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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the fortunes of ‘theatricality’ after the closing of the public theatres in 1642 and into the Restoration, with particular emphasis on how reading influenced notions of early modern theatre. It considers the question of early modern theatre and its relationship to the emerging concepts of drama and literary criticism by focusing on Humphrey Moseley and John Dryden. It also explores how the plays of William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher were revived by the companies of Thomas Killigrew and William Davenant and gradually transformed into a more readerly form of literary drama by the publishing efforts of Moseley and by the retrospective judgement of Dryden’s An Essay of Dramatick Poesie. The chapter argues that, during the Restoration, ‘the London theater was crowded with old theatrical memories and new demands’, and that it had been fundamentally altered by its passage into print.

Keywords: theatricality, reading, early modern theatre, drama, literary criticism, Humphrey Moseley, John Dryden, plays, William Shakespeare, publishing

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