Elizabethan Drama, 1558-1642: A History of the Drama in England from the Accession of Queen Elizabeth to the Closing of the Theaters - Vol. 2

By Felix E. Schelling | Go to book overview

XX
THE DRAMA IN RETROSPECT

OUR structure is now complete, and we may demolish the scaffolds with some little pause in the process. It is related that Malone, a competent judge, once estimated the total output of plays on the London stage between the accession of Queen Elizabeth and the closing of the theaters at something like two thousand.1 In view of the large number of plays which must have perished and left not even their titles behind them, this estimate cannot be considered excessive. And yet, when we come to an actual census of the material at hand,--plays extant, in print or still in manuscript, plays entered for printing in the Stationers' Register and otherwise recorded or alluded to, --the sum total rises scarcely to sixteen hundred; and to eke out this we must include a hundred and thirty university plays, Latin and English, a hundred and forty masques and entertainments, and between thirty and forty city pageants, productions, all of them dramatical, but, like the translations of foreign plays (likewise included), only

Census of plays written between 1558 and 1642.

____________________
1
I do not find this estimate in any of Malone's published works. Fleay, in his Life of Shakespeare, 356, gives precisely this figure, and reduces it to the unnecessarily low number 1320 (in his History of the Stage, 254) between 1587 and 1641. Fleay bases his estimate on the forty-two plays of Herbert's list in eighteen months of 1622-23, and subtracting six old plays, gets an average of twenty-four new plays per year. The activity of the hey-day of Henslowe must certainly have been greater.

-371-

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Elizabethan Drama, 1558-1642: A History of the Drama in England from the Accession of Queen Elizabeth to the Closing of the Theaters - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents of Volume II v
  • XIII History and Tragedy on Classical Myth and Story 1
  • XIV The College Drama 51
  • XV The English Masque 93
  • XVI The Pastoral Drama 139
  • XVII Tragicomedy and "Romance" 182
  • XVIII Later Comedy of Manners 240
  • XIX Decadent Romance 307
  • XX The Drama in Retrospect 371
  • Bibliographical Essay 433
  • Index 625
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