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Studies in Elizabethan Audience Response to the Theatre

Part 1: How Easy Is a Bush Suppos'd a Bear? Actor and Character in the Elizabethan Viewer's Mind


Henk Gras

The aim of this volume is to give an analytic description of how Elizabethan Spectators in documentary evidence responded to the theatre performances they watched or knew to be about. It also considers why they responded in that way. Opposing dual consciousness to the reification of the character (its 'ideal presence'), the author concludes that Elizabethan spectators were predominantly interested in the characters' 'ideal presence'. Why they were, is explained by relating their statements to the Renaissance theory of visual perception, (demonic) transformation, and ideas on acting.
Contents: Response of Elizabethan spectators to the actors and characters on the stage - Scraps of information given by contemporaries - Renaissance theories of visual perception and (demonic) transformation.