Journals Higher Education



Published: 25 February 2022

320 Pages | 20 Illustrations

9.2 x 6.1 inches

ISBN: 9780198867838

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Bookseller Code (06)

The Diva's Gift to the Shakespearean Stage

Agency, Theatricality, and the Innamorata

Pamela Allen Brown

  • A fascinating history of the first female stars that identifies the Italian diva as a spectacular model for the exotic, boldly theatrical woman of passion in English plays
  • Shows how Shakespeare and his peers knew about the famed actresses of the commedia dell'arte, and emulated their role-playing and stardom to make their 'theater without women' viable and appealing
  • Breaks new ground in showing how star actresses played tragedy as well as comedy, with a distinctive virtuosity that affected tragic playing and writing in England
  • Offers analyses of tragedies by Kyd, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Webster featuring diva types, and provides a new transnational perspective on Cleopatra, Juliet, Ophelia, Beatrice, Portia, and other celebrated roles
  • Provides a new angle on the perennial question, 'Why did the English stage take boys for women?' by looking at Italianate roles as an adaptive strategy formed under pressure, as rival troupes with women gained fame in courts throughout Europe and toured London

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