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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Shakespeare and the Spanish Delegation
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0381  Thursday, 24 February 2005

From:           Tom Krause <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Feb 2005 07:32:13 -0500
Subject: Shakespeare and the Spanish Delegation
Comment:        SHK 16.0353 Shakespeare and the Spanish Delegation

Terence Hawkes asks:

"David Evett observes that Measure for Measure was presented at court at
Christmastide, 1604, and adds that 'the company would have expected the
Spanish ambassador to report on it.' Would they? Is there any precedent
for this?"

I'm not sure what David Evett had in mind, but the Spanish Ambassador
(Juan de Tassis, Count of Villamediana) figured prominently in the
Christmastide celebrations the year before, including attending a
showing of Samuel Daniel's "The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses" just
after Twelfth Night.  I have this from Gustav Ungerer in "A Spaniard in
Elizabethan England" (citing E.K. Chambers in "The Elizabethan Stage"),
who somewhat cryptically adds that "[f]urther information on the
dramatic productions might be gleaned from the 'Relacion del
recibimiento y fiestas que se hizieron en Inglaterra al Conde
Villamediana . . . Dase cuenta de la embajada y otras cosas muy
notables' (Sevilla, B. Gomez, 1603 [presumably O.S.], 2pp.)."

If the Relacion does have something to say about the 1603 (O.S.)
productions, then that's all the precedent one can hope for, since 1603
was the first year since 1584 that a Spanish ambassador was in residence
in England.

Thanks in any event to David Evett for his insights on the Spanish
connections in Measure for Measure.  As those who took the time to read
the Measure for Measure threads in August-October 2004 know, one of the
issues there was whether Shakespeare would have made certain Spanish
references, Spain being, according to one disputant, "virtually on the
other side of the Renaissance world."  I think David's connections, plus
mine, show that Spain was much closer than some would like to think.  I
have revised my article to make this point (as well to take into account
some of the feedback received from other members of this list, for which
I am grateful); if anybody wants to see the revised version, please
email me off-list.

As to my original question on this thread, I'm just going to assume that
I'm the first to connect Shakespeare's service as groom of the chamber
to a play.

Tom Krause

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