Claire Sponsler, University of Iowa. The Queen’s Dumbshows: John Lydgate and the Making of Early Theater. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.
Claire Sponsler’s The Queen’s Dumbshows puts the literary output of Lydgate in context of the performance culture of fifteenth century London and illuminates the connection and overlap of the literary and theatrical, arguing for their interdependence and efficacy in the public sphere. It changes the definition of “early theatre” in England, and places a renewed emphasis especially on those texts whose ambiguity has tended to obscure them. It has the potential to be a model for future book length investigations in other times and language groups.