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Martin Wiggins, British Drama 1533-1642: A Catalogue. Volumes I-III.
by Brian Vickers

Martin Wiggins, British Drama 1533-1642: A Catalogue. Volume I: 1533-1566. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. li + 500 pp. ISBN: 978-0199265718. $160.00 cloth.

— Volume II: 1567-1589. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. xv + 519 pp. ISBN: 978-0199265725. $141.00 cloth.

— Volume III: 1590-1597. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2013.  2013. xii + 444 pp. ISBN: 978-0199265732. $160.00 cloth.


As Francis Bacon might have said, some books disappoint expectations, some fulfil them, and others far exceed them. This enterprise comes in the third category, or perhaps a fourth, so much does it surpass what we might have expected. The author is a Senior Lecturer at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon. In the Preface to the first volume (2010) he describes his Catalogue as having been “compiled from a close reading of the corpus of surviving texts and of other available evidence, undertaken in the course of eleven years” (vii). The print edition will run to ten volumes, of which the first three appeared with commendable regularity: Volume IV: 1598-1602, appeared in 2014; Volume V: 1603-1608, came out in January 2015; and Volume VI: 1609-16 will be published this winter. To have reached the half-way point within three years is a remarkable achievement and it is good to know that work proceeds in parallel on the electronic edition, prepared by Catherine Richardson, which, as Wiggins promises, “will enable new ways of seeing patterns and continuities across the whole body of material” (viii).

The long years of preparation were attended by a good deal of thought concerning the scope and arrangement of this catalogue. Its predecessor, in some respects, was Annals of English Drama 975-1700, compiled by Alfred Harbage in 1940, reissued in a revised edition by Samuel Schoenbaum,[1] with two Supplements published in pamphlet form.[2] A third edition was prepared by Sylvia Stoler Wagonheim,[3] but received several critical reviews listing its many errors.[4] Annals was undoubtedly a useful reference work. The main section, “Chronology and Information,” contained a tabular listing of each work from the Quem Quaeritis to Congreve’s The Way of the World. It listed the author, title, the time-limits of dating (where information survives) and a median estimate, the genre, the “Auspices” of its composition and performance, the earliest texts, and the most recent edition, all this in 202 pages. There followed a further 125 pages, containing (1) two Supplementary Lists of plays of uncertain date and identity, both surviving and lost; (2) a list of 302 single or collected editions; (3) a list of about 90 editions of plays as doctoral dissertations. A series of indexes was devoted to (4) English playwrights; (5) English plays; (6) foreign playwrights; (7) foreign plays translated or adapted; (8) dramatic companies; (9) theatres, and (10) an Appendix of the extant play manuscripts, 975-1700. Annals compressed a great deal of information into a handy, compact volume, but it was essentially a series of lists, without discussion. The difference of scale between it and the present Catalogue can be seen from comparing the two in terms of coverage for the period of the latter’s first three volumes. For the period 1533-1566, the Annals devotes 16 pages to its Chronology, together with perhaps 12 pages of supplementary information, while the Catalogue devotes 472 pages, containing information covering many more aspects of the plays’ literary and theatrical history, together with extended discussions of performance practice. For the period covered by Volume II, 1567-1589, the comparable figures would be 28 and 491 pages; and for 1590-1597, 24 and 423 pages. Considering that the Catalogue is printed double column, in small type, it is approximately 40 times larger than the Annals.



Wiggins explains the rationale for his wider coverage in the Introduction to Volume I, which raises some important issues in compiling a reference work of this scope. He describes it as

an enumerative, descriptive, and analytical catalogue of identifiable dramatic works, both extant and lost, written by English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish authors, in all languages, during the 110 years between 1 January 1533 and 31 December 1642 …  It is not a bibliography, nor is it an edition of primary sources, either texts or records. The objective is to complement rather than replace existing reference books and research resources. One major difference is that previous reference books have tended to be document-based rather than event-based: they reproduce evidential material, but do not attempt a historical synthesis of it. Thus, for example, G. E. Bentley’s magisterial Jacobean and Caroline Stage might quote three different descriptions of a production, whereas this catalogue combines the information from all three in a single account of the event. (I: ix)

It is undoubtedly more convenient to have the material pertinent to one play collected in one place; where a play is referred to in other entries, that can be checked from the “Index of Plays” (I: 495-500), one of three useful indexes, the others being one of “real people referred to in the Catalogue” (473-89),[5] and an “Index of Places” (491-3). A section on the outer date limits, “1533-1642: Reformation to Revolution,” describes the political factors that affected drama: “the break with Rome enacted in 1533 resulted in the co-option of drama in the cause of the English Reformation; and the start of the English Revolution in 1642 saw the closure of the London theatres and the effective suspension of commercial play-writing in England.”[6] One casualty was the medieval mystery cycles, but in some cases their materials could be reused. John C. Coldewey has noted that local Essex drama “fell into desuetude after the Reformation, but was revived after the vestiarian controversy released a lot of former clerical garments for use as players’ costumes” (x).[7]

Wiggins has given careful thought to many problems, including the nature of drama itself, where his conception differs from other broad definitions that include music, oratory, song, dance, and pageantry:

The Catalogue draws narrower limits: to be deemed dramatic, a work must be fictive, however vestigially, and must include some element of narrative or scripted language; an event entailing impersonation would only qualify for inclusion if one or more of the characters speak or tell a story in mime, rather than acting as an unexplained or self-explanatory tableau vivant. (xii)

For the most part, “it is obvious whether or not a work is dramatic,” but three types of performance fall into the borderline category: “dialogues, civic pageants, and tilts.”

Dialogues are of course unquestionably dramatic where there is evidence that they were performed or were written for performance. Beyond that, the judgement turns on whether they contain characterization or fictive narrative which goes beyond being merely an expository vehicle for the ideas expressed: allusion to a situation over and above the immediate needs of the ideas, or gestural reference to props, will tend to indicate a dialogue’s dramatic status. (xiii)

The Catalogue includes “English translations of Erasmus’ colloquies…  because they are primarily narratives with lively characterization,” but not dialogues of a didactic nature. London civic pageants are included when they feature “narratives and speeches,” but “Tilts were fundamentally sporting events rather than inherently dramatic spectacles in their own right. They sometimes incorporated fictive representation as a structural part of an event’s conceit and sometimes featured discrete entertainments which were designed to introduce individual combatants,” and such specimens merit inclusion (xiv).

Rather like the neo-classical treatises on poetry that Jonson borrowed from in Discoveries, Wiggins defines a play as follows:

Any play assigned an entry in the Catalogue must be a distinct individual work temporally finite rather than open-ended. This has a bearing on the classification of revels and royal entertainments, on the treatment of some lost plays and masques, and on the interpretation of documentary evidence in general. (xv)

Some Christmas revels, such as the Gesta Grayorum at Gray’s Inn (1594-5), appointed a lord of misrule, who presided over plays and masques but also over mock versions of government, “such as passing laws, punishing offenders, receiving ambassadors”: “Such events fall just outside the borderline, because they were open-ended: playing does not necessarily make a play.” Some royal entertainments, likewise, “are a bag of unrelated material” (xv), only parts of which qualify. Our knowledge of these mainly derives from the Revels Office papers, a documentary source familiar to historians of masques and shows at the Tudor court, which include “annual accounts of expenditure” and “inventories of costumes and props, neither of which reliably identify the events concerned” (xvii). As Wiggins puts it,

Interpreting the accounts as a dramatic historian is rather like trying to put together a set of incomplete jigsaws in which pieces of more than one puzzle are jumbled indifferently together, and in which many of the pieces are in any event missing. (xviii)

Analogous problems arise with a much more familiar source, Philip Henslowe’s account-book, which contains two types of record: “a list of his daily takings for the Admiral’s Men’s performances at the Rose during the period 1592-7, and, in the period 1597-1603, miscellaneous notes of his literary and theatrical expenditure in connection with performances by the Admiral’s Men and, latterly, also Worcester’s Men” (xviii). The first list is straightforward although containing inaccuracies,[8] but the second is far less complete, and reflects a different arrangement with the companies. Several of Henslowe’s payments to dramatists are lower than normal, but this does not mean that the plays for which payment was made were not completed, as some scholars infer. The proper deduction is that

not all company expenditure went through Henslowe, and therefore that the expenditure noted during the period 1597-1603 will not necessarily contain a complete record of the companies’ repertory during those years: there may have been plays which make no appearance in the account-book at all. This could be because the company paid for them itself without Henslowe’s financial assistance, or because individual company members bought them; we know that Edward Alleyn and Martin Slater owned the books of certain plays which were later sold to the company. (xix)

Wiggins gains his readers’ trust by these caveats concerning the unreliability of some evidentiary sources.

From these preliminary considerations Wiggins now turns to the main business of this Introduction, explaining the “Content and Format” of his Catalogue:

For the purposes of description, the Catalogue makes the fundamental assumption that a play is primarily a theatrical artefact and only secondarily a literary one. This means that the constellation of documents added to the play at the time of its publication (such as lists of roles, dedications, and commendatory verses) are not treated as part of the play proper, although it has seemed useful to record the verbal sources for such elements. Moreover, in the case of plays, as distinct from masques and other single-performance genres, the primary text is deemed to be the elements which were written to be reproduced at each and every performance: occasional elements unique to one particular performance are recorded in the entry where appropriate, but are not treated as part of the essential text. (xx)

Like almost everything else in this discussion, that seems to me a sensible position, to record “the primary” or “essential text,” not its occasional variants. Two problems arise, however, the reconstruction of lost plays, and multiple-text plays. A large proportion of the entries refer to plays of which a performance record exists, but no text. Where a title is given, that can “indicate elements of the subject matter, such as the names of one or more principal roles,” and by some “educated guesswork,” Wiggins has attempted to give readers some idea of what such a play might have been like, rather than just record its title. As for multiple-text plays, the main Catalogue entry “usually describes the earliest substantially extant version (defined as the earliest state of the text rather than the earliest iteration—Q2 Hamlet, for example, rather than Q1), and each section of information is followed by a boxed supplement which details variants in subsequent versions” (xxi). This is a useful feature, although major differences between texts, as in Orlando Furioso or Richard III, are dealt with in the main entry.



