Transnational Mobilities in Early Modern Theater (Routledge, 2014)

Robert Henke and Eric Nicholson, Co-editors

The essays in this volume investigate English, Italian, Spanish, German, Czech, and Bengali early modern theater, placing Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the theatrical contexts of western and central Europe, as well as the Indian sub-continent. Contributors explore the mobility of theatrical units, genres, performance practices, visual images, and dramatic texts across geo-linguistic borders in early modern Europe. Combining 'distant' and 'close' reading, a systemic and structural approach identifies common theatrical units, or 'theatergrams' as departure points for specifying the particular translations of theatrical cultures across national boundaries. The essays engage both 'dramatic' approaches (e.g., genre, plot, action, and the dramatic text) and 'theatrical' perspectives (e.g., costume, the body and gender of the actor). Following recent work in 'mobility studies,' mobility is examined from both material and symbolic angles, revealing both ample transnational movement and periodic resistance to border-crossing. Four final essays attend to the practical and theoretical dimensions of theatrical translation and adaptation, and contribute to the book’s overall inquiry into the ways in which values, properties, and identities are lost, transformed, or gained in movement across geo-linguistic borders.


Transnational Exchange in Early Modern Theater (Routledge, 2008)
Robert Henke and Eric Nicholson, Co-editors

This book examines early modern theater as an international  phenomenon, considering in  particular the exchanges that  occurred across national and regional borders that demarcated political- linguistic-cultural entities. Early modern theater is remarkable both in the ways that it represented transnational exchanges and in the ways that it enacted them, by means of border-crossing acting troupes; the transmission of theatrical tropes  and gags between actors and  playwrights; the exchanges of actors,  playwrights, and theatrical culture  at the aristocratic and thus  "supranational" level; the representation of "foreign" identity;  the transmission and translation of printed plays across national  borders; and by many other vehicles.  Early modern theater was capable of generating "contact zones" that communicated across national and regional boundaries, and allowed for both material and symbolic exchange. In this volume we are more interested in cultural relationships of exchange and reciprocity (which can obtain even in asymmetrically political alignments) rather than in one-way encounters of hegemony and domination which, to be sure, certainly also existed between nations and regions in the early modern period.