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Inns of Court: Records of Early English Drama

Edited by: Alan H.;. Elliott Jr John R Nelson

ISBN13: 9781843842590
Published: November 2011
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback, 3 Volumes
Price: £195.00

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London's four Inns of Court (Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, and the Inner and the Middle Temple) served, probably from the fourteenth century, as nurseries not only of common law and lawyers, but of the social arts of music and dancing, and of the mimetic arts of comedy, tragedy, and the masque. Their denizens composed and acted in their own plays, especially in the 1560s under Elizabeth I, and performed in masques composed by professional playwrights in the Jacobean period.

This three-volume edition of dramatic records surviving from the Inns of Court collection includes material from manuscripts and printed books from the archives and libraries of all four Inns, as well as from The National Archives, the British Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library and other repositories, covering over 200 years from 1407 to the closing of the theatres in 1642.

Of particular note are account entries from the beginning of the seventeenth century which situate performances of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors (1594) and Twelfth Night (1602) in the context of annual visits to the Inns of Court by professional playing companies, such as (after 1603) the king's men.

The Introduction provides a survey of Christmas entertainment supervised by Inns of Court Masters of the Revels and Christmas Princes, including minstrels, a lion-tamer, musicians, disguisings, plays, masques, and even a puppet-show. The illustrations (ground-plans and plates) offer evidence of the original performance conditions for Inns of Court plays and masques.

The Inns of Court
1. Volume 1
2. Introduction
3. Select Bibliography
4. Maps
5. The Records
6. Volume 2
7. Appendix 1: Christmas Prince Revels
8. Appendix 2: Masque Texts
9. Appendix 3: Speeches and Barriers
10. Appendix 4: Eyewitness Accounts
11. Appendix 5: Royal and Civic Records
12. Appendix 6: Bibliography of Inns of Court Entertainment
13. Appendix 7: Cast Lists
14. Appendix 8: Chronological List of Inns of Court Performances
15. Appendix 9: Inner Temple Instructions for the Master of the Revels
16. Appendix 10: William Prynne's Discourse against Revels
17. Appendix 11: Dugdale's Origines Juridiciales
18. Appendix 12: Bacon's Essay on Masques and Triumphs
19. Appendix 13: Music and Dance at the Inns of Court
20. Appendix 14: Inns of Court Gentlemen as Playgoers
21. Appendix 15: Inns of Court Playwrights
22. Appendix 16: Saints' Days and Festivals
23. Volume 3
24. Translations
25. Endnotes
26. Glossaries
27. Indexes.