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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: March ::
Representations of the Living
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0589  Wednesday, 30 March 2005

[1]     From:   Bob Grumman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Mar 2005 11:20:03 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living

[2]     From:   Norman Hinton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Mar 2005 11:14:55 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living

[3]     From:   Julia Griffin <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Mar 2005 15:24:47 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living

[4]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 29 Mar 2005 22:03:01 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living

[5]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 30 Mar 2005 06:42:15 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Grumman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Mar 2005 11:20:03 -0500
Subject: 16.0571 Representations of the Living
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living

 >Prior to Middleton and Dekker's The Roaring Girl, was there any play
 >purporting to represent a then-living person? Did this occur in ancient
 >drama? Are there other examples in Elizabethan & Jacobean times? For
 >this last question, I would include A Game at Chess, even though there
 >was "hiding in plain sight" the persons being represented. I would like
 >to exclude from the answers persons who had recently died, such as Queen
 >Elizabeth in Heywood's history plays.
 >
 >Suggestions are appreciated.

As I'm sure others will quickly tell you, Aristophanes did--some guy
named Socrates, for instance.

--Bob G.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Norman Hinton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Mar 2005 11:14:55 -0600
Subject: 16.0571 Representations of the Living
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living

Aristophanes put Socrates on the stage (the two are contemporaries), and
Aristophanes has allusions to literally dozens of living Athenians by
name in his plays.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Julia Griffin <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Mar 2005 15:24:47 -0500
Subject: 16.0571 Representations of the Living
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living

Certainly it happens in ancient comedy - The Clouds of Aristophanes is
probably the best-known example.  I think the only example in ancient
tragedy is Aeschylus' The Persians, in which the Persian King Xerxes and
his mother lament a Greek victory in which many of the audience will
have taken part a few years before.  They are, of course, foreigners to
that audience.  The same applies to the personnel of Sir John Van Olden
Barnavelt (1619), an extremely topical play.  Representing one's own
compatriots is clearly a different thing - probably less common?

Julia Griffin

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Tuesday, 29 Mar 2005 22:03:01 +0100
Subject: 16.0571 Representations of the Living
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living

Jack Heller wrote:

 >Prior to Middleton and Dekker's The Roaring Girl, was there any play
 >purporting to represent a then-living person?

I suppose that depends upon the ontological status of Christopher Sly.

John Briggs

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Mar 2005 06:42:15 EST
Subject: 16.0571 Representations of the Living
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0571 Representations of the Living

Wasn't Socrates still alive when Aristophanes lampooned him?

These are perhaps special instances of living persons appearing on stage:

In Webster's Induction to Marston's Malcontent [1604] the players
Richard Burbage, John Lowin and Henry Condell appear on stage in propria
persona; and in the academic play Return from Parnassus Part II [1601]
Burbage and Will Kempe appear as characters. Both are pre-Roaring Girl.

Post 1608, there's the Prince of Orange [and perhaps other characters?]
in Fletcher and Massinger's Barnavelt.

In a similar case, were any of the historical Spanish generals or
soldiers who spoiled Antwerp in 1576 still alive when they were depicted
in Alarum for London [c1599]?

And though I haven't made a survey I suspect that at least some
characters in plays on recent French history [such as Marlowe's Massacre
at Paris, or several of Chapman's plays] still would have been alive
when those plays were on the London stage. I haven't the patience to sit
down with the castlists and a history of France [or Google] but there
might well be some to find there.

Bill Lloyd

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