The remaining half of the Introduction itemizes the headings under which Wiggins has organized a huge amount of material (xxii-xli). Perhaps the best way of showing the scope of his coverage is to list the “six broad groups of material which bear on different aspects of the play,” with their constituent parts:

1. Identity








    Original Production

2. Fiction


    Scene Designation


    Speaking Parts

    Allegorical Roles


    Stage Directions and Speech Prefixes

    Other Characters


3. Literary




4. Theatrical


    Music and Sound


    Costumes and Make-Up

5. Historical

    Early Stage History

    Early Textual History

6. Evidence



This division into twenty-eight topics provides a comprehensive framework, which not only gives a complete record for each play, in what one might call a “vertical” dimension, but will ultimately allow “lateral” reading, the comparison of sources, the use of music and sound, or stage directions, across a period that saw massive changes in the performance and reception of drama.

Many of these categories, especially those related to theatrical topics, are self-explanatory, while others are relevant only to someone about to use the Catalogue. In general, Wiggins makes sensible judgments based on a long experience of working with these plays. Wiggins departs from tradition in his handling of the Beaumont and Fletcher canon:

When two authors worked in collaboration, and their respective shares are known, the author who contributed the greater proportion is named first: thus some plays are listed as by Fletcher and Beaumont rather than the more familiar Beaumont and Fletcher. (xxv)

That seems a sensible principle, but the key phrase is “when …  their respective shares are known.” Readers might have benefited from a discussion of how these shares have been identified, and which scholars have been found to be the most reliable. But Wiggins dismisses discussion rather abruptly: “the resultant scholarship is often ingenious and inventive, but also irresponsible,” and he concludes in an unusually disapproving tone: “I have not been much concerned to develop new hypotheses about plays of unknown authorship, and report doubtful arguments selectively and with due scepticism” (xxv). It is true that “irresponsible” claims are made, and accepted, in the current crisis in authorship studies;[9] but this is all the more reason to report that sound scholarly attributions exist, on which the canons of several dramatists can be reliably redefined.[10]

Given his background in theater studies, and his principle that “a play is primarily a theatrical artefact and only secondarily a literary one,” we might have expected Wiggins to give shorter shrift to the literary dimension: far from it. His primary literary category is that of “Sources”:

This section lists three types of source material, for both the play proper and its early paratexts (such as title pages, dedications, or commendatory verses). Narrative sources are self-explanatory. Verbal sources are works which are quoted, imitated, or parodied at the level of short passages: their contribution is to the verbal texture of the play rather than to its fiction. Finally, there are works which are explicitly mentioned in the play, including allusions to content which do not overtly mention the work itself, such as the many references to Tamburlaine. (xxx)

The Catalogue lists sources “in chronological order of their composition, except that a principal narrative source will always be listed before supplementary ones.” The most difficult sources to document are “the verbal contributions made by other texts,” given the practice of modern editors to accumulate “parallels, often in order to illustrate other usages of an obscure word or other occurrences of an idea.” Wiggins does not include such material, making this distinction:

Many of the passages concerned, indeed, prove on closer inspection not to be very precise parallels: a repeated phrase or vocabulary choice, or a syntactical form, which is striking but not conclusive evidence of borrowing, especially where the content is not especially distinctive. Such evidence certainly demonstrates that there was often a programmatic tendency in Elizabethan stage writing, with similar linguistic effects coming up repeatedly, but such parallels are only listed as verbal sources where the correspondence is unmistakable and unaccountable in other ways: a virtually identical line or phrase, the juxtaposition of a series of distinctive words, a rare trope. (xxxi)

Both points are valid, especially that concerning the “programmatic tendency in Elizabethan stage writing,” the existence of a common vocabulary and the dramatists’ habits of self-repetition.[11] But the final observation on the significance of “a virtually identical word or phrase …  a series of distinctive words, a rare trope” refers to the legitimate verbal evidence cited in authorship attribution studies, a discipline Wiggins has previously dismissed.

The largest literary category in the Catalogue concerns “Form”:

This section covers a diverse range of information, including the play’s metres and rhyme: its use of formal structural features such as prologue, induction, chorus or presenter, act-division, dumb shows, and epilogue; and the number of lines, both for the text as spoken and the text as written. (xxxi)

This is perhaps the most striking of many innovative features in this ground-breaking reference work. No previous book known to me has attempted to identify the dominant metrical form (excluding songs and poems) within a play, or its use of rhyme. The gradual transition from fourteeners and “poulter’s measure” to blank verse between Gorboduc, when the iambic pentameter was introduced, and its becoming the norm in the great influential plays of the 1580s, Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy and Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, has often been remarked on.[12] Now we have a reference tool that allows us to follow the career of all these verse forms, for the old ones persisted into the 1590s, but took on structural functions within a play (doggerel was used for clowns, quatrain rhymes for lovers). It is good to have a separate listing of formal structural features, especially inductions and act-divisions, resources that dramatists used in order to distinguish levels of reference before the play, and divisions within it. Both are recorded “when they appear in the original texts, but not when they have been imposed by modern editors,” another sensible decision. On dumb shows Wiggins provides this sensitive discussion, showing his informed awareness of how dramatists used these formal resources:

A dumb show is recorded either when a passage is explicitly marked as one, or where dialogue would normally be expected, but silent representation is adopted as a form of stylization. This excludes naturalistic sequences where characters perform actions but do not speak, such as in The Witch of Edmonton when Frank Thorney sees Susan’s ghost. The note of inductions and dumb shows indicates their function (such as, in the case of dumb shows, to compress action, as in The Changeling, or to comment allegorically on the action, as in Gorboduc). (xxxii)

Wiggins also computes the length of each play, a valuable feature in connection with the norm of performance lengths and evidence of theatrical abbreviation in shorter texts. He even differentiates verse from prose, taking into account the evidence of compositors having too little, or too much space available:

The figure for spoken verse gives the total number of complete verse lines in the play, as they would be numbered in a standard modernized edition. This includes single verse lines split between two speakers, which are often printed on two lines of type. When identifiable verse has been stretched or squashed by the printer (such as the verse set as prose in ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, or the verse lines split in two in the 1560s Appius and Virginia), it is regularized. (ibid.)

Although there are many instances of prose being set as verse, prose is not subject to the compositors’ local difficulties, and whereas verse by its very nature divides into lines, the setting of prose depends on the width of the page (in Quarto texts), or of the column (as in Shakespeare’s First Folio). This variable setting makes it impossible to standardize the lineation of prose. There are further problems:

In practice the most complex, difficult, and subjective judgments arise from attempting to differentiate between prose and verse. If a ten-syllable speech is followed by a two-syllable reply, should the latter be regarded as a short line of prose, a verse monometer, or the last foot of a hexameter line divided between two speakers? Opinions are bound to differ across a large body of material. In the earlier part of the period covered by the Catalogue, verse is often very irregular, with numerous long doggerel lines; the presence or absence of rhyme is often the only secure guide to whether a passage should be deemed to be in verse or prose. (xxxii-xxxiii)

In the later period, as Wiggins observes, dramatic verse became more irregular, as dramatists introduced more speech rhythms—but at least the compositors could tell verse from prose.

Wiggins devotes four sections to recording “data about the play’s requirements as a theatrical artefact,” with characteristic clarity and economy of detail. He then turns to the category “Historical,” which records “Early Stage History” (xxxvii-xxxviii). The final section of the Introduction, labelled “Arrangement,” discusses the various problems associated with establishing a chronology. The Catalogue arranges entries chronologically year by year, “and as far as possible in chronological order within each year,” not by any means an easy matter, as Wiggins acknowledges.

Dramatic chronology is an art of polar extremes. In some cases we know the very day on which the author finished writing a play, or when Philip Henslowe paid him (albeit not necessarily promptly) the final instalment of his fee, or when the Master of the Revels licensed the text for performance; we also often know the date of the first performance, and occasionally even the hour. But the dates of other plays are approximations, the product of judgements which seek to take account of whatever evidence is available and sometimes to reconcile its contradictory indications; the Catalogue uses the phrase “best guess” to emphasize the porous nature of such assessments. Each entry’s dating information will make it obvious what level of precision is achievable for the play concerned. (xxxix-xi)

This is a fair account of the uneven evidence on which scholars make their “judgements,” but I am worried by the self-deprecatory phrase used to describe this process, a “best guess.” The precise sequence of composition may not be of much concern to theater historians, unless it affects the presence of a play in one company’s repertoire rather than another. But it can be crucial in authorship attribution studies, where the priority of composition relationship between plays may determine whether a play is the source from which other dramatists borrow, or is itself a borrower. In one current controversy I have already seen the judicious estimate that Wiggins has arrived at, weighing up several factors, dismissed as “merely a guess.” Having had the good fortune of consulting with Wiggins concerning the sequence of co-authored plays in the 1620s involving Fletcher, Massinger, Webster and Ford,[13] I can attest that he uses very little guesswork. A much better term would have been “estimate.”

In establishing a play’s dating the first step is to fix limits, starting with the play’s source and the events or circumstances to which it refers, and ending with its production or publication, or else, in the absence of any other information, the author’s death. These are the limits within which scholars have always worked, but Wiggins adds a new type of evidence, based on the material circumstances of a professional dramatist, who would need to write three or four plays a year to earn his keep, if the theater were his only source of income. As Wiggins notes, “If we can place some of an author’s plays with some precision or at least confidence, then we can also identify the downtime when he would have been free to write the others credited to him which are less straightforwardly datable …  For some authors, scholars have also attempted to make fine chronological discriminations within a canon on the basis of systematic linguistic tests, such as for pauses or the incidence of rare vocabulary” (xi). This is another point that touches on authorship attribution scholarship, and one might have expected to see a reference to the secondary literature. But Wiggins is evidently writing for a general readership, and one is more likely to find him citing A. H. Bullen and F. P. Wilson than Cyrus Hoy, Ants Oras, or David Lake.

