Winter Fruit: English Drama, 1642-1660
University Press of Kentucky, 2014 M10 17 - 472 pages
Probably the most blighted period in the history of English drama was the time of the Civil Wars, Commonwealth, and Protectorate. With the theaters closed, the country at war, the throne in fatal decline, and the powers of Parliament and Cromwell growing greater, the received wisdom has been that drama in England largely withered and died.
Throughout the official hiatus in playing, he shows, dramas continued to be composed, translated, transmuted, published, bought, read, and even covertly acted. Furthermore, the tendency of drama to become interestingly topical and political grew more pronounced.
In illuminating one of the least understood periods in English literary history, Randall's study not only encompasses a large amount of dramatic and historical material but also takes into account much of the scholarship published in recent decades. Winter Fruit is a major interpretive work in literary and social history.
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Another big buyer, Richard Smyth, secondary of the Poultry Compter, owned the first folios of Shakespeare, Jonson, and Davenant. The library of Walter Rea is said to have contained “a good sprinkling of poems, plays and Roman Catholic ...
George Ridpath, author of The Stage Condemn'd (1698), recorded that King Charles, for the first Sunday in Epiphany, 1638, requested a masque (Davenant's Britannia Triumphans) “for his own praise, upon that day, which by Divine ...
In 1640, and most ostentatiously of all, Davenant's great masque called Salmacida Spolia conveyed the official royal image. Whatever “malicious Fury” (B1 r) might threaten, Davenant writes, the land will be guided by “a secret power ...
As Davenant points out in his introduction, Salmacida Spolia takes its theme mainly from two ancient sources. The first concerns the fountain of Salmacis, which reduced fierce and cruel barbarians to the Sweetness of Grecian ways, ...
(Though he was not a coward, Suckling had made himself vulnerable to jeerers by raising a troop of horse arrayed in more-pretty-thanpractical scarlet and white.) There were probably also some barbs for William Davenant as Court-Wit.
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6 The Famous Tragedy of Charles I
8 Shows Motions and Drolls
12 Fruits of Seasons Gone
15 The Cavendish Phenomenon
17 The Rising Sun
9 Mungrell Masques and Their Kin
10 The Persistence of Pastoral
11 The Craft of Translation