The Shakespearian Playing Companies

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This ground-breaking study is the first history of the professional acting companies who brought drama to London in Shakespeare's time. Gurr draws on the most up-to-date research to provide a general history of company development from the 1560s, when the first of the major companies belonging to great lords began regularly to offer their plays at court and in London, to 1642, when by Act of Parliament they were closed down. He offers detailed and fascinating accounts of each of the forty companies that played in London during the period, including Shakespeare's company, The Chamberlain's/King's Men. His fascinating and authoritative volume will take its place as an indispensable reference work and the authoritative history for all scholars and students of Renaissance--and Shakespearean--drama.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Extensive, authoritative, and lucid...conveying a great deal of significant information.....Will influence the field substantially."--Studies in English Literature

"This book represents a major contribution to our knowledge of the London stage, and is destined to remain the authoritative study of its subject for many years to come."--Sixteenth Century Journal

"Gurr's wide knowledge of the field makes the book fascinating reading. He relates changes in the repertory to shifts in management or makeup of a particular company. His learned assumptions about the reasons for certain repertories, such as increasing social divisiveness among audiences or the preferences of a given patron, are both useful and persuasive....The Shakespearean Playing Companies is an interesting, vastly learned book."--Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England

"It is a master narrative of the rise and decline of the major acting companies from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century....The prospects opened by this book are always enlivening."--Modern Philology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198129776
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Pt. I A History of the London Companies from the 1560s to 1642
1 An Introduction 3
2 The First London Companies 19
3 Travelling 36
4 Lording it Over the Players 55
5 Settled Practices 78
6 The Changes of 1603 105
7 The Four Companies Under James 120
8 From 1625 to 1642: Before the Revolution 137
Pt. II The Company Histories
9 Introduction 161
10 The Early Elizabethan Companies: Berkeley's, Essex's, Rich's, Lane's, Clinton's, Lincoln's, Warwick's, and Sussex's 167
11 Leicester's Men, 1559-1588 185
12 The Queen's Men, 1583-1603 196
13 The Early Boy Companies: Westminster, Merchant Taylors', and Eton Schools; Windsor Chapel, the Chapel Royal Children, and the First Paul's Chapel Children 218
14 The Lord Admiral's/Prince's/Palatine's Men 230
15 Strange's/Derby's Men, 1564-1620, and Pembroke's Men, 1591-1601 258
16 Hunsdon's/Chamberlain's/King's Men, 1594-1608 278
17 The Lesser Elizabethan Competitors: Oxford's, Hertford's, and Chandos's 306
18 Worcester's/Queen Anne's/Revels Company, 1562-1625 317
19 The Later Paul's Boys, 1599-1606 337
20 The Blackfriars Boys, 1600-1613, and the King's Revels Boys, 1607-1608 347
21 The King's Men, 1608-1642 366
22 The Jacobean Royal Children's Companies: The Duke of York's/Prince Charles's (I) Company, and the Lady Elizabeth's Men 394
23 The Caroline Hall Companies: Queen Henrietta's Men, 1626-1642, King's Revels, 1629-1637, and Beeston's Boys, 1637-1642 416
24 The Caroline Amphitheatre Companies: The King and Queen of Bohemia's Men, 1626-1631, Prince Charles's (II) Men, 1631-1642, and the Red Bull Company, 1626-1642 437
Bibliography 449
Index 463
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