Spatial Discourse in Shakespeare’s and Other English Early Modern Pastoral Drama

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This ground breaking work is a comprehensive study that applies art, dramatic, and literary theory to examine the shaping effects of negative/positive space in English Renaissance pastoral drama from 1590-1640. This innovative approach to a genre long overlooked includes both major and minor plays which are examined to show how dramatists used the theory of negative/ positive space to write and dramatize their plays.


“Karoline Szatek-Tudor’s book is a remarkable achievement…this book returns us to the conditions of the time for which the plays were written, and the conditions of playing and play-going that they illustrate so strongly. It rightly elevates the genre to a status well beyond that of the all-too-usual assumptions that it is a deliberately unreal retreat to fairyland. She has enhanced an aspect of early theatre that needs re-visioning.”
-Andrew Gurr,
Council Member Globe Theatre,
Trustee of the Rose Theatre

“An original and compelling contribution to scholarly discussions of the pastoral in Renaissance drama. Drawing on a wealth of cultural material, including Italian Renaissance painting, Karoline Szatek-Tudor shows that English pastoral drama fused visual and poetic imagery, not for escapism, but to construct artificial worlds that exposed and criticized aspects of early English culture.”
-Professor Grace C. Tiffany,
English Department,
Western Michigan University

“In this present authoritative study, Szatek-Tudor excels with yet another fresh approach, one that enlightens and inspires her readers. She employs English and Italian Renaissance concepts of art to analyze early modern pastoral dramatic texts and their staging. In uniting literary and performance criticism, so long considered disparate fields of study, Szatek-Tudor, truly breaks new ground…”
-John W. Mahon,
Professor Emeritus, Iona College,
Senior Editor, The Shakespeare Newsletter

Table of Contents

Chapter One:
Excursions into the pastoral
• The pastoral genre
• Italian art and English writers
• Definitions and connections – perspective, chiaroscuro, negative and positive space
• Pastoral drama, dichotomies, and negative and positive space
• Practicalities
Chapter Two: Pastoral borderland contact zones and suggested themes
• Borderland shadows and sunlight
• Rape and revenge in the pastoral borderland
• Pastoral poetry and the question of gender
• Preserving borderland communities
Chapter Three:
The Negative-spaced fields of ideology
Chapter Four: Violent revenge: spatial interplay, characters, atmosphere, and grounded spectators
Chapter Five: Blocking discourse: the masterless and the oppressed
Chapter Six: Spacing the feminist: staging the light; fielding the playgoers
Chapter Seven: Plots, properties, perspectives: the spaces in The Faithfull Shepheardesse
Works Cited

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