Elizabethan Stage Conventions and Modern Interpreters
"Alan Dessen samples about four hundred play texts from the age of Shakespeare in order to recover the conventions of staging they reveal. in studying the stage settings, movements and emblems implicit in recurrent phrases and stage directions, he concludes that the Elizabethan audience, much less concerned with realism than many later generations have been, were used to receiving a kind of theatrical shorthand transmitted by the actors from the playwright. Professor Dessen draws attention to the implications of his findings for modern interpreters, addressing not only critics and teachers but also editors, actors and directors. He demonstrates that in many situations the 'logic' of the modern interpreter, for example, in his expectations of consistent characterisation, is in some way at odds with the original 'logic' of presentation, for example, in its acceptance of allegory and synecdoche. The rediscovery of the original logic illuminates for modern interpreters some of the most puzzling and awkward parts of the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries." --Publisher description.
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