Separate Theaters: Bethlem ("Bedlam") Hospital and the Shakespearean Stage

Front Cover
University of Delaware Press, 2005 - Drama - 309 pages
0 Reviews
This book seeks to update the still standard reference on the topic of London's notorious psychiatric hospital, Bethlem, and the Shakespearean stage - Robert Reed's Bedlam on the Jacobean Stage (1953) - by challenging its assumption that Bethlem was a house of horrors that showed its patients to visitors for entertainment, a practice supposedly then depicted on the stage to please primitive tastes. As the recent History of Bethlem has suggested, the hospital was first and foremost a charity, one that showed its patients to elicit alms for the mad poor. Seeing the mad poor living in squalor moved people to give; that some spectators also laughed at this show may complicate, but does not contradict, Bethlem's charitable function. In contrast to our popular understanding of charity, which generally involves the efforts of the givers to at least mask any feelings of contempt for recipients, early modern charitable impulses coexisted easily with a clear disgust for and a- willingness to laugh at the recipients of charity.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


A pastime That Can prompt us to have mercy Putting Malvolio Ben Jonson? in a Dark Room
Though this be madness yet there is method int Poetaster Satiromastix and Shakespeares Defense of the Popular Stage in Hamlet
A very piteous sight The Magnificent Entertainment The Honest Whore Part One The Honest Whore Part Two
Making Bethlem a Jest and Conceding to Jonson in Westward Ho Eastward Ho and Northward Ho
I know not Where I did lodge last night? Shakespeares King Lear and the Search for Bethlem Bedlam Hospital
Twin shows of madness John Websters Stage Management of Bethlem in The Duchess of Malfi
Shadows and Shows of Charity The Changeling The Pilgrim and the Protestant Critique of Catholic Good Works
Foucault was right?

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 24 - The lunatic, the lover, and the poet Are of Imagination all compact. One sees more devils than vast hell can hold; That is, the madman. The lover, all as frantic, Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt. The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; And as Imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name.
Page 25 - But all the story of the night told over, And all their minds transfigured so together, More witnesseth than fancy's images, And grows to something of great constancy ; But, howsoever, strange and admirable.

Bibliographic information