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Playbills, prologues, and playbooks: selling Shakespeare Adaptations, 1678-82.

THE YEARS 1678 to 1682 witnessed two related, yet seemingly unrelated, events: the monarchy faced its greatest threat since the 1640s, and William Shakespeare's plays underwent the most sustained period of alteration in his authorial afterlife. (1) Having all but vanished from the print and performance market by the late 1660s, the plays made a forceful return in the late 1670s and early 1680s. Ten Shakespeare alterations appeared on stage, and nine in print between 1678 and 1682, at a time when Charles II was at loggerheads with parliament over its right to meet, and its attempts to bar his Catholic brother from the succession. In fact, versions of Shakespeare's plays--many of which had yet to appear on the restored English stage--made up almost one fifth of all new plays mounted during these four theatrical seasons. (2) The altering playwrights built on Shakespeare's plots and characters in order to produce topical, political plays that reflected contemporary concerns and disputes. It would therefore appear that the Exclusion Crisis, a succession dispute that threatened to return the country to a state of civil war, helped to generate a market for rewritten versions of Shakespeare's plays. (3)

By exploring Shakespeare's position in the performance and print market for the twenty-two years after Charles's Restoration, this paper argues for the importance of the Exclusion Crisis as the watershed moment in Shakespeare's afterlife. I take the reopening of the theaters and the establishment of the two patent theater companies, the King's Company and the Duke's Company, in 1660, as my starting point, ending with the former's financial demise and the creation of the United Company in 1682.1 intend to make three associated claims. The first is that Shakespeare was less of a name and presence in the years preceding the Crisis (1660-77) than is usually recognized, with the number of alterations and revivals of his plays in decline from the late 1660s, and few new print editions appearing on the market. My second claim is that the material conditions ushered in during the Crisis--such as theatrical recession, harsh stage censorship, and a demand for plays offering direct engagement with contemporary politics--helped to generate a market for Shakespeare redactions, with playwrights and theater managers (re)turning to the practice of alteration in large numbers. During the Crisis versions of Shakespeare's plays were not only staged on an unprecedented scale, but also sold to theater patrons as products of his labor. The promotion of Shakespeare found in stage prologues offers stark contrast with his treatment in the printed playbooks, (4) where his name was no longer used to sell altered versions of his plays. I examine the ways in which Exclusion Crisis alterations of Shakespeare were (often disingenuously) marketed in playbills, prologues, and playbooks. I will suggest that playwrights and theater managers deployed shrewd, media-sensitive marketing strategies that likely revolutionized Restoration London's awareness of a (by then long-dead) playwright named Shakespeare. By tracing a play's journey from playbill to stage prologue to printed playbook, one gains insight both into Shakespeare's perceived salability and the ways in which late seventeenth-century plays could be advertised for performance and print.

My essay thus approaches the topic of "Shakespeare for Sale" by considering the extent to which Shakespeare's name was used to sell plays, as well as the occasions when his plays, or versions of his plays, were and were not deemed vendible between 1660 and 1682. Scholars of Shakespeare's authorial afterlife have tended to survey lengthy time spans, generally concurring that the eighteenth century witnessed the most significant moment in Shakespeare's journey towards canonization. (5) I believe that focusing on shorter periods of history allows us to observe more immediate changes in the ways in which "Shakespeare"--by which I mean both the brand name and the product, to put it anachronistically--was sold. It also helps to further dispel the view that the decision to revive and alter Shakespeare's plays was inevitable or progressive. With the notable exceptions of Don-John Dugas and Robert D. Hume, critics have also tended to assess Shakespeare's authorial status by considering Shakespeare allusions alongside print and performance records. (6) Such an approach arguably generates a distorted sense of how well and widely known Shakespeare's works were in the early Restoration. I endorse Dugas's view that "if a comment about Shakespeare appeared in the printed edition of a play neither written by nor adapted from Shakespeare, many people looking for references to the playwright were probably ignorant of its existence," (7) but I am skeptical as to how many people would have been actively been looking for reference to a long-dead playwright. John Dryden sometimes did and sometimes did not appreciate Shakespeare. (8) This tells us a lot about Dryden and his changing opinions and agendas, but it tells us little about Shakespeare's status in the late seventeenth century. By contrast, a Shakespeare play's presence in, or absence from, the seventeenth-century theater and print market is significant. Equally, by making reference to Shakespeare in the prologues to their plays, those who altered Shakespeare's works during the Exclusion Crisis ensured that audiences would hear about Shakespeare whether they sought to do so or not. I thus wish to stress the need to contextualize exposure to Shakespeare, observing when, how, and why late seventeenth-century Londoners come in contact with Shakespeare's name, with his works, and, perhaps most importantly, with his name in association with his works.


The Duke's Company and the King's Company had staged Shakespeare's plays in altered and unaltered form before 1678, but the practices of both alteration and Shakespeare revival seem to have waned from the late 1660s. As Table 1 (Appendix) shows, although sixteen new Shakespeare alterations were produced between 1660 and 1682, the practice was at a standstill for over a decade. William Davenant, manager of the Duke's Company, was responsible or jointly responsible for four of the six Shakespeare alterations produced between 1660 and 1667 (The Law Against Lovers, The Rivals, Macbeth, and The Tempest), and his death in spring 1668 may account for the lack of new Shakespeare alterations mounted between 1668 and 1677. No new alterations were produced between Dryden and Davenant's The Tempest, or, The Enchanted Island (premiered 1667 and printed 1670) and the first of the Exclusion Crisis alterations, Thomas Shadwell's The History of Timon of Athens, the Man-Hater (premiered and printed 1678). (9) This hiatus in Shakespeare alteration is often masked by a failure to clearly distinguish Shakespeare alterations from plays which are at least two removes from a Shakespeare source text; Shadwell's The Tempest, or, The Enchanted Island (1674) and Thomas Duffet's The Mock-Tempest: or, The Enchanted Castle (1674) are alterations of alterations. Shadwell's Tempest is both an opera and an alteration of Dryden and Davenant's The Tempest, or, The Enchanted Island, while Duffet's play is a burlesque of Shadwell's play. Comparative readings suggest that neither consulted Shakespeare's play as a source text. By excluding Shadwell and Duffet's plays from the canon of Restoration alterations of Shakespeare one gets a more accurate view of the low appeal Shakespeare's plays had as source texts after the first decade of the Restoration.

Data contained in The London Stage suggests that the number of revivals of Shakespeare's plays was also in decline from the late 1660s. In fact, the number of recorded performances decreased by almost 50 percent when compared with the first decade of the Restoration. Approximately thirtyeight Shakespeare performances, an average of 3.8 per year, took place during the period 1660-70 but only around fourteen performances, an average of two per year, were mounted in the period 1670 to 1677. (10) It seems that, by the 1670s, "the Duke's Company"--who produced all but one of the alterations of 1660-67, and staged the majority of the Shakespeare revivals--"had a well-balanced, modern repertory, which meant that it no longer needed to rely so heavily on its stock of Shakespeare plays." (11) It might thus be argued that the revival and alteration of Shakespeare's plays did not follow a linear trajectory, and this was largely because theater managers and playwrights' interest in Shakespeare's plays had dried up in the years preceding the Exclusion Crisis.

