Ballads and Performance: The Multimodal Stage in Early Modern England

"The True Form and Shape of Caliban: Monstrosity and Wonder in 'The Tempest'"

Kitch, who focuses only on the extant ballads from this period, concludes that monstrous birth ballads were especially popular in the 1560s, and ties this to social events during this decade, specifically an intensification of print regulation(“Printing Bastards”). Cressy also observes that the surge of monstrous birth ballads in this decade was “remarkable,” and perhaps an indication of the “political conflict, religious anxiety, and cultural tension” of the period (Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England, 36). However, as noted above, a look at the Stationers’ Registers shows that the production of such ballads remained steady through the first half of the 1580s.

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