In dating individual plays Wiggins has followed a judicious path, taking into account the date traditionally assigned to every play:

I have not tampered with familiar but uncertain dates from the Annals where I have nothing better to offer, but I have not shrunk from re-dating plays … when the evidence warrants it. Some inaccurate traditional datings are simply the result of insufficiently informed guesswork …  Others arise from a conservative reluctance to dispose of older scholarly hypotheses, no matter how dubious: Alphonsus, Emperor of Germany is traditionally dated 1594 only because somebody once thought it might have been written by George Peele, even though all the external evidence points unerringly to around 1630. Some bad datings have been irresponsibly asserted in order to facilitate tendentious topical readings, like the political interpretation of Chabot, Admiral of France which depends on dating the play about ten years too late. (xl-xli)

Readers will already feel confidence in the author’s ability to weigh the evidence dispassionately. He concludes on a modest note:

It would be an astonishing fluke if the order of the plays assigned here were correct in every detail; but since absolute certainty is unattainable, my aim has been to construct a sequence which is at least not demonstrably wrong. (xli)

I shall be very surprised if much in this Catalogue is shown to be wrong.

Turning to the Catalogue itself, every reader will be astonished by the quantity of material collected here. Volume I contains entries 1 to 440; Volume II runs from 441 to 839; and Volume III includes 840 to 1095. Wiggins divides his list into three categories: “Headings for plays which are extant more or less in their entirety are given in black type on a white background. For plays which are extant only as fragments, the heading appears in black type on a grey background. Lost plays are headed in white type on a grey background” (I: xxiii). Inevitably, the third category is the largest, for Wiggins has scoured every source recording the performances in the three main types he recognizes—royal entertainments, masques, plays—for which records of expenditure survive far more often than a written text.



For the first of these categories, royal entertainments, surviving records document an extraordinary degree of activity to commemorate a sovereign’s investiture or royal entry into the nation’s capital. The Royal Entry of Queen Elizabeth into London on 14 January 1559 passed through the main streets of the city with nine appropriate “shows,” or pageants:

Queen Elizabeth formally enters London. At Fenchurch Street a child welcomes her in the name of the city and pledges the people’s loyalty in tongue and heart. At Gracechurch Street she sees a pageant representing her own legitimate royal lineage, which guarantees concord. In Cornhill she sees a tableau of herself on the throne, supported by four male virtues, who simultaneously tread down eight vices. At Soper Lane End, she sees the eight beatitudes, which are applied to herself.

After receiving a gift of money from the Recorder of London, she moves on to the Little Conduit, where the pageant represents two commonweals, one decayed and the other flourishing. Time brings his daughter Truth back to England, and she presents the Queen with an English Bible, the Queen is encouraged to embrace this truth for the good of the realm. At St Paul’s School, she hears a Latin oration and verses in her praise.

The pageant at the Conduit, Fleet Street, represents Deborah, who is interpreted as a precedent of the present Queen. She passes on to St Dunstan’s church, where a child orates to her in Latin, and thence to Temple Bar, adorned with images of Corineus and Gogmagog, where a poet bids her farewell on the city’s behalf, and hopes that she will rule with virtue and truth. (I: 331-2)

For each of these pageants Wiggins itemizes the personages taking part and their roles (whether speaking or purely allegorical), the staging, the props—including a scythe, a “hubert” or hawk, a falconer’s white purse, and elaborate scenery:

…  battlements decorated with roses, with three ports and three stages above the middle one; two seats royal covered with cloth of estate, one decorated with a red and a white rose, the other with a Tudor rose, a pomegranate, and the heraldic arms of Anne Boleyn, i.e. a crowned white eagle, surrounded by small roses; three open gates, with a seat royal and cloth of estate over the middle one, and England’s royal arms at the top; three open gates, with three stages above the middle one, two hills, one barren with a withered tree, the other verdant with a fresh bay tree and flowers, and between them a cave with a locked door; a little pulpit; four towers, with a square stage rising by degrees; a seat royal with a palm tree shading it (the tree has green leaves and dates); an arch of two giants holding a table of text.

and so on, many of them containing tables of text (I: 334). The Revels Office documents survive, listing the costumes for at least 17 characters made for the occasion, including

…  a yellow cloth of gold cloak turfed with white; a coast of flat silver; an Irish garment of yellow cloth of gold and yellow sarcenet; two white garments of silver lawn with cloth of silver sleeves; two jerkins of changeable red and yellow taffeta guarded with cloth of gold; also two pairs of blue velvet buskins, three pairs of red

baudkin buskins, and eight cloth of gold caps and hats. (ibid.)

Planning for the event had begun two months earlier:

…  on Monday 21 November 1558, London’s Court of Common Council agreed to finance the event (and the traditional gift to the sovereign) by a levy of two-fifteenths on the inhabitants of the city. On Wednesday 7 December, the Corporation of London appointed a committee of 44 people to organize the event; this was divided into subcommittees, each responsible for a particular stopping-point on the route.

Wiggins even lists the members of each committee. Construction of the pageants commenced in Christmas week, the City fathers showing commendable economy: “the images of Corineus and Gogmagog were probably re-used from the 1554 royal entry” of King Philip and Queen Mary into London (cf. I: 277-801), and after this pageant was over “the Chamberlain of London was instructed to remove the pageants and save as much of the materials as possible for later use” (I: 335).



Wiggins recognizes the masque as the second dramatic genre. It accounts for a great many entries in his Catalogue, “because masques were generally one-off events, a record of a lost masque’s performance, no matter how sketchy, is usually taken to indicate a unique work which is assigned its own entry” (I: xvi). Although lost, the range of personages represented in these masques is remarkable. There were Masques of Virgins, Amazons, Falconers, Lance-Knights, “Hermits, Friars, and Pilgrims” and “Swart-Rutters” (German cavalry soldiers). The sponsors of these entertainments vied with each other to introduce new and more exotic subjects to entertain the royal court. For the Christmas Revels of 1552-3 at Greenwich Palace the Privy Council authorized payment of £300 on 18 December to Sir Thomas Cawarden, Master of the Revels, towards the cost. This proved to be an under-estimate, since on 20 January they paid him a further £377, including payment for the Lord of Misrule (what did he actually do?). The revels included A Masque of Covetous Men with Long Noses, A Masque of Pollenders (or Graziers), A Masque of Women of Diana Hunting, and The Triumph of Cupid. For the first, the Revels Office supplied costumes for twelve “Covetous Men: long noses; garments guarded with plain white cloth of silver,” and eight “Baboons: black and tawny faces made of tinsel; probably furred gloves resembling cats’ paws.” Work on the festivities extended from 17 December to 7 January, involving many craftsmen, the details of which Wiggins meticulously records:

25 tailors worked under the supervision of John Holt (Yeoman of the Revels) during a period covering 22 days and eighteen nights, and were paid a total of £28.15s.4d (of which £11.5s.4d was charged to masques and plays)… .  Anthony Toto drew designs and was paid £2 (including 13s.4d charged to masques). 28 painters worked during a period covering 21 days and eighteen nights, and were paid a total of £19.[0].6d (of which £1.19s.10d was charged to masques). 

One of the workmen, “John Carrow …  primarily a carver and property-maker, was evidently helping out in multiple capacities.” In addition, “four basket-makers worked during a period covering fifteen days, and they (along with Jasper Arnold, who attended them and brought supplies) were paid a total of £3.5s (of which £2.5s was charged to masques and triumphs).”

All users of this Catalogue will be grateful for the extraordinary amount of detail it preserves, much of it culled from manuscript and printed sources available only in major research libraries.



For plays, the third and major genre covered here, Wiggins displays the same untiring zeal in recording every relevant scrap of information, of which I can cover only a tiny selection. To begin with the first entry, describing the text: for each play Wiggins lists the surviving texts and identifies their origin or status. The text of Kyd’s Suleiman and Perseda, was “printed in 1592 (STC 228594) probably from an authorial manuscript” (II: 402). The Comedy of Errors was printed in the Shakespeare First Folio, “1623 (STC 22273) from authorial foul papers” (III: 206)—Wiggins happily ignores the recent reactionary trend (attacking the work of Pollard and Greg) that attempts to outlaw this term. He is equally firm in ignoring another reactionary movement, which opposes the categorization of some texts as “memorial reconstructions,” that is, having been put together by agents involved in the original production. Wiggins describes The Famous Victories of Henry V, a play originally produced by the Queen’s Men in 1586, as “Printed in 1598 (STC 13072); apparently a cut-down touring version of the play. The text contains oral/aural contamination, either from unauthorized memorial reconstruction or from the work of a playhouse scribe or compositor preparing the text from dictation” (II: 358).

He places in the same category The True Tragedy of Richard III, acted c. 1589, printed 1594 (II: 487), and the anonymous A Knack to Know an Honest Man, acted 1594, printed 1598 (III: 249). A number of these unauthorized texts, formerly known as “Bad Quartos,” were based on plays by Shakespeare: The First Part of the Contention betwixt the Two Famous House of York and Lancaster, printed in 1594, is a much garbled version of the Folio play 2 Henry VI, and receives extended treatment (III: 92-103), as does its sequel, 3 Henry VI, badly mutilated in its 1595 printing as Richard, Duke of York, and the Death of Good King Henry VI (III: 118-28). Other Shakespeare plays in this period suffered the same misfortune. Romeo and Juliet, acted in 1595, was first printed in an unauthorized Quarto in 1597, which was replaced by an authorized Quarto in 1599 (III: 268-74). The Merry Wives of Windsor was “printed in 1602 (Q: STC 22299), from a memorial reconstruction probably compiled in or after 1601 by the actor who played the Host,” a version that “has also been abridged and adapted for theatrical use” (III: 395-401). The authorized text appeared in the 1623 Folio.

