Décembre 2023 |“It out-Herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.” Early English Theatre and Popular Culture

Garrett PJ Epp, University of Alberta


In the Coventry Shearmen and Tailors’ pageant—one of two surviving texts from a series of medieval biblical plays performed by craft guilds—the actor playing King Herod famously “rages in the pageant [wagon] and in the street also.” Shakespeare likely saw these plays, last performed in 1579, and he would later refer to overacting as that which “out-Herods Herod,” at best suitable only for uneducated audiences. Yet several English kings also saw and commended the Coventry plays. Shakespeare’s own plays were on occasion performed for the elite, but more often for a mixed, popular audience. Why does Shakespeare, a small-town glove-maker’s son, seem to denigrate theatre geared toward such an audience, and even the audience itself? How does late medieval guild drama conceive of its audience? How do these different types of theatrical entertainment conform to modern notions of popular culture?


Dans une pièce de théâtre du Moyen Âge jouée par les tondeurs et tailleurs de Coventry, provenant d’un mystère interprété par les différentes guildes, l’acteur jouant le célèbre roi Hérode “rage sur le char et dans la rue aussi.” Shakespeare a probablement vu ces pièces, réalisées pour la dernière fois en 1579 ; il affirmera plus tard que l’exagération par des acteurs “surpasse Hérode” et ne convient qu’aux personnes sans éducation. Pourtant, plusieurs rois anglais ont vu et félicité les tableaux de Coventry. Les pièces de Shakespeare étaient parfois jouées pour un public d’élite, mais le plus souvent pour un public populaire. Alors pourquoi Shakespeare, fils d’un gantier d’une petite ville, semble-t-il dénigrer le théâtre orienté vers un tel public, et le public lui-même ? Comment les mystères à la fin du Moyen Âge conçoivent-ils leur public ? Comment se conforment-ils aux notions modernes de la culture populaire ?



