Queen Elizabeth in Drama and Related Studies

Queen Elizabeth in Drama and Related Studies

Queen Elizabeth in Drama and Related Studies

Queen Elizabeth in Drama and Related Studies

Excerpt

The essays in this volume have as their central figures Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare. They are further linked in that they deal with movements or institutions which had their beginning in Tudor or early Stuart times, as these are reflected in the literature of the period, especially in the drama.

As Elizabeth was so enthusiastic a patron of the theatre it has seemed appropriate to trace her presentation in our drama from her own day to ours. This essay is a considerably expanded form of the Elizabeth Howland lecture commemorating the Queen's accession date, given in 1948 to the Streatham Antiquarian and Natural History and the Elizabethan Literary Societies. It is supplemented by an earlier Howland lecture in 1937 on the Queen and Edmund Tilney, buried at Streatham, who was Master of the Revels during the greatest period of Elizabethan drama.

The general outline of 'Shakespeare's Reading' was given at the Stratford-on-Avon Festival in August, 1948. A more specialised aspect of this, the dramatist's treatment of Classical Legend and History, was the subject of the Annual Shakespeare Lectures to the British Academy in 1943. Shakespeare was among the Elizabethan poets and playwrights whose debt to Ovid I discussed before the English Association and the London Branch of the Classical Association in 1947.

In commemorating in 1945 the 400th anniversary of Sir Thomas Bodley's birth before the Royal Society of Literature I pointed out how, by a paradoxical chance, his library has become one of the chief store-houses of the playbooks of which he thought so poorly. What a contrast is Lamb's enthusiasm for them, illustrated in a paper read to the Charles Lamb Society and printed in the English Association's Essays and Studies, vol. XXIX.

The scene shifts to wider and more active issues, as I traced the presentation of the soldier by playwrights through more than three centuries, in the Giff Edmonds lecture to the Royal Society of Literature (1942); and the reflection of American scenes in English . . .

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