Domestic tragedy flourished in England during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Over the past decade and a half, the genre has been the subject of considerable scholarly investigation and revaluation. The longstanding view, namely that the plays’ dramatization of actual or imaginary domestic crimes committed by so-called ordinary characters in household settings was intended primarily for the moral edification of the growing numbers of non-elite audiences, has been qualified by those who have argued for the genre’s more dynamic representation of the early modern household and the plays’ complex reception by early modern audiences. Catherine Richardson’s Domestic Life and Domestic Tragedy in Early Modern England is among a number of recent cross-disciplinary studies that explore the genre’s staging of domestic space in the context of early modern social, economic, and religious discourses and practices. Richardson provides valuable new information about the material conditions and properties of the early modern household, arguing that contemporaries’ perceptions of those structures are likely to have influenced “the way in which the domestic tragedies of the 1590s and 1600s were watched”.
In the first two chapters, Richardson draws on a rich collection of printed texts and documentary evidence, much of which has not been previously published, to reconstruct “a peculiarly early modern spatial imagination”. Household manuals and inventories, domestic-conduct books, wills, and court depositions comprise a fascinating body of evidence indicating how early moderners chiefly from the broad “middling” ranks of society conceptualized the household and its function within the social hierarchy. Although domestic-conduct manuals and court depositions “operate within distinct sets of ‘generic’ restraints,” they reveal a mutual “self-consciousness about ways of making of moral meaning” through the use of narrative, and they draw on the extensive catalogue of images and tropes that informs household manuals and other sources with which they share “an interest in the relationship between the inside and the outside of the house as a way of defining social order”. Probate inventories, for example, which list household items, their monetary worth, and their location within the household, illustrate how objects were “deployed within the house” as markers of social status. And last wills and testaments provided their authors with a socially important context in which they could “display their understanding of the significance of their goods”. Rings, cloth, silverware, dowry chests, beds, chairs, and other expensive possessions were emphasized by testators as a way of demarcating the family’s provenance, and of stressing the connection between “individual and familial identity” during a period of rapid social change. The connection established in the sources between household spaces and objects, family history, and personal identity, Richardson contends, “needs to be brought to bear on staged representations” if we are to appreciate fully “the implication of action”.
|Ausgabe / Jahr:||2 / 2008|
Seiten 434 - 436
Um unseren Webauftritt für Sie und uns erfolgreicher zu gestalten und Ihnen ein optimales Webseitenerlebnis zu bieten, verwenden wir Cookies. Das sind zum einen notwendige für den technischen Betrieb. Zum anderen Cookies zur komfortableren Benutzerführung, zur verbesserten Ansprache unserer Besucherinnen und Besucher oder für anonymisierte statistische Auswertungen. Um alle Funktionalitäten dieser Seite gut nutzen zu können, ist Ihr Einverständnis gefragt.
Notwendige | Komfort | Statistik
Bitte wählen Sie aus folgenden Optionen: