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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

At the start of the twenty-first century, contemporary scholarship began to take account of the multiple meanings and functions of authorship in Renaissance drama in England, complicating earlier assumptions about the playwright and his relation to scripts both on stage and in print. This article looks at the development of the dramatist as a literary and cultural figure and its relation to the rapid emergence and institutionalisation of the public theatre in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It argues that playwrights became increasingly aware of and concerned with the ways in which their work might redound to what Hieronimo in Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy calls the ‘author's credit’: to financial reward but also to gains in professional reputation and status. It also explores the connection of playwrights and players, the intersection of the playwright with the emergent book trade, and the demand for collaborative playwriting.

Keywords: authorship, Renaissance, drama, England, theatre, author's credit, playwrights, players, book trade, collaborative playwriting

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