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Dramatic Extracting and the Reception of Early Modern English Drama

Applicant Montedoro Beatrice
Number 178105
Funding scheme Doc.Mobility
Research institution Faculty of English Language and Literature University of Oxford
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline German and English languages and literature
Start/End 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2018
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Keywords (7)

Commonplacing; Reception; Reading; Extracting; Circulation; Drama; Early Modern Drama

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
"Dramatic Extracting" : une étude de la réception du théâtre anglais à la RenaissanceA la Renaissance lire était aussi un exercice d’écriture : non seulement les archives sont remplies de livres annotés dans les marges, mais on trouve également des manuscrits entiers de passages copiés d'après lecture. Extraire et copier des passages depuis des textes classiques ou bibliques était une méthode communément utilisée par les lecteurs et étudiants afin d'améliorer le vocabulaire, le style d'écriture et l'éloquence.
Lay summary

Contextualisation du sujet de recherche:

Des collections d'extraits de textes classiques et bibliques étaient publiées avec succès tout au long de la Renaissance : très populaires parmi celles-ci, les collections de l'humaniste Erasmus de Rotterdam. Des extraits d’auteurs vernaculaires apparaissent progressivement au sein de ces collections et en 1600, en Angleterre, la première collection d'extraits dédiée entièrement aux auteurs anglais est publiée. L'objet de ce projet de recherche est d'étudier les extraits de pièces de théâtre anglais écrites par des dramaturges anglais, dont William Shakespeare est le plus célèbre, et collectionnés entre 1590 et 1660. 

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

"Dramatic extracting" consiste en l'acte de sélectionner et extraire des passages (de longueur variable) de pièces de théâtre et de les copier afin de créer des collections d'extraits organisées par œuvre, thème, ou sans structure définie. Etudier ce processus de réception des textes de théâtre anglais de la première moitié du dix-septième siècle nous aide à mieux comprendre la circulation, l’appropriation et la réutilisation de ces textes à travers cette période en Angleterre.

Ce projet a deux buts : premièrement, d'améliorer notre connaissance de cette pratique et méthode de lecture, et secondairement, d'utiliser cette analyse pour envisager la place du théâtre dans la culture et la société anglaise de la première moitié du dix-septième siècle. Analyser ces collections d’extraits de pièces de théâtre nous permet d'avoir un aperçu unique de la manière dont les lecteurs considéraient les auteurs originaux de ces textes (chapitre 1), comment ils lisaient ces pièces et quels types d'extraits ils privilégiaient (chapitre 2), leur utilisation (chapitre 3) et comment cette pratique pourrait avoir contribué à façonner la popularité, la réputation, et la formation d'un groupe canonique de pièces et d'auteurs (chapitres 4 et 5).

Ce projet est la première étude dédiée complètement à l’analyse thématique de collections, manuscrites et imprimées, avec extraits de pièces de théâtre anglais de la période 1590-1660. Chaque chapitre offre une analyse détaillée de deux ou trois collections, mises en comparaison et examinées suivant un point commun de discussion. Des exemples de collections mineures seront aussi considérés. Un total de 46 collections, dont plus de 5000 extraits de pièces de théâtre, sera présenté ici. La majorité de ces documents se trouvent aujourd'hui dans les archives de la Bodleian Library (Oxford) et de la British Library (Londres).

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.12.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Matteo A. Pangallo, Playwriting Playgoers in Shakespeare’s Theater
Montedoro Beatrice (2018), Matteo A. Pangallo, Playwriting Playgoers in Shakespeare’s Theater, in Notes and Queries, 65(3), 448-449.
Seventeenth-century approaches to The Devil’s Law-Case
Montedoro Beatrice, Estill Laura (2018), Seventeenth-century approaches to The Devil’s Law-Case, in ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews, 31(3), 151-160.
‘Comedies and Tragedies “read of me” and “not yet learned”: Dramatic Extracting in Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson D 952’
MontedoroBeatrice, ‘Comedies and Tragedies “read of me” and “not yet learned”: Dramatic Extracting in Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson D 952’, in Estill Laura, Atkin Tamara (ed.), Brepols, Turnhout, N/A.

