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'Why, sir, are there other heauens in other countries?': The English Comedy as a transnational style

Drábek, Pavel



M. A. Katritzky


This essay analyzes the specifics of the English Comedy (Englische Comedie) as a genre practised by the popular travelling English troupes and their inheritors, during the century between the 1580s and 1680s. Most scholarship has assumed that English travelling actors exported English plays, and performed them on the Continent with necessary adjustments. This essay elaborates a different perspective: the methodological discussion of historical theatre aesthetics presented here analyzes the English Comedy in its specificity, born on the Continent from predominantly indigenous material (stories, motifs, symbols), and presented in the innovative theatrical style imported from England. As such, it existed in-between – as a paradoxically local, idiosyncratic amalgam of numerous cultural identities. More specifically, I trace the characteristics of what was known throughout the seventeenth century as the English Comedy, and argue a unique, recognizable, dramaturgical style that was in itself a nexus of transnational influences. Theoretically, the essay evidences and analyzes a certain historiographic paradox: the available evidence (mostly of a textual nature) testifies to a rich circulation of material and personnel, while the resulting theatre performances adopt local tastes and, as it were, reiterate local cultural identities.


Drábek, P. (2019). 'Why, sir, are there other heauens in other countries?': The English Comedy as a transnational style. In M. A. Katritzky, & P. Drabek (Eds.), Transnational Connections in Early Modern Theatre (139-161). Manchester: Manchester University Press

Publication Date Nov 26, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 13, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 27, 2021
Publisher Manchester University Press
Pages 139-161
Book Title Transnational Connections in Early Modern Theatre
Chapter Number 7
ISBN 978-1-5261-3917-7
Public URL
Publisher URL


Drabek Why Sir Final Manuscript TCiEMT 20190227 (362 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Reproduced with permission of Manchester University Press.

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