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Persecution, Plague, and FireFugitive Histories of the Stage in Early Modern England$
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Ellen MacKay

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226500195

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226500218.001.0001

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Introduction: The Theater as a Loaded Gun

Introduction: The Theater as a Loaded Gun

(p.1) Introduction: The Theater as a Loaded Gun
Persecution, Plague, and Fire

Ellen Mackay

University of Chicago Press

For theater historians, early modern England is an awkward subject: a golden age fettered to a shadowy past. In accord with Peggy Phelan's famous axiom that performance “becomes itself through disappearance,” there is little indication of the way the English theater became itself during the period that has been subsequently hailed as its “greatest flourish.” The result is an illustrious drama that happened off the record, absent the narrative that would place dramatic texts in clear relation to their theatrical contexts. So palpable is this absence that it is hard not to take it as evidence withheld.

Keywords:   English theater, early modern England, drama, narrative, dramatic text, performance

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