Shakespeare's plays had also been printed in altered and unaltered form between 1660 and 1677, but single-play editions were rare and the altered plays were seldom sold under or linked to Shakespeare's name. A list of all Shakespeare plays, and all plays attributed to Shakespeare during the early Restoration period (i.e., through title-page attribution, or their inclusion in the Third Folio second issue) is provided in Table 2 (Appendix). Here one sees that, apart from the two issues of the Third Folio, only three Shakespeare plays were printed in single-play editions between 1660 and 1677. Of these, The Birth of Merlin, a play now almost unanimously rejected from the Shakespeare canon, and two editions of Hamlet were advertised as "By William Shakespeare," while the 1673 edition of Macbeth contained no reference whatsoever to Shakespeare's name. Only four of the six alterations staged between 1660 and 1677 appeared in print before 1677 (see Table 1) and none were printed with Shakespeare's name on the title page. Only one, the Dryden and Davenant Tempest, contained any reference to Shakespeare. In sum, while printed editions of Shakespeare's plays were generally attributed to him, they occupied a marginal position in the print market, and there was little way for readers to deduce that Shakespeare was in any way responsible for plays derived from his own.

This situation changed dramatically during the Exclusion Crisis. Nine Shakespeare alterations were staged in only four theatrical seasons. This number rises to ten if we consider the calendar years 1678-82. As noted above, Shakespeare alterations constituted almost 20 percent of all new plays staged during these seasons. At least seven of the altered plays appeared on stage with prologues advertising them as products of Shakespeare's labor, thereby making audiences "explicitly aware for what was probably the first time in the late seventeenth century that a play it was about to see had been written by a man named Shakespeare." (12) In order to understand why an unprecedented number of Shakespeare plays were altered at this time, and why so many of them cited Shakespeares name in their prologues, we must turn to the material conditions that made alteration--and alteration of Shakespeares plays in particular--an appealing option for theater managers and professional playwrights.


Elkanah Settle uses a simile based on Christopher Columbus's experience in the Americas to compare the theatrical climate of the 1660s with that of the late 1670s and early 1680s, noting that

The very best of Plays now find but a cold Reception in comparison of the kinder entertainment they met, at the King's first Returne. For players and Plays came then upon the Stage like Columbus into America, they brought new Faces, and almost a New Language into our World; and what betwixt Novelty and Surprise they won Spectators Hearts so easily ... But Time and Conversation has made the critical Audiences like the Wise Indians; and he that would please era now must purchase their Applause with Solid and Elaborate Sense, and bring more than Glass to barter for their Gold. (13)

He suggests that the economic power held by plays and playwrights when the theaters reopened in 1660 had shifted to audiences by the 1680s, with playwrights and theater managers now struggling to make a return from theatrical productions. In order to make money from the theater, playwrights not only had to get a play staged, but had to get it staged at least three times. Only playwrights who were contractually linked to a specific company would have received a fixed wage in exchange for play scripts, but these posts were rare, and the companies were paying for their right to first refusal of the script, with no guarantee that the play would actually be performed. (14) Playwrights were entitled to the third night's profit (minus house expenses), but they stood to make no return at all if their play's run ended before the third night. This is an important consideration, since "to be assured of eating, a playwright pretty much needed to get a new play successfully staged every year." Even if playwrights managed to get their plays successfully staged, their income would depend on the number of paying customers on the third night. Hume states that the theaters in question, "Dorset Garden and Drury Lane ... had a normal maximum gross of about 105 [pounds sterling] (with serious crowding)," while average house expenses came to about 20 [pounds sterling], but evidence suggests that the playhouses were far from full during the Crisis, and that playwrights had great difficulty making a living from the stage. (15)

The low attendance figures recorded during the Exclusion Crisis had a negative impact on the Restoration theaters. Leslie Hotson documents how three of the "worst days" in the history of the King's Company's takings occurred in 1681: "11 May, 1681, 3 [pounds sterling] 14s. 6d.; 30 May, 1681, 3 [pounds sterling] 2s.; 18 June, 1681, 3 [pounds sterling] 13s.," and that "on sixteen other days the receipts were not sufficient to meet the necessary expenses." (16) The low attendance level is clear, given that regular admission charges were "boxes 4s., pit 2s. 6d., galleries 1s. 6d. and 1s." (17) Indeed, it appears that the theater was at times forced to "desist from acting of plays," dismiss "the Audience and [refund] their respective moneys." (18) In about March 1682, by which time Charles II had closed Parliament for the last time and effectively safeguarded his brother's succession, the theatrical duopoly established in 1660 came to an end. The Duke's Company later merged with the failing King's Company in order to form the United Company, and the Crisis is often seen as a key factor in the King's Company's financial demise. (19)

The hardships playwrights faced during the Exclusion Crisis are frequently lamented in prologues, epilogues and prefaces to contemporary plays. The prologue to John Crowne's second Shakespeare alteration, Henry the Sixth, The First Part (1681) regrets that "Play-Houses like forsaken Barns are grown," while Shadwell attributes the failure of his A True Widow (1679) to the "Calamity of the Time, which made People not care for Diversions," and to "the Anger of a great many, who thought themselves concern'd in the satyr," thereby pointing to the impact the period's increased political sensitivity had on the theater market. (20) The prologue to Aphra Behn's The Feigned Curtizans (1679) also complains that the "cursed plotting Age" has "ruin'd all our plots upon the Stage." (21) Naturally, paratextual comments need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but, coupled with the documentary evidence cited above, they do suggest that theater proprietors and playwrights found it hard to make a living in the late 1670s and early 1680s. These conditions, I wish to suggest, made the alteration of an earlier play an appealing option.

Impetus for the unprecedented alteration of Shakespeare that took place between 1678 and 1682 may have come from the protection an old playwright's name offered during a period of intense theatrical censorship. (22) Calhoun Winton notes that "only twice during the entire one hundred and forty years [1660-1800] was there a sustained effort at political censorship: during the Exclusion Crisis in the early 1680s and shortly after the passage of the Licensing Act of 1737." (23) In fact, at least half of the eighteen plays banned from the stage between 1660 and 1710 were suppressed in the late 1670s and early 1680s. (24) Maximillian Novak has suggested that, because "in order to survive, the stage was forced to become an arena for political statement, authors might find some protection from factional revenge ... by claiming to be merely revising an old play." (25) This tactic can be found in the prologues used to introduce a number of plays performed during the Exclusion Crisis. For example, the prologue to John Banks's The Destruction of Troy (1679) uses the temporal distance of the play's Trojan subject matter to describe the material as "plain" and "homely," as opposed to political and controversial; it is but "a Christmas Tale [that] has oft been told / Over a Fire by Nurse, and Grandam old." (26) The prologue to Crowne's alteration of Seneca's Thy estes (1681) similarly hides the play's politics behind references to Greece and Rome, telling audiences that "To Day ... we try / If we can awe you, with an ancient lye." (27) As I go on to argue below, the theatrical paratexts to Shakespeare alterations of the Exclusion Crisis contain similar rhetoric, and Shakespeare's name, like a play's status as "old," appears to have been used to protect plays from theatrical censors.

