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

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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. If we omit the brief notices of the theatres in Edmond Malone's The Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare (1790) and John Payne Collier's The History of English Dramatic Poetry (1831), the sole book dealing even in part with the topic is T.F. Ordish's The Early London Theatres in the Fields . This book, however, though good for its time, was written a quarter of a century ago, before most of the documents relating to early theatrical history were discovered, and it discusses only six playhouses. The present volume takes advantage of all the materials made available by the industry of later scholars, and records the history of seventeen regular, and five temporary or projected, theatres. The book is throughout the result of a first hand examination of original sources, and represents an independent interpretation of the historical evidences. As a consequence of this, as well as of a comparison (now for the first time possible) of the detailed records of the several playhouses, many conclusions long held by scholars have been set aside. I have made no systematic attempt to point out the cases in which I depart from previously accepted opinions, for the scholar will discover them for himself; but I believe I have never thus departed without being aware of it, and without having carefully weighed the entire evidence. Sometimes the evidence has been too voluminous or complex for detailed presentation; in these instances I have had to content myself with reference by footnotes to the more significant documents bearing on the point.

In a task involving so many details I cannot hope to have escaped errors errors due not only to oversight, but also to the limitations of my knowledge or to mistaken interpretation. For such I can offer no excuse, though I may request from my readers the same degree of tolerance which I have tried to show other laborers in the field. In reproducing old documents I have as a rule modernized the spelling and the punctuation, for in a work of this character there seems to be no advantage in preserving the accidents and perversities of early scribes and printers. I have also consistently altered the dates when the Old Style conflicted with our present usage.

I desire especially to record my indebtedness to the researches of Professor C.W. Wallace, the extent of whose services to the study of the Tudor Stuart drama has not yet been generally realized, and has sometimes been grudgingly acknowledged; and to the labors of Mr. E.K. Chambers and Mr. W.W. Greg, who, in the Collections of The Malone Society, and elsewhere, have rendered accessible a wealth of important material dealing with the early history of the stage... Continue reading book >>

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