        In both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet, Shakespeare mocks earlier forms of theatre—specifically, drama as performed by members of local craftsmen—as rough, amateur, and comically unsuitable for an elite audience. In the Coventry Shearmen and Tailors’ pageant—one of only two surviving texts from a series of biblical plays performed by craft guilds each summer, outdoors, on pageant wagons—the actor playing King Herod famously “ragis in þe pagond and in the street also” (Coventry 105, l.728SD). Shakespeare likely saw these plays, last performed in 1579 shortly after he turned 15; some 21 years later he would refer to overacting as that which “out-Herods Herod,” a style of theatre suitable at best for unsophisticated “groundlings” (Hamlet 3.2.12)—those who paid but a penny, the price of a loaf of bread, to stand and watch his plays. Yet Henry V, Richard III, and Henry VII—kings featured in Shakespeare’s own plays—all saw and commended the Coventry plays. Shakespeare’s plays were on occasion performed for elite audiences, at court or at the Inns of Court, but more often for mixed audiences, groundlings included—that is, a popular audience—at permanent public theatres such as the Globe. So why does Shakespeare, a small-town glove-maker’s son who, according to his friend and fellow playwright Ben Jonson, could boast but “small Latin and less Greek” (Shakespeare 44 and 3351), seem to denigrate theatre geared toward such an audience, and even the audience itself? How do these different types of theatrical entertainment conform to modern notions of popular culture?
        Most public theatre in the Middle Ages was religious, and even the most secular of interludes, mummings, and farces were normally performed on religious holidays when one could gather an audience. Paintings by the likes of Pieter Breughel, for example, regularly show village dramatic performances as taking place alongside religious processions and general revelry. Middle English biblical theatre was more varied than was once thought, ranging from individual parish plays to full Creation to Doomsday cycles, written mostly by anonymous clerics and produced by trade guilds under (often very close) civic supervision. This is clearly not folk drama, but was nonetheless produced for mass consumption—a means of communicating biblical history and ideas to the learned and unlearned alike. Popular culture is for, not necessarily of the people. Yet to be considered as popular culture, a work does indeed need to have mass appeal and meaning. As Douglas Lanier writes in Shakespeare and Popular Culture, “Popular culture’s meanings and pleasures are created by ‘the people’ from a position of relative subordination or disempowerment within a social order” (50). This is true even where a cultural text has been produced by an elite. The audience matters, as do all involved in the production of that text and of its cultural meaning, including tradesmen and (other) lowly actors.
        As noted, texts survive for only two of the Coventry plays, and the most famous of those—the nativity pageant produced by the city’s Shearmen and Tailors’ guild—survives only in transcription, the manuscript having been destroyed in a fire in 1879. Still, extant records attest that the plays were spectacular, and attracted huge audiences, from commoners to royalty. The full sequence, which may have been organized around the Creed (Rogerson; see also Coventry 9), was performed on the feast of Corpus Christi, and represented New Testament events from the Annunciation to Doomsday. While as many as ten different stations or performance locations are recorded, it appears that each pageant was performed just three times in succession. As was likely the case for other civic cycles, the full sequence was not always played. For example, when Margaret of Anjou attended in 1457, the Doomsday pageant was not played “for lak of day,” although the pageant route had even been altered to include a stop outside her lodgings (Coventry 2). There is, incidentally, no record of Margaret’s having cursed anyone involved in the production as she curses virtually everyone in Shakespeare’s Richard III (see 1.3 et passim)—part of a popular, and highly influential, demonizing portrayal (see Hokin). Regardless, the biblical story itself was already part of popular culture and sufficiently well-known not to need full iteration.
        The Coventry plays were of course not the only popular theatrical event associated with the feast of Corpus Christi in medieval England. In York, starting at around 4:30 in the morning, roughly four dozen plays were performed in procession, each on a single wagon, most often at a dozen different “stations” throughout the city. While most roles were performed by members of the producing guilds, at least some roles were taken by professional actors. The Bakers paid a single “player” each year for his involvement in their pageant of the Last Supper (see Mill 148-49) and, while he might have served a directorial role as is sometimes argued (see York v.2, 222), he very likely played the demanding central role. After all, while twelve disciples need to appear onstage, nearly all the lines are assigned to Jesus. Norwich and various other cities, too, had biblical cycles of one sort or another, but most texts do not survive, and not all were associated with Corpus Christi. Some individual plays and shorter sequences were included in two surviving manuscript anthologies of biblical drama compiled to resemble cycles, now known as N-Town (sometimes still mistakenly called the Coventry plays due to an antiquarian’s mislabelling of this eclectic collection as the Ludus Coventriae) and Towneley (long thought to be a cycle from the town of Wakefield). In Chester, some two dozen pageants rolled through the city streets each year for three full days at Midsummer. London’s Clerkenwell play—a biblical play performed by London clerks—likewise appears to have been a multi-day performance event; however, we do not know whether it was performed annually, or very irregularly, as a special event.
        Records do indicate that the Clerkenwell play was performed in Chaucer’s day, and he very likely saw or at least knew of it. In the Miller’s Tale, the clerk Absolon who “pleyeth Herodes on a scaffold hye” (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales I(A).3384) is held up for mockery, yet popular theatre itself is not. Indeed, the Tale contains various allusions to elements common to medieval biblical drama, including Noah’s disobedient wife and a notable age difference between Joseph and Mary as sources of comedy, while the drunken Miller himself is said to cry out “in Pilate’s voys” (I(A).3124). This is all material that Chaucer expects his audience to recognize and appreciate. Aron Gurevich has rightly asserted that “Clerical culture was capable of incorporating elements of popular traditions and belief and displaying a certain flexibility in its relation with the culture of the simplices” (223). However, despite the title of his fine book, Gurevich does not really deal with “Medieval Popular Culture” aside from religious and folk belief. In the Miller’s Tale, Chaucer audaciously alludes to a culturally familiar mode of religiously themed entertainment within a ribald, secular tale, less to teach than to delight his presumably elite audience.
        But what did these stage tyrants sound like? How does one out-Herod Herod? These are the opening lines from the York Litsters’ pageant of Jesus’ trial before Herod, introducing the last of several Herods, all played by different actors on different wagon stages:

Pes, ye brothellis and browlys, in this broydenesse inbrased,
And freykis that are frendely your freykenesse to frayne,
Youre tounges fro tretyng of triffillis be trased,
Or þis brande that is bright schall breste in youre brayne. (York 31.1-4)

Even the original audience might not have understood that largely obscure alliterative vocabulary. The excessive alliteration is itself the point: these lines serve primarily to get the attention of the audience in the street. The Coventry Herod’s lines, coming late in the play, are relatively mild:

… owt! owt! owtt!
Hath those fawls traytvrs done me this ded?
I stampe! I stare! I loke all abowtt!  (Coventry 105, ll.722-24)

