Ballads and Performance: The Multimodal Stage in Early Modern England

"'Hear for your love, and buy for your money': Ballads and Theater as Experiential Commodities"

According to Watt, authors were identified on sixteenth century ballads, but by the early seventeenth century had dropped off. “What had once been an author’s medium—a vehicle for propaganda and personal opinion, or for building a popular reputation as a story-teller—was now a publisher’s medium, governed by time-tested commercial dictates. This evolved authorlessness may signify an important change in attitude: the ballad was not an individual creation but a piece of public property, known to an increasingly broad public” (Cheap Print and Popular Piety, 81).

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