As the extent of the page references indicates, Wiggins devotes generous space to these two-text plays, for under each of his categories (scene-designation; roles; speaking parts; other characters; geography; sources; language; form; staging; music; props; costumes) he itemizes them first as found in the authorized text and then, in a separate box, as found in the reported version. No other reference work has ever attempted to do this, and readers can now see at a glance the severe reduction that occured in every category when actors and others attempted to reconstruct a play text from memory. Wiggins performs this invaluable service for The Spanish Tragedy in its 1592 Quarto (II: 369-75), for the two Quarto versions of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, the “A” text of 1604, and the “B” text of 1616 (II: 419-27). He also does so, to my mind with less justification, for 1 Henry IV (III: 360-8) and 2 Henry IV (III: 406-14), both in Shakespeare’s authentic text and in the abridged reduction of the two plays to one made by Sir Edward Dering, which survives in a Folger Library manuscript. Whereas the other unauthorized texts were print versions of plays performed in public, Dering’s version has no such pedigree and scarcely deserves the same treatment.



Closely related to the nature of a play’s text is its authorship. As I noted above, Wiggins can be somewhat dismissive about attributions of anonymously published plays. This may be justified in some instances, but not all. He accepts the intervention of Samuel Rowley and William Bird in the B-text of Doctor Faustus (II: 419), and endorses Marlowe and Nashe as co-authors of Dido, Queen of Carthage (II: 444), although no convincing separation of scenes has yet been made. He attributes Selimus to Greene, but notes a rival ascription to Lodge (III: 129), and ascribes The Life and Death of Captain Thomas Stukeley to “probably Thomas Heywood, perhaps with a collaborator” (III: 247).

For most of these ascriptions there is a dearth of close analytical scholarship, so it is rather surprising to find Titus Andronicus firmly ascribed to Shakespeare, with an editorial note adding: “Three scenes (sc. 1-2, 6) have been speculatively attributed to George Peele” (III: 180), with no source identified. I must declare an interest here, for Wiggins does cite my book, Shakespeare, Co-Author (III: 185),[14] albeit without keying it to his somewhat dismissive comments. In that long chapter I showed that, beginning in 1919, scholars have applied twenty-one separate tests to this play, mutually confirming Peele’s contribution of over 600 lines (1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 4.1). I hope that the final volume, which will include corrections, may strike a more positive note concerning Peele’s co-authorship.

Elsewhere, Wiggins ascribes Act 1 of 1 Henry VI to Nashe; records my conclusion (yet to be published) that his co-author of the original version (c. 1592) was Kyd; and accepts the hypothesis that at some point after 1594, when the play had passed from Lord Strange’s Men to the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Shakespeare added some scenes to link it to the two plays he had already written on this reign (III: 161-2). Another instance of research in progress will affect evaluation of Two Lamentable Tragedies (c. 1595), printed in 1601 as by Robert Yarington (III: 304). This has been shown to include extensive plagiarism from The True Chronicle History of King Leir and His Three Daughters, dating from 1589 (II: 484-7), which I ascribe to Thomas Kyd, who died in 1594. (Yarington has been identified as a scribe working for Kyd’s father, a successful scrivener).[15]



The raison d’être of this Catalogue is to provide a reliable chronology, and questions of dating loom large. In some cases theatrical records can establish a date, as can references to contemporary events. In addition Wiggins uses two supplementary methods, concerning the known habits of theater companies and the dramatists’ writing careers. Of the companies, he rejects an argument for dating Greene’s Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay to the summer of 1590, for

this would place the composition of the play during a period when the Queen’s Men were not in London to buy it from Greene. (They spent much of their time on tour, but were usually in or around London from December to February, when they were required for seasonal court performances, and this establishes the months of the year when they were most likely to have been buying new plays from London-based dramatists.) If the play was written in response to, or for commercial competition with, Doctor Faustus [1588], an earlier date is preferable. (II: 453)

Wiggins is alert to all aspects of the Elizabethan theatre. He assigns Peele’s biblical tragedy, The Love of King David and Fair Bathsheba, to 1590, noting evidence in the text that one speech is headed “5 Chorus”: “This could be taken to indicate a superseded preliminary intention to cast the play into five acts, separated by chorus, rather like Peele’s practice in The Battle of Alcazar [1588]. This would place David and Bathsheba on the cusp of the commercial theatres’ abandonment of the five-act structure in c. 1590” (III: 58). Similar considerations apply to The Two Gentlemen of Verona, in which “the act-divisions are strikingly uneven: the second act is disproportionately long.” This probably indicates that “they are part of the original text as written, which might support a very early date when the five-act structure was still used in the London theatres, but where the relative length of the acts had no practical consequences” (III: 252).

Wiggins notices contemporary fashions, as shown by his note on the reputed “Ur-Hamlet” (1588). There are three recorded allusions suggesting this date. The first was made by Thomas Nashe in 1589, that “English Seneca … will afford you whole Hamlets, I should say handfuls of tragic speeches”; the second by Thomas Lodge in 1596, who referred to the “ghost which cried so miserablie at the Theatre, like an oyster-wife, Hamlet, revenge”; and Robert Armin in 1608, who quotes another phrase, “things called whips,” which he ascribed to the character of Hamlet. Wiggins comments:

The phrase “things called whips” also appears in 2 Henry VI [c. 1591] and the revised version of The Spanish Tragedy [c. 1599]. Kyd’s editor, F. S. Boas, suggests in his note on the passage that Armin was misremembering and meant Hieronimo rather than Hamlet, but this is an unlikely error: as a member of the King’s Men, Armin would probably have appeared in the later, Shakespearian version of Hamlet [c. 1601], and so might be expected to know one character from the other. Whips were topical in 1588 after the discovery of some particularly nasty examples aboard one of the stricken Armada ships that July. (II: 438)

Not everybody knows that about whips.

 As for the dramatists’ work schedule, Wiggins makes several pertinent observations about Greene’s career. He notes that the stage directions in Alphonsus, King of Aragon (1587; Q 1589), “written in the imperative, read like the work of an outsider who has seen what the theatre can do but doesn’t know many standard theatrical terms and short-hand forms …  If authorial, they would support the view that this is Greene’s first attempt at play-writing” (II: 381). Greene’s next play was A Looking-Glass for London and England (Q 1594), co-authored with Lodge, which Wiggins dates to 1589, noting that “the pattern of Greene’s other activities that year suggests that he would have been relatively free to write the play in the months February to June or September to December” (II: 470).

A few years later Greene wrote Orlando Furioso, which—so a contemporary claimed—he sold first to the Queen’s Men in about February 1591. When they went on tour, he sold it a second time to the Admiral’s Men, who performed it at the Theatre, with Edward Alleyn in the title role. Although it is occasionally doubted, Wiggins judges that “prima facie, the charge against Greene must stand” (II: 67). Greene has long been a candidate for the authorship of Locrine (1591: Q 1595-6), and Wiggins notes that he “seems to have been not otherwise engaged for the first three-quarters of 1591, and probably spent at least some of that time writing plays” (III: 86). Finally, Greene wrote George-a-Greene, The Pinner of Wakefield, dated here to October 1591, or perhaps later, since he “died on 3 September 1592 and was very busy during the last ten months of his life,” being “heavily occupied with non-dramatic pamphlets” (192). He favoured this genre, I suggest, because it yielded payment directly from a stationer, where a theater company might keep the writer waiting. Greene could have fitted his last play “into his tight schedule,” but did not live to see it become the hit of the season when it was “performed at the Rose by Sussex’s Men in 1593-4” (III: 109).

The Catalogue dates Shakespeare’s early plays with reference to his work schedule and his relation to theater companies in the unstable years of the 1590s. The earliest plays in his canon are the original texts of 2 Henry VI and 3 Henry VI, dated to 1591, when he was an actor-dramatist with Pembroke’s Men. Of the latter, Wiggins argues that “The play must have been written and staged by 23 June 1592,” when the theatres closed due to plague. This would have been “in time for Greene to allude to it in his deathbed diatribe [Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit]—that is, in September.” The allusion “would have been the more pointed if the play was relatively fresh, but there needs to be time for Shakespeare also to have written at least The Taming of the Shrew and Titus Andronicus” (III: 119).

Wiggins assigns the first of these plays to Pembroke’s Men (III: 155) but adds a question mark to that affiliation both for Titus and for The Comedy of Errors (III: 180, 206). Pembroke’s company collapsed in September or October 1593 and scholars have debated Shakespeare’s affiliation thereafter. The 1594 Quarto of Titus Andronicus describes it as having been “Plaide by the Right Honourable the Earle of Darbie, Earle of Pembroke, and Earle of Sussex their Servants.” Wiggins argues that “Shakespeare originally wrote the play for Pembroke’s Men in 1591 or 1592. Its strongest immediate literary connections are with Shakespeare’s two-part version of Henry VI, associated with Pembroke’s Men; this is particularly evident in the way it develops the Queen Margaret role into Tamora.” As for the Earl of Derby mentioned on that title-page, Ferdinando Stanley, Lord Strange, succeeded to that title on 25 September 1593, so Wiggins suggests that Shakespeare “transferred his services to Derby’s Men after the collapse of Pembroke’s Men in the autumn of 1593… . If so, it was performed by Derby’s Men after the London theatres reopened in December, but perhaps only briefly.”

Wiggins repeats this suggestion when dating Richard III to the autumn of 1593 (III: 219), and Edward III to the same period (III: 228). I agree with this argument, but would like to clarify one point. Wiggins refers to the passage in 1 Henry VI (4.7.60-71) praising Talbot and the Derby family ancestors: but Lawrence Manley has recently shown that the Lord Stanley celebrated in that play belonged in fact to the other family branch, the baronage of Knokyn, not Blackmere, and that the current descendant was not the company’s patron but Gilbert Stanley, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury.[16]

As Wiggins demonstrates, establishing the chronology of a dramatist’s career depends not merely on the factual questions of dating the history of theater companies, but also involves the assessment of his artistic development. A good example of this use of unconventional methods is his argument for dating The Two Gentlemen of Verona within the limits “1587-98,” with a “best guess” of 1594. (Chambers placed it in 1594-5, the Oxford Shakespeare to 1590-1.)

