London's four Inns of Court (Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, and the Inner and the Middle Temple) served, probably from the fourteenth century, as nurseries not only of common law and lawyers, but of the social arts of music and dancing, and of the mimetic arts of comedy, tragedy, and the masque. Their denizens composed and acted in their own plays, especially in the 1560s under Elizabeth I, and performed in masques composed by professional playwrights in the Jacobean period. This three-volume edition of dramatic records surviving from the Inns of Court collection includes material from manuscripts and printed books from the archives and libraries of all four Inns, as well as from The National Archives, the British Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library and other repositories, covering over 200 years from 1407 to the closing of the theatres in 1642. Of particular note are account entries from the beginning of the seventeenth century which situate performances of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors (1594) and Twelfth Night (1602) in the context of annual visits to the Inns of Court by professional playing companies, such as (after 1603) the king's men. The Introduction provides a survey of Christmas entertainment supervised by Inns of Court Masters of the Revels and Christmas Princes, including minstrels, a lion-tamer, musicians, disguisings, plays, masques, and even a puppet-show. The illustrations (ground-plans and plates) offer evidence of the original performance conditions for Inns of Court plays and masques. Alan H. Nelson is Professor of English Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley; the late John R. Elliott Jr was Professor of English at Syracuse University.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 1184
Weight: 3157 g
Dimensions: 247 x 166 x 137 mm
[O]ffers instructors, particularly of undergraduate classes, a fresh, innovative vehicle for introducing their students to the rich and varied literary, cultural, and religious texts of the early modern period. SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL [S]ets a new standard. It is difficult to imagine further studies on the Inns that are not significantly indebted to the research in these volumes. COMPARATIVE DRAMA REED is a modern scholarly miracle, and may even be a modern political miracle. [...] REED has become a useful tool not only for students of literature, drama, and performance generally but also for social historians and many others. [...] the REED Inns of Court volumes provide us with 1,064 pages of valuable information and interpretation in an orderly and clear fashion. Students working in this period could hardly ask for more. NOTES AND QUERIES [A] useful resource for scholars of early modern English social history, legal history, and drama. RENAISSANCE QUARTERLY [T]he collection is a treasure trove of material for students of dramatic and ceremonial culture in medieval and early modern London. YEARS WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIES
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