‘A sea-change’: representations of the marine in Jacobean drama and visual culture

Shmygol, Maria
‘A sea-change’: representations of the marine in Jacobean drama and visual culture. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This thesis is concerned with exploring different forms of Jacobean drama and performances that span across different sites, from the commercial stages of London, to the civic pageants that took place on the Thames and in the City, and the court entertainments held at Whitehall Palace. My research necessarily casts a wide net over its subject matter in order to illustrate how these different modes of performance engage with representations of the marine through the technologies available to them, whether poetic, material, or both. While the sea had long been a receptacle for literary and poetic attention and can repeatedly be found as the stronghold of adventure, wonder, danger, and exile in the English narrative tradition, it is specifically at the beginning of the seventeenth century that the sea takes a hold of the literary imagination with particular force. The cultural, political, and economic predominance of the marine in early modern England found numerous means of expression in drama, where the different facets of marine identity and occupation create on-stage marine spaces. The thesis elucidates how these modes of performance often invoke and exploit the dramatic potential of the marine and its commercial, political, and iconographical meanings. Commercial drama, written for a pre-proscenial stage, realises the marine through language and metaphor, appealing to a collective imaginary in bodying forth the limitless watery expanses on which the action takes place. This imaginative embodiment finds a very different—and indeed a more material—means of expression in civic drama and the court masque, where the extensive and elaborate pageant devices and stage machinery were largely indebted to and shaped by continental theatrical design. The material means of expressing the marine that are found in the civic performances and the court masques discussed in this study necessitates a consideration of European trends in theatre design and the decorative arts. In looking to visual and material culture this thesis explicates the interdependence between different modes of creating on-stage marine spaces and the ways in which the material presence inflects both language and action in Jacobean drama.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2014-12-17 (completed)
Subjects: ?? PR ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2015 13:48
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 01:34
DOI: 10.17638/02014959
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2014959