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Shakespeare in Company Bart van Es

Shakespeare in Company

Bart van Es

Published
ISBN : 9780199569311
Hardcover
357 pages
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 About the Book 

This book is about two very different kinds of company. On the one hand it concerns Shakespeares poet-playwright contemporaries, such as Marlowe, Jonson, and Fletcher. On the other, it examines the contribution of his fellow actors, includingMoreThis book is about two very different kinds of company. On the one hand it concerns Shakespeares poet-playwright contemporaries, such as Marlowe, Jonson, and Fletcher. On the other, it examines the contribution of his fellow actors, including Burbage, Armin, and Kemp. Traditionally, criticism has treated these two influences in separation, so that Shakespeare is considered either in relation to educated Renaissance culture, or as a man of the theatre. Shakespeare in Company unites these perspectives. Bart van Es argues that Shakespeares decision, in 1594, to become an investor (or sharer) in the newly formed Chamberlains acting company had a transformative effect on his writing, moving him beyond the conventions of Renaissance dramaturgy. On the basis of the physical distinctiveness of his actors, Shakespeare developed relational drama, something no previous dramatist had explored. This book traces the evolution of that innovation, showing how Shakespeare responded to changes in the personnel of his acting fellowship and to competing drama, such as that produced for the childrens companies after 1599. Covering over two decades of theatrical history, van Es explores the playwrights career through four distinct phases, ending on the conditions that shaped Shakespeares late style. Paradoxically, Shakespeare emerges as a playwright unique in company--special, in part, because of the unparalleled working conditions that he enjoyed.