This book presents new evidence about the ways in which English Renaissance dramatists such as William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Thomas Heywood, John Fletcher and Thomas Middleton composed their plays and the degree to which they participated in the dissemination of their texts to theatrical audiences. Grace Ioppolo argues that the path of the transmission of the text was not linear, from author to censor to playhouse to audience - as has been universally argued by scholars - but circular.
Extant dramatic manuscripts, theatre records and accounts, as well as authorial contracts, memoirs, receipts and other archival evidence, are used to prove that the text returned to the author at various stages, including during rehearsal and after performance. This monograph provides much new information and case studies, and is a fascinating contribution to the fields of Shakespeare studies, English Renaissance drama studies, manuscript studies, textual study and bibliography and theatre history.
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'an admirably thorough investigation of a previously neglected subject. The book is enlivened by many touches of human interest ... [it] would be a valuable addition to any university or public library.' - British Theatre Guide
"Ioppolo's book, often iconoclastic, can also be bracingly funny ... it brings the opportunity to think again in new and fresh ways about the manuscripts at the book's centre and their place in the culture and practices of the early modern theatre.' - The Library
"To say that Ioppolo's book will, or should, completely alter the way the texts by the playwrights of the period are edited and therefore performed is to put it entirely too mildly. And, of course, she most definitely brings the author back from the dead...I would like to see this book published in paperback and made required reading for all faculty and post-graduate students involved in advanced degrees in Early Modern English drama and all faculty and students in schools of drama, just as Ioppolo and I would like to see the return, or the introduction, of the compulsory study of physical bibliography, paleography, and textual criticism in these same syllabuses." - William Proctor Williams, University of Akron, Notes and Queries
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