The lines tell us what the character does: stamping, staring, and looking around, enraged. Sadly, we can only imagine the non-verbal action just a few lines later when, as noted, “Erode ragis in the pagond and in the strete also” (728 SD)—action that, as Clifford Davidson has suggested (4), may have influenced Shakespeare’s portrayal of other characters, including not only villains but also heroes: Henry V, for one, threateningly refers to Herod while outside besieged Harfleur (Henry V 3.3.118).
        Still, most of the dialogue given to Herod, in York or Coventry or indeed elsewhere, is not written to be spoken temperately, as Hamlet famously asks of the players who visit Elsinore:

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you—trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier had spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o’erdoing Termagant. It out-Herods Herod. Pray you avoid it. (Hamlet 3.2.1-14)

Robert Weimann long ago argued persuasively that medieval portrayals of Herod and Pilate have influenced Shakespeare’s theatrical method, specifically in the ways in which these characters interact with the audience (see III.3,4 passim). He also examines this speech from Hamlet at length, and asserts that, “taken in its context, the speech does indeed tell us something about Shakespeare’s own theory of drama” (199). However, in his analysis he omits the famous reference to Herod (see 198-99), and ignores the implications of the speech regarding Shakespeare’s attitude both toward those earlier plays and toward his own audience.
        On the other hand, we cannot know whether the original theatre audience heard that speech as quoted. Compare the speech in the infamous first (“Bad”) Quarto text of 1603, which begins:

Pronounce me this speech trippingly o’the tongue as I taught thee.
Marry, an you mouth it, as a many of your players do,
I’d rather hear a town bull bellow
Than such a fellow speak my lines. (scene 9, 1849-1852)

This version suggests that Hamlet has already coached these players (which seems doubtful) and substitutes “a town bull bellow” for the “town crier,” but perhaps more significantly goes on to refer to “the ignorant” rather than to “the groundlings.” If indeed Q1 is based on a performance text, as is often suggested, this alteration from the lengthy, more literary Q2 and Folio texts could indicate that Shakespeare decided not to insult that part of his audience too directly. This version allows the groundlings to imagine themselves capable of appreciating more than dumb shows—capable, even, of understanding Shakespeare.
        Hamlet has earlier recited one of his own favourite speeches, which he claims to have heard spoken “once” (Hamlet 2.2.416) by one of the visiting players. The “Pyrrhus” speech is relatively well transcribed in Q1 (scene 7, 1492ff.), especially for a “purple passage” (unlike Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy, which is famously butchered); effectively only a few lines are missing, and these few are often omitted in modern performance. Since at least Dryden, the speech has been ascribed to various writers other than Shakespeare, who certainly did collaborate with other writers, not to mention stealing their plotlines. Hamlet later misquotes lines from a play by the Queen’s Men, The True Tragedy of Richard the Third: “The screeking raven sits croaking for revenge / Whole herds of beasts come bellowing for revenge” (scene 17, 1892-93). According to James Shapiro,

These lines from the old play, whose awfulness had clearly stuck with Shakespeare, resurface years later when Hamlet, interrupting the play-within-the-play and urging on the strolling players, deliberately mangles the couplet: “Come, ‘the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge’” [3.2.231–32]. At best this was a double-edged tribute, reminding playgoers of the kind of old-fashioned revenge drama they once enjoyed while showing how a naturalistic revenge play such as Hamlet had supplanted the dated and over-the-top style of the Queen’s Men. (Year 18; see also Shapiro, 1599 325ff.)

The Pyrrhus speech, however, seems to be Shakespeare’s own. As Harry Levin (passim) explained at length already in 1950, the speech resonates strongly with the themes and plot of the play in which it appears. Yet, what interests me here is that—even prior to Hamlet’s “Speak the speech” speech—this particular speech is, and in performance must be, used to illustrate what Hamlet, and indeed Shakespeare, considers good theatre, as opposed to good writing (which it arguably is not). What Hamlet starts (again, ostensibly from memory of a single hearing), one of the players (the original speaker) must finish, and please his aristocratic host in the process. Moreover, that actor must visibly, before his audience both on the stage and off, and convincingly

… force his soul so to his whole conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned
Tears in his eyes, distraction in ’s aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing. (2.2.530-534)

