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Shakespearean London Theatres

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.470  Monday, 1 December 2014

 

From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         November 16, 2014 at 3:00:49 PM EST

Subject:    Shakespearean London Theatres

 

[Editor’s Note:  The past few weeks TLS has had a number of Shakespeare and Early Modern reviews. I will provide excepts here; and if anyone wishes the entire article and does not have access to TLS, please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . -Hardy]

 

Peter Sillitoe 

 

Shakespearean London Theatres 

 

Edited by Maurice Hindle 

48pp. ShaLT. Paperback, £6.50. 

978 0 957537 90 5 

 

Between 1500 and 1600 London’s population grew from 50,000 to 200,000, and the walls of the medieval city ceased to mark its urban limits; between 1580 and 1600 alone, it doubled in size, leading the formerly itinerant entertainment industry to take up permanent residence. In Shakespearean London Theatres, edited by Maurice Hindle, Peter Sillitoe offers a compact history of the city’s playhouses from the temporary stage of the Red Lion in Mile End (1567), to James Burbage’s more permanent Theatre in Shoreditch (1576), from the indoor theatres favoured by the Caroline nobility, to their closure under Cromwell in 1642. 

 

Burbage built his pioneering polygonal venue on a Roman model; indeed, this building was the first purpose-built playhouse in a millennium. Its financial triumph inspired others to follow suit, with companies operating in Blackfriars and St Paul’s Cathedral by 1580, and four taverns within the city limits setting aside space for performances. This phase culminated in the building of Philip Henslowe’s Rose on Bankside in 1587; seven years later, Francis Langley erected the Swan nearby. Shakespeare arrived in London during this vital period, and by 1592 the upstart crow was already ruffling his competitors’ feathers. By 1599, he owned a 12.5 per cent share in the Globe, the most important English theatre of the age. 

 

Sillitoe’s book is short, but clearly written and richly illustrated, with a map of suggested walks. A website stocked with podcasts and videos accompanies it, and – thanks to a grant from the AHRC – the whole project is available as a free and brilliantly conceived app. The walks themselves are revelatory. Although many of the buildings you “visit” are no longer standing, it is nevertheless striking how the professional geography of London was closely integrated. One office of the Revels, the bureaucratic arm of the theatre industry, was located in Cheapside, home to many of the city’s trade guilds; as David Kathman has shown, many Elizabethan theatremen were also members of the Goldsmiths, Drapers and Grocers guilds. Another Revels office was established in 1608 next door to the Whitefriars indoor theatre built that year, directly between the Inns of Court and the centre of printing, and just south of the booksellers and stationers gathered around St Paul’s. 

 

[ . . . ]

 

Daniel Starza Smith 

 
 
Shakespeare at the Tabard

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.469  Monday, 1 December 2014

 

From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         October 28, 2014 at 3:43:58 PM EDT

Subject:    Shakespeare at the Tabard

 

[Editor’s Note:  The past few weeks TLS has had a number of Shakespeare and Early Modern reviews. I will provide excepts here; and if anyone wishes the entire article and does not have access to TLS, please contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . -Hardy]

 

Shakespeare at the Tabard 

 

Did Shakespeare and his “roystering associates” drink at the inn where Chaucer’s pilgrims gathered? 

 

Martha Carlin 

 

A  new glimpse of Shakespeare and his circle appears in a description of the London borough of Southwark, written around 1643 by an anonymous antiquary, and now part of a portfolio of twenty-seven loose sheets of paper in Edinburgh University Library (MS La. II 422/211). The recto sides of these pages contain manuscript notes, in fair copy, described as “Some notes for my Perambulation in and round ye Citye of London for six miles and Remnants of divers worthie things and men”. 

