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Seneca by Candlelight and Other Stories of Renaissance Drama

Seneca by Candlelight and Other Stories of Renaissance Drama

Lorraine Helms

216 pages
Ebook 2017 | ISBN 9781512816815 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume

"Seneca by Candlelight brings the insights of traditional historical philology to bear on questions of gender, politics, and subject-formation with as much intelligence and panache as any other book I can think of."—Debora Shuger, University of California at Los Angeles

"An interesting tale of one scholar's personal encounter with Renaissance drama, with thought-provoking insights into the traditions at work on the early modern stage."—Sixteenth Century Journal

"The book offers fresh readings of early modern English plays that adapted the rhetorical and theatrical traditions of Rome. . . . Its appeal lies in Helms's passionate engagement."—Shakespeare Quarterly

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book

"English Seneca read by candlelight," wrote the Elizabethan author Thomas Nashe, "will afford you whole Hamlets." In the early decades of the twentieth century, literary and theater historians took Nashe at his word,
finding Senecan tragedy at the source of Renaissance drama. More recently, critics have been inclined to dismiss traces of classical antiquity as a superficial veneer on a drama derived from medieval traditions. Lorraine Helms revisits this terrain to explore the rich and various ways in which classical learning shaped the theatrical culture of the Renaissance. She uncovers the practical advice on acting and stagecraft to be found in the writings of ancient rhetoricians; reconstructs the extraordinary circumstances under which an English woman first rendered Euripides into her native language; and ponders the precedents in antiquity for Elizabethan portrayals of prostitution and female martyrdom.

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