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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Re: The Date of Richard II
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0749  Tuesday, 22 April 2003

[1]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Apr 2003 15:49:41 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0745 The Date of Richard II

[2]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Saturday, 19 Apr 2003 11:03:11 +0000
        Subj:   Time out of mind


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Apr 2003 15:49:41 -0400
Subject: 14.0745 The Date of Richard II (was the date of King
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0745 The Date of Richard II (was the date of King
John)

It's also perfectly possible that Elizabeth's cryptic remarks referred
to some other play or performance entirely. Over thirty years ago Peter
Ure suggested that she may have meant some dramatization or reading of
John Hayward's Tacitean historical narrative and analysis," The Life and
Narrative of King Henry IIII." Since Hayward spent time in the Tower for
his book, and since references to his book occur in the trial records,
this strikes me as equally as plausible--but also improvable--as the
idea Elizabeth meant Shakespeare's play. She made her comments six
months after the Essex rebellion, and the anecdote of the issue never
mentions Essex by name, let along definitively citing Shakespeare's
play. "...this tragedie was played 40 times in open streets and houses"
does not sound much like what we know of the productions of the
Chamberlain's men. And of course there were numerous minor theatrical
troops kicking around, even a shadowy one called the Earl of Essex's
men. As John Drakakis wrote in a recent set of exchanges on another
issue, there are many times in Shakespeare studies when we have to admit
uncertainty and discipline ourselves against taking speculation for
proof.

>In respect to Bryan Vickers's late dating of Richard II, the players
>specifically stated when called in on the Essex investigation that it
>was an old play and Elizabeth (making allowance for a royal prerogative
>to exaggerate) said it had been played forty times in the public
>streets. If Richard II had been a recent production, say post l596, the
>players would have paid dearly for their temerity. It is, of course,
>possible that the political content was later heightened in the Essex
>interests.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Saturday, 19 Apr 2003 11:03:11 +0000
Subject:        Time out of mind

Roger Parisious (17 Apr 2003) about the date of Richard II.

"[...] Elizabeth (making allowance for a royal prerogative to
exaggerate) said it had been played forty times in the public streets.
[...]

It is possible that she was alluding to Luke Chapter 4 (about Jesus in
the wilderness) - can't remember if it's in any of the other Gospel
accounts.

The phrase can be taken today, as it was then, as meaning "ages ago/ for
ages/for a long time".

"I waited ages for a devil and three came along at once."

Best,
Beelzebub Hall

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