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Readers of Early Theatre 17.1 will encounter new research in performance history and drama criticism ranging in chronological focus from the early twelfth through to the early seventeenth centuries. Beginning the issue, Stephen Wright's essay presents the first English translation of Historia de Daniel Representanda [The Story of Daniel for Performance], a Latin music drama by Hilarius. Although the extant manuscript lacks musical notation (unlike the better-known Beauvais Cathedral's thirteenth-century production on the same subject matter), Wright convincingly introduces Hilarius's play as 'a striking example of twelfth-century stagecraft, synthesizing poetry, music, costumes, stage properties, movement, and special effects in order to enhance the devotional experience of worshipers at Christmastide'. Louise Rayment focuses on the mid 1550s manuscript which features John Redford's early Tudor interlude Wit and Science (ca 1540). Rayment outlines in connection with the poems and music preserved in this manuscript a larger social network with interests in music and performance centred at the Billingsgate parish of St Mary-at-Hill. This new context, she suggests, may shed further light on the reception and popularity of Wit and Science after Redford's death in 1547. Douglas Arrell's essay similarly takes up questions of reception and influence, this time with respect to heavy borrowing or 'stealing' of dramatic elements among rival commercial playing companies in late Elizabethan London. This kind of dramatic theft, Arrell argues, offers a reliable dating tool, one that helps to prove how Anthony Munday's John a Kent and John a Cumber--which 'steals' from the anonymous A Knack to Know a Knave but also A Midsummer Night's Dream as well as the two Friar Bacon plays--is in fact the same play as the Admiral's Men's 1594 production The Wise Man of Westchester.

Essays by David Bergeron and Peter Byrne take up questions of genre, while Susan Anderson discusses strategies of representation in early Jacobean pageantry. Bergeron focuses on Robert Greene's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay as a way to think through larger questions of history and its relationship to art. Against the view that Greene's comedy contains 'bogus history', Bergeron claims that the play makes serious contributions to an expanded historical consciousness characteristic of the late sixteenth century. Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, he argues, not only reflects but also creates history through fictional narrative itself. Byrne's subject is dramatic tragedy, particularly Ben Jonson's rejoinder in Sejanus to his peers' meta-theatrical efforts at reform within the tragic genre. Recasting in a satiric vein the overreaching protagonists created by Marlowe and Shakespeare, Sejanus 'formalize[d] the mimetic and emotional aspects of the theatrical experience' and prompts 'intellectual detachment ... in order to criticize the enervating effect of generically anarchic composition'. Anderson's essay offers new research on the civic entertainment staged in Chester on St George's Day, 1610. Reading the printed commemorative description entitled Chesters Triumph in Honor of Her Prince together with related documents such as payment records, Anderson's careful attention to this occasion's musical elements deepens our knowledge of the complex political and symbolic strategies found in civic pageantry more broadly.

Following these six essays, Peter Kirwan and Erin Julian present two substantial pieces reviewing recent trends in Ben Jonson scholarship. Readers of Kirwan's essay will find a usefully organized overview and assessment of The Cambridge Works of Ben Jonson, published in 2012 in seven print volumes. Julian, in turn, judiciously considers four separate critical studies: Ian Donaldson's biography Ben Jonson: A Life, Matthew Steggle's critical guide to Volpone, Victoria Moul's monograph Jonson, Horace, and the Classical Tradition, and A.D. Cousins and Alison Scott's edited collection Ben Jonson and the Politics of Genre.

We would like to thank Roberta Barker formally for her service as book review editor since 2005, when she trained with our former editor Karen Bamford (Mount Allison) to take over the position. From 2006 to 2012 she tackled Early Theatre's book reviews with zeal, finding both junior and senior scholars to report on what was new in the field of theatre-related monographs and essay-collections, and she certainly ensured that those reviews came in on time. In training our current book review editor, Peter Kirwan, she passed on her concept of reviews as a meaningful part of how this journal contributes to and fosters collaborative scholarly conversation. We are happy to announce that Roberta has now accepted a position on our editorial board, bringing our total number to sixteen stellar members with varied published interests in theatre history and performance studies. We welcome Roberta warmly to this board and look forward to many years of her support.


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Title Annotation:on theater criticism
Publication:Early Theatre
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2014
Previous Article:'To see the playes of theatre newe wrought': electronic editions and early Tudor drama.
Next Article:The twelfth-century Story of Daniel for Performance by Hilarius: an introduction, translation, and commentary.

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