#early modern

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ABL #67,  3 August, 2020

Box Office Bears: Animal-Baiting in Early Modern England is a new Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project that begins today. In our first film for the project, its lead researchers – Hannah O’Regan, Greger Larson and Andy Kesson – have a preliminary conversation about what animal-baiting is, and what it means to work across the fields of archaeology, DNA analysis and theatre history in order to understand it.

This film also starts a week of wrestling-related films. Check back on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday for the Wrestling Resurgence research and production team and the wrestler Chuck Mambo!

ABL #63,  21 July, 2020

The history of the senses via early modern public health and illness, literature, theatre and cooking.

ABL #61,  14 July, 2020

Sophie Russell tells us about clowning and performing Shakespeare, especially playing Richard III at Shakespeare’s Globe.

ABL #60,  9 July, 2020

Aaron Pratt on enabling publc audiences, students and academics to understand and interpret early books and manuscripts and specialist collections. Aaron also discusses the methods of book history as a discipline and speaks a bit about his own research on English playbooks.

ABL #57,  6 July, 2020

Last month, archaeologist Stephen White of University College London announced the discovery of the Red Lion site, an often-forgotten Elizabethan playhouse that is the earliest we know of. Theatre historian Holger Syme discusses the implications of this discovery, especially the way that archaeological discoveries of the past thirty-five years seem to be cumulatively disproving the idea of the thrust stage.

For more on the earliest years of the London playhouses, see Holger’s theatre history posts on his website, http://www.dispositio.net, as well as the Before Shakespeare project, on the earliest years of the London playhouses, for which Holger is an advisor, BeforeShakespeare.com.

Like so many early modern performances, this film guest stars his very excited dog…

ABL #56,  3 July, 2020

John Heywood played, wrote and worked for Henry Tudor and each of his three legitimate children. Greg Walker has written the first full literary biography of Heywood, and shows us how he engaged directly with the politics of his period. We also hear about Heywood’s later celebrity reputation and the importance of using performance to explore early Tudor plays.

ABL #55,  2 July, 2020

David McInnis and Matt Steggle tell us about their work on the lost plays of Shakespeare’s period, when plays are much more likely to be lost than to survive. They share insights into the wealth of information we have on lost plays and the theatrical culture they were part of.

ABL #54,  1 July, 2020

Happy Canada Day! In celebration, Canada’s finest and wisest queer poetics professor tells us about his new book,¬†Shakespeare and Queer Representation and¬†literature as an art of construction and decoration, an ‘aesthetically-ambitious art made out of words’.



ABL #51,  25 June, 2020

Megan Cook and Sarah Werner tell us about Geoffrey Chaucer’s early modern reception, and especially his place in Reformation politics, and ask us to think about the history of books as objects rather than as texts.


ABL #49,  18 June, 2020

Kate Morrison tells us about her novel A Book of Secrets, and the challenges and joys of moving between creative and research-based writing. We hear about the real and reimagined experiences of black people in sixteenth-century England, print, gender and much more.

ABL #47,  16 June, 2020

Harry Newman tells us about the idea of fictional character as a kind of ‘virtual human’ or ‘models of humanity’. We hear about spacious fictional worlds on TV and in the early modern playhouse, and Harry asks if the early modern period had the concepts of the paywall and reboot, and considers literature and performance as an ‘ongoing experiment in world-building’.

ABL #46,  15 June, 2020

Ambereen Dadabhoy tells us about the early modern Mediterranean, the English playhouse and the history of race. We hear about the lack of racial literacy in early modern studies, the way ‘a white way of knowing’ has dominated scholarship, and how to ‘follow the lead of those who have championed racial literacy’.

ABL #45,  11 June, 2020

Director Kimberley Sykes describes her work in the rehearsal room as focused on generosity, conversation and ‘absolute presence’, and tells us about her work for the Royal Shakespeare Company on Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Marlowe and Nashe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage. She emphasises collective authorship, conversation and collaboration in the rehearsal room, and explores the idea of real and psychological space in her work. She also tells us about her current list of lockdown reading.

ABL #44,  9 June, 2020

Theatremaker Emma Frankland talks us through contemporary, devised and classical performance, taking in Ghostbusters, Don Quixote and John Lyly’s Galatea, and ranging from Jerwood Arts, Shakespeare’s Globe, Roehampton University, Cornish beaches and Stratford, Ontario.

ABL #42,  2 June, 2020

Lucy Rayfield tells us what made French and Italian audiences laugh, the issues of studying a period of theatre history unfamiliar even to scholars, wars, patronage, money and ‘turbulent imitation’.

ABL #38,  21 May, 2020

Andrew Power talks us through Shakespeare’s early career, the early modern reception of classical sources and the long history of authorship.

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