Robert Henke, professor of drama and comparative literature in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, edited “A Cultural History of Theatre in the Early Modern Age” (2017). Published in September by Bloomsbury Books, the volume is third in a six-volume set tracing the complex interactions between theater and culture over the past 2,500 years.
Each volume explores the same set of 10 themes, from social functions and institutional frameworks to sexuality and gender. This structure provides readers with a broad overview of discrete historical periods, as well as opportunities to follow a theme through history by reading the relevant chapter across volumes.
“A Cultural History of Theatre in the Early Modern Age” examines the socially and economically heterodox nature of theatre and performance between 1400 to 1650. Largely viewed as a social rather than an individual activity, theater in this period was a highly mobile medium that emerged in the context of new capitalistic modes of production, the birth of the nation state and the rise of absolute monarchies.