“Drums Rumble Within”: Embodied Experiences of Temples in the East and on the London Stage

  • Jennifer Linhart Wood
Part of the New Transculturalisms, 1400–1800 book series (NETRANS)


“'Drums Rumble Within': Embodied Experiences of Temples in the East and on the London Stage” demonstrates how Eastern temple noises viscerally shake listeners’ bodies. While Hindu temples were interpreted by Anglo-European travelers as an Eastern form of Christian church—complete with large “church” bells—Muslim mosques, by contrast, were understood as “demonic.” Muslim “temples” staged in the early modern English theater, as in Robert Greene’s Alphonsus, were accompanied by the loud rumble of the kettledrum. The large kettledrums that sounded in India and on the early modern stage produce soundwaves so palpable that their vibrations resonate simultaneously from outside and within the body; in staging this effect, the theater replicates the phenomenological experience that travel writers record of their own bodily sensations in transcultural encounters.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Linhart Wood
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.St. Mary’s College of MarylandSaint Mary’s CityUSA
  2. 2.The Folger Shakespeare LibraryWashington, DCUSA

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