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Somerset including Bath: Volume 1:The Records; Volume 2: Editorial Apparatus (Records of Early English Drama)
by:James Stokes, Robert J. Alexander
Somerset is a large, diverse county in southwest England, bordered by Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and the Bristol Channel. Before the onset of the Reformation in 1532 Somerset became prosperous as its agriculture, industries, and coastal trade all flourished in the relative cultural stability and coherence that characterized that earlier...
Somerset is a large, diverse county in southwest England, bordered by Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and the Bristol Channel. Before the onset of the Reformation in 1532 Somerset became prosperous as its agriculture, industries, and coastal trade all flourished in the relative cultural stability and coherence that characterized that earlier period. By the start of the Civil War in 1642, the unified culture present in the 1530s had given way to a fragmented society. Those conflicts and changes are abundantly illustrated in the many records of Somerset entertainments surviving from that tumultuous period. Somerset's diverse dramatic records span a period of time from 1258 to 1642. In the introduction James Stokes surveys the social and economic history of towns for which dramatic records survive and provides a commentary on the major kinds of entertainments represented in the collection. These include traditional drama, custom, and game, among which are Robin Hood play, skimmingtons, baitings, pageants, and shows; and performance by travelling professional entertainers, including players, minstrels, waits, puppeteers, and others. Topics discussed include, `women and performance,' `entertainments in schools,' `playing places and staging conventions,' and `patterns of travel by performers.'The Records of Early English Drama volumes make available historical transcripts that provide evidence of early English drama, music, ceremonial, dance, and other forms of communal public entertainment in Britain from the Middle Ages to 1642, together with the necessary interpretative introductions and notes to explicate the materials for the reader. Somerset, in two volumes, is the twelfth publication in the series. These records are an invaluable addition to the scholarship of early drama, establishing as they do part of the total context of the great drama of Shakespeare, his predecessors, and his contemporaries.
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