Joy Hancox enlightens the concepts underlying the design of theaters in Elizabethan London, how they related to Renaissance notions of proportion and alchemy, and contributes to ongoing and passionate debate regarding the size and shape of the theaters.
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Joy Hancox is the author of The Byrom Papers (Jonathan Cape, hb 1992; pb 1997), where she first proposed an interpretation of Elizabethan theatres based on magical and hermetic concepts.From Library Journal:
Hancox here develops ideas growing out of her 1992 The Byrom Collection. Drawing on years of research using original documents, she argues that the design of the Globe (and of all Elizabethan theaters, for that matter) did not simply evolve willy-nilly. Rather, the theaters' circular shapes and what was performed in them owe much to Queen Elizabeth herself, her own political agenda, and the circle of aristocrat courtiers who acted as patrons. For Elizabeth, the public playhouses served both to entertain and to help forge a national unity. Other factors beyond the strictly aesthetic were at play as well. In the most intriguing chapter, "The Missing Dimension," Hancox contends that the Elizabethans, who were fascinated with and influenced by numbers and their values separate from simple arithmetical quantities, used the "dimension of 72" as a profound, mystical concept that influenced the architecture of the theaters. It is to Hancox's credit that she attempts to present the Elizabethan world as the Elizabethans may have seen it, bringing in recent archaeological discoveries to expand upon and illuminate her thesis. Both fascinating and controversial, this book is recommended for all academic libraries and libraries with theater collections. Susan L. Peters, Univ. of Texas, Galveston
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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