Wooden Os: Shakespeare’s Theatres and England’s Trees

Wooden Os: Shakespeare’s Theatres and England’s Trees

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By Vin Nardizzi
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2013
World Rights
224 Pages 8 Images
ISBN 9781442646001
Published Mar 2013
Online discount: 25%
 $62.00    $46.50
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442664180
Published Mar 2013
Online discount: 24%
Full purchase $62.00

Wooden Os is a study of the presence of trees and wood in the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries – in plays set within forests, in character dialogue, and in props and theatre constructions. Vin Nardizzi connects these themes to the dependence, and surprising ecological impact, of London’s commercial theatre industry on England’s woodlands, the primary resource required to build all structures in early modern England.

Wooden Os situates the theatre within an environmental history that witnessed a perceived scarcity of wood and timber that drove up prices, as well as statute law prohibiting the devastation of English woodlands and urgent calls for the remedying of a resource shortage that was feared would result in eco-political collapse. By considering works including Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, the revised Spanish Tragedy, and The Tempest, Nardizzi demonstrates how the “trees” within them were used in imaginative ways to mediate England’s resource crisis.

Vin Nardizzi is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of British Columbia.

Prologue: Evergreen Fantasies: Utopia’s Trees and Early Modern Theatre
Introduction: Wood, Timber, and Theatre in Early Modern England
Chapter 1: “Vanish the tree”: Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay at the Rose
Chapter 2: “Come, will this wood take fire?” The Merry Wives of Windsor in Shakespeare’s Theatres
Chapter 3: “Down with these branches and these loathsome boughs / Of this unfortunate and fatal pine”: The Composite Spanish Tragedy at the Fortune
Chapter 4: “There’s wood enough within”: The Tempest’s Logs and The Resources of Shakespeare’s Globe
Epilogue: The Afterlives of the Globe

‘The first thing to strike the reader of this book is its awkwardly puzzling title, then the genuine pleasure, the intellectual curiosity and the precise reasoning and style with which it has been written and researched. Completely original in its outcome, this study is well rooted in recent and less recent scholarship about the English Renaissance and Shakespeare.’

Caterina Salabè, Memoria di Shakespeare: A Journal of Shakespeare Studies 2015

‘Fascinating book… Wooden Os offers important insights into an unexplored topic, with some good literary analysis along the way. At his best, we might say, Nardizzi helps us to see both the woods and the trees.’

Andrew Murphy, English Studies in Canada vol 41:03:2015

‘Fascinating, detailed, and rigorous historical work, Nardizzi’s term “eco-materialism” promises to be a useful and necessary tool for advancing thought in eco-criticism, object oriented environs studies, and early modern historical and literary studies.’

Mark Kaethler, Sixteenth Century Journal vol 65:02:2014

‘Intriguing and innovative book… This is inventive work that draws on ecocriticism, object studies, and theatre history in the service of original readings of plays by Shakespeare, Thomas Kyd, and Robert Greens.’

Julia Reinhard Lupton, Studies in English Literature vol 54:02:2014

‘Both factually grounded and ambitiously speculative, with solid roots in established scholarship but offering new branches, Wooden Os proves itself a worthy contribution to ongoing efforts to recover the environmental history of early modern England through readings of literature.’

Robert N. Watson, Renaissance Quarterly vol 68:01:2015

Society of Theatre Research Theatre Book Prize (United Kingdom (Great Britain)) - Short-listed in 2014