The correlation playwrights found between Shakespeare's plays and the politics of their own time may account for their decision to alter Shakespeare more often than any other playwright between 1678 and 1682. (28) The ten plays altered during the Exclusion Crisis (see Table 1) are predominantly taken from Shakespeare's histories and tragedies. (29) Shakespeare's works interrogate political issues that were hotly debated in the late 1670s and early 1680s, such as the rights of Parliament, regal succession, and the occasions on which subjects might justifiably resist monarchical rule. His plays also deal with historical reigns, including those of Richard II and Henry VI, which were being applied to the Exclusion Crisis in political tracts of the 1670s and 1680s. These reigns, and the Wars of the Roses more generally, were repeatedly cited in political writings of the late 1670s and early 1680s, as they offered examples of deposed kings and changes to the legal line of succession while also emphasizing the delicate relationship between monarchs and their parliaments. As one pamphlet put it, "The unfortunate Reigns of ... Richard II. and Henry VI. ought to serve as Land-marks to warn succeeding Kings; from preserring [preferring] secret Councils to the wisdom of their Parliaments." (30) Shakespeare's plots and characters thus provided ready-made parallels for playwrights seeking to interact with the key figures and debates of the Exclusion Crisis.

Playwrights and theater managers may also have been attracted to Shakespeare's plays because of their relative absence from the print and performance markets. It appears that they recognized an opportunity to advertise the altered plays as they saw fit without worrying that patrons would have enough knowledge of Shakespeare to challenge their claims about a play's status as new, old, or apolitical. As the data in Table 3 indicates, the Shakespeare plays selected for alteration between 1678 and 1682 will have been unfamiliar to audiences and readers. Only two of them, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear, had been performed since the theaters reopened. None had appeared in print since the Third Folio of 1663/4, and only King Lear had been printed in a single-play edition since the closing of the theaters in 1642. Three of the plays selected for alteration had never appeared in single-play editions. The catalogue of plays appended to Tom Tyler and His Wife (London, 1661) and Nicomede (London, 1671) may list the Shakespeare plays selected for alteration, along with other Shakespeare plays and apocryphal plays, but it is important to remember that both catalogues list all the plays "that were ever yet printed and published" that patrons "may either buy or sell" (emphasis mine) at the shops listed. (31) The catalogue merely details texts that had appeared in print at some point; it offers no guarantee that any of the plays were still freely available from late seventeenth-century bookshops. It thus seems likely that the majority of audiences will not have known the Shakespeare texts altered between 1678 and 1682. The advertising strategies I go on to identify below suggest that playwrights, theater managers, and printers were keen to exploit this fact when selling Shakespeare alterations for the stage and page.

   Y'ave met us in defiance of the Weather:
   How has our Magick Conjur'd ye together?
   'Twas a New Play, there doubtless lay the Charm
   That drew to our forsaken Hive this Swarm.
   To sooth your Humour more what could we doe?
   The Play to Night is New, the Poet too. (32)

Thus began the prologue to Nahum Tate's Brutus of Alba, or The Enchanted Lovers (1678). In order to make money, the Duke's Company and the King's Company first had to attract patrons, particularly as they were in direct competition with one another. Playwrights were concerned to get their play to its third performance, and theater companies wanted to attract paying patrons as soon as possible and as often as possible. This was a particularly pressing concern during the Exclusion Crisis, when attendance, and thus profits, were very low indeed. A key way to attract patrons, as signaled by the prologue to Brutus of Alba, was to advertise a play as new or novel. Altered plays of the period were likely billed as novel, be it as "revived with alterations," "Altered," or under a new title. (33) New plays "had a particular cachet and cost more to see," so emphasizing a play's novelty in playbills made good financial sense. (34)

Shakespeare alterations of the Exclusion Crisis may have been promoted as new or significantly altered when performances were advertised in playbills across London. (35) Indeed, the prologues to Tate's King Lear and Dryden's Troilus and Cressida seem to indicate that the plays were first advertised as new. The prologues then announce that they are not new, thus carefully and diplomatically modifying the audience's expectations. In the prologue to Troilus and Cressida, the audience is told that the play contained "some Master-Strokes, so manly and so bold / That he [i.e. Dryden] who meant to alter found em such / He shook; and thought it sacrilege to touch." (36) The clause "meant to alter" suggests to the audience that Dryden intended to rework the play, but in fact did not, because, the prologue claims, the play was too good to warrant alteration. Why would the prologue make reference to a prior intention to "alter" the play if the playwright had (supposedly) not done so? Why not simply present the play as old? A possible answer is that the Duke's Company and / or Dryden had decided on a two-part marketing strategy whereby the play would be billed as new or altered in order to attract more patrons, before having its "newness," and any resulting expectations of political content, downplayed in the prologue. (37) As argued below, it is likely that the playwrights, and, by extension, the actors delivering the prologues, disingenuously promoted Shakespeare alterations as old, unaltered, and Shakespearean in a bid to appease potential censors.

The prologue to Tate's King Lear also suggests that a two-part marketing strategy may have been used to sell the play. The prologue states that
   Since by Mistakes your best Delights are made,
   (For ev'n your Wives can please in Masquerade)
   'Twere worth our While t'have drawn you in this day
   By a new Name to our old honest Play;
   But he that did this Evenings Treat prepare
   Bluntly resolv'd before-hand to declare
   Your Entertainment should be most old Fare.
   Yet hopes, since in rich Shakespear's soil it grew,
   'Twill relish yet with those whose Tasts are True,
   And his Ambition is to please a Few.

   Why shou'd these Scenes lie hid, in which we find
   What may at Once divert and teach the Mind?
   Morals were alwaies proper for the Stage,
   But are ev'n necessary in this Age.
   Poets must take the Churches Teaching Trade,
   Since Priests their Province of Intrigue invade. (38)

The question of what title ("Name") the playbill contained hinges on how far in advance the playwright resolved to declare that this was (supposedly) an old play. The line "'Twere worth our While" could be read as a hypothetical statement that it would have been worth tricking audiences into attending an old play masquerading as a new play, but I am more inclined to interpret the line as a confession that the company or playwright have indeed used a new play title in order to lure crowds. This is followed by a disclaimer: the person who prepared the play for the stage had always planned to tell audiences the "truth" about the play's status (as supposedly old and apolitical) once they got to the theaters. The audience is to believe that the use of a new title was for their own good: despite it being an old play, they will enjoy it and it contains a good moral. Billing the play as old would have discouraged them from attending the theater and thus have caused them to miss out on a treat. The prologue may refer to a "Mistake," but the emphasis is on the resulting "delights" for the audience, the play's merits, its status as an old play, and the playwright and playhouse's desire to please their customers.

