The Problem in the Middle: Liminal Space and the Court Masque, Second Edition, by Gregory A. Wilson (Clemson, SC: Clemson University Press, 2019), 252 pp. Paper. ISBN 978-1-949979-16-9
Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones enjoyed one of the most successful theatrical collaborations of Renaissance England with their spectacular court masques. But their relationship soured over a dispute as to what was most important in the masque: the poetry of the former or the set and costume design of the latter. This book attempts to resolve the debate using a theoretical term developed by Victor Turner: liminality, a condition or status between two conditions or statuses. Dr. Gregory Wilson argues that the masque is in a perpetual state of liminality, existing in the margin between performance and an observing audience. The masque is more than historically interesting; it negotiates the space between possibility and reality. This book searches for that intervening ground and the resolution of the "problem in the middle."
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