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Winter Fruit

Winter Fruit: English Drama, 1642-1660

Dale B. J. Randall
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 472
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    Winter Fruit
    Book Description:

    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.Not so, demonstrates Dale Randall in this magisterial study, the first book in nearly sixty years to attempt a comprehensive analysis of mid-seventeenth-century English drama.

    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 Fruitis a major interpretive work in literary and social history.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5770-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 A Case of Cultural Poetics
    (pp. 1-15)

    THE DATE 1642 has for too long afforded students of English drama a comfortable point of closure. When the theatrical companies were silenced that year by Parliament, the many-splendored arc of Tudor and Stuart drama came at last to an end—or so we have been told—with a dying fall. Having looked on splendid and undoubted greatness, we are asked to believe that little or nothing happened in English drama for the next eighteen years, at the end of which time, with the restoration of the Stuarts to the throne and the banishment of Puritan gloom, the theaters reopened,...

  6. 2 The Sun Declining
    (pp. 16-36)

    IN ORDER TO GLIMPSE some of the continuities and discontinuities in English drama before and after the official closing of the theaters, obviously it is necessary to consider the period just prior to 1642.² As soon as one does so, the importance of the court—and often its idealization—become apparent. In 1633 Thomas Carew had had Religion assure Britain’s King and Queen inCoelum Britannicumthat “Mortality cannot with more /Religious zeale, the gods adore” (183). Even in 1640, when unease was spreading throughout the kingdom, Edmund Waller virtually prayed to the Queen: “Great Goddess give this thy sacred...

  7. 3 Kinds of Closure
    (pp. 37-50)

    ONE SUBSUMING FACT of this study—that English plays between 1642 and 1660 were radically affected by social, religious, and political forces—is perhaps no different than we should have supposed. In the years 1640-41 we have now seen numerous signs—fromSalmacida Spoliaand theMasquarade du CielthroughLandgartha, Mercurius Britanicus,andThe Car dinal—of a tendency that would grow stronger still. It came to be manifested in so many ways, in fact, and so many illustrations of it lead into so many neighboring fields, that a relatively broad study such as this one requires that we...

  8. 4 The Paper War
    (pp. 51-65)

    IT IS TEMPTING but too simple to say that the closing of the English theaters triggered the appearance of many midcentury pamphlets that bore the formal trappings of plays. It is too simple for a number of reasons, but most of all because the inclination toward short, playlike pieces of eight or so pages had already become manifest before September 1642. In 1641 Robert Wild had a character suggest inThe Beneficethat pamphlet dialogues were killing off comedies (13). Even before that, in 1637, Peter Heyleyn was lamenting “No times more full of odiousPamphlets,no Pamphlets more applauded,...

  9. 5 Arms and the Men
    (pp. 66-94)

    THOUGH OTHER MATTERS sometimes deflect us from the fact, soldiers and their wars had long been staples in English dramatic fare. From Roister Doister and Tamburlaine through all the history plays and down to their numerous progeny in the cavalier plays of the 1630s, soldiers had marched across the English stage, ongoing reflections of a perennial concern of English life. There is reason enough, of course, to hold that the country became somewhat less oriented toward the military in the mid-16308. G.M. Trevelyan writes of England at the time as the “most civilian of societies” (188).² Then again, it is...

  10. 6 The Famous Tragedy of Charles I
    (pp. 95-116)

    THE MOST DRAMATIC historical action in seventeenth-century England—and probably the most significant and symbolic as well—was the public decapitation of King Charles I. The grip of this event on the English imagination is everywhere to be found, and frequently in images pertaining to the stage. Hence we have a sort of impassioned, multiple mirroring of history tinged with art’s words and concepts, and of art—or dramatic writing, at any rate—that displays some of the varying distances possible between historical fact and itself.

    We need make no heavy weather about the figural linkage of kings and courts...

  11. 7 Anglo-Tyrannus
    (pp. 117-139)

    THE CHANGEOVER FROM Charles Stuart to Oliver Cromwell was for some in England a change from enskied saint to bloody, bawdy villain. Among the fifty-nine men who signed the order for the King’s execution, the most substantial group comprised New Model Army officers, chief among them Cromwell. Hence the image of Cromwell as a crown-seeking Machiavel was easy for many royalists to see. In earlier years, ironically, if J.S. Morrill is correct, what may have been Cromwell’s underlying irresolution could be perceived by some as “serpentine self-advancement” (27). In 1649, however, Cromwell was resolute enough. The 1648 labels of “King...

  12. 8 Shows, Motions, and Drolls
    (pp. 140-156)

    THREE YEARS AFTER the death of Cromwell, in a show designed for Charles II as he passed through the city of London, John Ogilby called for the placement of a female figure named Rebellion on the north side of Leadenhall Street (Entertainment[1662], 13). She was to wear a crimson robe and be mounted on a Hydra,“her Hair snaky, a Crown of Fire on her Head, a bloody Sword in one Hand, a charming Rod in the other.” “Stand! Stand!”she was to cry, “who ’ere You are! this Stage is Ours” (47; i.e., 41). On the opposite side...

  13. 9 Mungrell Masques and Their Kin
    (pp. 157-183)

    PRODUCING A DEFINITION ofmasquethat is both inclusive and accurate constitutes a problem that has proved well-nigh unsolvable for students of Renaissance English drama. A subject sufficiently complex for the years before 1642, moreover, leads on to yet greater complexity during the time of the Civil Wars, Commonwealth, and Protectorate—a period when some think the form ceased to exist. One might therefore be tempted to retreat to the broad suggestiveness of Shakespeare’s collocation of “revels, dances, masks, and merry hours” (Love’s Labor’s LostIV. iii.376) or to Jonson’s seriocomic reductionism inA Tale of a Tub,where Pan...

