The Actor as Playwright in Early Modern Drama

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 26, 2003 - Drama - 206 pages
Nora Johnson's study of actors who wrote plays in early modern England uncovers important links between performance and authorship. The book traces the careers of Robert Armin, Nathan Field, Anthony Munday and Thomas Heywood, actors who were powerfully interested in marketing themselves as authors and celebrities; but Johnson contends that authorship as they constructed it had little to do with modern ideas of control and ownership. Finally, the book repositions Shakespeare in relation to actors, considering Shakespeare's famous silence about his own work as one strategy among many available to writers for the stage. The Actor as Playwright provides an alternative to the debate between traditional and materialist readers of early modern dramatic authorship, arguing that both approaches are weakened by a reluctance to look outside the Shakespearean canon for evidence.

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Publishing the fool Robert Armin and the collective production of mirth
The actorplaywright and the true poet Nathan Field Ben Jonson and the prerogatives of the author
Anthony Munday and the spectacle of martyrdom
Some zanie with his mimick action Thomas Heywood and the staging of humanist authority
the Shakespearean silence

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About the author (2003)

Nora Johnson is Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania.

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