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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: June ::
How long to write a play?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0415  Wednesday, 27 June 2007

[1] 	From: 	Colin Cox <
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	Date: 	Monday, 25 Jun 2007 15:07:12 -0700
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0408 How long to write a play?

[2] 	From: 	William Godshalk <
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	Date: 	Monday, 25 Jun 2007 19:49:27 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0408 How long to write a play?

[3] 	From: 	Mathew Lyons <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 26 Jun 2007 08:55:21 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0408 How long to write a play?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Colin Cox <
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Date: 		Monday, 25 Jun 2007 15:07:12 -0700
Subject: 18.0408 How long to write a play?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0408 How long to write a play?

The question of how many sources Shakespeare actually used has become of 
interest to me of late. I have an estimate that he only needed 19 books 
and 10 plays. And of further interest, 7 of the books he got from his 
schooldays buddy, Richard Field. I'd appreciate the list's comments on this.

Colin Cox

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		William Godshalk <
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Date: 		Monday, 25 Jun 2007 19:49:27 -0400
Subject: 18.0408 How long to write a play?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0408 How long to write a play?

 >To Larry Weiss "it appears that WS had only one or two
 >sources [for the history plays] -- Holinshed and (for the
 >Wars of the Roses) Hall.  The plays show no evidence that
 >he looked at primary sources or any other secondary sources
 >(if there were any). Indeed, some passages in the plays are
 >little more than versifications of what Holinshed wrote. I am
 >thinking in particular of the Archbishop's exegesis on the Salic
 >law in HenV,I.ii and many passages in HenVIII, including
 >Shakespearean passages."

I'm sure that others will take exception to some of these 
generalizations. But I just put my copy of Hall (Scolar, 1970) on the 
scale and it weighs over 10 pounds. It's in black-letter type. Be 
honest. The last time you read Hall, how long did it take?

Bill

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Mathew Lyons <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 26 Jun 2007 08:55:21 +0100
Subject: 18.0408 How long to write a play?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0408 How long to write a play?

The notoriously slow Ben Jonson wrote Poetaster in fifteen weeks, 
according to Rosalind Miles in her biography 'Ben Jonson: His Life and 
Work'.

Also, although I don't have it to hand to check, in Sally-Beth Maclean 
and Scott McMillin's book on The Queen's Men, they record a law suit 
between a playwright/poet called Rowland Broughton and a group of 
players in the early 1580s. I don't recall all the details, but 
Broughton was contracted to write 18 plays in 30 months, or one every 
seven weeks or so. He failed to deliver on that - otherwise there would 
be no law suit - but on the other hand, both he and the players 
obviously thought it was a feasible undertaking in the first place.

Mathew Lyons

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