  14. 10 The Persistence of Pastoral
    (pp. 184-207)

    WITH NO MORE than a glimpse of Andrew Marvell’s pastoral songs at the court of Cromwell and, before that, of works such as Robert Cox’sOenoneand James Shirley’sTriumph of Beautie,one might begin to suppose that pastoral is not a genre but a mode.² As such, its cluster of themes, motifs, characters, and scenes can be mixed and matched in virtually any combination or proportion and put to use nearly anywhere—in Herrick’sHesperides,for instance, or Milton’s “Lycidas” orArcades,or in the translation of a play like Guarini’sPastor fido.Furthermore, because it is one of...

  15. 11 The Craft of Translation
    (pp. 208-228)

    ALTHOUGH THIS STUDY has now skimmed off several translations for a chapter on pastoral drama, and before that borrowed Buchanan’sTyrannicall-Government Anatomized,Knightley’s translation of Drury’sAlfrede,and Howell’sPeleus and Thetis,we still have before us a varied pool of ancient and modern foreign plays that were rendered into English in the middle years of the seventeenth century. Coming toward the close of England’s greatest period of translation—this was the century, one recalls, of the King James Bible, Florio’s Montaigne, Shelton’sQuixote,Mabbe’sRogue,and Chapman’s Homer—these plays partake of a metamorphic tradition greater than themselves. Like...

  16. 12 Fruits of Seasons Gone
    (pp. 229-247)

    IF WE HOPE TO THINK accurately about English drama as it was manifested in the 1640s and 1650s, we must not forget the impact made by all the earlier plays that first became available in print during this period. And we must recall the supplementation of these works by a large influx of plays that had been published earlier but were now for some reason brought forth again.

    Few would deny the crudely served portion of truth in that passage of Randolph’s revivedHey for Honesty, Down with Knavery(1651) where the Great God of Money is asked, “Did not...

  17. 13 Tragedies
    (pp. 248-274)

    THOUGH HUMPHREY MOSELEY had it right—the English stage was indeed“condemn’d to a long Winter”—it is true also that many readers of the day realized that written drama constituted a kind of lifeline. In exploring various aspects of this lifeline we have already touched on a number of tragedies. These stretch all the way from Harding’s heavy-handedSicily and Naples(1640) throughThe Famous Tragedie of King Charles I(1649) to Pordage’s translation of Seneca’s grimTroades(1660). Other volumes that clearly prove the potential of pouring ancient tragic wine into new English bottles include Sherburne’s rendering of...

  18. 14 Comedies
    (pp. 275-312)

    PLATO’S SOCRATES ARGUED that the genius of tragedy is the same as that of comedy. Puzzle over that as we may, we nevertheless sense that Renaissance tragedies and comedies both rely on a basic desire for justice—witty justice, violent justice, or both. Whether tragic disorder or comic disorder is involved, audiences traditionally have hoped to see some eventual movement toward order. Moreover, tragedy and comedy are both capable of comment, including, as we shall continue to see, timely paralleling.

    Contrasting genres, nevertheless, is probably more fruitful than comparing them. Concerning language, for instance, John Tatham warns a reader of...

  19. 15 The Cavendish Phenomenon
    (pp. 313-336)

    TO MOVE FROM A discussion of comedy to a discussion of Cavendish family writings requires no giant step, for the latter are in the main comedic. Why might the Cavendishes warrant a chapter of their own? Simply put, we rarely find so many members of a single family concerned with writing drama, and nowhere else do we find a playwright who was himself both a friend and a patron of dramatists from Ben Jonson to John Dryden. Furthermore, the appearance of no fewer than three women dramatists in the family is a phenomenon worth special attention.¹

    In April 1645, newly...

  20. 16 Tragicomedies
    (pp. 337-367)

    WHILE THE SUBJECT of tragicomedy brings new plays to the fore here, it also calls for a salutary reprise. In the three most recent chapters we have seen the contrasting genres of tragedy and comedy, but almost from the outset we also have had glimpses of their convergence in tragicomedy. Setting aside John Rowe’s moralizingTragi-Comoedia,which narrates the real-life tragic ending that God presumably devised for a 1653 performance of the old comedyMucedorus,we have noted the politico-journalisticScottish Politike Presbyter(1647) and the Man in the Moon’sNew-Market-Fayre,parts 1 and 2 (1649), as well as Brathwaite’s...

  21. 17 The Rising Sun
    (pp. 368-380)

    AFTER OLIVER CROMWELL’S death during a great storm in September 1658, he was succeeded briefly by his son Richard. A much stronger man than “Tumble-Down Dick” would have been required to reconcile the Rump Parliament and the army leaders, however, to say nothing of the miscellaneous myriarchy of presbyterians, independents, sectaries, royalists, and protectarians.

    Despite some justifiable uncertainties about the views of General George Monck, royalists and parliamentarians alike joined to invite him to come down from Scotland to stave off chaos. In November 1659 the members of the Council of State named Monck commander in chief of all forces...

  22. Appendix A The Preface to Leonard Willan’s Orgula (1658)
    (pp. 381-386)
  23. Appendix B Richard Flecknoe’s A Short Discourse of the English Stage to His Excellency, the Lord Marquess of Newcastle (1664)
    (pp. 387-390)
  24. Works Cited
    (pp. 391-420)
  25. Index
    (pp. 421-456)