Solo Performances. Staging the Early Modern Self in England
Ute Berns (Hg.) – 2010
In this volume an international cast of scholars explores conceptions of the self in the literature and culture of the Early Modern England. Drawing on theories of performativity and performance, some contributors revisit monological speech and the soliloquy - that quintessential solo performance - on the stage of Marlowe, Shakespeare and Jonson. Other authors move beyond the theatre as they investigate solo performances in different cultural locations, from the public stage of the pillory to the mental stage of the writing self. All contributors analyse corporeality, speech, writing and even silence as interrelated modes of self-enactment, whether they read solo performances as a way of inventing, authorizing or even pathologizing the self, or as a mode of fashioning sovereignty. The contributions trace how the performers appropriate specific discourses, whether religious, medical or political, and how they negotiate hierarchies of gender, rank or cultural difference. The articles cut across a variety of genres including plays and masques, religious tracts, diaries and journals, poems and even signatures. The collection links research on the inward and self-reflexive dimension of solo-performances with studies foregrounding the public and interactive dimension of performative self-fashioning. The articles collected here offer new perspectives on Early Modern subjectivity and will be of interest to all scholars and students of the Early Modern period.