 

The notes chiefly concern Southwark and Hackney, and derive partly from Anthony Munday’s edition (1633) of John Stow’s Survey of London. There is also much material that appears to be otherwise unrecorded, however, and the author announces that his survey is intended only to notice those places and things that have been passed by or littled [sic] mentiond [sic] by those greate Antiquaries that have written of this noble Citye and ye which places are fast ruining as the Tabard Inne and ye many houses of Priesthood old Monuments Halls Palaces and Houses of its greate Citizens and Lords and may be useful to searchers of Antiquitye in time to come. 

 

In Southwark, he notes, there are “many ancient places yet to be seen and fast falling in ruine and not noticed by others”: not only the priory of St Mary Overy and the Bishop of Winchester’s palace, but “ye old House of ye Poet Gower”, London Bridge and “those Stews so long a source of profitt to ye Maiers of London and Bishopps of Winchester ye Bear Gardens and Playes”. Each September the Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen of London paid an official visit to Southwark Fair, and the antiquary describes how they used the Tabard inn in the high street as their headquarters, concluding with the following remarkable passage: 

 

Ye Tabard I find to have been ye resort Mastere Will Shakspear Sir Sander Duncombe Lawrence Fletcher Richard Burbage Ben Jonson and ye rest of their roystering associates in King Jameses time as in ye lange room they have cut their names on ye Pannels. 

 

[ . . . ] 

 

Sir Sander (or Sanders) Duncombe seems unlikely to have been their fellow “roisterer”. Knighted in 1617, and with a reputation, among other things, as a healer (according to John Evelyn’s Diary, when Evelyn’s mother lay mortally ill in 1635, Duncombe tried to save her life with “his celebrated and famous powder”), Duncombe was presumably younger than Shakespeare, Burbage, Jonson and Fletcher, and is not otherwise recorded as their associate. A Justice of the Peace for Middlesex in the early 1640s, he might have carved his name alongside theirs as an act of homage. 

 

The most likely time for Shakespeare and his “roystering associates” to have congregated at the Tabard was probably the decade after the opening of the Globe in 1599. (In 1609, the new indoor theatre at Blackfriars became the preferred theatre of the King’s Men, although they continued to perform at the Globe.) Lawrence Fletcher’s own graffiti certainly would have dated from this period, between his arrival in London in May 1603 and his death. In the following decade, Jonson became a member of a group of men, composed largely of lawyers and politicians, who met at the Mermaid tavern in the City. Shakespeare, however, was not a member of that group, leading some to doubt the credibility of John Aubrey’s and Thomas Fuller’s later accounts of the many lively “wit combates” between Jonson and Shakespeare. Perhaps these exchanges did indeed take place – at the Tabard in Southwark. 

 

[ . . . ]

 
 
‘Pericles, Prince of Tyre,’ at the Public Theater

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.468  Monday, 1 December 2014

 

From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:        November 25, 2014 at 9:14:09 AM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare's ‘Pericles, Prince of Tyre,' at the Public 

 

[Editor’s Note: This review is from The New York Times. –Hardy]

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/theater/shakespeares-pericles-prince-of-tyre-at-the-public-theater.html?_r=0

Intrigue in the Middle East, This Time From Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s ‘Pericles, Prince of Tyre,’ at the Public Theater 

 

By Alexis Soloski

Nov. 24, 2014

 

Last summer, the radio host Ira Glass prompted a Twitter tempest when he attended the Public Theater’s lackluster “King Lear” and tweeted: “No stakes, not relatable. I think I’m realizing: Shakespeare sucks.”

 

Maybe Mr. Glass saw the wrong Shakespeare play.

 

The theater’s Mobile Shakespeare Unit has just returned “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” to Lafayette Street, having toured the production to homeless shelters, community centers and correctional facilities — reaching audiences who can’t spend a day standing in line for Shakespeare in the Park tickets. Few Bardolators would argue that “Pericles” is the equal of “Lear” in poetry or power. It has a clunky, outmoded framing device, and its plot, which involves multiple shipwrecks, an unlikely resurrection and some extremely polite brothel customers, is tough to respect. But this 100-minute show (about half the length of “Lear”) is feisty and involving. And while I’ve never believed that great art has to be “relatable,” the audience members who watched the final act of “Pericles” with tears in their eyes seemed to find it so.

