Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 27 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the importance of the ‘line’ in the composition, reading, editing, interpretation, and performance of early modern drama. It considers the gradual emergence of the poetic verse that is characteristic of early modern drama and one of the most obviously ‘textual’ units of early modern theatre. It shows that the line, before it became a formal verse element, persisted as a graphic mark, a technology of performance shared by musicians and singers as well as actors and playwrights. It explains how the line, through the printing of plays and poems, became the immaterial metaphysical unit we associate with the period’s finest ‘literary’ writing. It also discusses physical and metaphysical lines and their attempt to regulate silence. Finally, it argues that attention at the level of the line pushes performance towards the typographic, even advancing a kind of ‘typographical acting’ alert to every piece of punctuation, every line break, every diacritically pricked out metrical inflection.

Keywords: line, early modern drama, poetic verse, early modern theatre, performance, plays, poems, silence

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.