This chapter explores the mostly overlooked history of romance on the early modern stage. Analysing the geographies of two little-known plays, Clyomon and Clamydes (1580s?) and Guy of Warwick (early 1590s?), it argues that, in its imaginative openness and its flexible staging of space, the early modern theatre was the ideal environment in which to stage romance’s extravagant spatial and ethnographical imaginings. Further, the chapter demonstrates how a theatrical tradition of clowning enabled these late-Elizabethan dramas to contest the values of the very romance-worlds they had established. It closes with a fresh reading of Francis Beaumont’s parody of romance, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, arguing that the play satirizes dramatic romance’s spatial grammar as well as its narrative strategies.
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