The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0240 Saturday, 26 April 2008
Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2008 16:36:45 +0100
Subject: 19.0236 Thomas Kyd and 1 Henry 6
Comment: Re: SHK 19.0236 Thomas Kyd and 1 Henry 6
It rather looks as if the TLS are not going to print my letter, so this
is roughly what I was trying to say:
The Temple Garden itself had been created in 1591, and so would have
been topical at the time of the premiere of 1 Henry 6 in March 1592.
Moreover, that premiere had taken place at the Rose playhouse - the
scene would not have been quite so appropriate if written for The
Theatre playhouse in 1594 or 1595.
The only reason for invoking a date after "the summer of 1594" for the
rose-plucking scene is that the stage directions of The True Tragedie of
Richard Duke of Yorke (1595) [3 Henry 6] refer to the wearing of roses
by the two factions (the only such references in the 'subsequent' Henry
6 plays - there is no mention in The First Part of the Contention (1594)
[2 Henry 6]), and so those stage directions must post-date the Temple
Garden scene. But the title page of that publication says that the play
had been performed by Pembroke's Men - and they had probably ceased to
exist in 1593, as had Strange's Men in all likelihood. So it is likely
that the Temple Garden scene pre-dated 1593 - or "the summer of 1594",
in any event.
Titus Andronicus received its premiere at the Rose in January 1594
(after the playhouses had been closed for almost a year because of the
plague), so there is every reason to suppose that Shakespeare himself
had also been involved with the original production there of 1 Henry 6
(by Strange's Men).
When Titus Andronicus was printed in 1594, its title page proclaimed
that it had been played by "the Earle of Darbie," [i.e. Lord Strange]
"Earle of Pembroke, and Earle of Sussex their Seruants". The best
explanation of this is that at the time of the January 1594 premiere,
Sussex's Men incorporated the remnants of both Strange's Men and
Pembroke's Men - and included Shakespeare himself in their number.
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