The reference in Tate's prologue to the play receiving a new name also raises a number of interesting marketing possibilities, particularly as there is evidence to indicate that the title of another of his alterations, Richard the Second may have been modified at some point in its early print and performance history. The decision not to bill Tate's alteration under the name "King Lear" could be linked to the fact that, unlike the majority of the Shakespeare plays altered during the Exclusion Crisis, King Lear had been staged in the 1670s. Audiences may therefore have recognized Lear as a mere revival, whence the need to change the play's title. We also find reference to Tate's banned play, Richard the Second, as both The Sicilian Usurper and The Tyrant of Sicily. (39) The play is printed with the first two titles on its front page, and Tate refers to it by these same names in his preface, while the Newdigate newsletters state that the "Poet" of a banned play called "King Richard ye 2d ... put the name Tyrant of Sicily upon it by which means it was acted twice this weeke." (40) It may also be noted that Tate's alterations of Eastward Ho! and Trappolin Creduto Principe: or, Trappolin Supposed a Prince were given new titles: Cuckolds-Haven, or, An alderman no conjurer, and A Duke and No Duke, respectively. (41) These examples thus appear to confirm that Tate, and the playhouses for which he wrote, were more than willing to change play titles in order to dupe theatergoers and censors.

Novak posits that Dryden's "preferred title" for the play now known as Troilus and Cressida may have been its subtitle, Truth found too late, and there is evidence to suggest that his play title was also altered at some stage. (42) The Stationers' Register shows that "one booke or coppy entituled Truth found too late, a tragedy, acted at the Duke's Theatre. Written by Mr John Dryden" was registered to Abel Swalle and Jacob Tonson on 14 April 1679. (43) Dryden's preface "the Grounds of Criticisme in tragedy" was also entered to Swalle and Tonson on 18 June 1679. However, when the play and the preface were listed together in the Term Catalogues the collective title reflected that found on the printed title page:

Troilus and Cressida, or Truth found too late. A Tragedy, as it is acted at the Duke's Theatre. To which is prefixed, A Preface containing the grounds of Criticism in Tragedy. By John Dryden ... Printed for A. Swalle at the Unicorn in St. Paul's Churchyard and J. Tonson, at the Judge's Head in Chancery Lane (44)

It therefore seems distinctly possible that, like Tate's plays, Dryden's play was also originally billed under an unfamiliar and thus novel (not to mention ironic) name: "Truth Found Too Late."

Dryden did not simply use Shakespeare's name to sell his play on stage, but also used the man himself--or at least a posthumous representation of him--to persuade the audience of the play's age and merits. Dryden's Shakespeare-ghost prologue, embodied by the actor Thomas Betterton, refers to the play to be performed (i.e., Dryden's Troilus and Cressida) as his own (i.e., Shakespeare's) "play," before telling the audience to sit back and silently enjoy his "faithfull Scene," taken "from true records [of] How Trojan valour did the Greek excel." The audience are to take the play as Shakespeare's and as belonging, like Banks's The Destruction of Troy and Crowne's Thyestes, to the distant past: Shakespeare "created first the Stage" and the play is based on historical records. The Shakespeare brand name is associated with national pride through the notion of London as Troynovant, with the ghost, who addresses the audience as his "lov'd Britons," claiming to have "drain'd no Greek or Latin store" because "Like fruitfull Britain, rich without supply, / [he] on foreign trade needed not rely." (45) As Michael Dobson has noted, "this is the first of Shakespeare's many posthumous personal appearances on stage, the first of many occasions on which he [becomes] a dramatic character in order to authorize the revival of one of his plays." (46) Dryden's prologue ghost thus offers another example of the ways in which Exclusion Crisis alterations helped to revolutionize Restoration Londoners' knowledge of Shakespeare and his plays.

The emphasis on Shakespeare's authorship and the downplaying of modifications to the source play found in the prologues to Dryden' Troilus and Cressida and Tate's King Lear are also found in the majority of the Shakespeare alterations performed between 1678 and 1682. In other words, in the prologues they were generally sold as Shakespeare's plays rather than as radical alterations or new plays. As Table 1 shows, Thomas Shadwell, Edward Ravenscroft, Thomas Otway, and Crowne also made reference to their plays' debt to Shakespeare. Ravenscroft announces that "Shakespeare by him reviv'd now treads the Stage," (47) just as Tate refers to himself as merely the "Play's Reviver" in the epilogue to his alteration of King Lear, where he echoes Dryden's emphasis on Shakespeare's "Master-Touches." (48) Henry the Sixth's prologue portrays Crowne as simply "he who this good old play did mend," before announcing that the actors today bring "old gather'd Herbs [from] sweet Shakespears Garden." The prologue to Shadwell's Timon announces that the poet "no one line submits" to the critics before implying that the play is the work of "Old English Shakespeare." And Otway insists that he has "rifled [Shakespeare] of half a play." (49) The emphasis on novelty, and the attempts to disguise a play's age or Shakespearean origins found in playbill advertisements has clearly been replaced by a desire to do the opposite: the prologues and epilogues tend to foreground the play's age, its lack of new (especially political) material, and its status as Shakespearean.

The company or playwright's decision to advertise these plays as old and Shakespearean once they had enticed audiences to the theater was, I believe, the result of marketing strategies and a desire to make money rather than fears over plagiarism. Laura Rosenthal and Paulina Kewes have identified what they see as an anxiety over plagiarism in the discussions of textual property found in Shakespeare alterations and late seventeenth-century drama generally. Concerning Tate's alteration of King Lear, Rosenthal states that he "represented his use of Shakespeare as an ethical relationship between two authors," since "clearly it had become important to recognize Shakespeare in particular as the precursor instead of simply offering one more retelling of a very old story." (50) Kewes in turn identifies what she sees as "growing pressure on late seventeenth-century dramatists to acknowledge and thoroughly to rework their sources," adding that it was "a moral as much as an aesthetic injunction." (51) This does not, however, account for the theatrical paratexts of Shakespeare alterations of the Exclusion Crisis, where it is frequently claimed that Shakespeare has not been radically altered, thus overshadowing the altering playwrights.

It seems particularly unlikely that Dryden would have been concerned by accusations of plagiarism. After all, he is not justifying his use of Shakespeare: the prologue gives Shakespeare credit for both the source play and Dryden's alterations. The prologue states that Dryden did not "touch" Shakespeare's play, but he in fact made extensive changes. (52) For example, the play now features a series of anti-Catholic jibes, and a Cressida who is not false but wrongly accused. Indeed, her suicide at Troilus's feet exposes the "Truth Found Too Late," i.e., her innocence. Dryden is clearly being disingenuous in the prologue. Besides, the only way Dryden's audience could have contested his claims to either novelty or Shakespearean authenticity would have been through intimate acquaintance with Shakespeare's play, which few spectators are likely to have had given that the play had not appeared in a single-play edition since 1609 and was otherwise only available in the expensive folio editions of Shakespeare's dramatic works. The evidence thus suggests that Dryden's prologue represented the play as Shakespeare's not because he feared accusations of plagiarism but because he and his collaborators at the Duke's Theatre wanted to appease censors and maximize profit.

