Renaissance Revivals

City Comedy and Revenge Tragedy in the London Theater, 1576-1980

Wendy Griswold

Renaissance Revivals
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Wendy Griswold

306 pages | 13 halftones, 11 line drawings | © 1986
Cloth $47.50 ISBN: 9780226309231 Published October 1986
Renaissance Revivals examines patterns in the London revivals of two English Renaissance theatre genres over the past four centuries. Griswold's focus on revenge tragedies and city comedies illuminates the ongoing interaction between society and its cultural products. No cultural object is ever created anew, she argues, but is instead constructed from existing cultural genres and conventions, the visions and professional needs of the artist, and the interests of an audience. Thus, every "new play" is in part a renaissance and every "revival" is in part an entirely new cultural object.
1. Timbers
Cultural as Social Action
The Cultural Object
The Cultural Diamond
2. City Comedies
Characteristics of City Comedy
London Setting
Socially Heterogeneous Characters
Social Mobility
Ambiguous Morality
City Comedy in Institutional Context
The Theatres
The Audience
The Playwrights
Three Dimensions of City Comedy Appeal
City Comedy and Iron Age Londoners
City Comedy and Tricksters
City Comedy and Social Mobility
3. Revenge Tragedies
Characteristics of Revenge Tragedy
Court Setting
Revenge Motivates Action
Blood and Sex
Success, Death, Restoration
Revenge Tragedy in Institutional Context
Three Dimensions of Revenge Tragedy Appeal
Revenge Tragedy and Political Protestantism
Revenge Tragedy and Horror
Revenge Tragedy and the State
4. Renaissance Revivals from the Restoration through the Age of Garrick
Restoration and Eighteenth-Century London Theatre
Theatre of the Court
Theatre of the Town
Renaissance Revivals in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Three Renaissance Dramatists
City Comedy Exceptionalism
5. Renaissance Revivals from Carlo the Hero Dog to the Elizabethan Stage Society
Nineteenth-Century London Theatre
The Decline of Fashion
Doldroms and the End of the Monopoly
The Return of Respectability
Renaissance Revivals in the Nineteenth Century
6. Renaissance Revivals from the Edwardians to the Arts Council
Twentieth-Century London Theatre
Turn-of-the-Century Transition
The World Wars and Between
Postwar Theatre
Renaissance Revivals in the Twentieth Century
Revenge Tragedy Exceptionalism
7. Revivals and the Real Thing
An Explanatory Model of Renaissance Revivals
Revivals and the Theatre Manager
Revivals and Audiences
Representation and the Real Thing
The Interaction of Metaphor
Revivals and Social Meaning
Appendix A: English Drama, 1571-1642: Total Plays, Lost Plays, and Genres
Appendix B: City Comedy and Revenge Tragedy London Revivals
Appendix C: Statistical Comparisons
Twentieth-Century New Productions and Revivals
Modern Renaissance Revivals before and after 1955
Appendix D: Modern Revivals of Other Renaissance Plays
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