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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
The Essex Rebellion and Richard II
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0438  Monday, 16 February 2004

[1]     From:   Tom Rutter <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Feb 2004 18:50:36 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0423 The Essex Rebellion and Richard II

[2]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Feb 2004 23:31:59 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0423 The Essex Rebellion and Richard II

[3]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Saturday, 14 Feb 2004 11:32:04 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0423 The Essex Rebellion and Richard II


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Rutter <
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Date:           Friday, 13 Feb 2004 18:50:36 -0000
Subject: 15.0423 The Essex Rebellion and Richard II
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0423 The Essex Rebellion and Richard II

Hugh Grady writes, 'There remains the problem of what play witnesses in
the Essex trial alluded to when they claimed Essex applauded
ostentatiously at a dramatized overthrow of Richard by Henry IV--a play
Elizabeth said in her famous "I am Richard II" remarks was performed
forty times in streets and houses.'

I don't have the rest of the quotation to hand, but from what I recall,
isn't it conceivable that Elizabeth wasn't referring to a stage play at
all?  Nothing in the surrounding text (as I remember) alludes to drama;
the phrase 'this tragedy was played forty times in open streets and
houses' could just be one instance of the theatrical metaphor that was
so pervasive in Elizabethan speech, a reference to the Essex rebellion
itself maybe, rather than to performances of a play.

To take one of many examples from Anne Barton's 'Shakespeare and the
Idea of the Play', in 2 Henry VI 3.1.151 Gloucester says that his death
'is made the prologue to their play; / For thousands more that yet
suspect no peril / Will not conclude their plotted tragedy'. Could
Elizabeth similarly be using the idea of the play as a metaphor?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Friday, 13 Feb 2004 23:31:59 -0000
Subject: 15.0423 The Essex Rebellion and Richard II
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0423 The Essex Rebellion and Richard II

 >Peter Bridgman's comment that "Blair Worden should have checked out the
 >official account, written 18 Feb 1601, of actor Augustine Phillips'
 >interrogation by Popham . . ." is odd, for of course Worden did check it
 >and quotes it in a paragraph beginning "Now for the objection . . .".
 >Surely Bridgman wouldn't have written this without reading Worden's
 >article, yet it's hard to see what else could explain his mistake.

I do beg your pardon.  I shouldn't have contributed to the thread
without reading Worden's article in full.  The link we were given only
let non-subscribers read the first part of the article.

While Augustine Phillips' testimony regarding the "play of the deposing
and killing of King Richard the Second" seems fairly unambiguous to me,
I've often wondered how Shakespeare managed to stay out of prison if his
play kick-started the Essex rebellion.  Thomas Kyd was tortured for much
less.

Peter Bridgman

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Saturday, 14 Feb 2004 11:32:04 -0600
Subject: 15.0423 The Essex Rebellion and Richard II
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0423 The Essex Rebellion and Richard II

Gabriel Egan wrote:

 >Respondents to John Price's enquiry about Blair Worden's piece in LRB on
 >the play performed at the Globe the day before the Essex rebellion
 >appear to have missed Worden's central point, which (although Worden's
 >style doesn't make it explicit) seems to be founded on a discovery:
 >
 >>The connection between Hayward's book and the stage
 >>is established in a document among the State Papers, apparently
 >>written in or around July 1600 on the initiative of Attorney-General
 >>Coke, and listing a number of allegations against Essex. Among
 >>them is the charge (whose meaning is clearer than its syntax) of
 >>'underhand permitting that most treasonable book of Henry IV
 >>to be printed and published, being plainly deciphered, not only
 >>by the matter and the epistle' - the dedication - 'thereof, for what
 >>end and for whose behoof it was made, but also the earl himself
 >>being so often PRESENT AT THE PLAYING THEREOF, and
 >>with great applause giving countenance and liking to the same'. In
 >>other words, HAYWARD'S BOOK HAD BEEN DRAMATISED,
 >>and Essex - at what venue or venues, and in what company, we
 >>cannot know - had watched, and given endorsement to, the
 >>dramatisation. (LRB 10 July 2003 p. 22, emphasis added)
 >
 >If anyone here already knew that Hayward's book had been dramatized, I'd
 >be grateful for a reference antedating Worden.

This reference is not new, not by a long shot.  Chambers quotes the same
passage in 1930 in *William Shakespeare: A Study of the Facts and
Problems*, volume 1, p. 354.  I'm sure it's cited elsewhere as well, but
that's the one that came immediately to mind.

Dave Kathman

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