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TRRC – Paul Yachnin (McGill University) “Thomas Middleton, Theatre, and the Publicity of Space”

January 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

How did Thomas Middleton’s drama make the space of early modern London public? In this lecture, Paul Yachnin considers scenes from The Puritan Widow and The Roaring Girl in order to illuminate the political character and social value of Middletonian theatrical spatiality; he enlists Michel de Certeau’s distinction between seeing the city from above versus walking in the city in order to explain the hybrid character of Middleton’s theatrical space; and he explains what a public is, especially in relation to spatiality. His conclusion opens another dimension of Middleton’s thinking about spatiality by suggesting how A Game at Chess rewrote the conflict between Catholic Europe and Protestant England, traditionally understood as part of apocalyptic history, in terms of geopolitics. By considering these instances of the theatrical publicization of space and spatialization of history, his presentation endeavors to provide a preliminary study of Middleton’s public-making critical geography.

A lecture sponsored by the Toronto Renaissance and Reformation Colloquium (TRRC), the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS), the Canada Research Chair in Early Modern English Literature and the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama.

Paul Yachnin is Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Chair of English at McGill University. He is Director of the Making Publics (MaPs) Project and Co-Director of the McGill Shakespeare and Performance Research Team. Among his publications are the books, Stage-Wrights and The Culture of Playgoing in Early Modern England (with Anthony Dawson); editions, including two works in The Works of Thomas Middleton, Shakespeare’s Richard II (forthcoming, Oxford Univ. Press; with Anthony Dawson); The Tempest (forthcoming, Broadview Press); and four co-edited books: Shakespeare and the Cultures of Performance; Shakespeare and the Eighteenth Century; Shakespeare and Character; and Making Publics in Early Modern Europe: People, Things, Forms of Knowledge. His book-in-progress is A World Coming Out: Making Theatrical Publics in Shakespeare’s England. His ideas about art and public life were featured on the recent CBC IDEAS series, “The Origins of the Modern Public.”


January 13, 2011
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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