Features of the Edition
Why edit Brome online?
The distinctive feature of Brome’s dramaturgy is the highly inventive forms of theatricality through which he promotes his stringent satire of Caroline society, the politics of trade, the commercialism of court life, the surreal nature of a world governed by an absolutist monarch, and the moral vacuity of forms of drama achieving fashionable success within such a society. Most of Brome’s plays need contextualising within the theatrical, political and social history of their time. The virtues of online publication will enable transcriptions of early printings (and manuscripts where such exist, as with The English Moor) to be viewed comparatively alongside modernised rendering of the texts, while commentary, annotations, pictorial matter (prints, maps), glossary, bibliography, enacted sequences and the texts will be interlinked and indexed and therefore readily searchable in a more immediately accessible and user-friendly fashion than is possible within the confines of the book-format.
An innovative feature:
The edition will also deploy professionally acted sequences, which will allow the editors to test their ideas through the medium of performance and present these to the users of the text. The edition will not only make the texts accessible to scholars and theatre practitioners, but also begin to explore their theatricality visually, serving as inspiration to encourage more frequent staging of Brome’s works. The enacted sequences will be recorded in workshop conditions with a changing body of actors (all drawn from the alumni lists of the Royal Shakespeare Company) to avoid apparent prescription of any one style of performing as definitive. Rather the intention is that the workshop format shall promote discussion of performance options, description of which in traditional editions is limited to the written word.
In addition to direct textual commentary, the following subjects are also to be examined:
- Playing companies Brome wrote for;
- Theatre spaces where he was staged;
- Questions of authorship in Stuart England;
- Relationship with Jonson and the Jonsonians and with other contemporary dramatists (esp. Dekker, Fletcher, Heywood, Chapman, Ford, Suckling);
- Cultural geography of the plays;
- Definitions of genre;
- Contemporary reception;
- Performance history;
- Biographical information and life records.
Also included will be a full Glossary and a Bibliography, covering wider issues as well as Brome’s work and specific plays.