Daniel Staniforth’s The Groundlings of Divine Will (Skylight Press 2013) http://www.skylightpress.co.uk sees Shakespeare’s first audience, ‘the groundlings of the pit’, as a secret society addressing the Master Of Revels in a glorious riposte to the ways in which Shakespeare studies have taken the playwright away from his historical context. The groundlings, with their ‘ears to hear and eyes to behold’, speak out as one voice in their defence of Divine Will against all manner of heresies. It is great fun, satirically astute and tightly written using quotations from the plays to reinstate the work in its historical time frame.
‘Twas while shivering at the Winter’s Tale when we heard the
accused Paulina quip – It is an heretic that makes the fire not
she which burns in’t. (Measure for Measure)
The groundlings stand in the pits facing the heavens, their apostolic gazes emboldening the players in their…
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