Dramatic representation of the poor in the age of Shakespeare

Doh, In-Hwan (2013). Dramatic representation of the poor in the age of Shakespeare. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis is for ‘literature from below’. I select three groups of poor people –petty criminals, prostitutes, and apprentices –and investigate their dramatic representation in three early modern plays –The Roaring Girl, The Honest Whore, and Sir Thomas More. To overcome their representational distortion, I carry out a tripartite dialogue between documentational evidence, dramatic allusion and poetic imagination. This thesis adopts its methodology from poststructuralist historicism, but my theoretical position on Renaissance studies diverges from it in several respects, which I elucidate in the introduction. The first chapter ascertains, by scrutinizing the hermaphroditic protagonist Moll, that her cross-dressing and protean identities represent the characteristics of early modern London. The second chapter argues that early modern capitalism combined with patriarchy plays a crucial role in giving rise to prostitution by examining the courtesan protagonist, Bellafront. The third chapter, which analyzes the 1517 Ill May Day apprentice riots in the context of the 1590s London crisis, traces there presentational history of the popular insurgency and retrieves ideological implication from the early modern censorial regime. In the conclusion, I estimate ‘use value’ of Renaissance drama in our time, and from the Marxist perspective, I appraise the aesthetic appeal of the three plays.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3996


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