‘At Christmas we banquet, the rich with the poor’: Christmas Dinner in Tudor & Stuart England

the many-headed monster

Mark Hailwood

screen-shot-2012-12-18-at-8-19-47-pmChristmas dinner is undoubtedly one of the most popular Yuletide rituals in Britain today – but what is its history? If you like, as any good historian would, to have a bit of historical context up your sleeve to bore your relatives with over the Christmas period, then I offer up to you the following morsels about the ritual meal’s sixteenth and seventeenth century character…

A cycle of midwinter celebration was established in Britain in the early part of the Middle Ages, so by the sixteenth century the Twelve Days of Christmas – running from 25th December to 5th January – had already been the focus of festivities for centuries. The holidays kicked off with Christmas Day itself, and after attending an early morning church service the attention quickly turned to feasting. From Advent Sunday, the fourth before Christmas Day, people were encouraged by the Church…

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Emotion and the arts: CfP and research network

Digital Shakespeares

Image result for drama masks

Dear friends, a post that isn’t explicitly digital, but that certainly doesn’t exclude it either–

Along with Dr Marie Louise Herzfeld-Schild, I’m hoping to make connections with other researchers interested in the role of the arts and aesthetics in the history of the emotions. In a 2005 essay entitled ‘Is there a cultural history of the emotions?’, Peter Burke made a bold claim: ‘The kinds of document historians use most do not tell us very much about emotions.’ The arts, he and others have suggested, are where past emotions really reside, but figuring out how to study them is tricky business.

In an attempt to start unpicking this question, Dr Herzfeld-Schild (a musicologist) and I (a literary scholar) are organising a panel at the Cultural History conference in Umeå in June 2017 called ‘Emotion and the Arts: An Interdisciplinary History’. The panel is now open for paper proposals, which should be…

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The Before Shakespeare Guide to the Elizabethan East End

Before Shakespeare

guide-to-eliz-east-end-imageSummer 1567.  A feature piece for Elizabethan developers, house buyers, tourists, and those interested in keeping up with the latest cultural developments just outside of the City of London. 

In this feature, we tell you why it might just be worth buying that coaching inn with the extra land, or finally getting around to doing something with that Courte or yarde lying on the south syde of the Garden…[1]

We’ve all heard it said that things stop at Aldgate, but plenty of Londoners have found the journey east worth making. Mile End has a reputation as a space “outside” London very much for “outsiders,” but don’t let that put off the more well-heeled among you: this area has long been a property hotspot for noblemen investing in (and inheriting and marrying into) marshland, manors, and fields. You might have heard of the parishes of Stepney and Whitechapel, with their small…

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I’ve been thinking. If I was commissioned to write a sonnet (don’t go there, just arguing) and I wrote a controversial but acclaimed 15-line poem, about women. Could I claim genderised politics when it got slammed?

Cause that’s exactly the kind of job Rice did with ‘Shakespeare’s Globe’, and the kind of defence that is put forward.

But then I’m a ‘traditionalist’. And a bit of a ‘tourist’ too. Cheers for that. Love my critical sense being labelled away.

Printing & Books in Early Modern Europe – a bibliography

Early Modern France

I recently started teaching a new module on printing and books in early modern Europe – my dream module. This is a one-semester module taught through 11 two-hour long seminars, and the module includes sessions in Special Collections at the Brotherton library, and visits to the Leeds Library and to the Centre for the Comparative History of Print/School of English Print Room. As part of the preparation, I had to get together a bibliography, and – acknowledging that my knowledge is weighted towards France and the sixteenth century – I turned to Twitter for help. And as I have so often found, the #twitterstorians did not let me down. I promised I would make that bibliography public – well, four weeks into term, I’ve finally got round to it.

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Galatea Workshops

Before Shakespeare

We invite scholars to participate in exploring John Lyly’s Galatea at the Jerwood Space this August. The award-winning theatre maker Emma Frankland and Andy Kesson will be working with a company of performers, exploring the play’s representations of non-normative sexuality and its concluding investment in transgender identity. We are grateful to Shakespeare Bulletin, the University of Roehampton and the Before Shakespeare project for funding and supporting this work.
Scholars are invited to participate in this exploration by joining us in the performance space in two- to three-hour slots, available throughout the week (11am-1pm, 2pm-5pm). Scholars are welcome to come as witnesses to the workshop, to document it or to take a more active role and join the performance workshop itself. The workshop is a week-long process of theatrical research and development and is not building towards a final performance at the end of the week.
The workshop will take…

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This Wooden O2

Margate Sands

The opening of Shakespeare’s Globe in 1997 marked the start of a revolution.

The revolution was against the then firmly entrenched idea that actors and stages should be lit, while audiences were required to sit pacified and unengaged in darkness.

These were not the conditions in which popular theatre in this country had begun and not the conditions for which Shakespeare had written most of his plays.

The revolution was intended to restore these original conditions of performance.

This is a different concept to what became known as original practices, where costume and all-male casting attempt to recreate some of the visual detail of Elizabethan performances.

The original conditions of performance are recreated by the basic physical architecture of the reconstructed Globe theatre, its lighting and acoustic. These conditions apply regardless of whether an individual production is original practices or modern dress.

The manifesto of this revolution has been proclaimed…

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History Carnival 157: Anything but Brexit

the many-headed monster

Brodie Waddell

If you’re in Britain and reading a history blog, you’ve probably spent most of the last week thinking about Brexit, reading about Brexit, and arguing about Brexit. I’m sure at least some of you would like to mentally escape the current omnishambles, so here’s your chance.

Hey, look! An amusing historical image that has nothing to do with xenophobic populism or constitutional crisis! ‘Skimmington Triumph’ (c.1720). An amusing historical image that has nothing to do with xenophobic populism or constitutional crisis!

Today the Many-Headed Monster is hosting the 157th edition of the History Carnival which means I get to share a selection of some of the best history blogging from around the web from the last month or so. Thankfully there has been a bunch of great posts about all sort of fascinating topics that have nothing to do with the current political omnishambles. There are, of course, also a few that are directly related to The Vote That Shall Not Speak Its Name…

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The Story So Far: First Advisory Board

Before Shakespeare

The Before Shakespeare project held its first Advisory Board meeting earlier this month. These meetings offer the chance to hear thoughts on the project’s progress and to hear suggestions, comments, and advice (it’s in the name!) from the diverse and exciting array of people on the board—medievalists, an archaeologist, and a theatre practitioner and director, as well as fellow early modernists and theatre historians.

The meeting offered some rich food for thought. I have been creating a database of archival references that give us some clue about or are in some way related to the rise of the playhouses in early modern London. The discussion prompted me to think further about what should be included in such a list. Should it contain every antitheatrical reference? When is an individual’s will relevant? What about those oblique or indirect pieces of information: the remortgaging of a property? The drainage of an area…

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