 

The director, Rob Melrose, has assembled a diverse eight-member cast, costumed in attractive neutrals, to play some 40 roles and provide the backing music, too. On a turquoise carpet, with the audience on all sides, they dash from Antioch to Ephesus, Tarsus to Tyre, and lands beyond, as Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Raffi Barsoumian) loses and recovers a wife and a child.

 

Mr. Melrose’s quick-march approach sacrifices nuance (and, frankly, a lot of poetry) to speed and lucidity. Even in this dizzying, genre-hopping play, with its elaborate leaps in time and place, the locations and relationships are always clear. The production is economical and modestly inventive, with wooden stools subbing for jousting horses, a silken sheet for billowing waves, a table for a bed and a bier, the carpet for pretty much everything else.

 

You might see grander Shakespeare, more provocative Shakespeare, more complicated Shakespeare, more lyrical Shakespeare, but you’re unlikely to see a clearer, swifter production. In brief: It doesn’t suck. Someone get Mr. Glass a ticket.

 
 
First Folio Discovered in France

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.467  Monday, 1 December 2014

 

[1] From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         November 26, 2014 at 5:08:29 PM EST

     Subject:    Shakespeare Folio Discovered in Franc

 

[2] From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         November 25, 2014 at 3:42:52 PM EST

     Subject:    Shakespeare First Folio found in French library 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         November 26, 2014 at 5:08:29 PM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare Folio Discovered in France 

 

[Editor’s Note: I am sure everyone has heard of this discovery by now, but I thought you might like to read excerpts from The New York Times and The Guardian. –Hardy]

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/26/arts/shakespeare-folio-discovered-in-france-.html?_r=0

 

Shakespeare Folio Discovered in France

 

By Jennifer Schuessler

Nov. 25, 2014

 

First folios of Shakespeare’s plays are among the world’s rarest books, intensely scrutinized by scholars for what their sometimes-minute variations — each copy is different — reveal about the playwright’s intentions.

 

Now a previously unknown folio has surfaced at a small library in northern France, bringing the world’s known total of surviving first folios to 233.

 

“This is huge,” said Eric Rasmussen, an American Shakespeare expert who traveled to France over the weekend to authenticate the volume. “First folios don’t turn up very often, and when they do, it’s usually a really chewed up, uninteresting copy. But this one is magnificent.”

 

The book was discovered this fall by librarians at a public library in St.-Omer, near Calais, who were sifting through its collections for an exhibition on English-language literature. The title page and other introductory material were torn off, but Rémy Cordonnier, the director of the library’s medieval and early modern collection, suspected that the book — cataloged as an unexceptional old edition — might in fact be a first folio.

 

He called in Mr. Rasmussen, a professor at the University of Nevada in Reno and the author of “The Shakespeare First Folios: A Descriptive Catalogue,” who identified it within minutes.

“It was very emotional to realize we had a copy of one of the most famous books in the world,” Mr. Cordonnier said. “I was already imagining the reaction it would cause.”

 

Few scholars have yet seen the book. But its discovery among holdings inherited from a long-defunct Jesuit college is already being hailed as a potential source of fresh insight into everything from tiny textual variants to the question of Shakespeare’s connection to Catholic culture.

 

[ . . . ]

 

The St.-Omer folio, which is to be put on display there next year, will no doubt draw legions of visitors. It also, Mr. Rasmussen said, may feed one of the more contentious disputes in Shakespeare studies: whether the playwright was a secret Catholic.

 

That claim, Mr. Rasmussen said, has long been the subject of much “intelligent speculation,” most prominently of late by the Harvard scholar Stephen Greenblatt. The discovery of the folio in St.-Omer provides a bit more ballast, he said, if hardly a smoking gun.

