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The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor [Hardcover]

Bruce Smith

Price: 60.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Book Description

30 Mar 1999
We know how a Shakespeare play sounds when performed today, but what would listeners have heard within the wooden "O" of the Globe Theater in 1599? What sounds would have filled the air in early modern England, and what would these sounds have meant to people in that largely oral culture? In this journey into the sound-worlds of Shakespeare's contemporaries, Bruce R. Smith explores both the physical aspects of human speech (ears, lungs, tongue) and the surrounding environment (buildings, landscape, climate), as well as social and political structures. Drawing on a range of evidence, he crafts a historical phenomenology of sound, from reconstructions of the "soundscapes" of city, country, and court to accounts of the acoustic properties of the Globe and Blackfriars theatres and how scripts designed for the two spaces exploited sound very differently.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (30 Mar 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226763765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226763767
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 3 cm

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Product Description

About the Author

Bruce R. Smith is professor of English at Georgetown University. He is author of "Homosexual Desire in Shakespeare's England: A Cultural Poetics," published by the University of Chicago Press, and "The Art and History of Washington, D.C."

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars how did the plays and ballads sound? 10 Feb 2007
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Smith has resurrected for the reader many of the ballads of Middle English [ie. around Shakespeare's time]. Many of these are easily comprehended by the modern reader. Even if you haven't read Shakespeare or Milton lately, the meanings of the ballads comes through very clearly.

But, as the title indicates, he also pays close attention to the acoustics. These refer to the physical environments in which the ballads and plays might and probably were read. Including naturally the immortal Globe Theatre in London. So we see the floor plan of the Globe, and speculation as to how this would have affected the listening experience of the audience. The reader should remember that back then, there were no modern special effects. So the pure performance visuals and acoustics were probably more important and stressed, for what else did they have?
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