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Shakespeare and the institution of the theatre : "the best in this kind" / Erica Sheen.

  • Author

    Sheen, Erica.,

  • Date published


  • Publisher

    Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

  • Subject

    Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 Criticism and interpretation.

    Theater England History 16th century.

    Theater England History 17th century.

    Literary criticism and cultural theory

In this highly original book, Erica Sheen rethinks an approach that has been central to Shakespearean studies since the rise of New Historicism in the 1980s. Challenging the prevailing orthodoxy that the institutional form of early modern theatre was that of a market, she takes her starting point from sixteenth-century developments in the law of property, and offers innovative readings of Shakespeare's plays which demonstrate his adaptation of legal principles of ownership to the creative labour by which his work, and that of the Chamberlain's Men, came to be recognised in their own time as 'the best in this kind'. She extends this analysis to questions about the nature of dramatic action and spectatorship that are fundamental to our understanding of the distinctive quality of Shakespeare's work. This imaginative study will encourage its readers to change the way they think about hitherto familiar plays and critical problems., General note: Discusses the institution of the theatre, The taming of the shrew, The history of Richard III, Sir Thomas More, and Richard III, The woman's prize, The two gentlemen of Verona, The merchant of Venice and As you like it, A midsummer night's dream and Hamlet, King Lear, and The alchemist and The tempest.