MRDS Newsletter: MRDS Annual Awards Fall 2005
MRDS Annual Awards Fall 2005
MRDS Annual Awards
The 2005 David Bevington Award for the Best New Book in Early Drama Studies
Andrew Gurr. The Shakespeare Company, 1594-1642. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004
Eckehard Simon. Die Anfänge des Weltlichen Deutschen Schauspiels, 1370-1530: Untersuchung und Dokumentation. Tübingen: M. Niemeyer, 2003.
This year's Bevington Award is presented to two outstanding contributions by two influential scholars of early drama. Both books represent the fruits of a lifetime's research, both are extraordinary repositories of information and analysis, and each will stimulate further investigations into the study of theatre, at both reaches of our increasingly well-cultivated field.
In The Shakespeare Company, Andrew Gurr provides a masterful overview of the day-to-day workings, accommodations, negotiations, and strategies that made the acting company responsible for the commissioning, staging, and eventual publication of Shakespeare's plays "the only effective democracy of its time in totalitarian England." His account spans one of the richest theatrical half-centuries in history, beginning in the year 1594, when an up-and coming provincial playwright and bit-player named Will Shakespeare joined the company led by the bravura actor and entrepreneur Richard Burbage, to 1642, when the English theatres were closed and "the Shakespeare Company" (known, at various times, as the Lord Chamberlain's Men, the second Lord Hundsdon's Men, and the King's Men) was dissolved. It is an exciting and intensely practical book, explaining in clear and exquisite detail how Shakespeare collaborated with his colleagues, how they managed their finances, what their relations were to their patrons, how conditions of performance and other considerations shaped their repertory, and how they adapted and marketed the plays that have come down to us and those that have not. By de-mystifying the quotidian aspects of Shakespeare's artistry, and that of his collaborators, it will encourage everyone to think freshly about these plays, and about the livelihood and legacy of their players, for a long time to come.
In Die Anfänge des weltlichen deutschen Schauspiels, Eckehard Simon combines the results of many years' patient labor in local archives with an intense appreciation of the larger contexts in which the records of medieval drama must be situated and understood: with respect to the critical controversies that have shaped and divided scholarship undertaken on the Continent, in England, and North America; in relation to the rich but fragmented evidence for the Latin and vernacular performance traditions of medieval Europe; and with careful attention to the specific cultural, social, political, economic, and religious conditions that gave rise, in the fourteenth century, to a new type of indigenous, world-embracing drama in many German towns. In so doing, he not only provides a compelling introduction to this phenomenon and its several manifestations, but he generously guides and encourages the work of future generations by surveying a vast amount of territory in a highly systematic manner, providing the reader with a catalogue and compendium of available sources, offering invaluable insights on the way that plays were conceived, performed, and received; and documenting the different occasions, circumstances, and problems to which Carnival plays, topical sketches, and large-scale theatricals offered various responses. This book commands the attention of all those engaged in the study of drama in the later Middle Ages, as well as those interested in the relationship between medieval communities and their dramatic means of expression.
The 2005 Martin Stevens Award for the Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies
Max Harris and Lada Čale Feldman, "Blackened Faces and a Veiled Woman: The Early Korčula Moreška," Comparative Drama 37 (2004): 297-320.
This article examines the highly individual form and history of the moresca - mock battles between Moors and Christians - practiced on the Adriatic island of Korčula. Feldman and Harris bring together knowledge of the local context and knowledge of similar forms of ceremonial across the globe to make sense of the limited evidence. The article is a model of international collaboration between a young scholar and an established one to explore the development and political resonances of this particular ceremony.
The 2005 Alexandra Johnston Award for Best New Conference Paper in Early Drama Studies by a Graduate Student
Jenna Soleo, "'Teatro' in Piazza: Siena's Piazza del Campo as a Performance Space," delivered at SITM in Elche in 2004.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - MRDS ANNUAL AWARDS 2006
The Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society seeks nominations for its annual awards;
1. The David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies
($150 and two years membership in MRDS)
2. The Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies
($100 and one year membership in MRDS)
3. The Alexandra Johnston Award for Best New Conference Paper in Early Drama Studies by a Graduate Student
($100 and one year membership in MRDS)
Deadline: January 15, 2006.
Works by any MRDS member in good standing. Members may nominate their own works.
For each category, two MRDS Executive Council members and one non-council member of MRDS.
For the Bevington and Stevens Awards: Any book or essay published within 18 months of the deadline. For the Johnston Award: Any conference paper delivered by a graduate student within 12 months of the deadline. Entries for the Johnston Award should not exceed 5,000 words, excluding notes, and should include the name and date of the conference at which the paper was delivered and, where appropriate, the title and sponsor of the panel.
Send one copy of each book or three copies of each essay or paper to:
Dr. David Klausner
Centre for Medieval Studies
University of Toronto
39 Queen's Park Crescent E
Toronto, ONT M5S 2C3 CANADA
Awards announcement and presentation will take place during the annual MRDS business meeting in May 2006, at the 41st International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
Questions about the awards: Contact David Klausner at firstname.lastname@example.org