship.


Mark Dawson, who attended the University of Auckland (New Zealand), is a scholar in early modern history.


"...interesting and original." - SEL: Studies in English Literature "...this book has much merit. Its analysis of the experience of theater going is very good indeed..." - H-Albion, Brian Weiser, Department of History, Metropolitan State College of Denver "This is a powerful, intricatly argued cultural history...the book brilliantly shows the importance of gentility in theatrical discourses, ...a fine book that should become required reading for historians and literary critics alike." David M. Turner, American Historical Review
EAN: 9780521848091
ISBN: 0521848091
Untertitel: 'Cambridge Social and Cultural'. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: März 2015
Seitenanzahl: 300 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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