"The nation's weather-glass a play-house is" : theatre in the prologues and epilogues of the Exclusion Crisis

Source document: Theory and Practice in English Studies. 2021, vol. 10, iss. 1, pp. 29-47
Extent
29-47
  • ISSN
    1805-0859
Type
Article
Language
English
Abstract(s)
Based on a corpus of prologues and epilogues staged between 1678 and 1683, the study offers an overview of major tropes reflecting the troublesome situation of theatres due to the political turmoil of the Exclusion Crisis. Based on Habermas's theory of the rise of the public sphere, supplemented by the theory of the cultural public sphere from contemporary media studies, it explores the relationship between Restoration theatre, political engagement of the public, political print and popular culture. All of these are represented by the prologues and epilogues as a threat to the "elite" conception of Restoration drama and they constitute serious competition to the stage. The harsh, satirical tone of the framing texts, which escalated in the years of the crisis, betrays a fundamental anxiety of the authors and speakers caused by their economic dependence on the emerging cultural marketplace and the changing dynamics between "elite" art, popular culture and entertainment.
Document
References:
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