Shakespeare, Text and Theater: Essays in Honor of Jay L. Halio

Shakespeare, Text and Theater: Essays in Honor of Jay L. Halio

Shakespeare, Text and Theater: Essays in Honor of Jay L. Halio

Shakespeare, Text and Theater: Essays in Honor of Jay L. Halio

Synopsis

"Jay L. Halio is internationally distinguished as an editor of Shakespeare's plays and as a critic of Shakespeare in performance. This collection, with an international list of contributors, honors both those interests and explores their interconnectedness." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Stanley Wells

Shakespeare's death in April 1616 was marked, so far as we can tell, by no published tributes. This may seem odd. When Sir Philip Sidney died in 1586 he was given a state funeral extraordinary in its pomp and circumstance followed by the publication of numerous tributes both in England and on the Continent. Edmund Spenser died in poverty in 1599, but the Earl of Essex paid his funeral expenses and he was buried in Westminster Abbey where, says William Camden, his hearse “was attended by poets, and mournful elegies and poems, with the pens that wrote them, were thrown into his tomb.” Memorial verses by a number of poets, some published soon after he died, survive both in print and in manuscript. Ben Jonson too died poor, in 1637, but he too was buried in the Abbey; a volume of memorial verses, Jonsonus Virbius, appeared soon after his death, and a subscription started to raise money for a memorial was thwarted only by the Civil War. Even poor Robert Greene's corpse is said to have been honored with a crown of bays, and his death in 1592 was marked by, admittedly, vituperative comments from enemies, as well as by the publication of a eulogy, Greene's Funerals, by one R. B. So it is natural to ask why the death of the man now regarded as the greatest artist of them all was not similarly marked.

Various answers are possible. One is that Sidney was an aristocrat with many claims to fame other than his literary achievement—which indeed was relatively little known when he died; that Spenser was a courtier and public servant as well as a poet; and that Jonson had worked extensively for the court and had achieved recognition from the royal family. It is only fair to note too that many other writers of the period now greatly admired, such as John Lyly, Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton, John Webster, and John Ford, have no memorial—we don't even know in what year Webster or Ford died. But Shakespeare, as principal dramatist and shareholder of the King's Men, and consequently a member of the royal household, must also have been known at court and had already in his lifetime been the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.