This is a ground-breaking edition of three seventeenth-century plays that all engage in diverse and exciting ways with questions of gender and performance. The collection, edited by three pioneering scholars of elite female culture and early modern drama, makes the texts of three much-discussed plays - John Fletcher's The Wild-Goose Chase, James Shirley's The Bird in a Cage and Margaret Cavendish's The Convent of Pleasure - available together in a full scholarly edition for the first time. The Wild Goose Chase (1621) and The Bird in a Cage (1633) were both performed in the commercial London theatres in the Jacobean and Caroline periods respectively. The Convent of Pleasure (1668) is a so-called 'closet' drama, designed primarily for reading but drawing on a tradition of aristocratic theatricals. In a wide-ranging co-authored introduction to the volume, the editors explore the concerns of these playtexts in relation to contemporary debates surrounding popular festivity and anti-theatricalism, as well as the agency of elite female culture in the Stuart period and the emergence of the professional female actor in the Restoration. The volume will be an invaluable teaching and research tool for students and scholars of early modern drama, women's writing and performance studies more generally, as well as providing a rich sourcebook for the reader interested in seventeenth-century theatrical culture. -- .
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Date of Publication: 30/11/2011