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A scholarly edition of Thomas Heywood’s 1 The iron age

Temple, KR ORCID: 0000-0003-1527-5632 2021 , 'A scholarly edition of Thomas Heywood’s 1 The iron age', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Thomas Heywood’s 1 The Iron Age is a neglected play in Early Modern theatre. It is the fourth in a five-part re-telling of classical mythology inspired by Ovid, Chaucer, and Chapman’s Homer. The thesis is a new critical edition of this neglected play. It includes an old-spelling transcription, a modern-spelling transcription with annotations, and a critical introduction to the play which contextualises it for a student audience. It closely follows the Internet Shakespeare Editions (ISE) Style Guide and it is contracted to be published on the Digital Renaissance Editions (DRE) website. The paratextual material simultaneously reaches for the student reader less familiar with both Early Modern theatre and mythology and a scholarly audience who wishes for a new way to read Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida.
The landscape of Early Modern theatre in the tail end of the sixteenth century and early part of the seventeenth century was typified by changing trends in the theatrical landscape. Theatres such as the Red Bull—where Thomas Heywood was a principal player—appealed to a rowdy working class audience and pulled them in with broad plots and firework-laden special effects. The class of “professional playwright”, typified by Heywood and Dekker, show that life as a working artist, while achievable in the Early Modern period, required prolificness and the flexibility to work in multiple genres while closely following theatrical trends. It is this professional lifestyle, therefore, that can tell us more about the conditions of working in the broader theatre scene than their more artistically inclined counterparts (who often catered to a higher class of audience and were more heavily patronised by them).
The critical introduction of the play builds on the links made by scholars such as Douglas Arrell and David Bevington between 1 The Iron Age and Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. Dating the composition of the The Iron Age plays and their predecessor, Troye, leads to a clearer understanding of which way the chain of influence goes between Heywood and Shakespeare—a pair who had collaborated on Sir Thomas More. The introduction also explores Heywood’s wish to have the Age plays in an annotated edition of his own that represented a significant educative project which he outlines in his An Apology for Actors. This educative project focuses most prominently in the way he deploys mythic narrative devices and the subject matter of mythology itself. It offers models of reading the five Age plays both separately and as a contiguous whole.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Temple, KR
Keywords: Scholarly Editing, Renaissance Studies, Literary Studies, Digital Humanities
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Copyright 2021 the author

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