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Historical Dictionary of British Theatre

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About the Author

Darryll Grantley has spent 26 years teaching theatre history at the University of Kent, and also amassing numerous facts for this fact-filled volume. In his courses, he covers all periods of British theatre, with an emphasis on the late medieval and early modern periods. In this time, he has written numerous articles and authored, edited or contributed to over a dozen books, including London in Early Modern Drama, The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre and The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and his Contemporaries.


British plays and playwrights are arguably some of the most well known and most popular in the theatrical world. Grantley, a professor of theater history at the University of Kent, offers a thorough, informative, and entertaining look at the places, plays, and people involved in British theater from 1311 to 1899. A lengthy chronology showcases such important dates as the 1610 outbreak of plague that shut down London theaters, notes the first performance of various important plays, and recognizes the inventions of various theatrical techniques. The informative introduction highlights the significant aspects of the era. The dictionary entries range from a paragraph to several pages and are cross-referenced. Famous figures, such as Sarah Bernhardt, Shakespeare, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Shaw, appear, as do a number of actors and playwrights who may be less known to the general public. Major plays (Arms and the Man, The Country Wife, Much Ado about Nothing) are given full entries; minor works get a more concise treatment. Terms such as Burlesque, Ghost glide, Mummers/mumming plays, and Verse drama are defined. There are also entries for theater buildings themselves. A generous and well-organized bibliography rounds out the work. This historical dictionary is recommended for academic and public libraries, particularly where there is a student interest in the topic. * Booklist * This volume in the 'Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts' series focuses on the development of British theater from the 13th through the 19th centuries. Grantley is a seasoned scholar in theater history. This clearly constructed dictionary includes useful elements such as a chronology of early British theater and an extensive, well-organized bibliography. The 1,100-plus entries cover specific people, works, events, and relevant terminology. Grantley's dictionary presents information regarding early British theater in a very broad spectrum. It is best suited for generalists or undergraduate researchers. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers. * CHOICE * This volume is part of the Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts series from Scarecrow Press. It deals with British theater from its earliest stage presentations (1311 C.E.) to 1899. The dictionary's entries cover authors, trends, genres, literary and historical concepts, plays, actors, and great eras. A year-by-year chronology that highlights important theatrical events leads off the volume. That is followed by a condensed historical essay. The author divides his essay into historical eras. The alphabetically organized entries include some of the greatest playwrights of all time-William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and George Bernard Shaw. A very extensive bibliography organized by eras closes this handy volume. . . .[T]here is extensive cross-referencing in the dictionary entries. The dictionary entry portion of the book is nearly 450 large type pages. This book can be of great value as an introduction to the early British theater, which can make for pleasant reading and lead to further research. It will be of interest to both the general reader interested in the theater as well as theater scholars. It covers periods that not well known or well documented making it useful to a broad range of readers. * American Reference Books Annual *

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