An Elizabethan Journal: Being a Record of Those Things Most Talked about during the Years 1591-1594

An Elizabethan Journal: Being a Record of Those Things Most Talked about during the Years 1591-1594

An Elizabethan Journal: Being a Record of Those Things Most Talked about during the Years 1591-1594

An Elizabethan Journal: Being a Record of Those Things Most Talked about during the Years 1591-1594

Excerpt

In this book I have tried to put together a journal of gossip which should mirror the mind of the English people and give a background to their literature during the years 1591 to 1594. I have not tried to write a history, nor to compile a book of reference. These years were chosen because they come at the beginning of the great Elizabethan period of literature, during which, incidentally, Shakespeare was learning his craft, and taking in many of those impressions which he afterwards reproduced as his own.

The book originated some years ago when I was preparing an edition of Will Kemp Nine Days' Wonder, the record of his adventures during the famous dance to Norwich; at this time the labours of the Peace delegates were first being seriously tested, whilst in England Mr. Charles Chaplin had just finished his triumphal progress. Mr. Chaplin, to say the least, had occupied more attention in the newspapers than the Big Three in Paris; yet it seemed likely that though the historian in the future would be very voluminous about the Treaty of Versailles, he would have little to say about Mr. Chaplin: indeed, if he were to notice his existence it would probably be in a footnote about something else. In brief, historians looking back have very different, and not necessarily better standards of value than the common man looking round. The progresses of the two great comedians--Will Kemp in 1600, Mr. Chaplin in 1921--were curiously similar, yet Will Kemp has little place in the history of the reign of Queen Elizabeth; he had a very large place in the hearts of the English people.

It seemed to me therefore that a record of the things most talked of during the age of Shakespeare, a diurnal of gossip, might have its value by showing what was uppermost in the minds of Englishmen when the works of Shakespeare, Nashe, Marlowe, and the rest were written and first read. This book is the result. It is, both in its form and in its manner, frankly an experiment; should it be considered an experiment worth repeating, I hope to continue the Elizabethan Journal to cover the whole of Shakespeare's working life.

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.