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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reading Early Modern Drama

There are roughly 836 plays in Greg's Bibliography of the English Printed Drama to the Restoration.
Of plays 1-100, I've read 4 (ack, I hang my head in shame)
Of plays 101-200, I've read 31 (better, but still embarrassing; and if we counted only those I remember well...)
Of plays 201-300, I've read 26 (ugh, this is not going well)
Of plays 301-400, I've read 23 (sigh)
Of plays 401-500, I've read 50 (better...who knew?)
Of plays 501-600, I've read 6 (shocking)
Of plays 601-700, I've read 1 (I know...and why haven't I read The Prince of Prigs' Revels)
Of plays 701-800, I've read 3 (at this point, no longer a surprise)
Of plays 800-836, I've read zero!

So, on the bright side, it appears I've read about 144 plays first printed between 1512 and 1689, but, sadly, that represents about 17% of all the plays printed during that period. Now, I may have missed one or two here and there, and there surely aren't 144 plays about which scholars of early modern drama routinely write or journals are clamoring to print essays, but the fact remains that this total strikes me as shockingly paltry.

This brings me to what I hope will be a recurring feature here on Blogging the Renaissance: short summaries of plays we like but are rarely read. And by short, I mean short, as in no longer than 1,000 words. And by summaries, I mean mini-essays that explain why we like these plays and why others might like to read them.

But others can play too! In fact, send us your mini-essays about obscure (and not so obscure) plays, and, providing they're not libellous, we'll print them. My goal for this project is a handy resource that I and others can use when it suddenly seems as if I/we need to read, say, A Maidenhead Well Lost or The Costly Whore or Every Woman in Her Humour or Longer Thou Livest the More Fool Thou Art (how have I not read these plays)? Sort of a Karl J. Holzknecht for the twenty-first century.

Now's the time that I should initiate this process with an inaurgural summary, but--surprise, surprise--I'm too lazy to muster the energy to do so. But is this an idea that others would be interested in (or, for the pedants in the house, "in which others would be interested")? Or have I now placed myself in the category of Arch-Nerd of the Renaissance Blogosphere?

  • At 4/21/2006 01:28:00 AM, Blogger Greenwit wrote…

    I like it. I was actually doing this on my own for a while. I have dibs on Anything for a Quiet Life.


  • At 4/21/2006 01:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote…

    I think it's a great idea, a modern Holzknecht! I would love to participate via my blog -- I promise to do a play soon.


  • At 4/22/2006 09:24:00 AM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    Excellent, Kristine, it'll be great to have you on board.


  • At 4/24/2006 03:02:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    Great idea, as is Truewit's. Odd how you both came up with them within an hour of each other.

    They seem like they're worth combining, as I've done in the sidebar under "Holzknecht Redivivus."


  • At 5/03/2006 08:06:00 AM, Blogger DrRoy wrote…

    I would be loathe to lose my eminence as expert witness on 'Grim the Collier of Croydon'... I will have a go.


  • At 5/11/2006 02:43:00 PM, Blogger bdh wrote…

    I'd like to offer Mucedorus and The Late Lancashire Witches.


  • At 5/11/2006 02:48:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…


    Let us know when you've written them up, and we can either link to them on your own blog or you can email them to us and we'll post them here in your name, whichever you prefer.


  • At 6/06/2006 04:09:00 AM, Blogger bdh wrote…

    Oops. Just noticed that Mucedorus is IN the original Holzknecht. I'll do A Christian Turn'd Turke or The Three Ladies of London instead.


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