 

Mr. Rasmussen pointed out the name “Neville,” inscribed on the folio’s first surviving page — a possible indication, he said, that the book was brought to St.-Omer in the 1650s by Edward Scarisbrick, a member of a prominent English Catholic family who went by that alias and attended the Jesuit college, founded when Catholics were banned from England’s universities.

 

“People have been making some vague arguments, but now for the first time we have a connection between the Jesuit college network and Shakespeare,” he said. “The links become a little more substantial when you have this paper trail.”

 

Jean-Christophe Mayer, a Shakespeare expert at the University of Montpellier III, France, cautioned against making too strong a connection, but noted that a library in the northern French town of Douai also owned some early transcripts of Shakespeare’s plays. “It’s interesting that the plays were on the syllabuses at these colleges,” he said. The new folio, he added, “could be part of the puzzle of Shakespeare’s place in Catholic culture.”

 

The St.-Omer folio will also help with the dizzyingly intricate piecing together of the most authentic versions of the plays. The text of each surviving first folio differs subtly from the others; compositors in the print shop constantly made corrections, introducing many textual uncertainties that still bedevil scholars and stage directors alike.

The St.-Omer folio, Mr. Rasmussen said, also contains handwritten notes that may illuminate how the plays were performed in Shakespeare’s time.

 

[ . . . ]

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         November 25, 2014 at 3:42:52 PM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare First Folio found in French library 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2014/nov/25/shakespeare-first-folio-found-in-french-library

 

Shakespeare First Folio found in French library

 

The book – one of only 230 believed to still exist - had lain undisturbed in library at Saint-Omer for 200 years

 

A rare and valuable William Shakespeare First Folio has been discovered in a provincial town in France.

 

The book – one of only 230 believed to still exist - had lain undisturbed in the library at Saint-Omer in the north of France for 200 years.

 

Medieval literature expert Rémy Cordonnier was searching for books to use in a planned exhibition of “Anglo-Saxon” authors when he stumbled across the 1623 tome in September.

 

Cordonnier, a librarian, said that at first he had no idea that the battered book in his hands was a treasure.

 

“It had been wrongly identified in our catalogue as a book of Shakespeare plays most likely dating from the 18th century,” he said on Tuesday. “I didn’t instantly recognise it as a book of value. It had been heavily used and was damaged. It had seen better days.”

Cordonnier contacted one of the world’s most eminent authorities on Shakespeare, Prof Eric Rasmussen of the University of Nevada in Reno, who – as luck would have it – was in London working at the British Library.

 

“He was very interested by the elements I had sent him by mail and said he would come over and take a look. He identified it as a First Folio very quickly,” said Cordonnier.

 

Although the book, originally believed to contain 300 pages, has around 30 pages missing and no title page, it will still be the centrepiece of the French library’s exhibition next summer.

 

“One of the most interesting things about the book is that the Henry IV play has clearly been performed because there are notes and directions on the pages that we believe date from around the time the book was produced,” Cordonnier said.

 

[ . . . ]

 

In the 16th century, Saint-Omer was home to an important Jesuit order that welcomed Roman Catholic clergy fleeing Protestant persecution in England. The First Folio discovered in the town is thought to have been brought to France during that era and held in the Jesuit library until the French Revolution when the order’s collection was confiscated and used as the basis for a public library.

 

[ . . . ]

 

 
Book Announcements: To Take Upon Us the Mystery of Things

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.466  Monday, 1 December 2014

 

From:        Ira Zinlaw < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         November 28, 2014 at 2:12:39 PM EST

Subject:    Book Announcements: To Take Upon Us the Mystery of Things

 

This is to announce a book just published in October 2014.

 

Title: To Take Upon Us The Mystery of Things: The Shakespeare Lectures of Martin Lings

 

Author/Editor:  Ira B. Zinman

 

Link to Publisher: Matheson Trust Publications, UK

 

http://themathesontrust.org/library/to-take-upon-us

Link to Seller USA: http://www.amazon.com/Take-Mystery-Things-Words-Wisdom/dp/1908092106/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417201834&sr=1-2&keywords=ira+zinman 

 
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