Staging the court: the theatrical season of 1670-71

Challinor, Jennie Rose (2016). Staging the court: the theatrical season of 1670-71. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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My thesis explores Restoration repertory theatre in the 1670-71 season, examining all of the new and revived works performed, including the premières of plays by dramatists such as Behn, Dryden, Shadwell, and Wycherley. These canonical writers are studied alongside the lesser-known works of playwrights including John Crowne, Edward Howard, Elizabeth Polwhele, and Elkanah Settle. Offering new readings of neglected plays by resituating them within their theatrical, literary, and political contexts, I use contemporary evidence from diaries, letters, pamphlets, and parliamentary records to demonstrate how theatre was inextricably bound with wider circumstances. Tracing the interaction between the playhouses, print, manuscript, and court cultures, my thesis argues that it was in this season that drama became evermore focused on King Charles II and his court, as playwrights looked for answers to increasingly pressing dramatic and political questions and offered cautious, and often cautionary, comments on the monarch. Analysing the main anxieties and impulses evident within drama, including the political influence of the royal mistresses, the emergence of female playwrights, worry about the succession, and the contentious influence of libertine ideology, my thesis concludes with a discussion of Buckingham’s The Rehearsal, a play that looks back to, and reflects on, the 1670-71 season.

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: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater


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