Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Performing Economic ThoughtEnglish Drama and Mercantile Writing 1600-1642$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Bradley Ryner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748684656

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684656.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Overflowing Props

Overflowing Props

Philip Massinger's The Emperor of the East

Chapter:
(p.50) Chapter 2 Overflowing Props
Source:
Performing Economic Thought
Author(s):

Bradley D. Ryner

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684656.003.0002

This chapter argues that the physical presence of stage props in Renaissance playhouses encouraged a different way of thinking about economic circulation than did mercantile treatises. Specifically, the chapter reads attempts to frame royal finance in mercantile treatises against the staging of court economics in Philip Massinger's The Emperor of the East. Massinger's play works through questions about royal finance similar to those of treatises by Thomas Milles, Gerard Malynes, Thomas Mun, and Edward Misselden. Rather than championing one particular model of royal finance, however, The Emperor of the East continually draws attention to activities that are not accounted for in a succession of models. In the first three acts, characters voice competing descriptions of the transactions that take place in the court. The limits of each of these models are revealed in the last two acts with the introduction of an apple that circulates among the play's main characters, with each one understanding it according to a different frame. The tension between the materiality of the prop apple in the playhouse and the narratives by which it is described onstage suggests the reciprocal relationship between discourse and systems of exchange -- between ‘economics’ and ‘economies.’

Keywords:   economic circulation, Gerard Malynes, Philip Massinger, Edward Misselden, Thomas Milles, Thomas Mun, royal finance, stage props, The Emperor of the East

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.