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The English clown: print in performance and performance in print

Ishikawa, Naoko (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis examines how and why the English clown emerged and declined by focusing on jest-books and comic actors such as Tarlton, Kemp and Armin. The jest-book, Tarlton’s Jests is the key publication in the development of jester-clowns in Renaissance drama. This account traces the authoring, editing, and printing of jest-book publications, along with the transmission of their copy-texts to clarify the dissemination of theories of clownery. The thesis explores the English clown tradition based on the presences of Kemp and Armin, who in their writing practices link the development of clowning in print to the theatre stage. This study then offers a critical analysis of the influence of jesting heroes on comic characters in play-texts from Shakespeare to Dekker and Heywood. By considering the rich resources of jests appropriated by these playwrights, the various forms of the clowns’ development are clarified. The tradition and characteristics of the English clown resulted from a unique cultural synergy: the connection between the stage clowning of the time and its underlying theories. This interaction between societal change and the resultant cultural products is considered as an achievement of the Early Modern interdependence between print and performance.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):McLuskie, Kathleen
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:The Shakespeare Institute
Subjects:PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2951
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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