The arguments advanced in support of an early date are subjective, resting on the play’s perceived lack of dramaturgical sophistication and ambition. However, the simple model of ever-growing competence may not be a true one: it seems to me that an author can sometimes choose to write in a simpler style, and also that having an off-day can be a part of the process of artistic growth, in which case this play might be taken as part of the gestation that eventually led to the creation of its closest cousin in the Shakespeare canon, Romeo and Juliet [1595].

Romeo aside, the play is linked to A Midsummer Night’s Dream [1595], which also makes narrative use of Montemayor’s Diana. The use of Midas [1589] is also relevant. Lyly’s play was printed in 1592, so any argument for an earlier date needs to hypothesize that Shakespeare had access to it before publication, either in manuscript or by seeing it in performance. The latter is more problematic than it might sound. In 1590, Shakespeare was primarily an actor, probably not yet of any seniority in his company. He would have known his own company’s repertory well, but his ability to see other companies’ plays would have been limited by the fact that he would usually have been working at the time they were performed. (In that sense, the early dating requires him to have had an off-day of a different kind.) It is true that he seems to have known, or heard an account of, Mother Bombie [1589] in time to use aspects of the narrative in The Taming of the Shrew [1592], which must have been before the earlier play saw print. The difference in the case of Midas is the nature of the debt: it is verbal rather than narrative, and so likelier to derive from a reading experience of the play.

The strongest pull of the evidence is towards a date after 1592 and not long before 1595, placing Two Gentlemen early in Shakespeare’s time with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. If the new London duopoly also saw a scaling-down of typical company size, then the play’s smaller demands might be an initial response to the new limitations. Moreover, the company’s institutional continuity from the play’s original composition to its eventual printing might explain the late survival of authorial foul papers. (III: 252-3)

That is a cogent argument, bringing together several types of evidence from theater history, the play’s resemblance to its neighbours within Shakespeare’s artistic development, and his own situation as an actor-dramatist.

Wiggins intelligently synthesizes the evidence for dating Love’s Labours Lost (Q 1598) to 1596:

The year 1595 is a crowded one for the Shakespeare canon so the Annals date is unlikely: 1597 is already full, and a date in early 1598 would leave no time for the writing of the sequel, Love’s Labours Won [1598]. The play is therefore most likely to have been written in 1594 or 1596. The earlier year will appeal to those who would prefer to date this play before A Midsummer Night’s Dream [1598], though such a judgement seems to me to underrate its sophistication and the adventurousness of its formal and generic innovations. Placing the play in 1596, however, gives Shakespeare a steady work-rate of three plays per year in 1595-7, before things slowed down a little in 1598: it also lowers his output in 1594. Both circumstances would make sense in terms of the creation of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men in May 1594, just after Shakespeare wrote Lucrece: the early months of the operation may have occasioned other calls on his time, possibly including a substantial job of revision on the Henry VI plays [1591-2]: thereafter the situation stabilized and created the conditions for a period of solid creativity and artistic growth. (III: 320)

That is an unusual type of argument to find in a reference work, but it seems to me eminently justified.



The discussion up to this point has concerned the eight headings into which Wiggins divided his first main group of material, under the rubric “Identity.” The following group is called “Fiction” and begins with plot. Every entry in this Catalogue is accompanied by a plot summary. In some cases, where little survives from a lost play, little can be said; but given a single line of verse Wiggins can reconstruct a whole sequence of likely action. He demonstrates this skill with a play written by Ralph Radcliffe in about 1549 for Hitchin School, Hertfordshire, of which only the title survives, De Titi et Gisippi firmissima amicita, and the opening line:

Tenebricosa nocte hac procellis diris
(In this gloomy night with fearful storms)

From this minute amount of information Wiggins manages to reconstruct the whole action—drawing on Boccaccio, Decameron 10.8 (I: 202-3). Fortunately, the surviving plays need no such invention, and the provision of lucid plot summaries is undoubtedly one of this Catalogue’s major attractions. In some instances the summary reveals the wilder fancies of Elizabethan drama, such as Chapman’s The Blind Beggar of Alexandria (1596; Q 1598):

Before the start of the action, queen Aegiale proposed an adulterous liaison with Cleanthes, but was rebuffed. She then engineered his unjust banishment, but now wants to find him to renew her advances. To that end, she consults the blind beggar and fortune-teller Irus, who recommends that she publish his image throughout Egypt and offer a reward for his apprehension. What she doesn’t know is that Irus is himself Cleanthes in disguise. He is maintaining a series of separate identities, passing the time by simultaneously wooing Elimine and Psamathis, while awaiting the opportunity to return and claim the Egyptian crown …  Egypt is without a male heir after an enchantress transformed King Ptolemy’s son into a mandrake. (III: 326)

That has to be one of the most improbable plots in the annals of English drama.

From “Plot” we pass to “Roles,” where Wiggins demonstrates remarkable diligence in identifying the multiple identities that some personages take on in the course of the play, as in Chapman’s Alexandrian play:

IRUS, a blind beggar and fortune teller, a shepherd’s son from Memphis. He also has three other identities:
     Count HERMES of Rome, an eccentric; later Elimine’s husband;
     LEON, a rich old usurer; later Psamithis’ husband;
     Duke CLEANTHES, a soldier and widower; later King of Egypt

On other, less fantastic plays, Wiggins identifies characters and their dynastic or family relationships, most helpfully in plays with a large cast of historical personages, such as the Henry VI trilogy. He also counts the number of speaking parts, which can be surprisingly large. Marlowe’s 1 Tamburlaine (1587) has 36 speaking parts (II: 376), 2 Tamburlaine (Autumn 1587) has 37-45 (II: 386); Lodge’s The Wounds of Civil War, or The True Tragedies of Marius and Sulla (1588), calls for 50-4; Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris (1593) requires 44 (III: 212); Stukeley (1596), by Heywood and A. N. Other, is the most exorbitant so far, with 57-60 speaking parts (III: 349).

Such a massive range of roles clearly involves a considerable amount of doubling, and in his documentation of this process Wiggins displays an eminently practical awareness of theatrical needs. In his comparison of the two Quartos of Doctor Faustus (1604 and 1616) Wiggins notes that in the A-text “Mephistopheles appears in sc. 3 first as a devil and then disguised as a friar. Since he has only eight lines in which to make the switch, it is likely that the role is split between two actors.” In the B-text “Mephistopheles has even less time—5 lines—for his quick change in sc. 3; but it is possible that his initial devil-form is represented by a prop dragon rather than a costume” (II: 421). That is a special case, not what we normally understand as “doubling,” but it does illuminate the practical consequences of a dramatist not leaving an actor sufficient time to change costumes.

Another play in which inadequate arrangements were made was 1 Tamar Cham (1591), of which a detailed theatrical plot survives. Wiggins comments that “the non-doubling of some of the races [ethnic groups] in the closing scene no doubt reflects the desperate deployment of every available resource. The trumpeter in 2.5 apparently has to re-enter immediately as the Chorus” (III: 135). The eight roles assigned to one actor included those of a Persian, a Spirit, and a hermaphrodite, which provokes speculation as to what changes of costume might have been made. In some plays the traditional doubling of roles turns out to be unnecessary. In Edward II (1592), Wiggins notes that “Variant speech prefixes have often been taken to indicate that Arundel and Maltravers were doubled, but sixteenth-century heraldry establishes that these are actually one and the same character” (III: 176). In the authorized Quarto of Romeo and Juliet (1599), Balthasar is named Peter in one stage direction, and at least one editor has “taken this as an indication that the two roles were designed to be doubled, but it is more likely to have been an inadvertent Shakespearian slip arising from the fact that the Balthasar character in Brooke [Arthur Brooke, Romeus and Juliet, 1562] is called Peter” (III: 169).



The third general heading for each entry considers “Literary” elements, beginning with “Sources,” that is, both the source materials from which a play is composed and the verbal echoes it contains from contemporary plays. Wiggins identifies both major and minor sources, and when the electronic version appears it will be fascinating to see the degree to which some traditional source material continued to be used, such as the Italian novelle collections, alongside the arrival of new sources, such as the Senecan controversiae introduced by Massinger, Fletcher and others in the 1620s. The listing of source materials can be most revealing of a dramatist’s intellectual formation. The plays of John Lyly, for instance, use impeccable Humanist sources, such as the Colloquies of Erasmus, while Marlowe displays a different affiliation. Wiggins provides the following analysis for Doctor Faustus [1588]:


Narrative: P.F. [Paul Fairfax?] (tr.), The History of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus (1588?; first extant edition 1592); Nathaniel Woodes, The Conflict of Conscience (1572; sc.13); John Lyly, Euphues (1578, repr. 1587)

Verbal: Bible: Psalms 8.3 (sc.7), 22.1 (sc.13), 139.7-8 (sc.5); Jeremiah 10.13 (sc.1); Hosea 10.8 (sc.13); Mark 15.34 (sc.13); Luke 22.31 (sc.12), 23.3 (sc.13); John 19.30 (sc.5); Romans 3.25 (Bishops’ translation; sc.5), 6.23 (sc.1); 8.31 (sc.5); 1 Timothy 6.11 (sc.5); James 1.19 (sc.2); Peter 3.10-11 (sc.5); 1 John 1.8-9 (sc.1); Revelation 6.16 (sc.13); Aristotle, De sensu et sensibili (sc.1); ascribed to Galen); Virgil, Aeneid 1 (sc.3), 7 (sc.4), 11 (sc.4); Ovid, Amores 1.13 (sc.13); Seneca, De consolatione ad Polybium (sc.5); Lucian, Dialogues of the Dead 18 (sc.12); Sextus Empiricus, Adversus mathematicos (sc.1); St John Chrysostom, Homilies: St Matthew (sc.3); Justinian, Institutes (sc.1; cited); Elegia de pulice (sc.7; ascribed to Ovid); the Litany of Souls (sc.8); Averroes, unidentified work (twelfth century; sc.3); possibly Raoul Lefevre, Le recueil des histories Troyennes (1464; Marlowe used the edition of either 1490, 1510, or 1544; sc.12); William Lily, “Carmen de Moribus” (sc.4); Book of Common Prayer (sc.3); Thomas Churchyard, A Mirror for Magistrates: Shore’s wife (1563, repr. 1587; ep.); John Lyly, Euphues (sc.1); Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy (1587; sc.12); Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine (784; sc.13), 2 Tamburlaine (1587; sc.10), Dido, Queen of Carthage (1588; sc.12); but the debt may be vice versa); Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene 3.10 (unprinted until 1590; sc.3) (III: 423-4)

Of course, the identification of biblical sources, for instance, is no guide to the heterodox ways in which Marlowe used them, but that is a unique combination of sacred and secular texts, classical, medieval, and modern, announcing an ambitious intellectual.



