Worlds Apart: The Market and the Theater in Anglo-American Thought, 1550-1750

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Cambridge University Press, 1986 - History - 262 pages
Drawing on a variety of disciplines and documents, Professor Agnew illuminates one of the most fascinating chapters in the formations of Anglo-American market culture. Worlds Apart traces the history of our concepts of the marketplace and the theatre and the ways in which these concepts are bound together. Focusing on Britain and America in the years 1550 to 1750, the book discusses the forms and conventions that structured both commerce and theatre. As marketing practice broke free of its traditional boundaries and restraints, it challenged longstanding popular assumptions about the constituents of value, the nature of identity, the signs of authenticity, and the limits of liability. New exchange relations bred new legal and commercial fictions to authorise them, but they also bred new doubts about the precise grounds upon which the self and its 'interests' were to be represented. Those same doubts, Professor Agnew shows, animated the theatre as well. As actors and playwrights shifted from ecclesiastical and civic drama to professional entertainments, they too devised authenticating fictions, fictions that effectively replicated the bewildering representational confusions of the new 'placeless market'.

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Contents

1 The threshold of exchange
17
2 Another nature
57
3 Artificial persons
101
4 The spectacle of the market
149
Confidence and culture
195
Notes
204
Index
257
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