Early Tudor Drama: Medwall, the Rastells, Heywood, and the More Circle

By A. W. Reed | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE ENGLISH SECULAR AND ROMANTIC DRAMA (II)

THE CANON OF JOHN HEYWOOD'S PLAYS

WHEN John Heywood published his Woorkes in 1562, he did not include his plays, and in consequence of this omission there are now doubts as to the authorship of some of the Interludes that a long tradition has attributed to him. John Heywoodes Woorkes were, in fact, only the proverbs and epigrams that he had been publishing at intervals since 1546. It is now proposed to determine, if possible, the origin of the traditional canon.

In the first or Ipswich Edition of the Scriptorum Summarium of 1548, Bale mentions only the first two books of the Proverbs, atque alia.

In the second or Basle Edition of 1557 he mentions three plays, De Aura (Wether), De Amore (Love) and De Quadruplici P. (The Four PP.)

Pitseus, in his De illustribus Angliae Scriptoribus, published in 1619, added to Bale's list the Spider and the Flie and a book of English songs, "et alia his similia non pauca", but he did not add any new plays.

In 1671 Francis Kirkman revised a list of plays appended in 1661 to his edition of Tom Tyler, and printed it at the end of his edition of John Dancer's translation of Corneille Nicomède, as "an exact catalogue of all the English Stage Plays printed till this present year 1671 . . . all of which you may either buy or sell at the house of Francis Kirkman in Thames Street, over against the Custom House, London". This list is arranged alphabetically under titles, the FourPP.

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