Elizabethan Drama and Shakespeare's Early Plays: An Essay in Historical Criticism

By Ernest William Talbert | Go to book overview

Notes

CHAPTER I
1
Throughout this study the point of view about "continuous copy" is that expressed by E. K. Chambers, William Shakespeare ( Oxford, 1930) I, 150-53, 225-35. As some of the subsequent discussions will indicate, however, I do not always agree with his comments about the individual plays. Not infrequently the charge that one shows timidity in relying upon the folio text is negated by a careful examination of that text. See, for example, David Galloway, "'I am dying, Egypt, dying': Folio Repetitions and Editors", N & Q, CCIII ( 1958), 330-35. See also below, p. 41 n. 126, for examples of what are sometimes called actors "gags"; yet it must be granted that acting authors like Robert Wilson and Shakespeare might give their principal comedians such lines.
2
See Elmer Edgar Stoll, "Symbolism in Shakespeare", MLR, XLII ( 1947), 9-23, in which this statement by the poet Abercrombie is quoted (p. 11).
3.
The concept that God was English is a case in point. For its appearance in Elizabeth I's Parliaments, see J. E. Neale, Elizabeth I and her Parliaments, 15841601 (N.Y., 1958), 169-70, 193, 200. Note, too, the anti-papal spirit of celebrations of Elizabeth's Accession Day. Roy C. Strong, "The Accession Day of Queen Elizabeth I", Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institute, XXI ( 1958), 86-103.
4.
See, e.g., Freda L. Townsend, Apologie for 'Bartholomew Fayre' (N.Y., 1947), 91-97. A characteristic attitude is that expressed by Giraldi Cinthio: "The writer should use great diligence that the parts of his work fit together like the parts of the body, as we said above. And in putting together the bony frame he will seek to fill in the spaces and make the members equal in size, and this can be done by inserting at suitable and requisite places loves, hates, lamentations, laughter, sports, serious things, beauties, descriptions of places, temples, and persons, fables both invented by the author himself and taken from the ancients, voyages, wanderings, monsters, unforeseen events, deaths, funerals, mournings, recognitions, things terrible and pitiable, weddings, births, victories, triumphs, single combats, jousts, tournaments, catalogues, laws, and other matters. . . ." For there is nothing in heaven and earth "which cannot with varied ornaments adorn the whole body of his composition and bring it not merely to a beautiful but to a lovely figure, for such things give to all the parts their due measure and fit ornament in such proportion that there emerges a body well regulated and composed. . . ." On the Composition of Romances ( 1549), tr. A. H. Gilbert, Literary Criticism, Plato to Dryden (N.Y., 1940), pp. 264-65. See also Tasso's discussion of the fact that "variety is especially pleasing to our times" and the comments on Ariosto. Gilbert, Lit. Crit., pp. 500-1, 495 ff. Note, too, B. Sprague Allen , Tides in English Taste ( Cambridge, Mass., 1937), I, 17-18. From another point of view, explicitly applicable to the playwright Robert Wilson, see the Latin letter from one Thomas Bayly to one Thomas Bawdewine, thanking him for a tragedy presented at Sheffield on St. George's day and requesting him to pro-

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Elizabethan Drama and Shakespeare's Early Plays: An Essay in Historical Criticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • I - Some General Considerations 3
  • II - Aspects of the Comic 7
  • III - Aspects of Structure and Serious Character-Types 61
  • IV - Titus and the Earliest Comedies 132
  • V - The Henry VI Trilogy and Richard III 161
  • VI - Love's Labour's Lost and a Midsummer Night's Dream 235
  • VII - King John, Romeo and Juliet, Richard II 262
  • VIII - Conclusion 323
  • Notes 327
  • Index 401
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