Under the heading “Form” Wiggins considers a variety of formal elements found in every written text. A concise example of the width of his coverage is provided by this entry for Kyd’s Suleiman and Perseda (1588):


Metre: iambic pentameter; irregular verse; some prose

Rhyme: blank verse

Induction: 39 lines, with Love, Fortune, and Death

Chorus: Love, Fortune, and Death; appears between the acts; does not interact with the rest of the action, and not present continuously on stage

Act-Division: 5 acts, separated by chorus

Lines (Spoken): 2,270 (1,835 verse, 435 prose)

Lines (Written): 2,389 (II: 405)

That brief note on the nature of the Chorus makes one wonder how, elsewhere, such a structural feature could “interact with the rest of the action.”

Under “metre” and “rhyme,” the mere inventory can be enough to place a dramatist within the rapid stylistic development within Elizabethan drama. Early Elizabethan dramatists had jumbled metrical forms together indiscriminately. The entry for Lusty Juventus (1551), by Richard Wever, reads:

Metre: irregular; tetrameter, pentameter, alexandrines, fourteeners, and skeltonics.

Rhyme: rhyme royal, ABAB quatrains, rime coulée (AABCCB), and couplets (I: 229)

The survival of older practices can be seen at a glance in the metres still being used by Robert Wilson in The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London (1588), written in the same year as Kyd’s Turkish tragedy: “pentameter and prose; some fourteeners and hexameters; occasional dimeters and trimeters; blank verse and couplets” (II: 447). Four years later, in The Cobbler’s Prophecy (1592; Q 1594), Wilson is still jumbling prosodic resources (III: 169), which by then must have seemed archaic.

As I mentioned above, Wiggins pays valuable attention to the distinction between prose and verse that is observed in the majority of early play texts. In Shakespeare’s 2 Henry VI (1591), we find a coherent distinction between blank verse and prose, but in the unauthorized reported text “it is very difficult to differentiate between prose and Q’s often rough, unmetrical verse” (III: 100). The typographical differentiation on the page reflected the conventional distinction of the two media, partly social, partly psychological. Blank verse is the norm for serious characters from the upper plot, while prose is the vehicle for servants, clowns, and foreigners. In 2 Henry VI the rebel Jack Cade naturally speaks in prose, but on occasions “puts on the style” by ascending to verse, where he is evidently getting above his station and soon returns to his proper medium. As several references in Elizabethan drama testify, the difference between the media could be heard in the Elizabethan playhouse, unlike today. Yet some printers, unfamiliar with the theater, or else hard pressed for space, sometimes ignored the distinction. Wiggins notes that in the unauthorized 1594 Quarto of The True Tragedy of Richard III (c. 1589), marked by memorial or oral contamination, “the apparently corrupt text contains significant stretches of verse set as prose” (II: 490).



The fourth main heading for each entry, “Theatrical,” comprising “Staging,” “Music and Sound,” “Props,” “Costumes and Make-up,” contains what will be for many readers some of the most interesting material in British Drama 1533-1642. These sections are full of fascinating material, and will eventually constitute a documentary history of our theater over the century in which it blossomed into the major form of English artistic life. I can only pick out a few examples, but throughout these volumes Wiggins displays his keen awareness of the practicalities of theatrical production. Munday’s Fedele and Fortunio (1583), possibly written for the Children of the Chapel Royal at Blackfriars, requires an upper space, for “Victoria appears at a casement or window, which opens and shuts (1.2, 2.1, 4.6, s.d.); it takes 18 lines for a character to get from this window to the main stage.” There must also be two doors, denoting the separate gates for Victoria and Virginia, but these may have been represented by moveable “houses” rather than the permanent stage doors; (II: 326). In Peele’s Arraignment of Paris (1584), also for the Children of the Chapel Royal, probably at Whitehall Palace, a discovery space is needed to represent Diana’s bower, also some space beneath the stage, for “a tree rises and sinks again” in 2.2, while in 4.3 “Pluto rises from below in a chair” (II: 332).

The Elizabethan public theatres exploited every possible resource of stage architecture and props to present a vivid spectacle. Marlowe’s 2 Tamburlaine (1587), performed by the Admiral’s Men at the Rose, calls for a large discovery space, for in 2.4 “the arras is drawn discovering Zenocrate in bed, with ten other characters present.” The upper space must have been generous, for the stage direction in 5.1 implies that “there is room for at least five” actors, and it was integrated into the action: “characters ‘scale the walls’; the Governor is hung up in chains from the walls,” and “has to hang there for 70 lines; but in the earliest production, a stage post was used” (II: 388). Peele’s David and Bathsheba (1590), written for the Queen’s Men, evidently needs a curtained discovery space for the famous scene in which Bathsheba and her maid are found bathing. As Wiggins observes:

David sits above (sc.1, s.d.; he is supposed to be watching Bathsheba, so either there is a sight-line to the discovery space or the play’s representation of space is discontinuous; it takes seven lines for a character to get from above to the discovery space); characters appear “upon the walls” (sc.2, s.d.; sc.8, dialogue); characters on the main stage scale the walls (sc.2, implicit; ascent for one character seems to be instantaneous). The space accommodates at least four actors. (III: 60)

Marlowe’s Massacre at Paris (1593), performed by Lord Strange’s Men at the Rose, has an appropriate amount of violence, requiring stage posts, “possibly used to represent the tree or gallows on which the Admiral’s body is hung up… . [It] remains hanging there for 6 lines before it is removed”). There seems to be no provision to remove the five or six dead bodies which will be left on stage at the end of sc.12; in sc.19, there is a direction to “take the body away” but nobody on stage to do it. A character has his ear cut off on stage (sc.14, s.d.) (III: 214). The apogee of violence is reached in Yarington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies (1595), a domestic tragedy in which doors are “knocked on” to represent two shops, and the dramatist’s requirements test theatrical resources to the utmost:

The fictional location moves from upstairs in Merry’s house to outdoors without the stage being cleared (2.1). The dead body of Beech is apparently left on stage under a pile of faggots between 2.4 and 2.7, even though the location shifts twice in the intervening scenes; the faggots apparently remain on stage until 4.1. The body is chopped up on stage (2.7) and two characters are hanged on stage (5.2).

A dramatist can call for such effects, but it is not easy for the theater to represent them, as Wiggins points out:

The discovery space cannot be used for the two shops, because it is needed for the bed in 1.2 (immediately after it would have to be set as Merry’s shop in 1.1). There are two possible stagings: either booths were used, or the two stage doors represented the shops.

How is the dismemberment done? There must at some point be a substitution of the prop corpse for the actor: this probably takes place before the body is brought down to the main stage in 2.4, though it is also possible that the switch is effected between 2.4 and 2.7 while the body is hidden under the pile of faggots. (III: 307-8)

Neither an acting company nor a theater is known, and Wiggins records no early performance history. I query whether this play was ever produced.



The theater companies, boys and adults, made equally inventive use of stage properties, appealing to the audience’s imagination. The producer of Munday’s Fedele and Fortunio (1583), had to prepare a bizarre inventory of stage props, including

a box (1.3, s.d.), containing an egg, a black quill, a piece of dough, a cat’s heart, a pigeon’s heart, bat’s blood, a piece of virgin wax, an enchanted bean, a goat’s brain, a dove’s liver, a cock’s eye, a capon’s spur, a quail’s leg, a goose’s bill, a gander’s tongue, an eagle’s tail (dialogue); a pedlar’s basket (4.4, s.d.), containing powders, rolls, laces, purses, wires, glasses, bracelets, perfumes, stilled waters, pins, bodkins, and various other objects  listed above (dialogue; not necessarily seen on stage); a net (4.5, dialogue; 4.6, s.d.; large enough to contain Crackstone); a chamber pot (4.6, s.d.; emptied over Crackstone’s head); a spit (5.4, s.d.) (II: 327)

Queen Elizabeth was in the audience for a performance at Whitehall Palace in 1584, either on Twelfth Night or Candlemas: the latter “took place in the palace’s Great Chamber (which was prepared by the Works Office for the occasion).” Had the Queen been able to attend the public theater she might have enjoyed Greene’s Alphonsus King of Aragon (1587), which requires many “large portable objects,” including

possibly seating above for Venus and the Muses (implicit; i.e. for seven to ten characters, depending on the number of mute Muses; however, other s.d.s seem to contradict the suggestions that Venus remains seated on stage throughout); seating for three characters (3.1, implicit); a chair (3.2, s.d.); a brazen head (4.1, s.d.; must be fire-proof); a canopy with crowned and severed heads at its three corners (4.3, s.d.; requires three men to carry it; the severed heads represent those of Belinus, Arcastus, and Claramount; the top is probably pointed, ready to accommodate a fourth head); a chair (5.3, s.d.); possibly a chair (ep., s.d.; let down from above and used to take Venus back to heaven). (II: 384)

One can imagine the sharers’ meeting discussing how they could possibly meet the dramatist’s requirements. Equally optimistic effects were imagined by the author of Locrine (1592), each act of which begins with a dumb show. These were conceived with little regard for practical staging, for in the opening scene a lion is shot with an arrow on stage. Wiggins presumes “the bear and lion in 1.1 are to be played by actors, but this seems much less likely of the crocodile and snake in 3.1, unless the representation is to be heavily stylized. Yet stylization is not suggested by the somewhat pictorial stage direction: the croc is ‘sitting on a river’s bank,’ and the two reptiles ‘fall into the water’” (III: 98). As another dramatist put it, “Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts.”

