A Register of English Theatrical Documents, 1660-1737 - Vol. 1

A Register of English Theatrical Documents, 1660-1737 - Vol. 1

A Register of English Theatrical Documents, 1660-1737 - Vol. 1

A Register of English Theatrical Documents, 1660-1737 - Vol. 1

Synopsis

This significant reference work is an unprecedented attempt to compile a chronological list of all documents related to the management and regulation of the theatres in England from the reopening of the playhouses in 1660 to the Licensing Act of 1737. Each of the more than four thousand entries includes the date, the location, a descriptive title, and a quotation from or a brief description of the item plus reference to other copies or printed transcriptions. The documents are various: lawsuits and the Lord Chamberlain's manuscripts in the Public Record Office in London; manuscripts in the British Library and in the Bodleian, Folger, Huntington, and Harvard theatre collections, as well as other repositories; printed letters and pamphlets associated with particular dates or productions; and newspaper and magazine items not related to specific performances (which are covered inThe London Stage). In addition to the entries, the book includes a preface, an introduction, a list of abbreviations, five appendixes, and an exhaustive index keyed to item numbers.

Excerpt

This book is a first attempt at a chronological list of all documents related to the management and regulation of the theatre in England from the reopening of the playhouses in 1660 to the passage of the Licensing Act in 1737. As far as we are aware, there is no exact precedent for this compilation in British theatre history. We got into the project accidentally in the course of our work in revising Parts 1 and 2 of The London Stage, 1660-1800, when we discovered that we simply could not carry out that revision properly without an exhaustive chronological list of relevant documents. What started as a private convenience gradually became a significant reference tool in its own right, and we have published it as a separate book in the belief that it will be useful to other scholars.

This book makes no claim to be anything but a descriptive checklist. We have supplied just enough detail about each document to give the user some sense of what it offers, and, we hope, to allow anyone who has found a theatrical manuscript to determine whether it is already known, or if it is known from another copy. This compilation has two principal functions: (1) to lead scholars to documents that may be of use to them, and (2) to facilitate the identification and publication of new theatrical documents. This sort of compilation must in its very nature remain imperfect and incomplete, but we hope that it will prove a useful tool and a beginning on which others can build. When a scholar finds an interesting theatrical manuscript he or she is immediately faced with the often formidable problem of determining whether earlier scholars have known and used the item. This Register should greatly simplify the process of identification. We are certain that we must have missed some items reported in modern published sources, but we can fairly say that all relevant items mentioned in the obvious sources (The London Stage,Hotson,Nicoll,Boswell, et al.) will be found here, and a great many more have been added. A lifetime in the Public Record . . .

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