Stages of Loss: The English Comedians and Their Reception is an important, wide-ranging study of the late sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century English travelling players in the Holy Roman Empire (now mostly Germany), and of the scholarly difficulty of doing justice to their history. Frequently on the move, the players were migrant strangers, routinely exposed to “the suspicion and condescension with which European culture has generally greeted those who cross its borders”, and the entertainments they offered were fleeting. The documentation of their activities, to the extent that it has survived, is perplexingly difficult to recover and scattered across the many places in which they performed, during a period of several decades. Oppitz-Trotman recognizes that “ [t]he search for the English Comedians in the archive is exceptionally arduous,” which has been “a major hindrance to sustained scholarly attention”, but his chief ambition is not to add to such archival knowledge. Instead, he aims to go beyond it by situating “the journeys and performances of the English Comedians in contexts where their larger significance might be understood”. As he notes, past scholarship on the English Comedians has had little to say about “[t]he relationship of their commercial theatre to state consolidation and market expansion, their interaction with local festive cultures, their implication in other forms of circulation and itinerancy, [and] their mediating role in the modernization and secularization of European drama.” Stages of Loss explores all these issues, with the aim of “breaking paths for future work”.
|Ausgabe / Jahr:||2 / 2022|
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