The competing theater companies appealed to the spectators’ eyes and ears in many ways. In Greene’s Alphonsus “flames of fire come out of the brazen head,” and at least nine musical instruments are called for, both woodwind and strings (ibid.). Marlowe’s Massacre at Paris (1593) requires ordnance to be shot off in scene 5, together with “a tolling bell (sc.5, s.d.; may ring continuously until sc.9); trumpets within (sc.14; s.d.); alarums within (sc.18, s.d.); drum and trumpets (sc.14, s.d.)” (III: 214). Many of the plays in the 1580s, a decade of great experiment and innovation, used pyrotechnics. In 2 Tamburlaine (1587) Marlowe called for the Admiral’s Men to represent “a burning town” in 3.2, and in 5.1 a fire, needed to burn books (II: 388). Lightning and flame are required in Peele’s The Old Wife’s Tale (III: 148)—plaudits for getting the title right); Harry VI (1592) specifies a burning torch, lightning, and a cannon-shot (III: 166). The companies would have needed every variety of military weapon: Edward II (1592) requires several types of sword, two heraldic shields, a truncheon, “possibly bows, pikes, brown bills and shields,” a sword and target, a knife or razor, and the infamous “red-hot spit” (III: 178). Other plays call for a Turkish scimitar, and “a goad,” whatever that looked like.



In order to create convincing representations of the plays’ subject matter, Elizabethan theater companies went to great expense in providing appropriate costumes, as we know from Henslowe’s accounts book. Wiggins usefully itemizes costumes, having made a close study of the texts. In Kyd’s Suleiman and Perseda (1588), he infers the following details of costume and appearance:

ERASTUS: has no beard (dialogue); steel armour (1.3, dialogue); a helmet with a visor (1.3, implicit); a gown and vizard (2.1, dialogue; put on on stage); the carcanet chain (2.1, dialogue; put on on stage); a scabbard (2.1, implicit); recognizable as a Christian by his garments (3.1, dialogue); black clothes (4.1, dialogue)

PERSEDA: blonde hair (dialogue); black clothes (4.1, dialogue); a lawn blindfold (4.1, s.d.; put on and removed on stage); a crown (4.1, s.d.; put on on stage); cross-dressed in man’s apparel (5.4., s.d.)

The Jew of Malta (1589) has several unique features in costume and make-up:

BARABAS: a big nose and a beard (dialogue); a hat (4.4, dialogue)

JACOMO: a black Dominican habit (implicit)

BARNARDINE: a habit of another colour (implicit; because he is not a Dominican); a girdle (4.1, dialogue; removed on stage for use as a noose)

MATHIAS: a sheath (2.3, dialogue)

SLAVES: each has a price written on his back; the Turk’s price is 200 crowns, the Moor’s is 200 plates (2.3, dialogue)

ITHAMORE: the price written on his back is 100 crowns (2.3, dialogue); boots and ragged clothes (4.2, dialogue)

PILIA-BORZA: a black moustache, shaggy hair, and a long “grisly” beard (dialogue); tattered clothes (4.2-3, dialogue) (II: 467)

While the public theatres made or bought their own costumes, amateur productions might need to borrow them. When William Alabaster’s Latin tragedy Roxana was put on at Trinity College, Cambridge, in February 1595, Thomas Neville (Master) and the Fellows wrote to William Cecil, Lord Burghley (Chancellor), “asking to borrow suitable costumes from the Office of Robes at the Tower of London. A woman was present at the performance, and reportedly went mad on hearing the final words of the play” (III: 278).

That laconic note reminds us how little evidence we have regarding the audience for whom playwrights, actors, musicians, carpenters and costume-makers went to such trouble and expense in creating a new art-form that grows in interest from year to year. Wiggins is to be congratulated for the untiring spirit of enquiry which has sustained him since the beginning of this century and will see him through to the completion of his vast enterprise. All students of English Renaissance drama owe him an incalculable debt. His Catalogue, I predict, will be one of the first volumes one reaches for, and one of the last to be put back on the shelf.



Having acknowledged his outstanding achievement I may be pardoned for pointing out a few errors and omissions.[17] His general introduction is explicit on many issues treated in the Catalogue, with two exceptions. One peculiarity of Henslowe’s account book is the notation “ne” that he placed against many plays. Scholars have puzzled for over a century as to what it means: it can’t be “new” in absolute terms, since some of the plays had been performed previously. Did it mean “new to this theatre”; or “revised”? Did it have something to do with box-office takings? Wiggins takes “ne” to mean “new” in his entry for the lost play Claris and Ergaslo (III: 73), but with no discussion, and repeats that interpretation in discussing another lost play, William the Conqueror (III: 128). It is not until he reaches The Massacre at Paris that he raises “a fundamental question about dating,” namely

whether Henslowe’s record of the play as “ne” is taken to mean altogether new or just new to the Rose. In accordance with the usual Catalogue practice, “ne’ is taken at face value since there is no positive evidence in contradiction. (III, 211)

That may be a reasonable position to hold, but readers should have been informed earlier. The other convention used in the Catalogue that ought to have been mentioned earlier crops up with the early adaptation of both parts of Henry IV made by Sir Edward Dering. Here Wiggins records variants but adds this note: “Whenever a Catalogue entry would usually record scene numbers, omissions will only be noted when they are from scenes retained in the adaptation, obviously wholly omitted scenes take all their content with them” (III: 260-1). Obviously enough, but a footnote in the Introduction would have been more helpful.

One convention that may seem puzzling at first sight concerns characters’ names, which are modernized. On further thought, given that many names are spelled inconsistently in Elizabethan texts, this is a sensible decision. Yet there is one unfortunate casualty, the play issued in 1605 with the Quarto title-page reading The True Chronicle History of King Leir and his three daughters, Gonorill, Ragan, and Cordella. A note informs us that

The original spelling of the King’s name is usually retained to differentiate this play from Shakespeare’s King Lear (1605), but the two spellings both refer to the same quasi-historical personage, and should therefore be regularized …

If Q’s Leir modernizes to Lear, the question then arises as to what should be done with the names of the three daughters. Gonorill/Goneril and Regan/Ragan seem effectively indifferent, so the names are modernized to the more familiar forms. Cordella, however, is metrically distinct from Cordelia, so the old form is retained. (II: 484)

This is one occasion where an exception should have been made. The fact that “the same quasi-historical personage” is involved seems to me irrelevant: the plays are different, and need to be distinguished. Elsewhere, discussing Greene’s Orlando Furioso, which derives from the Italian original, not Harington’s translation, Wiggins notes, reasonably enough, that “Since the characters are not entirely coextensive with their originals in Ariosto, it would be factitious to modernize their names to correspond with Ariosto’s spelling” (III: 68). For 1 Henry IV, however, he makes an exception, reading “Poyntz,” not “Poins,” and “Petowe,” not “Peto,” giving this explanation: “Shakespeare seems to have appropriated proper names from prominent early Tudor courtiers and assigned them to the Prince’s unworthy associates—hence the unconventional modernization of Poyntz and Petowe adopted here” (III: 362). That is an enlightening comment on Shakespeare being mischievous, but I wish the Catalogue could have been unconventional with Leir.

Each entry in the Catalogue concludes with a list of bibliographical references, cumulatively testifying to an enormous amount of scholarly research over many years. Diffidently, I note a few omissions, in chronological order, together with some corrections:

I: 265, Jacob and Esau (1553-7). No author is given, but Martin Mueller has convincingly attributed it to Nicholas Udall, whom Queen Elizabeth “effectively appointed …  the principal court dramatist” on 13 December 1554 (I: 263).[18]

II: 369, The Spanish Tragedy (1587). Wiggins records that “although there is secure external evidence that the play was revised by Ben Jonson in 1601 and 1602, there is also reason to think that the extant B-text [the 1602 Quarto] was already in existence by 1599: it is parodied by Marston in Antonio and Mellida [1599] and Cynthia’s Revels [1600].” However, although Henslowe advanced money to Jonson on both those occasions, there is no evidence that Jonson actually wrote any revisions, and nowhere in the extant Diary does Henslowe record the sums repaid to him by authors who did not fulfil their contracts. There is, however, excellent evidence that Shakespeare wrote the surviving additions.[19]

II: 374, The Spanish Tragedy. Under “Early Textual History” Wiggins writes:

1592: lost first edition presumably printed by Abel Jeffes; the text was reportedly full of “gross faults”; the edition may have been printed before Monday 7 August, and may have used black letter type.

Some curious evidence suggests that part, at least, of a copy of that edition survived until the early twentieth century. George P. Baker, in “Some Bibliographical Puzzles in Elizabethan Quartos,” [20] recorded that

Some years ago I bought at auction a copy of The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd. When it came to me, I found it was printed almost half and half in Roman type and in black letter. As an inexperienced bibliophile, I felt sure that some unscrupulous bookseller had foisted on the public a pieced copy. As at the time there was no bibliography complete enough to clear up the matter, I returned the book. Today I know, through the work of Greg and others, that the list of twelve editions of the play between 1594 and 1633, shows no black-letter copy. Yet I have held in my hand a copy at least half in black letter,—and lost it. What must be the provenance of this lost copy which, even if pieced, contains a part of an unlisted edition? (9)

That must stand as one of the most tantalizing moments in modern textual scholarship.

