521 Class 3

Your turn:

  1. Pitch your play.
  2. Vote for your favourite. The winner will get to direct a reading of their play.


  • Recovering performance from documents and printed playbooks.
  • From playhouse to print shop: how plays were registered, licensed, printed, bound, and sold.
  • Palimpsestic Performances.

Activity / Discussion

What are the performances codes in your play? What are the bibliographical codes? the linguistic codes? the performance codes?

Planning Ahead

  • Signature collation and quasi-facsimile of a title page — in class on Friday.
  • Dealing with variants. Horizontal and vertical collations in the early texts. Activity on Friday.

Further Reading

Documents of Performance

Greg, W. W. Dramatic Documents from the Elizabethan Playhouses: Stage Plots, Actors’ Parts, Prompt Books. 1931. 2 vols. Rpt. London: Clarendon P, 1969.

Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project. http://www.henslowe-alleyn.org.uk/index.html.

Rutter, Carol Chillington. Documents of the Rose Playhouse. 1984. Rev. ed. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1999. The Revels Plays Companion Library.

Stern, Tiffany. Documents of Performance in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009.

Censorship and Regulation

Bawcutt, M. W. The Control and Censorship of Caroline Drama: The Records of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels, 1623-73. Oxford: Oxford UP: 1996. Available as an eBook in our library. See p. 191, entry 311 for an example.

Egan, Gabriel. “censorship.” The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford OUP, 2001. Digital ed. 2003.  http://www.oxfordreference.com.ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/view/10.1093/acref/9780198708735.001.0001/acref-9780198708735-e-542.

Printing of Playbooks

Blayney, Peter W. M. “The Publication of Playbooks.” A New History of Early English Drama. Ed. John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan. New York: Columbia UP, 1997. 383-422.

Lesser, Zachary. Renaissance Drama and the Politics of Publication: Readings in the English Book Trade. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004.

Murphy, Andrew, ed. A Concise Companion to Shakespeare and the Text. 2007. Rpt. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Straznicky, Marta, ed. The Book of the Play: Playwrights, Stationers, and Readers in Early Modern England. Amherst and Boston: U of Massachusetts Press, 2006.

Straznicky, Marta, ed. Shakespeare’s Stationers: Studies in Cultural Bibliography. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2013.

Werstine, Paul. Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2013.