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Reading MasquesThe English Masque and Public Culture in the Seventeenth Century$
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Lauren Shohet

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199295890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199295890.001.0001

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(p.81) 2 Reading
Reading Masques

Lauren Shohet (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In seventeenth‐century England, masques inhabited two media, their dramatic occasions consistently delivered into a public culture of reading. This chapter details masques' material circulation in print culture: print and scribal reproduction, provenance, annotations, rights and reprints, marketing as sheet music. While bibliographic attention is crucial, it offers a starting point rather than a terminus for exploring masques' (or any texts') position in their culture. The chapter explores ways that scriptors address readers in the prefaces and margins, drawing examples from masques of Jonson, Campion, Daniel, Chapman, Shirley, William Browne, Thomas Jordan, Middleton/Rowley, and Heywood. It analyzes the hermeneutics of reading in two seventeenth‐century accounts: legal documents surrounding the prosecution of William Prynne, and an essay on the book trade by Newcastle bookseller William London, testing Habermas's theories of the public sphere against these early modern accounts.

Keywords:   masque, history of reading, print culture, public culture, sheet music, Habermas, Ben Jonson, Thomas Campion, George Chapman, Samuel Daniel, James Shirley, William Browne, Thomas Jordan, Thomas Middleton, Thomas Heywood, William Prynne, William London

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