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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: August ::
Henslowe's 'ne
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1513  Thursday, 12 August 2004

From:           Chris Whatmore <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Aug 2004 22:12:18 +0100
Subject:        Henslowe's 'ne'

I'm working my way through the Foakes 2nd edition of Henslowe's Diary
and was wondering whether the unexplained annotation 'ne' might have
been referring to the box office receipts rather than directly to the
plays themselves. Is there a readily accessible discussion of this,
other than in Foakes' own introduction? As Foakes points out, the
receipts for the 'ne' days were significantly higher than average, which
suggests that for whatever reason, Henslowe pocketed more than his usual
half share of the gallery takings on these occasions. (At any rate, this
seems a more likely explanation than higher entrance charges or bigger
crowds.) If Henslowe received 100% of the galleries on 'ne' days instead
of 50%, then rather than being an abbreviation of 'new' or 'newly
licensed' (or even, as I've seen it suggested in the SHAKSPER archives,
'Newington Butts'), 'ne' might simply mean 'net' (or 'nett' or 'neat')
in the sense of "free from, or not subject to, any deduction" (OED).
This meaning would be consistent with the disappearance of 'ne' after
July 1598, when Henslowe began to take 100% of the gallery receipts from
every performance - although, since his practice of naming each
individual play also ceased from this date, it does not of course rule
out the traditional assumption that 'ne' referred to the plays rather
than the money. cw

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