By Susan Wiseman
In 1642 an ordinance closed the theaters of britain. Critics and historians have assumed that the edict was determined and inviolate. Susan Wiseman demanding situations this assumption and argues that the interval 1640 to 1660 used to be now not a niche within the creation and function of drama. quite, in the course of the interval writers concentrated as a substitute on various dramas with political views, from republican to royalist. In reading the varied kinds of dramatic creation of the 1640s and 1650s, Wiseman bargains new insights into the theater of the Civil battle.
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Extra info for Drama and Politics in the English Civil War
There were a number of recognisable sub-genres, for example, ghostly dialogues are sometimes signalled by illustration - as in that for the anti-Straffordian The Earle of Strafford's Ghost. And, in the first phase of conflict, 1641-3, as the titles suggest, they seem to have been a form popular amongst those critical of Caroline rule. Many of these hybrid texts make use of genres from the pre-war stage to facilitate their persuasion of the reader. Whole modes of writing were, at this moment, hybridised and foreshortened to be reformulated as items saleable as news.
By tracing the playlets offering political critique in the 1640s into the 1650s we can see that some playlets which have been regarded as simply 'royalist' have links to the demands and protests in the radical writing of the 1640s: royalist and radical positions in popular polemic were not always diametrically opposed, but drew on some similar strands of popular discontent. 1 Another reason to return to these texts is that in contemporary literary and historical debate 'radicalism' is itself a disputed term.
6). The playlet's large demands for change within the ultimately conservative frame of the petition to royalty (a form with a long tradition in folk-tale and theatre, as well as in political bargaining between king and parliament) indicates that the new news-oriented play pamphlets played a significant - and self-conscious part in the 'immensely educative function of the popular press in forming a new language for talking about politics'. 28 Such playlets take up the position of the 'ordinary man', assuming the voice of the reasonable citizen as their political mean.
Drama and Politics in the English Civil War by Susan Wiseman