I have argued that Tate and Dryden established links between prologue and playbill. There is evidence to suggest that such links were quite common. For example, the prologue to Arviragus and Philicia announces "a new Play" as "promis'd ... by our bill," and Sir Samuel Tuke's The Adventures of Five Hours (1663) features an initial stage direction announcing that the "Prologue Enters with a Play-Bill in his hand, and Reads: 'This Day being the 15th of December, shall be Acted a New Play, never Plai'd before, call'd The Adventures of Five Hours!" (53) However, unlike Tate's prologue to King Lear, Tuke's prologue confirms what has been claimed in the playbill. Having read the bill, the prologue announces that "Th'are i'the right, for I dare boldly say, / The English Stage n'er had so New a Play; / The Dress, the Author, and the Scenes are New." (54) The fact that the prologue is used to confirm the playbill's claims leads me to suspect that false advertising was a concern during the Restoration. It is perhaps telling that, unlike Tate and Dryden's playbills, Tuke's "honest" bill was used in far more prosperous times, soon after the theaters reopened. It was not used at a time when political crisis and theatrical recession were threatening to ruin both companies.

That false advertising in playbills was common is indicated in a contemporary jest book, entitled Versatile Ingenium, The Wittie Companion, or Jests of all Sorts (1679). Here we are told about a man who, "Seeing in a play-bill upon a post, A great man gull'd, and underneath, By his Majesties Servants, read it thus, A great many gull'd by his Majesties Servants; adding to it these words: By my soul as true a thing as ever was writ." (55) The joke surely would not have worked if the playhouses and their bills had not gained a reputation for misleading patrons.

Gerard Langbaine's Momus Triumphans: or, The Plagiaries of the English Stage (1687), an early consumer manual of sorts, offers further evidence that disingenuous marketing occurred regularly in the late seventeenth century. According to Langbaine, Restoration false advertising was not exceptional but rather the "custom" of "crafty Booksellers" and "the Theatres." (56) Concerning the changing play titles discussed above, Langbaine is "uncomfortably aware" that "the altered titles displayed on playbills and title-pages create the spurious sense of novelty that helps to draw audiences and readers." (57) He therefore catalogues virtually every piece of theatrical entertainment and promises his readers details of "the Names of their Known and Supposed Authors" the number of editions and volumes in existence, and "the Various Originals ... from whence most of [the named authors] have Stole their Plots." Langbaine states that his primary reason for producing Momus Triumphans was to "prevent" consumers from being "impos'd on" by booksellers and theaters who "Vent old Plays with new Titles," and theaters which "dupe the Town, by acting old Plays under new Names, as if newly writ, and never acted before." (58) As Kewes has argued, following the publication of Langbaine's text, a "prospective buyer would be in a position to verify the novelty of the offer" made on a playbill or title page "by consulting the catalogue before the purchase of a playbook or theatre ticket." (59) However, Exclusion Crisis consumers had no such resource: Momus Triumphans was not published until 1687. That there was a market for a text like Langbaine's illustrates the fact that false advertising had become a serious concern by the late 1680s. The evidence from Langbaine therefore corroborates my suspicion that the Shakespeare alterations were initially billed as new, rather than old or derivative, in order to attract spectators.

The emphasis on novelty found on the playbills is also found in the majority of the printed playbooks, where the prologues' attempts to foreground a lack of originality and overstate Shakespeare's claim to the altered plays is seemingly reversed. Observe, for example, the print versions of the alterations (see Table 1 in Appendix). Nine of the ten plays featured titlepage attributions that promote the plays as the products of the altering playwright's labor with no mention of Shakespeare. Only one of these title pages (that of Tate's Lear) makes reference to "alteration" or the possibility of a source text. The rest present the texts as (presumably) new plays. The drive to rebrand these plays as the work of the altering playwrights, rather than that of Shakespeare, is continued in the prefaces and dedications that accompanied them into print. While pre-1677 alterations tended to silently appropriate Shakespeare's works, both in performance and print, Exclusion Crisis alterations used printed playbooks as a means of modifying prologue claims. A number of reversals can be observed between prologue and playbook, with Crowne, for example, announcing that he lied: "I cali'd it in the Prologue Shakespeare's Play, though he has no Title to the 40th part of it." He claims that he presented his play as Shakespearean in a bid "to support it on the Stage," (60) thereby suggesting that censorship rather than reverence or concerns over plagiarism motivated his marketing policy. Having denied his input in the prologue to his play, Dryden uses his dedication to detail the changes he introduced while citing the Greek and Roman sources on which Shakespeare did "rely." (61) Tate follows suit in the dedication to his Lear where, no longer a mere "reviver," he lists the major changes he has wrought to the play's plot and characters, Ravenscroft highlights "entirely New" scenes and additions to the plot of his Titus, and Shadwell insists that he has worked Shakespeare's "strokes [into] a Play." (62) The printed playbooks were therefore sold as alterations, or as new plays, produced by contemporary playwrights, in stark contrast with the stage performances, which were accompanied with prologues and epilogues that foregrounded the plays' age and Shakespearean origins.

While stage censorship looks, as I have claimed, to have impacted the decision to sell the alterations as Shakespeare's when presented onstage, the same is not true of print editions. As I have argued elsewhere, the volte-face found in the playbooks is probably linked to the fact that the Licensing Act governing printed material lapsed in 1679. (63) In fact, it lapsed as a direct result of the Crisis; Charles closed Parliament in order to prevent it from introducing legislation to bar his brother from the succession, but this simultaneously prevented a number of other acts from being renewed. (64) It may therefore be argued that the extent to which Shakespeare's name was used to sell altered versions of his plays was influenced by the unique set of censorship circumstances ushered in during the Crisis. The plays were advertised as new, then as old, and then as new once more, with Shakespeare's authorial claim exaggerated on stage and understated in print. It also appears that Langbaine's concerns about "crafty booksellers" were as justified as his suspicions about duplicitous theaters. The picture that emerges from a survey of the strategies used to sell Shakespeare alterations of the late 1670s and early 1680s is arguably that of a sophisticated marketing machine capable of adapting to the period's fluctuating censorship conditions.

The Exclusion Crisis witnessed a momentous juncture in Shakespeare's authorial afterlife, when his plays dominated the new plays repertory and his name was repeatedly promoted to audiences via prologues delivered on stage. The period witnessed his transformation from a little-noted writer to an author whose works were altered and staged with unrivalled frequency and whose name was accorded great prominence as it echoed through the two licensed theaters of Restoration London. The perceived market for Shakespeare alterations is arguably explained by the topicality of his plays and the impact the Crisis had on the theater market. Shakespeare was not cited or used to sell because his reputation had increased. Rather, it might be said that his reputation increased, and interest in his works revived, because of the unique cultural and political constellation of the Exclusion Crisis. I have argued that Shakespeare's increased eminence from 1678 was by no means inevitable, and that it was due to a unique set of circumstances that seriously affected the playwrights and theaters' ability to make money. These circumstances, which include tight stage censorship, theatrical recession, and a demand for political plays, made alteration of a preexisting playwright's work, and Shakespeare's work in particular, an appealing and economically viable option. They also made Shakespeare's name a useful weapon for prologue writers. The inconsistent treatment his authorship is given in advertising performances and playbooks respectively suggests that Shakespeare's name was used to shield rather than sell. However, reaching mass audiences at a particularly conflicted moment in history, the Exclusion Crisis alterations nonetheless had a powerful impact on contemporary configurations of Shakespeare's authorship. They also offer important insight into the strategies playwrights, theaters, and publishers used to sell dramatic texts on the late seventeenth-century stage and page.

