New faculty member Matteo Pangallo (Assistant Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern English Literature) has just published his first monograph, Playwriting Playgoers in Shakespeare’s Theater (U of Pennsylvania Press). Among the dramatists who wrote for the professional playhouses of early modern London was a small group of writers who were neither members of the commercial theater industry nor aristocratic amateurs. Instead, they were largely working- and middle-class amateurs who had learned most of what they knew about drama from being members of the audience. Included in this group were rogue East India Company clerk Walter Mountfort (The Launching of the Mary, or, The Seaman’s Honest Wife) and highwayman John Clavell (The Soddered Citizen).
Playwriting Playgoers in Shakespeare’s Theater uses familiar and lesser-known print and manuscript plays as well as literary accounts and documentary evidence to show how these playgoers wrote and revised to address what they assumed to be the needs of actors, readers, and the Master of the Revels, who was charged with the responsibility of coordinating theatrical entertainment at court.
Of Matteo’s book, Lucy Munro (King’s College London) writes, “An extremely substantial contribution to the field. Playwriting Playgoers in Shakespeare’s Theater has the potential to reconfigure current debates about theatrical authorship and spectatorship, and it also acts as an invaluable primer on a range of neglected material.”