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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: July ::
Re: German Play Seasons of Kempe and Co
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1636  Monday, 15 July 2002

From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Saturday, 13 Jul 2002 00:27:31 -0600
Subject: 13.1626 Re: German Play Seasons of Kempe and Co
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1626 Re: German Play Seasons of Kempe and Co

Lene Petersen wrote:

>>Lene Petersen doesn't mention that Cohn's book was first published in
>>1865 (yes, 18) and there has been some outstanding work on the topic
>>since then!
>
>It is still the best source to start at. And what's wrong with 1865? The
>hasn't been much in the line of rigid, well-researched philology
>happening since then!!!

Actually, there's been some very good research done in the German (and
Dutch/Belgian) archives in recent years, even though it's only been a
few people doing it.  One such person is June Schluetter, who had a
couple of excellent articles in *Medieval and Renaissance Drama in
England* which combine new archival finds with comprehensive summaries
of previously published scholarship:

June Schlueter, 'Who Was John Wobster? New Evidence Concerning the
Playwright/Minstrel in Germany', *Medieval and Renaissance Drama in
England* 8 (1996), 165-175.

June Schlueter, 'English Actors in Kassel, Germany, During Shakespeare's
Time', *Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England* 10 (1998), 238

Going back a couple of decades, Willem Schrickx also found and published
lots of good stuff based on his archival research, including the
following:

Willem Schrickx, 'English Actors at the Courts of Wolfenbuttel, Brussels
and Graz During the Lifetime of Shakespeare', *Shakespeare Survey* 33
(1980), 153-168.

Willem Schrickx, 'English Actors' Names in German Archives and
Elizabethan Theatre History', *Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft West
Jahrbuch* (1982), 146-161.

Willem Schrickx, '"Pickleherring" and English Actors in Germany',
*Shakespeare Survey* 36 (1983), 135-147.

All of these transcribe new documents relating to English players in
Germany, and put them in context very well.  This material plus quite a
bit more was collected in Schrickx's 1986 book, *Foreign Envoys and
Travelling Players in the Age of Shakespeare and Jonson*, which is
packed with information.  In the course of his research, Schrickx also
found previously unknown records of the playwrights Anthony Munday,
George Chapman, and Cyril Tourneur in the Low Countries.  The above book
has nearly 50 pages on Tourneur's activities, and the following articles
describe the documents relating to Munday and Chapman (the latter of
which is the earliest known documentary record of Chapman):

Willem Schrickx, 'Anthony Munday in the Netherlands in October 1595',
*Notes & Queries* 242 (1997), 484.

Willem Schrickx, 'George Chapman in Middleburg in 1586', *Notes &
Queries* 238 (1993), 165.

Going back a further couple of decades, J. G. Riewald and Harry Hoppe
did some good archival research on English players in the Low Countries,
which they summarized in the following articles, and in 1984 Riewald
published a comprehensive annotated bibliography on the subject:

J. G. Riewald, "Some Later Elizabethan and Early Stuart Actors and
Musicians", *English Studies* 40 (1959), 33-41.

J. G. Riewald, "New Light on the English Actors in the Netherlands,
c.1590-c.1660", *English Studies* 41 (1960), 65-92.

Harry R. Hoppe, 'English Actors at Ghent in the Seventeenth Century',
*Review of English Studies* 25 (1949), 305.

Harry R. Hoppe, 'George Jolly at Bruges, 1648', *Review of English
Studies* 5 (1954), 265.

Harry R. Hoppe, 'English Acting Companies at the Court of Brussels in
the Seventeenth Century', *Review of English Studies* 6 (1955), 26.

J. G. Riewald, 'The English Actors in the Low Countries, 1585-c.1650: An
Annotated Bibliography', in *Studies in Seventeenth-Century English
Literature, History, and Bibliography*, ed. by G. A. M. Janssens and F.
G. A. M. Aarts, Rodopi, 1984, 157-78.

I agree that Cohn can be a good starting point (I own a copy of the 1971
reprint), but in addition to the fact that much has been discovered
since 1865, Cohn's transcriptions, translations, and interpretations are
not always accurate.  Schrickx points out some instances of this.

>>There is, for instance, Simon Williams' excellent account in
>>his *Shakespeare on the German Stage vol 1: 1586-1914* (Cambridge 1990),
>
>Yes, this is a good book, but one need go beyond both Cohn and Williams
>to get to the bottom of this subject....
>
>>Jerzy Limon's *Gentlemen of a Company* covering 1590-1660 (Cambridge,
>>1985)
>
>A rather dry work, which deals not really with the German troupes but
>with the eastern European circuit, which seems to have offered some
>rather different working conditions for the comedians.

OK, but Limon still does have some stuff about English players in
Central and Western Europe, much of it based on archival research he had
published previously, e.g.:
Jerzy Limon, 'New Evidence for the Activity of English Players in the
Netherlands in the Second Quarter of the Seventeenth Century', *English
Studies* 62 (1981), 115

>>and a good translation of five of the adaptations by Ernest
>>Brennecke, *Shakespeare in Germany 1590-1700* (Chicago, 1964).
>
>Call me a pedant but something is always lost in translation .... and if
>you master German, I'd always recommend reading the old scholars in the
>original language...
>
>Some recommendations are Carl Heine, 'Johannes Velten: ein Beitrag zur
>Geschichte des deutschen Theaters in 16 Jahrhunderts' (Halle: Karras,
>1887 - YES 1887), E. Herz, Englische schauspieler und englisches
>schauspiel zur zeit shakespeares in Deutschland (in
>Teathergeschichtliche Forschungen, 1903., Willi Fleming, ed., Barock
>Drama vol. III, (Hildesheim, 1965, W.  Creizenach on Der Bestrafte
>Brudermord or Manfred Brauneck, ed. Spieltexte der Wanderbuhne 1970.
>
>All have of these have indeed done splendid archival research in this
>difficult area, and so have many others of this particular elk and time.

I'll admit that I haven't actually read these articles, and my German is
not very good in any case.  But the scholars I mentioned above,
particularly Schrickx and Schluetter, cite many German-language sources
going back well into the 19th century, and it looks to me like they know
the material well.

By the way, the continental player Robert Browne was not Edward Alleyn's
stepfather; a ton of material has been discovered about Browne since
1865, and anything written about him that long ago is not to be
trusted.  The facts are most concisely summarized in Schluetter's 1998
article cited above, and in Herbert Berry's 1986 book *The Boar's Head
Playhouse*.  There were actually two separate Robert Brownes leading
acting companies at the same time: the one connected with the Admiral's
Men who spent many years acting on the Continent (1563-1622), and the
one who was the leader of Derby's Men and a proprietor of the Boar's
Head playhouse (d. 1603).

And I believe the original query in this thread was about the
repertoires of William Kempe and company in 1586, and Robert Browne and
company in 1592.  I don't know that specific repertoires are known for
those particular tours, but Schrickx's 1980 article has some good info
on the latter, including a new transcription of the passport given to
Browne's troupe in 1592 (replacing the defective transcription given by
Cohn), and the following article is one of several with good information
on the 1586 company:

Gunnar Sjogren, "Thomas Bull and Other 'English Instrumentalists' in
Denmark in the 1580s", *Shakespeare Survey* 22 (1969), 119.

More generally, Schluetter's 1998 article (cited above) gives a list of
plays known or suspected to have been performed by Robert Browne's
troupes in Germany, so the original questioner (Sophie Masson) may want
to look there.

Dave Kathman

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