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.
Julia Ftacek tells us about her work on trans literature in the eighteenth century and beyond, including ‘a surprisingly trans-feminine’ Gulliver’s Travels. She emphasises this period as the moment of transition between the idea of gender as having no biological destiny and the rise of scientific rationality and the idea of sexual anatomy dictating gender.
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…
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.
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.
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’.
Chris Goode explores theatre as a live art based in community, encounters and conversation, a frame saying “now pay attention to this”. He talks us through his work, especially his online anthology of spoken word, What Words, and asks when, where and why we need language to work really hard as a container for the things we want to say.
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’.
Callan Davies talks to filmmaker Ellen Evans about truth and storytelling in documentary, collaboration, how we all watch trash on TV and the inevitable “What is Literature?’ question ahead of the launch of the film Motherland. Visit ellen-evans.com for more about Ellen’s work.
The early modernists Derek Dunne, Tom Harrison and Paul Salzman get together from their own places of social isolation to discuss plague and social isolation in Ben Jonson’s early seventeenth-century play, The Alchemist.
Perry Mills discusses Edward’s Boys, a school theatre company specialising in non-Shakespearean early modern drama. He tells us about the company’s rehearsal process, production choices and what it means to work with such unusual and often surprisingly violent and sexual plays.
Sarah Grange tells us about Moll Frith (also known as Mary Frith), an early modern crossdresser, queer and transgender history and performance: ‘how to meet those people who lie outside of the cishet, white male trajectory of progressive history: not the dudes on horses’.
Catherine Richardson tells us about early modern English everyday life, material culture and literature, and the challenges of working between the worlds of literature and history and the worlds of texts and objects.