Welcome to Changing Histories!

This is the website for the 2019 Changing Histories conference. We are aiming to challenge and interrogate established notions of what constituted the “history play” and performed history in the early modern period. “History” might include material we would now consider as romance, myth or fable. The plays themselves were often bewildering hybrids of apparent history and manifest fiction. Below is the title page for the c.1603 play No-body and Some-body, which includes the mythic British king Elidure and character No-Body, who is literally nobody (as you can see, he has no body). Yet the play is marketed as a “True Chronicle History”. Changing Histories seeks to embrace such apparent paradoxes and contradictions in relation to the history play, which was often neither “true,” “chronicle,” nor “history”.

Equally, many dramatic subjects that are far more securely historical are rarely included by scholars in accounts of the early modern history play. Dramas about Middle Eastern rulers, European history, the crimes and tragedies of middle-class England, and even current witch trials proliferated during the early modern period. Should we consider these, too, as history plays?

If you are interested in attending or submitting an abstract, please see our call for papers. We look forward to hearing from you!

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