The study of extant early modern plays is a painstaking business that moves along a fine line of conjectural and historicist study. With the advent of the Lost Plays Database in 2009, scattered primary and secondary materials have been brought into a searchable database. Yet, shortened references, ellipses, variant titles, and possible failures in the… Continue Reading »
Posts Tagged: MEMOs
In Shakespeare’s Henriad – Richard II (1595), Henry IV Part I (1596), Henry IV Part II (1597), and Henry V (1599) – English Christian characters frequently employ negative Turkish tropes when criticizing each other’s corrupt political agendas. However, these tropes differ from the more positive characterizations of the Ottomans found in English chronicles of Turkish history. By… Continue Reading »
Elizabethan and Jacobean theatergoers encountered ‘Moor’ figures in plays such as Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Othello, and The Merchant of Venice, to name a few. However, it was also possible to see blackness performed beyond the playhouse stage, publicly on the streets of London. Emblematic representations of Moors frequently featured in the annual Lord Mayor’s Day festivities, which celebrated the inauguration of the new mayor-elect of London every October,
In February 1682, it was reported in the London newspaper Loyal Protestant, and True Domestic Intelligence that ‘His Excellency the Morocco Ambassador is exceedingly well pleased with his Entertainments; Insomuch that he declared, that he thought there were not such Divertisements in the whole world, much less in England; so that he is very earnest… Continue Reading »
The spiced air of India was the stuff of legend in Shakespeare’s England, and is brought to vivid life in this famous passage from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” These were images which Shakespeare knew his audiences would understand, during a period in which England had begun its sea voyages to Asia in earnest, and the fabulous possibilities of directly accessing the merchandise of India were being realized for the first time.
Victorian director Henry Irving’s use of a Black page in his production of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ shows how forms of race-thinking had been sustained and intensified in the English theatrical imagination.
Thomas Coryate (c. 1577-1617) was one of the most widely traveled Englishmen of his day, motivated by curiosity, wanderlust, and fame. He served as a fascinating example of how early modern English travelers to the Islamic world might use their experiences overseas in an attempt to bolster their standing at home.