Metatheater in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama. Four Forms of Theatrical Self-Reflexivity

Author: Chu, Hsiang-chun
Explores the theatrical self-reflexivity in early modern drama in terms of themetatheatrical critical perspective advocated by Lionel Abel, James L. Calderwood, Richard Hornby, and Judd D. Hubert, to name just a few. Some early modern dramatic works display unflagging excavation and disclosure of the dramatic art itself. Their self-conscious exploration of the nature and function of dramatic art gives us a chance to reconsider the dramatic medium.


“In this book, Professor Hsiang-chun Chu succinctly discusses four main theatrical/metatheatrical elements—role-playing, playwright-character, inset playlet, and audience perception. . . . The research is thorough, the exposition often insightful and engaging: here’s a book that’s enjoyable as well as enlightening.” – Ching-His Perng, Distinguished Professor of Drama and English, National Taiwan University

“ “All the world’s a stage, / And all men and women merely players”—Jacques' words may sound like cliché. Yet, as Hsiang-chun Chu argues, the play metaphors in the dramatic texts will re-connect the worlds on and off stage.” – Shuhua Wang, Professor of English, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Ilan University, Taiwan

“Dr. Chu argues that self-reflexivity in Elizabethan and Jacobean Theater illustrates what Stephen Greenblatt would call the self-fashioning impulse during the Renaissance. Her conclusion helps to establish metatheater as a metaphor for clarifying the Lacanian idea of “gaze.” The whole book is as lucid as it can be either when it tries to tackle the thorny interpretive problems in Shakespearean criticism or when it resorts to difficult conceptual tools for illuminating and fresh readings of some Renaissance English plays.” - Dr. Hui-hua Wang, Associate Professor, Department of English, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan

Table of Contents

Foreword Acknowledgements Introduction
Part I: Role-playing
Part II: Playwright-characters
Part III: Inset-plays
Part IV: Audience Perception and Self-reflexivity
Conclusion: The Return of the Theater’s Gaze