The Shoemaker's Holiday

Overview

Thomas Dekker's The Shoemaker's Holiday is one of the most popular of Elizabethan plays, entertaining, racy and vivid in its characterisation. Revealing a vital portrait of Elizabethan London and the interaction of social classes within the city, its social commentary is on the whole optimistic, though darker tones are discernible. The play has had a lively history of performance on both the professional and amateur stage; the roles of Simon and Madgy Eyre in particular have proved worthy vehicles for the talents...
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The Shoemaker's Holiday

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Overview

Thomas Dekker's The Shoemaker's Holiday is one of the most popular of Elizabethan plays, entertaining, racy and vivid in its characterisation. Revealing a vital portrait of Elizabethan London and the interaction of social classes within the city, its social commentary is on the whole optimistic, though darker tones are discernible. The play has had a lively history of performance on both the professional and amateur stage; the roles of Simon and Madgy Eyre in particular have proved worthy vehicles for the talents of such performers as Sir Donald Wolfit and Dame Edith Evans, and a notable production was directed by Orson Welles.

The editors offer a study of the text; a historical and critical introduction, which includes a study of the play's relationship with contemporary life and drama and of its place in Dekker's work; a stage history; a detailed commentary and a reprint of source materials.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A popular comedy in Shakespeare's day, The Shoemaker's Holiday was temporarily removed from the repertory during the Restoration for being too racy. Here, Bernard Sahlins, a founder of Chicago's acclaimed comedy troupe, the Second City, has updated the text to make it more accessible to modern actors, sans editorial glosses or scholarly apparatus. It's all Dekker, except for about 450 words that have disappeared from the language or changed meaning. The adaptations made by Sahlins are invisible to anyone who is not intimately familiar with the text. For example, he has replaced sundry in the first line with several; later, "I'll o'erreach his policies" becomes "I'll outscheme him." The language of bawdy and insult is mostly untouched. While this is a legitimate effort, this reviewer is unconvinced of its virtue. Wanting to make a 16th-century play available to a general reading public is commendable, but altering the text is part of a dangerous trend that can lead to horrific writing when the original, if played well, is perfectly clear. That this play is intended for adults rather than teens who might have more trouble with the language makes the need for an adaptation all the more questionable. For specialized theater collections only.-Thomas E. Luddy, Salem State Coll., MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Booknews
Dekker's is one of the most popular Elizabethan plays. It reveals a vital portrait of Elizabethan London and the interaction of social classes within the city. In addition to the complete text of the play, the editors offer a study of the text, a historical and critical introduction on the play's relationship with contemporary life and drama and its place in Dekker's work, a stage history, a detailed commentary, and a reprint of source materials. Smallwood is deputy director and head of the education department at The Shakespeare Center at Stratford-Upon-Avon. Wells is general editor of . This is a reprint of an edition first published by Manchester University Press in 1979. Distributed by St. Martin's Press. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780713666601
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Series: New Mermaids
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Smallwood is Director of Courses at the Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham.

Stanley Wells is General Editor of the Oxford Anthology of Shakespeare.

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Table of Contents

General Editors' Preface vii
Preface ix
Abbreviations x
List of Illustrations xii
Introduction
1 Dekker's career: the play in its biographical context 1
2 Date: the play in its historical and literary context 8
3 The use of source material 17
4 The play 26
5 The play on the stage
The original staging 44
Later stage history 47
6 The text
Early editions 53
Later editions 58
The present text 62
Act-and scene divisions 63
The Shoemaker's Holiday 71
Appendices
A Dekker's use of The Gentle Craft 203
B The play's title 219
Index to the Commentary 222
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