Datasets

DEx: A Database of Dramatic Extracts

Author Estill, Laura; Montedoro, Beatrice
Persistent Identifier (PID) https://dex.itercommunity.org
Repository DEx: A Database of Dramatic Extracts


Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Early Modern Graduate Forum Individual talk ‘What did early modern compilers hope to learn from dramatic extracts?’ 30.10.2018 University of Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Montedoro Beatrice;
Society for Renaissance Studies conference Talk given at a conference ‘Knowledge and Expertise in Collections of Dramatic Extracts in Seventeenth-Century England’ 03.07.2018 Sheffield University, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Montedoro Beatrice;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) ‘Shakespearean Extracts included in an Oxford commonplace book’ https://shakespearedocumented.folger.edu/ International 2018

Abstract

“Dramatic Extracting and the Reception of Early Modern English Drama” contributes to our understanding of how early modern drama was circulated, appreciated, re-written and appropriated through the practice of dramatic extracting in seventeenth-century England. In particular, this thesis aims to demonstrate two things: in the first part, it uses archival evidence to shed new light on this practice in the first half of the seventeenth century, by offering a close analysis of relevant case studies of dramatic extracting; this will complicate our understanding of how drama was appreciated and promoted by these collections, how the authorship and ownership of the dramatic extracts was negotiated by the compilers, and finally, how dramatic extracting played a role in raising awareness of issues concerned with plagiarism, authorship and canon. The second part discusses the socio-cultural importance of dramatic extracting, how it related to the popularity of drama in print and on stage, and finally it re-assesses the impact this practice had on the way drama was received in early modern England, especially the influence on its status and canon formation. This doctoral thesis follows Laura Estill's recent “Dramatic Extracts in Seventeenth-Century English Manuscripts” (2015) as only the second study to-date entirely dedicated to the investigation of the practice of dramatic extracting in seventeenth-century England. Both are informed by the recent increasing interest of scholarship in material culture, and both re-assert Charles Whitney's claim in “Early Responses to Renaissance Drama” (2006) that ‘an essential perspective for understanding Renaissance drama’ (13) is to be gained from this kind of study, a belief shared by Heidy Brayman Hackel, who, in her “Reading Material in Early Modern England” (2005), encourages the investigation of the multiple, individual histories of the habits of reading told by archival evidence, such as dramatic extracts, in order to gain a more complex, and historicised vision of notions of reading in the early modern period. Previously, particular attention has been given to Shakespearean dramatic extracts - see, for instance, Sasha Roberts (2003), Peter Stallybrass and Roger Chartier (2007), and Arthur Marotti and Laura Estill (2012) - yet no extensive study of dramatic extracting had appeared before Estill's monograph of 2015. This thesis contributes to this ongoing research, by offering a close analysis of dramatic extracts in both manuscript and print sources. Moreover, this is the first comprehensive study combining an analytical approach of the archival evidence with the theoretical evidence of the role of dramatic extracts in the reception of drama. Each chapter will focus around one main point of discussion illustrated by examples from different periods and formats. Exploring questions common to a variety of individual responses to drama highlights similar and contrasting elements, thus distinguishing recurrent behaviour within the practice of dramatic extracting from individual ones. This, in turn, allows for a deeper, more multi-faceted and historicised understanding of notions of popularity, appropriation, circulation and evaluation of drama in these compilations. The dramatic extracts analysed in this thesis are culled mainly from plays for the professional theatre during the first half of the seventeenth century, the period which saw the birth and development of the practice of dramatic extracting. This time-frame permits the observation of the evolution of dramatic extracting from its very beginning to when drama started to appear in Folio volumes, the playwrights of the beginning of the century had died, and a new generation of plays began to be extracted. A total of 46 printed and manuscript compilations, with over 5,000 dramatic extracts, have been considered here. These include well-known and important printed and manuscript compilations, but also lesser-known or newly re-discovered material, located mainly in the Bodleian Library (Oxford) and British Library. The appendices will offer summary tables and lists of all the primary sources discussed, as well as a selection of extended excerpts from the transcriptions of the important and new documents analysed in this thesis.
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