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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: July ::
Use of Word 'actor
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1443  Friday, 16 July 2004

From:           Norman Hinton <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 Jul 2004 11:21:05 -0500
Subject: 15.1435 Use of Word 'actor'
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1435 Use of Word 'actor'

I don't want this misinterpreted as a criticism of Ged Bentley -- I was
a (very junior) colleague of his for 4 years in the 1950's and have a
great respect for his scholarship and for him personally.

But Ged is not consistent in his use of "player" and "actor" even in his
own book -- for instance, on p. 21 "....everyone remembers that Ben
Jonson fought a duel with his fellow actor Gabriel Spencer and killed
him, in 1598...."

I don't regard this as a fault, nor do I think there is any evidence
that suggests that one is wrong in using the word "actor" in regard to
16th century players -- Bentley also notes, in the same Introduction
cited a few notes back, that "...the few casts or lists in the quartos
and folios before 1642 all use the word "actor" except Ben Jonson's
early editions, which use either "Tragedians" or "Comedians"...."

I see no reason to be fussy about the usage.

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