School of English

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Joshua Caldicott

Research Student,


Research Summary

Current Status: PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic: The Development of Epilogues in Relation to their Audiences in the English Commercial Theatre between 1578 and 1642

Research Summary: My project aims to understand how the epilogue developed as a form during the rise of the English commercial theatre. Through a comprehensive study of the epilogues written between 1578 and 1642, supported by an exploration of contemporaneous comments on and allusion to epilogues, this analysis will consider trends across specific genres, playwrights, companies, playhouses and publishers, strengthening our understanding of early modern repertory and printing conventions. By applying Gerard Genette's theory of paratexts (1997) to consider epilogues as thresholds bridging the fictional and real worlds, I will consider how epilogues engaged with their audiences to attain their approval in the liminal space between a play and its judgement. Considering applause as a form of currency, my project will attempt to recognise the epilogue's social function as a transactional space, wherein writers consolidated a relationship with their audiences to develop better and more profitable work in the first stage of commercial theatre.

Research Interests:

  • English Commercial Drama 1565-1642.
  • The Work of Ben Jonson.
  • Early Modern Playhouse and Print Culture.
  • Shakespeare's Cultural Afterlife.
  • Contemporary Performance.
  • Audience and Paratextual Theory.

Research Supervisors:

Primary Funding Source: Midlands3Cities (AHRC) Doctoral Training Partnership


Conference Papers and Presentations:

  • "'You All Know the Device': Jonson, Marston and Audience Knowledge in the Early Modern Playhouses". British Graduate Shakespeare Conference. June 2019. Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • "'You All Know the Device': Jonson, Marston and Audience Knowledge in the Early Modern Playhouses". The Marston Effect: John Marston and Early Modern Culture. March 2019. University of Oxford, Oxford.
  • "'The Seasoning Of A Play, Is The Applause': Ben Jonson's Use Of The Epilogue As Audience Engagement". British Graduate Shakespeare Conference. June 2018. Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • "'Mischiefs Feed Like Beasts': Deception In The Early Modern Playhouse And Its Influence On Audience Responses". Lies, Truth and Deception: EMREM Annual Symposium. May 2018. University of Birmingham, Birmingham.
  • "'Comedy thy name is Krusty': Negotiating the Shakespeare Myth in The Simpsons and Bojack Horseman". Renaissance Reborn. May 2017. Sheffield Center for Early Modern Studies, Sheffield.
  • "'Rosencrantz, See Guildenstern': The Singularity and Duality of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern". The English Showcase. April 2017. University of Nottingham, Nottingham.

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