The Revenger's Tragedy

The Revenger's Tragedy

The Revenger's Tragedy

The Revenger's Tragedy

Excerpt

On October 7, 1607, an unusual double entry was made in the Register of the Stationers' Company, the copyright book of London publishers. George Eld

Entred for his copies vnder th[e h]andes of Sir George Buck and th[e] wardens. Twoo plaies th[e] one called the reaengers tragedie th[e] other. A trick to catche the old one.... xij

Eld soon published the former play in quarto; since a variant of the edition alters the date from 1607 to 1608, it is probable the printing occurred late in Old Style 1607. The title page reads as follows:

THE REVENGERS TRAGA;DIE./ As it hath beene sundry times Acted,/ by the Kings Maiesties/ Seruants./ [Ornament]/ AT LONDON/ Printed by G. Eld, and are to be sold at his house in Fleete-lane at the signe of the/ Printers-Presse./ 1607.

No contemporary allusion to the play or reference (other than that on the title page) to its early stage history is known to survive. The corruption in the text at IV̈iv̈14 may be due to the compositor's difficulty with a line altered to conform with the ordinance against profanity of May 27, 1606, but it does not necessarily follow that the play already existed before that date. The Stationers' Register entry thus provides our only reliable latter terminus in dating. A date before which the play is unlikely to have been written is determined by its dependence on Marston's satiric comedies, The Malcontent (perhaps 1602-1603), and The Fawn (between 1604 and 1606), its echoing of King Lear (1605), and the clear influence on it of Jonson's . . .

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