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  • Monday, March 27, 2023 - 5:15pm to 6:30pm

Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, sixth floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

We will be welcoming Tiffany Stern (Birmingham) for a talk entitled "Clown Images in and Beyond the Early Modern Playhouse." Tiffany writes:
My talk will be on the clown Richard Tarlton (d. 1588) and his use of print as part of his branding. It is in two parts. The first half, ‘living Tarlton’, will consider the way Tarlton wrote and sold printed ballads as an extension of his clowning throughout his life, bringing the print trade into the playhouse. The second half, ‘dead Tarlton’, is on the way Tarlton’s print brand thrived posthumously, so that texts by but also about him became a staple of theatre sales. Exploring how a posthumous picture of Tarlton, apparently sold in the playhouse, worked its way into the copybooks, and onto the houses, taverns and lavatories of early modern England, it will argue that the early modern theatres’ thriving print trade had clowning, and specifically Tarlton, at its heart.


Tiffany Stern, FBA, is Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at The Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham. She has published twelve books and editions on sixteenth to eighteenth century dramatic literature, book history, theatre history, editing and Shakespeare, including Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan (2000), Making Shakespeare (2004), [with Simon Palfrey] Shakespeare in Parts (2007), Documents of Early Modern Performance (2009), Rethinking Theatrical Documents (2020), and Shakespeare, Malone and the Problems of Chronology (2023). A general editor of three flagship series, New Mermaids Plays (with William C. Carroll), The Norton Anthology of English Literature (16th century; with Stephen Greenblatt), and Arden Shakespeare Fourth Series (with Peter Holland and Zachary Lesser), she was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2019.