The Jacobean and Caroline Stage - Vol. 6

The Jacobean and Caroline Stage - Vol. 6

The Jacobean and Caroline Stage - Vol. 6

The Jacobean and Caroline Stage - Vol. 6

Excerpt

These two volumes conclude my survey of the writing, presentation, and publication of plays in London from the death of Shakespeare to the closing by law of all theatres in England. In volume vi I have considered the theatre buildings, private, public, court, and projected, which were in use during this period. In volume vii I have gathered into appendixes scattered material concerning Lenten performances and Sunday performances, and I have ordered chronologically a large number of dramatic and semi-dramatic events which may provide helpful contexts for students of the drama and theatre. This volume also contains an analytical index for all seven volumes.

The discussions of London theatres in use after the death of Shakespeare vary greatly in length ranging from that of Blackfriars, the house of greatest prestige throughout the period, to that of Le Fevre's Riding Academy, little known and little used. Since these volumes are intended for reference, I have tried to reduce to a minimum the amount of conjecture about theatres and their facilities for the staging of plays. In an area where there are so few seventeenth- century descriptions and so many twentieth-century hypotheses-too often asserted as demonstrable fact — I have found far more theatre material to reject than to include, particularly in the descriptions of individual stages and customary features of production. It is fervently to be hoped that some day we will be able to say with assurance that the Globe stage had so many entrances of such a size and position. That great day has not yet dawned, and until it does responsible reference books should severely restrict the space given to the weighing of conflicting hypotheses. Books on individual theatres must state the principal hypotheses and choose among them; reference surveys should not. The theatre volume was pretty well completed by the end of 1962, and books and articles appearing after that date have generally had to be ignored. They do not, I think, alter significantly the facts I have recorded, though several . . .

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