University of Geneva

Table 1. Shakespeare Alterations, 1660-82

Title Page                 Title              Likely
Attribution                                Premiere (65)

Printed in            The Law Against          1662
Davenant's Works        Love, (Ado &

Not Extant            Romeo and Juliet         1662

None                  The Rivals (The          1664
                         Two Noble

None                     Macbeth, A            1664

"Written by J.        Sauny the Scot,          1667
LACEY"                or The Taming of
                         the Shrew

None                  The Tempest, or          1667
                       The Enchanted

"Made into a          Timon of Athens,     January 1678
PLAY By THO.            or The Man-
SHADWELE"                  Hater

"Alter'd from Mr           Titus              Autumn
SHAKESPEARE             Andronicus,            1679
Works, By Mr. Edw      or The Rape of
Ravenscroft"              Lavinia

"Written By JOHN        Troilus and         April 1679
DRYDEN                  Cressida, or
Servant to his        Truth Found Too
Majesty"                    Late

"By Thomas Otway"     The History and         October
                       Fall of Caius           1679
                         (Romeo and

"Written By            The Misery of         January /
CROWN"                   Civil-War           February
                        (2 & 3 Henry           1680

"By N. TATE"           The History of        December
                         Richard II            1680/
                        The Sicilian       January 1681

"Reviv'd with           The History           Autumn
Alterations By N.       of King Lear           1680/
Tate"                                      January 1681

"Written By Mr.       Henry the Sixth,        Autumn
CROWN"                the First Part,      1680 / Spring
                      with the Murder          1681
                        of Humphrey
                          Duke of
                         Henry VI)

"By N. Tate"          The Ingratitude        December
                            of a               1681
                       or the Fall of
                       Caius Martius

"By Tho. Durfey,        The Injured         March 1682
Gent"                 Princess, or the
                        Fatal Wager

Title Page            Performance by      First       Printed by/for
Attribution                              Printed

Printed in                                           T. N. for Henry
Davenant's Works          Duke's           1673         Herringman

Not Extant                Duke's           Not          Not extant

None                      Duke's           1668        For William

None                      Duke's           1674        For A. Clark
                                                      For P Chetwin

"Written by J.            King's           1698      Printed and Sold
LACEY"                                                by E. Whitlock

None                      Duke's           1670      J. M. for Henry

"Made into a          "As it is acted      1678         J. M. for
PLAY By THO.           at the DUKES                       Henry
SHADWELE"                THEATRE"                       Herringman

"Alter'd from Mr       "Acted at the       1687        J. B. for J.
SHAKESPEARE           Theatre Royall"                   Hindmarsh
Works, By Mr. Edw        (King's)

"Written By JOHN      "As it is acted      1679       For Able Swall
DRYDEN                 at the Duke's                    and Jacob
Servant to his           Theatre"                         Tonson

"By Thomas Otway"     "As it is acted      1680      For Tho. Flesher
                       at the Duke's

"Written By           "As it is Acted      1680       For R. Bentley
CROWN"                 at the DUKE's                  and M. Magnes

"By N. TATE"           "Acted at the       1681        For Richard
                          THEATRE                     Tonson & Jacob
                       ROYAL, Under                       Tonson
                        the Name of
                       the Sicilian

"Reviv'd with          "Acted at the       1681       For T. Flesher
Alterations By N.     Duke's Theatre"                to be sold by R.
Tate"                                                  Bentley & M.

"Written By Mr.      "As it was Acted      1681       For R. Bentley
CROWN"                 at the Dukes                   and M. Magnes

"By N. Tate"          "As it is ACTED      1682         L. M. for
                          AT THE                          Joseph
                      Theatre-Royal"                    Hindmarsh

"By Tho. Durfey,     "As it was Acted      1682       For R. Bentley
Gent"                 at the Theater-                 and M. Magnes

Playwright              Reference to         Reference to
Title Page             Shakespeare in       Shakespeare in
Attribution           Printed Dramatic     Printed Readerly
                         Paratexts            Paratexts

Printed in                   No                   No
Davenant's Works

Not Extant               Not extant           Not extant

None                         No                   No

None                         No                   No

"Written by J.               No                   No

None                        Yes                  Yes

"Made into a             Prologue &              Yes
PLAY By THO.              Epilogue

"Alter'd from Mr     Surviving section
SHAKESPEARE             of original
Works, By Mr. Edw     prologue (quoted           Yes
Ravenscroft"         in Langbaine) cites

"Written By JOHN          Prologue
DRYDEN                                           Yes
Servant to his

"By Thomas Otway"         Prologue                No

"Written By           Prologue states      No dedication or
CROWN"                that "the Divine         address
                     Shakespar did not
                       lay one stone"

"By N. TATE"                 No                  Yes

"Reviv'd with            Prologue &              Yes
Alterations By N.         Epilogue

"Written By Mr.          Prologue &              Yes
CROWN"                    Epilogue

"By N. Tate"              Prologue               Yes

"By Tho. Durfey,             No            No dedication or
Gent"                                          address

Table 2. Shakespeare in Print, 1660-77

                                                Title Page
Date                  Title                     Attribution

1662      THE BIRTH OF MERLIN OR, The       Written by William
         Childe hath found its Father.        Shakespear, and
            As it hath been several           William Rowley
         times Acted with great Applause

1663        Mr. William Shakespeares           "Mr. William
            comedies, histories, and           Shakespeares"
         tragedies. Published according
          to the true original copies.
           The third impression. (The
         Third Folio, first issue, F3a)

1664       Mr. William Shakespeare's           "Mr. William
            comedies, histories, and           Shakespear's"
         tragedies. Published according
        to the true original copies. The
         third impression. And unto this
        impression is added seven playes,
         never before printed in folio.
         Viz. Pericles Prince of Tyre.
            The London Prodigall. The
        history of Thomas Ld. Cromwell.
         Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham.
         The Puritan Widow. A York-shire
        tragedy. The tragedy of Locrine.
        (The Third Folio, second issue,

1673      Macbeth: A TRAGEDY. ACTED At             None
                the DUKES-THEATRE

1676     THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET Prince of        "BY WILLIAM
         Denmark. As it is now Acted at        SHAKESPEARE"
        his Highness the Duke of York's
              Theatre. (2 editions)

           Reference to
Date       Shakespeare             Imprint
        Elsewhere in Text

1662            No           London: Printed by
                               Tho. Johnson for
                               Francis Kirkman,
                               and Henry Marsh

1663      Yes--paratexts      London: for Philip
        reprinted from Fl         Chetwinde
              and F2

1664      Yes--paratexts     London: for P[hilip].
        reprinted from F1        C[hetwinde]
              and F2

1673            No           London: for William

1676            No            London: By Andr.
                                Clark, for J.
                                Martyn, and H.

