Advertisement

The Child on Display in Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair

  • Anna-Claire SimpsonEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Literary Cultures and Childhoods book series (LICUCH)

Abstract

Anna-Claire Simpson considers how early modern plays capitalized on their associations with children’s companies by exploring Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, written for and performed by Lady Elizabeth’s Men, in relation to Epicoene, written for and performed by the Children of the Blackfriars. By tracing the ways aesthetics in both plays focus and encourage a sensibility of age and specifically youth, and by locating shared conventions across these plays, the chapter seeks to identify a more robust connection between the role that children and childhood played in the writing, performance, and afterlife of the period’s tremendous contributions to literature and theater. The chapter’s framework features a brief discussion of child performers in early seventeenth century London and the “problem” of negotiating their legibility as such, alongside performance theory as a means to recognizing the complex work of bodies in the theater. Simpson proposes that theater could dependably instrumentalize its young actors to create and consolidate theater and troupe identities in this particular nascent moment of theater professionalization.

Bibliography

  1. Bailey, Amanda. 2011. “‘Bought My Boye’: The Boy as Accessory on the Early Modern Stage.” In Ornamentalism: The Art of Renaissance Accessories, ed. M. Bella Mirabella, 308–328. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  2. Barish, Jonas A. 1959. “Bartholomew Fair and Its Puppets.” Modern Language Quarterly 20 (1, Mar.): 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernstein, Robin. 2011. Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood and Race from Slavery to Civil Rights. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Carlson, Marvin. 2001. The Haunted Stage: The Theatre as Memory Machine. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Centerwall, Brandon. June 2006. “A Greatly Exaggerated Demise: The Remaking of the Children of Paul’s as the Duke of York’s Men (1608).” Early Theatre 9 (1): 85–107. Accessed October 16, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43500615.
  6. Crow, Andrea. 2014. “Mediating Boys: Two Angry Women and the Boy Actor’s Shaping of 1590s Theatrical Culture.” Shakespeare Quarterly 65 (2, Summer): 180–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dawson, Anthony B. 1996. “Performance, and Participation: Desdemona, Foucault, and the Actor’s Body.” In Shakespeare, Theory, and Performance, ed. James C. Bulman, 31–47. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Fischer-Lichte, Erika. 2008. The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aesthetics. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fisher, Will. 2006. Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Greteman, Blaine. 2013. The Poetics and Politics of Youth in Milton’s England. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gubar, Marah. 2012. “Who Watched the Children’s Pinafore? Age Transvestism on the Nineteenth-Century Stage.” Victorian Studies 54 (3, Spring): 410–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Haslem, Lori Schroeder. 1995. “‘Troubled with the Mother’: Longings, Purgings, and the Maternal Body in ‘Bartholomew Fair’ and ‘The Duchess of Malfi’.” Modern Philology 92 (4): 438–459.Google Scholar
  13. Hyland, Peter. 2011. Disguise on the Early Modern English Stage. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  14. Jardine, Lisa. 1983. Still Harping on Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare. London: Harvester.Google Scholar
  15. Jonson, Ben. 1966. Epicoene or The Silent Woman. Edited by L. A. Beaurline. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2000. Bartholomew Fair. Edited by Suzanne Gossett. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kathman, David. 2004. “Grocers, Goldsmiths, and Drapers: Freemen and Apprentices in the Elizabethan Theater.” Shakespeare Quarterly 55 (1, Spring): 1–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. ———. 2005. “How Old Were Shakespeare’s Boy Actors?” Shakespeare Survey 58: 220–246.Google Scholar
  19. Keenan, Siobhan. 2014. Acting Companies and Their Plays in Shakespeare’s London. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Accessed October 16, 2016. http://uma.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1645664.
  20. King, Margaret L. 2007. “Concepts of Childhood: What We Know and Where We Might Go.” Renaissance Quarterly 60 (2): 371–407.Google Scholar
  21. Lamb, Edel. 2009. Performing Childhood in the Early Modern Theatre: The Children’s Playing Companies (1599–1613). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  22. May, Todd. 2003. “When Is a Deleuzian Becoming?” Continental Philosophy Review 36 (2, June): 139–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McLuskie, Kathleen. 2009. “Materiality and the Market.” In The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theater, ed. Richard Dutton, 429–440. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Moncrief, Kathryn M., and Kathryn Read McPherson. 2007. Performing Maternity in Early Modern England. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  25. Orgel, Stephen. 1996. Impersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare’s England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Paster, Gail Kern. 1993. The Body Embarrassed: Drama and the Disciplines of Shame in Early Modern England. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Thomas, Keith. 1976. Age and Authority in Early Modern England. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Zucker, Adam. 2011. The Places of Wit in Early Modern England. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

Personalised recommendations