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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: June ::
In Search of a Hamlet Play Book
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1131  Thursday, 23 June 2005

From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jun 2005 11:06:48 EDT
Subject: 16.1104 In Search of a Hamlet Play Book
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1104 In Search of a Hamlet Play Book

Nick Clary asks about "[t]hree performances of Hamlet [that] were given
by Edwin Booth (as Hamlet) and Tommaso Salvini (as the Ghost) in 1886.
These performances were on April 30, 1886, at the Academy of Music in
New York City; on May 7, 1886, at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia;
and on May 14, 1886, at the Boston Theatre.  I have a copy of the Boston
Theatre playbill, which notes: "Books of Hamlet as presented on this
occasion can be had from the Attendants."  I am unable to locate a copy
of the Hamlet book for these performances. Does anyone know where a copy
of this book may be found?"

It did occur to me that, as Michael Morrison suggested, these "Books of
Hamlet" might be copies of the Booth-Winter promptbooks of 1878, not
specially adapted to the Booth-Salvini performances. However, I note the
following item in the collection of the Folger Shakespeare Library:

"Othello: as performed by Salvini and Booth... at... New York...
Philadelphia...
  [published:] Boston, 1886.

I haven't seen this, but it looks to be from the same tour: same year,
same actors, same three cities involved. Perhaps a closer examination of
it might yield information about the 1886 Hamlet book.

Finally, I find it interesting that Booth played the ghost to Salvini's
Hamlet in New York in 1873-4. Apparently Salvini in 1886 was returning
the favor. [See Candid Martinelli's Italophile Site
http://italophiles.com/salvini.htm.

Bill Lloyd

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