Theatre

Portuguese and Spanish history on the early modern stage: ‘The Battle of Alcazar’ (Part 4 – coming soon!)

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A detail from the only known representation of the Battle of Alcazar, which accompanies Miguel Leitão de Adndrade’s eyewitness account in his Miscelânea (1629). It depicts the outnumbered Portuguese army, surrounded by Islamic forces.

My previous blogs about The Battle of Alcazar have focused upon Peele’s plot and its history as a stage play (Parts 1 and 2), and on an examination of Stukeley as a ‘Cosmopolitan’ figure on the English stage (Part 3). The final entry is reserved for an examination of Thomas Stukeley the soldier, rather than on his dramatic representation. Understanding something of Stukeley the man – what motivated and moulded him – facilitates our understanding his controversial public appeal, and the reasons for his popularity as a figure on the English stage.

During my time as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Cambridge (2004-2007), I had the great pleasure of being a contemporary of Rory Rapple, who, at the time, was turning his PhD thesis into a book for Cambridge University Press. Martial Power and Elizabethan Political Culture: Military Men in England and Ireland, 1558-1594 (CUP, 2008) is a tour de force in historiographical analysis of early modern military men. My analysis of Stukeley – both in this blog and in my more detailed analysis of Stukeley in my forthcoming book (on representations of Portugal and Spain on the early modern English stage) – owes a great debt to Prof. Rapple’s work.

This month I will complete my contextual analysis of the actual events that provide the backdrop to The Battle of Alcazar. In the interim, EN3039 students at Brunel University can also find further materials on the Blackboard Learn page for The Muslim World Module.

My more detailed analysis of The Battle of Alcazar, as represented on the English stage, is reversed for my forthcoming book, Portugal and Spain on the English Stage, c.1580-1700. The manuscript is in preparation and will consider the following plays:

  • The Spanish Tragedy (Thomas Kyd)
  • Battle of Alcazar (George Peele)
  • The Island Princess (Thomas Kyd)
  • A Game at Chess (Thomas Middleton)
  • Believe as you List (Philip Massinger)
  • Don Sebastian (John Dryden)

The manuscript is expected to be completed in 2017.

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