Table 3. Performance and Publication History of Shakespeare
Plays Altered, 1678-82

                         Most Recent Single       Last Printed
                          Play Edition (66)

Timon of Athens                  N/A              F3 (1663/4)

Titus Andronicus                 1611             F3 (1663/4)

Romeo and Juliet                 1637             F3 (1663/4)

Troilus and Cressida             1609             F3 (1663/4)

Richard II                       1634             F3 (1663/4)

King Lear                        1655             F3 (1663/4)

Henry VI, Parts           As a single playbook    F3 (1663/4)
2 & 3                       (Pavier), The
                           Whole Contention,
                         1619; individually,

Coriolanus                       N/A              F3 (1663/4)

Cymbeline                        N/A              F3 (1663/4)

                        Last Recorded Post-
                         1660 Performance

Timon of Athens                 N/A

Titus Andronicus                N/A

Romeo and Juliet               1662

Troilus and Cressida            N/A

Richard II                      N/A

King Lear                      1675

Henry VI, Parts                 N/A
2 & 3

Coriolanus                      N/A

Cymbeline                       N/A


(1) I use the term "alteration" in place of the more familiar "adaptation" in order to reflect contemporary usage. For more on seventeenth-century play terminology, see Laura J. Rosenthal, "(Re)Writing Lear: Literary Property and Dramatic Authorship," Early Modern Conceptions of Property, ed. John Brewer and Susan Staves (London: Routledge, 1994), 323.

(2) This figure is based on nine Shakespeare alterations premiering alongside about fortyeight other new plays during the theatrical seasons spanning fall 1678 and summer 1682. For details of the performance calendar for these seasons see Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, "Dating Play Premieres from Publication Data, 1660-1700," Harvard Library Bulletin 22 (1974): 374-405; Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, "Lost English Plays, 1660-1700," Harvard Library Bulletin 25 (1977): 5-33; Susan J. Owen, Restoration Theatre and Crisis (Oxford Clarendon, 1996), 300-2; and William Van Lennep et al., eds., The London Stage, 1660-1800, Part One: 1660-1700, 5 parts, 11 vols. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois U. Press, 1960-68), vol. 1.

(3) For more on the Exclusion Crisis, see Tim Harris, London Crowds in the Reign of Charles IT. Propaganda and Politics from the Restoration to the Exclusion Crisis (Cambridge U. Press, 1987); James Rees Jones, The First Whigs: The Politics of the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-1683 (Oxford U. Press, 1961); and Jonathan Scott, Algernon Sidney and the Restoration Crisis, 1677-1683 (Cambridge U. Press, 1991).

(4) Barbara A. Murray, "Performance and Publication of Shakespeare, 1660-1682: 'Go see them playd, then read them as before,'" Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 102 (2001): 435-49, notes a discrepancy between they ways in which Shakespeare was presented to audiences (positively) and readers (negatively) but more work on the distinctions between pre- and post-1677 alterations and the contrary ways in which Shakespeare's name was used to sell plays in performance and print is required.

(5) Examples include Jonathan Bate, Shakespearean Constitutions: Politics, Theatre, Criticism, 1730-1830 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989); Margreta de Grazia, Shakespeare Verbatim: The Reproduction of Authenticity and the 1790 Apparartus (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991); Michael Dobson, The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation, and Authorship, 1660-1769 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992); Don-John Dugas, Marketing the Bard: Shakespeare in Performance and Print, 1660-1740 (U. of Missouri Press, 2006); Robert D. Hume, "Before the Bard: 'Shakespeare' in Early Eighteenth-Century London," ELH 64 (1997): 41-75; Jean I. Marsden, The Re-Imagined Text: Shakespeare, Adaptation, and Eighteenth-Century Literary Theory (U. Press of Kentucky, 1995); Jean I. Marsden, ed., The Appropriation of Shakespeare: Post-Renaissance Reconstructions of the Works and the Myth (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991); Barbara A. Murray, Restoration Shakespeare: Viewing the Voice (London: Associated U. Presses, 2001); Mongi Raddadi, Davenant's Adaptations of Shakespeare (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1979); Gary Taylor, Reinventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present (New York: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1989); and Katherine West Scheil, The Taste of the Town: Shakespearean Comedy and the Early Eighteenth-Century Theatre (Lewisburg: Bucknell U. Press, 2003).

(6) Dugas, Marketing the Bard, and Hume, "Before the Bard."

(7) Dugas, Marketing the Bard, 24.

(8) See Robert D. Hume, Dryden's Criticism (Cornell U. Press, 1970).

(9) See Milhous and Hume, "Lost English Plays," and Van Lennep, London Stage, pt. 1.

(10) Milhous and Hume, "Lost English Plays." I recognize the fact that performance records for the period are limited, and that an absence of records need not mean that performances did not take place.

(11) Dugas, Marketing the Bard, 44.

(12) Dugas, Marketing the Bard, 47. For discussion of the deliberate omission of prologues in which Shakespeare may have been cited see Emma Depledge, "Authorship and Alteration: Shakespeare on the Exclusion Crisis Stage and Page, 1678-1682," SPELL (Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature), special issue on Medieval and Early Modern Authorship, ed. Guillemette Bolens and Lukas Erne (Tubingen: Narr, 2011), 208; and Paulina Kewes, Authorship and Appropriation: Writing for the Stage in England, 1660-1710 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 71.

(13) Elkanah Settle, Epistle Dedicatory to Fatal Love (London, 1680), A2v.

(14) See Kewes, Authorship and Appropriation, 18, who adds that there was little difference between attached and unattached playwrights beyond "the cash retainer," as "members of both of them composed uncommissioned scripts. And, as the few recorded instances of commissions for plays demonstrate, the company which issued the commission felt in no way compelled to bestow it on a house playwright."

(15) Robert D. Hume, "The Economics of Culture in London, 1660-1740," Huntington Library Quarterly 69 (2006): 501.

(16) Leslie Hotson, The Commonwealth and Restoration Stage (New York: Russell and Russell, 1962), 267.

(17) "Introduction," London Stage, pt. 1, lxx.

(18) James Gray, cited in Hotson, Commonwealth and Restoration Stage, 267.

(19) See Robert D. Hume, Development of English Drama (Oxford U. Press, 1976), 341; Allardyce Nicoll, A History of Restoration Drama, 1660-1700 (Cambridge U. Press, 1923), 296; and George W. Whitingsource, "The Condition of the London Theatres, 1679-83: A Reflection of the Political Situation," MP 25 (1927): 195-206.

(20) John Crowne, Henry the Sixth, the First Part (London, 1681), A2r; Thomas Shadwell, A True Widow (London, 1679), A2r.

(21) Aphra Behn, The Feigned Curtizans (London, 1679), A4r.

(22) Gunnar Sorelius, "The Giant Race Before the Flood": Pre-Restoration Drama on the Stage and in the Criticism of the Restoration (Upsaala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1966), 188, has also argued that "adaptation ... supplied an opportunity for the critic of contemporary politics to hide behind the authority of the old dramatist," while Dobson, Making of the National Poet, 73, notes that "Shakespeare was promoted as an author supposedly above and beyond contemporary politics--as a way of creating a space of sanctuary around" political alterations.

(23) Calhoun Winton, "Dramatic Censorship," The London Theatre World, 1660-1800, ed. Robert D. Hume (Carbondale: Southern Illinois U. Press, 1980), 288.

