The aim of this study is a revision of the hitherto prevailing conceptions of the relationship between the Puritans and the theater in England during the Early Modern Age in several fields of research. The study focuses on representations of the Puritans in drama and correlates them to other text evidence (such as sermons, pamphlets, petitions, letters and autobiographical documents). Instead of the still current reductive, dichotomous picture of the opposition of players and Puritans, a dynamic process of reciprocal dependencies and exchange becomes visible. The study reveals a historically variable mesh of relationships between two groups which laid claim to rivaling authority in an urban cultural space characterized by increasingly pluralistic tendencies. One main hypothesis of the study is that the direct coexistence of the Puritans and theater people in London was constitutive for the development of the new entertainment medium as well as for the contouring and even the formation of a special Puritan identity.
Enno Ruge, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.