II: 402, The Misfortunes of Arthur (1588). The references do not include O. A. W. Dieke.[21]

II: 458, The Troublesome Reign of John, King of England (1589). Wiggins notes that “The play has been ascribed to George Peele,” but in the “References” following (462) he gives no further details. If I may set the record straight, see my “The Troublesome Raigne, George Peele, and the date of King John.” [22] My attribution was accepted by the late Charles Forker in his Revels edition of George Peele, The Troublesome Reign of John, King of England,[23] which includes as Appendix 2 my listing of “Unique matches of three consecutive words in The Troublesome Reign with comparable word strings in other plays by Peele” (335-6).

III: 11, Arden of Faversham (1590). Under “Sources, Narrative,” Wiggins lists Holinshed, followed by “King Lear [sic] and his Three Daughters.” Clearly, to provide full documentation would have increased the Catalogue’s dimensions but the minimalist bibliographical descriptions given at the end of each entry are sometimes inadequate. This one cites familiar authorities (Annals, Arber, Chambers, Greg), followed by three journal articles, identified by volume number and page references only, disclosing neither author nor title. On all too few occasions Wiggins indicates the relevant journal, and more could have been done to help readers. Chasing up the three journal articles revealed that they all reproduced lists of plays from 17th-century sources which merely contained the title Arden of Faversham. I am none the wiser about its relation to King Leir.

III: 92, The First Part of the Contention (1591). Here Wiggins endorses the hypothesis of Randall Martin, in his edition of 3 Henry VI[24] that the surviving texts of Parts 2 and 3 “are both alterations of a common lost original, F as a product of authorial revision and Q through a non-authorial report. (Maguire and others have disputed the theory of memorial reconstruction, without successfully engaging with the core evidence, the garbling of the genealogy in sc.6).” The identification of the gross errors in the genealogy of Edward III’s “seven sons,” correctly given in texts based on the Folio (2.2.10-52) was made by Peter Alexander in his ground-breaking study, Shakespeare’s Henry VI and Richard III.[25] Unfortunately, Wiggins did not include this title in his References (III: 103), although he found room for Maguire, Shakespearean Suspect Texts, whose thesis he rightly rejects. Presumably the tenth volume in this series will correct errors and omissions. If so, Wiggins should include not only Alexander but also the classic, yet little-known book by Alfred Hart, Stolne and Surreptitious Copies. A Comparative Study of Shakespeare’s Bad Quartos.[26] Hart gives a remarkably detailed analysis of the corruptions in the unauthorized Quarto.[27]

III: 118, Richard, Duke of York (1591). This corrupted text of 3 Henry VI has received authoritative treatment from Alexander and Hart, neither of whom is cited in the references (128).[28]

III: 184, Titus Andronicus (1594). Wiggins takes the drawing by Henry Peacham to represent a scene from this play, but this has been disputed. See June Schlueter, “Rereading the Peacham Drawing.”[29]

III: 205, Of Tribuit (1592). Wiggins includes all three of Francis Bacon’s early, proto-dramatic devices, which were published in authoritative texts after his volume went to press. No doubt he will note them in Volume 10, to contain addenda. See Alan Stewart, with Harriet Knight, The Oxford Francis Bacon: 1. Early Writings 1584−1596.[30]

III: 231, The Reign of King Edward III (1593). Wiggins makes the “impressionistic suggestion [that] the line ‘Now John in France and lately John of France’ (sc.17) reminds me of the ‘John without and John within’ lines in John a Kent and John a Cumber [1590].” This does not amount to a secure verbal debt, but might indicate influence (or, indeed, common authorship). I find the resemblance fortuitous; in any case, there is strong evidence that the play was co-authored by Kyd and Shakespeare. See my “The Two Authors of Edward III.”[31]

III: 235, Cornelia (1594), translated by Kyd from Garnier’s Cornélie. Wiggins has missed the excellent essay by Josephine A. Roberts and James F. Gaines, “Kyd and Garnier: The Art of Amendment,”[32] which shows that Kyd added many personal touches to his translation.

III: 264, Entertainment at Gray’s Inn (1595), by Francis Bacon.[33]

III: 310, Of Love and Self-Love (1595), by Francis Bacon.[34]

III: 407, 2 Henry IV (1596). Wiggins notes that the Folio text, compared to the 1600 Quarto, “incorporates both theatrical cuts and expurgations,” but also adds eight passages. However, it also reproduces cuts made by the printers, as Eleanor Prosser showed in her important, but strangely neglected book, Shakespeare’s Anonymous Editors: Scribes and Compositors in the Folio text of 2 Henry IV.[35]

Brian Vickers
Distinguished Senior Fellow, School of Advanced Study
London University

[1] (London: Methuen, 1964).

[2] (Evanston: Department of English, Northwestern U, 1966; Evanston, Department of English, Northwestern U, 1970).

[3] (London: Routledge, 1989).

[4] See, e.g., the review by Anne Lancashire in Shakespeare Quarterly 42 (1991): 225–30.

[5] Students of Spenser might like to know that his name occurs eight times in the index to volume 2 and 13 times in that to volume 3.

[6] Wiggins has dealt with the impact of politics on drama in his recent monograph, Drama and the Transfer of Power in Renaissance England (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012).

[7] Wiggins is quoting from Coldewey, “The Last and Final Demise of Essex Town Drama,” Modern Language Quarterly 36 (1975): 239-60.

[8] Wiggins notes (xxiii n.) that “Crucial work enabling the systematic interpretation of the records, including the correction of the dates, was undertaken by Neil Carson, A Companion to Henslowe’s Diary (Cambridge, 1988).” See now Grace Ioppolo’s excellent “Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project,”

[9] See my review essays, “Shakespeare and Authorship Studies in the Twenty-First Century,” Shakespeare Quarterly 62 (2011): 106–42, and “Comparing Collaborators,” in Archiv (forthcoming).

[10] See, e.g., Brian Vickers, Shakespeare, Co-Author (Oxford, New York: Oxford UP, 2002), and “Thomas Kyd, Secret Sharer,” The Times Literary Supplement, 18 Apr. 2008, 13–15.

[11] I have given particular attention to this phenomenon in my edition of John Ford’s co-authored plays. See Introduction, “Dramatists repeat themselves,” in The Collected Works of John Ford, ed. Brian Vickers, volume II (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).  

[12] See, e.g., John Thompson, The Founding of English Metre (New York: Columbia UP, 1961), and George T. Wright, Shakespeare’s Metrical Art (Berkeley: U of California P, 1988).

[13] I use this information in the sections on authorship problems in the forthcoming second volume of The Collected Works of John Ford.

[14] (Oxford, New York: Oxford UP, 2002), 148–243.

[15] See the work by R. A. Law and Marcus Dahl, cited in Two Lamentable Tragedies, ed. Chiaki Hanabusa (Malone Society Reprints; Manchester and New York, 2013), xv-xvi.

[16] See Sally-Beth Maclean and Lawrence Manley, Lord Strange’s Men and their Plays (New Haven: Yale UP, 2014), 282–90.

[17] I noted a few minor errors in the Abbreviations:

I: xliii “Churchill-Keller …  Königen” → Königin

xliv “Herz … Beit” → Zeit

xlv “STC… 2nd edn.”: the full names of the editors should be given.

xlvi “Wing … 3 vols.”: the “Second edition, newly revised and enlarged” was launched in 1994, with the publication of Vol. 1.

[18] Martin Mueller, “Did Nicholas Udall Write the History of Jacob and Esau?”, Scalable Reading: A Site Dedicated to Data or Digitally Assisted Text Analysis, Accessed 8 April 2011. The site is no longer active, although this blog entry may be reposted elsewhere in the near future.

[19] ”The Spanish Tragedy (1602): a New(er) Approach,” Shakespeare 8 (2012): 13–43, and D. L. Bruster, “Shakespearean Spellings and Handwriting in the Additional Passages Printed in the 1602 Spanish Tragedy,” Notes and Queries 60 (2013): 420–4.

[20] Bibliographical Society of America, Papers 4 (1909): 9–20.

[21] “Thomas Hughes, Plagiarist” Notes & Queries 10 (1963): 93–4.

[22] In Words that Count: Essays on Early Modern Authorship in Honor of MacDonald P. Jackson, ed. Brian Boyd (Newark: U of Delaware P, 2004), 78–116.

[23] (Manchester and New York: Manchester UP, 2011).

[24] (Oxford UP, 2001).

[25] (Cambridge UP, 1929), 55–63

[26] (Melbourne and London, 1942; New York, 1970).

[27] See Hart, 52−3, 56, 78−9, 93−5, 107−11, 123, 170, 203−13, 239, 243−4, 246−7, 250−1, 253−4, 255−8, 263−4, 286−8, 322, 324, 328, 330−2, 343−5, 354−5, 382−7, 407−18.

[28] See Hart, 52−3, 56, 78−9, 84−5, 95−8, 109−16, 123, 130−2, 170−1, 173−84, 238−40, 244, 247−8, 251−2, 254, 255−6, 264−5, 271−2, 276−7, 279−80, 295−7, 320−1, 325, 328, 332−3, 341−2, 345−6, 356−9, 361−2, 382−7, 418−21.

[29] Shakespeare Quarterly 50 (1999): 171−89 and The Times Literary Supplement 19 Feb.  1999, 16.

[30] (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012), 235−97, and Commentary, 801−19. See below for the two other devices.

[31] Shakespeare Survey 67 (2014): 102−18.

[32] Comparative Literature 31 (1979): 124−33.

[33] See Stewart, Early Writings 583−606, and 961−3.

[34] See Stewart, 675−722 and 975−8.

[35] (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1981). 


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Brian Vickers, "Martin Wiggins, British Drama 1533-1642: A Catalogue. Volumes I-III.," Spenser Review 45.1.2 (Spring-Summer 2015). Accessed July 15th, 2024.
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