- Early Modern Theatricality
- List of Illustrations
- list of Abbreviations
- Notes On Contributors
- Dumb show
- Index of Plays
- General Index
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines one of the most problematic aspects of early modern theatre: its vexed relation to sight, seeing, spectacle, and illusion. It considers whether theatre offered the audience a version of the truth or a deceptive illusion, or whether it offered an illusion that had no effect on reality or one that could influence and transform it in some way. It explores the relationship between theatre and visual illusion by focusing on four plays: Robert Greene’s Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and Thomas Tomkis’s Albumazar. It shows that early modern plays persistently delegitimize visual technologies in order to assert the theatre’s distinctiveness and legitimacy as a mimetic medium by transforming optics into a deceptive, magical practice.
Mary Thomas Crane is the Thomas F. Rattigan Professor in the English Department at Boston College. She is the author of Framing Authority: Sayings, Self, and Society in Sixteenth-Century England (Princeton, 1993) and Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory (Princeton, 2000).
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