Elizabethan and Jacobean Playwrights

Elizabethan and Jacobean Playwrights

Elizabethan and Jacobean Playwrights

Elizabethan and Jacobean Playwrights

Excerpt

This book has been called Elizabethan and Jacobean Playwrights out of deference to literary tradition. In the Introduction to his recent book, Cavalier Drama, Professor Alfred Harbage offers an apology for the adjective used in his title. Truly, any author of a work dealing with English drama between 1576 and 1642 is hard pressed to find a title that is entirely satisfactory. Books about "Elizabethan" and "Shakespearean" drama almost always discuss plays written before or after the reign of Gloriana and the days of the chief dramatist in her realm. Discussion of "Jacobean" drama never stops at 1625, the year that James I died. The term "Cavalier" in relation to plays has only limited currency, and there is no general agreement as to its precise application. No single term adequately describes the era of dramatic history that began with the opening of the Theatre, the Rose, the Swan, and the Globe and ran continuously till the closing of all the theatres by the Puritans. The terms that have the widest usage and that indicate most unmistakably the inclusive scope of the present book are "Elizabethan and Jacobean", and they have been adopted, even though the chapters deal with a few playwrights -- as Ford and Shirley -- who flourished in the time of Charles I and fail to consider in detail those of the first fifteen or twenty years of Elizabeth's reign.

In the course of the book the words "Cavalier drama" are nevertheless often used because of their aptness, but they are used in a less limited sense than that defined by Professor Harbage. In his book the words signify the work of playwrights directly or indirectly associated with the . . .

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