Reading the Household: Towards an Economic and Textual Understanding of Early English Drama

Magnusson, Danielle. Reading the Household: Towards an Economic and Textual Understanding of Early English Drama. 2015. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.
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This dissertation examines the domestic household's relationship to early English dramatic narratives from the fourteenth century to the start of the professional London stage. During this period the English household--understood as the basic unit of economic production in society--was both a source of public fascination and an active site of cultural and political meaning. Early English drama repeatedly dramatized household tensions, articulating the complicated social and economic arrangements found within contemporary households. This dissertation studies the English domestic household as a playing space and a dramatic subject while tracing the household's shaping influence on a wide range of early dramatic texts. Attending not only to household players and spectators, the project also traces the history of dramatic "book use": how plays were physically used, read, and altered by household readers. Using economic history, the dissertation examines the domestic household's material and ideological engagement with dramatic narratives while making a contribution to current research in the fields of early English drama and book history.

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Completed/published
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