(24) For an excellent overview of Restoration stage censorship, see Matthew Kinservik, "Theatrical Regulation during the Restoration Period," A Companion to Restoration Drama, ed. Susan J. Owen (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001), 36-52; Janet Clare, "'All Run Now into Politicks': Dramatic Censorship during the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-82," Writing and Censorship in Britain, ed. Neil Sammells and Paul Hyland (London: Routledge, 1992), 46-59; Owen, Restoration Theatre and Crisis, 11-13; Winton, "Dramatic Censorship," 286-308; Arthur White, "The Office of Revels and Dramatic Censorship During the Restoration Period," Western Reserve University Bulletin 34 (1931): 5-45.

(25) The Works of John Dryden, ed. E. N. Hooker and H. T. Swedenberg, 20 vols. (U. of California Press, 1956-2002), 13:500.

(26) John Banks, The Destruction of Troy (London, 1679), A4r. Elliott Visconsi, "Trojan Originalism: Dryden's Troilus and Cressida" The Age of Projects, ed. Maximillian E. Novak (U. of Toronto Press, 2008), 75, identifies a '"Trojan moment' on the London stage" during the Exclusion Crisis, adding that Banks's play "might have been accordingly titled "The Destruction of Troynovant.'"

(27) John Crowne, Thyestes (London, 1681), A4r.

(28) The theatrical seasons of the Exclusion Crisis drew heavily on alterations of existing texts; the source texts consulted can be loosely classified as classical, French (often based on English translations thereof), and as derived from the works of pre-1642 writers.

(29) I recognize that Shakespeare's Timon of Athens and Titus Andronicus are now jointly attributed to Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton and Shakespeare and George Peele respectively. This acknowledgement is implied in each subsequent reference to the plays as "Shakespeare's." See Brian Vickers, Shakespeare Co-Author: A Historical Study of Five Collaborative Plays (Oxford U. Press, 2002).

(30) Edmund Bohun is here citing (and then refuting) claims made in a previous tract. See Bohun's Reflections on a Pamphlet Stiled, A Just and Modest Vindication of the Proceedings of the last two Parliaments (London, 1683), J4r.

(31) From the catalogue appended (hence new signatures) to Tom Tyler, Air.

(32) Nahum Tate, Brutus of Alba: or. The Enchanted Lovers (London, 1678), A4r.

(33) Scouten and Avery, "Introduction," London Stage, pt. 1, Ixx, make reference to the Duke's Company having considered Abraham Cowley's The Cutter of Coleman Street a "new play," even though it was "altered from The Guardian."

(34) Tiffany Stern, Documents of Performance in Early Modern England (Cambridge U. Press, 2009), 58.

(35) William J. Lawrence, The Elizabethan Playhouse and Other Studies, 2 vols. (Stratfordupon-Avon: Shakespeare Head Press, 1912), 2:241, suggests that "handbills" were likely also used during the post-1660 period.

(36) John Dryden, Troilus and Cressida (London, 1679), B4r.

(37) I am here defining "old," "new," and "altered" plays based on what audiences or readers were told about a play's status. For most Restoration theatergoers, "adaptations of unknown old plays were simply new plays," and, as Michael Dobson, "Adaptations and Revivals," The Cambridge Companion to English Restoration Theatre, ed. Deborah Payne Fisk (Cambridge U. Press, 2000), 47, sagely adds, "whether we now categorize a Renaissance adaptation as such or as a Restoration play in its own right tends simply to reflect our own sense of the relative importance of the two writers involved."

(38) Nahum Tate, The History of King Lear (London, 1681), A4r.

(39) On the censorship of Tate's Richard II, see especially Odai Johnson, "Empty Houses: The Suppression of Tate's Richard II? Theatre Journal 47 (1995): 503-16; and Timothy Viator, "Nahum Tate's Richard IV,' Theatre Notebook 42 (1988): 109-17.

(40) See London Stage, part 1, 293-94; and Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, A Register of English Theatrical Documents, 1660-1714, 2 vols. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois U. Press, 1991), vol. 1, entry 1118, 218.

(41) Both alterations were published in London in 1685.

(42) Dryden, Works, 13:497.

(43) Edward Arber, ed., The Term Catalogues, 1668-1709, 3 vols. (London: Privately Printed, 1903-6), 1:370-71.

(44) Dryden, Works, 13:497; Term Catalogues, 1:370-71.

(45) Dryden, Troilus and Cressida, B4r.

(46) Dobson, Making of the National Poet, 74.

(47) Ravenscroft's prologue was not printed with the 1687 edition of his Titus Andronicus, or The Rape of Lavinia, but Gerard Langbaine prints a section of the prologue he claims was used on stage in his Account of the English Dramatick Poets (Oxford, 1691), Glr.

(48) Tate, King Lear, K2v.

(49) Crowne, Henry the Sixth, A2r; Thomas Shadwell, Timon of Athens (London, 1678), A4r; Thomas Otway, The History and Fall of Caius Marius (London, 1680), A3r.

(50) Rosenthal, "(Re)Writing Lear," 238.

(51) Kewes, Authorship and Appropriation, 5.

(52) Dryden, Troilus and Cressida, B4r.

(53) I am indebted to Stern, Documents of Performance, 58, for the first example. Samuel Tuke, Trie Adventures of Five Hours (London, 1663), A3r.

(54) Tuke, Adventures of Five Hours, A3r.

(55) Versatile Ingenium (London, 1674), C3v.

(56) Gerard Langbaine, Momus Triumphans: or, The Plagiaries of the English Stage (London, 1687), A4r.

(57) Kewes, Authorship and Appropriation, 106.

(58) Langbaine, Momus Triumphans, Air, A4r .

(59) Kewes, Authorship and Appropriation, 105. Also see Kewes, "Gerard Langbaine's 'View of Plagiaries': The Rhetoric of Dramatic Appropriation in the Restoration," RES 48 (1997): 2-18; and Kevin Pask, "Plagiarism and the Originality of National Literature: Gerard Langbaine," ELH 69 (2002): 727-47.

(60) Crowne, Henry the Sixth, A3v.

(61) Dryden, Troilus and Cressida, A4v.

(62) Tate, King Lear, A2r-A3r; Edward Ravenscroft, Titus Andronicus, or, The Rape of Lavinia (London, 1687), A2r; Shadwell, Timon of Athens, A3r.

(63) Depledge, "Authorship and Alteration," 207.

(64) See Owen, Restoration Theatre and Crisis, 159-60.

(65) Premier dates based on Hume and Milhous, and Owen's modifications to those proposed in Van Lennep, London Stage, vol. 1. See Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, "Dating Play Premieres from Publication Data, 1660-1700," Harvard Library Bulletin 22 (1974): 374-405, and "Lost English Plays, 1660-1700," Harvard Library Bulletin 25 (1977): 5-33; and Susan J. Owen, Restoration Theatre and Crisis (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996), 300-2.

(66) Information taken from Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare in Print: A History and Chronology of Shakespeare Publishing (Cambridge U. Press, 2003); and The English Short Title Catalogue (
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Author:Depledge, Emma Lesley
Publication:Philological Quarterly
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 22, 2012
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