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The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Historiography (Cambridge Introductions to Literature)by Thomas Postlewait
Synopses & Reviews
This Introduction - an indispensable 'how to' guide for students and teachers alike - investigates the methods and aims of historical study in the performing arts, from archival research to historical writing. Beginning with case studies on Shakespearean theatre and avant-garde theatre, this study examines fundamental procedures and problems in documentary history and cultural history. It demonstrates how historians not only construct various kinds of performance events but also place them in relation to the historical agents, the political and social conditions, artistic traditions, audience responses, and historical periods. Drawing upon scholarship in classics, literary studies, art history, performance studies, and general history, Postlewait shows how to ask appropriate historical questions, construct evidence, use plays as historical documents, eliminate faulty sources, challenge unreliable witnesses, and develop historical arguments and narratives. The book concludes with a survey of the 'twelve cruxes' of research, analysis, and writing in theatre history.
A 'how to' guide for students and teachers of theatre history, covering archival research, developing historical descriptions and writing reports.
Ideal for both students and teachers of theatre history alike, this Introduction provides a detailed analysis of the methods and challenges of historical research in the performing arts. An indispensable 'how to' guide, the book outlines how theatre historians carry out archival research, develop historical descriptions and arguments, write reports and narratives, and interpret theatrical events, from Greek classical theatre to modern times. Case studies on Shakespearean theatre and avant-garde theatre provide the reader with an opportunity to examine in depth the methodological procedures and problems that theatre historians confront on a regular basis. Although the focus is on Western theatre history, the basic principles in this Introduction can also be applied to the historical study of performances throughout the world. The book reaffirms the importance of historical study for all teachers and scholars in the performing arts.
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