Theater Enough: American Culture and the Metaphor of the World Stage, 1607-1789

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Duke University Press, 1991 - Performing Arts - 335 pages
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The early settlers in America had a special relationship to the theater. Though largely without a theater of their own, they developed an ideology of theater that expressed their sense of history, as well as their version of life in the New World. Theater Enough provides an innovative analysis of early American culture by examining the rhetorical shaping of the experience of settlement in the new land through the metaphor of theater.
The rhetoric, or discourse, of early American theater emerged out of the figures of speech that permeated the colonists' lives and literary productions. Jeffrey H. Richards examines a variety of texts—histories, diaries, letters, journals, poems, sermons, political tracts, trial transcripts, orations, and plays—and looks at the writings of such authors as John Winthrop and Mercy Otis Warren. Richards places the American usage of theatrum mundi—the world depicted as a stage—in the context of classical and Renaissance traditions, but shows how the trope functions in American rhetoric as a register for religious, political, and historical attitudes.
  

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Contents

American Origins
38
American Origins
61
II
99
The Antinomian Crisis
127
The Example of Cotton Mather
148
Democracy Theater
177
The Rituals of Republican Revolution
201
The Example of John Adams
230
America at War
247
Play and Earnest on the Postwar Stage
265
Stage Metaphor and the New Republic
280
EPILOGUE
293
WORKS CITED
299
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About the author (1991)

Jeffrey H. Richards is the author of Theater Enough: American Culture and the Metaphor of the World Stage, 1607 1789 (1991), and Mercy Otis Warren (1995), and has edited three other books. He has published articles in Early American Literature, William and Mary Quarterly, and other journals and collections. He has taught at the University of North Carolina, Duke University, and is currently Professor of English at Old Dominion University.

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