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Shakespearean Playhouses A History of English Theatres from the Beginnings to the Restoration   By: (1881-1946)

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In Joseph Quincy Adams' Shakespearean Playhouses: A History of English Theatres from the Beginnings to the Restoration, readers are taken on a captivating journey through the evolution of English theaters during the significant period from their early beginnings until the Restoration. Adams meticulously explores the birth, growth, and development of these playhouses, providing readers with an in-depth understanding of the social, cultural, and political context in which they thrived.

One of the outstanding aspects of this book is its comprehensive approach to the subject matter. Adams leaves no stone unturned as he carefully discusses the various factors that contributed to the establishment and evolution of English theaters, from the influence of medieval religious plays to the rise of aristocratic patronage. This breadth of coverage allows readers to grasp the intricate tapestry of events and circumstances that shaped the theatrical landscape of the time.

Furthermore, the author's extensive research is evident in the multitude of primary and secondary sources he draws upon. Adams presents a wealth of historical evidence, including sketches, architectural plans, and documents, which enriches the narrative and adds a layer of authenticity to his writing. By incorporating these sources, he not only provides a factual account but also breathes life into the theaters, their architecture, and the vibrant productions that once graced their stages.

Adams' writing style is engaging and accessible, making the complex subject matter easily digestible for both academics and general readers. His narrative flows smoothly, effortlessly blending historical facts with analysis and his own interpretations. While there may be moments where the sheer amount of information becomes overwhelming, Adams manages to maintain a reader-friendly tone throughout, keeping readers engrossed in the material.

One aspect that strengthens this book is the inclusion of numerous illustrations and photographs. These visual aids allow readers to visualize the playhouses, their layouts, and the various aspects of theatrical performances. The inclusion of such visuals enhances the reading experience by providing a visual reference and reinforcing the connections between the written descriptions and the reality of these theaters.

Despite its strengths, Shakespearean Playhouses does have a drawback. Some readers may find the book excessively detailed, becoming burdened with information that may seem unnecessary for a general audience. However, for those with a genuine interest in the subject matter or scholars seeking an academic resource, this aspect can be considered an advantage rather than a weakness.

In conclusion, Joseph Quincy Adams' Shakespearean Playhouses: A History of English Theatres from the Beginnings to the Restoration is a compelling and enlightening exploration of the evolution of English theaters. Adams' meticulous research, accessible writing style, and inclusion of visual aids make this book an invaluable resource for anyone interested in a comprehensive understanding of the formative years of English theater. Whether one is a student, theater enthusiast, or simply curious about this captivating period in history, this book offers a rich and satisfying reading experience.

First Page:


A History of English Theatres from the Beginnings to the Restoration


JOSEPH QUINCY ADAMS Cornell University


Gloucester, Mass. Peter Smith 1960

Copyright, 1917, by Joseph Quincy Adams

Reprinted, 1960, by Permission of Houghton Mifflin Co.


BLACKFRIARS, (FIRST) 1576 1584. BLACKFRIARS, (SECOND) 1596 1655. CURTAIN, 1577 after 1627. FORTUNE, (FIRST) 1600 1621. FORTUNE, (SECOND) 1623 1661. GLOBE, (FIRST) 1599 1613. GLOBE, (SECOND) 1614 1645. HOPE, 1613 after 1682. PHOENIX OR COCKPIT, 1617 after 1664. RED BULL, about 1605 after 1663. ROSE, 1587 1605. SALISBURY COURT, 1629 1666. SWAN, 1595 after 1632. THEATRE, 1576 1598. WHITEFRIARS, about 1605 1614(?).]





The method of dramatic representation in the time of Shakespeare has long received close study. Among those who have more recently devoted their energies to the subject may be mentioned W.J. Lawrence, T.S. Graves, G.F. Reynolds, V.E. Albright, A.H. Thorndike, and B. Neuendorff, each of whom has embodied the results of his investigations in one or more noteworthy volumes. But the history of the playhouses themselves, a topic equally important, has not hitherto been attempted... Continue reading book >>

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