This is explicitly not to be considered popular theatre. Hamlet asserts that the play in question “was never acted, or, if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not the million. ’Twas caviare to the general” (2.2.416-418)—that is, it was too refined for the tastes and comprehension of a general audience. And of course, the play for which Hamlet is about to write some additional material is intended to be performed only once, for a very specific courtly audience, unlike the play in which he is a character.
        When an obscure musical band scores a popular hit, some former fans will inevitably sneer and say that the band has “sold out.” But until that point those same fans might argue that the band is too good to appeal to the crowd. Shakespeare may have had a similar attitude. What was first published in 1609 as “The Historie of Troylus and Cresseida. As it was acted by the Kings Maiesties seruants at the Globe” was swiftly reprinted without mention of performance (see Shakespeare 1833). Rather, this reprinting added a leaf containing the infamous “Epistle” from “A never writer, to an ever reader,” which refers to the work as “a new play, never staled with the Stage, never clapper-clawed with the palms of the vulgar,” nor “sullied with the smoky breath of the multitude,” and indeed beyond the comprehension of “all such dull and heavy-witted worldlings, as were never capable of the wit of a Comedy” (Shakespeare 1826, slightly modernized). Here disdain extends beyond mere groundlings to all “worldlings” who might venture into the public theatre. Despite the legal necessity of noble patronage for theatre companies, and contrary to the comically Shakespearean dea ex machina ending of the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love, which has Queen Elizabeth herself make a surprise entrance onto the stage, royalty would never deign to go the public theatre, but rather brought the theatre to court when desired.
        Royalty could of course also control what was available to popular audiences. Well before Shakespeare started his career, medieval biblical theatre was banned under Queen Elizabeth as a suspect part of England’s Catholic past. According to Daisy Black, “Shakespeare’s mechanicals’ play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet’s scathing speech to his players invest heavily in supersessionary models of theatre which mock in order to erase the past, and are among the most famous examples of how early guild performances were characterised as unsophisticated, too earnestly ‘literal’, untimely and outdated” (31). Yet Shakespeare does not merely mock the theatrical past, but also his competition, and not just the Queen’s Men. The scene in Hamlet that introduces the players also has Rosencrantz refer to contemporary children’s companies as “an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for’t” (2.2.326-327)—that is, a nest of young hawks who are applauded for screeching louder than their critics. The Q1 text here (in lines attributed to “Gilderstone”) tellingly speaks of the visiting players as having suffered because “the principal public audience that / Came to them are turned to private plays, / And to the humor of children” (scene 7, 1387-1389). A paying public does matter to Shakespeare, as it does to his fictional “tragedians of the city” (scene 7, 1376). Despite his apparent suggestion that he and his work deserve only the very best audiences, he is clearly willing to entertain the rabble at the public theatre. Still, by telling the rabble all this, he is arguably also complimenting them, effectively stating that if you enjoy this clever, well-written and professionally acted play—if this is theatre as you like it—then you are a deserving audience for a playwright whose work has been performed at the royal court for the worthiest audience of all.
        In his ground-breaking book on Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe (originally published in 1978), Peter Burke defines his subject “in a negative way as unofficial culture, the culture of the non-elite, the ‘subordinate classes’…. In the case of early modern Europe, the non-elite were a whole host of more or less definite social groups of whom the most prominent were craftsmen and peasants.” He goes on to “use the phrases ‘craftsmen and peasants’ or ‘ordinary people’ as convenient pieces of shorthand for the whole non-elite, including women, children, shepherds, sailors, beggars and the rest…” (xiii). He later mentions in passing that “plays and other festivities were often mounted by town craftsmen, . . . sometimes with the help of professional actors who took the leading parts” (146). Professional actors were of course no more “elite” than craftsmen or peasants, even prior to the Vagabond Act of 1572 which classed “Common Players in Enterludes, & Minstrels, not belonging to any Baron of this Realm or towards any other honourable Personage of greater Degree,” as “Rogues, Vagabonds and Sturdy Beggars” (EPT 62 [1.IV.29])—unmastered men subject to severe punishment. Yet the largely anonymous writers of the extant biblical plays were clearly learned clerics, and civic plays at least were carefully regulated by civic authorities. Where do these fit in?
        In his Introduction to the third edition of the book, Burke also notes that “The borderline between the different cultures of the people and the cultures of the elites (which were not less various) is a fuzzy one” (7); however, he does not deal with the deliberate cultural interplay between these groups—culture produced by the elite for mass consumption, or cultural production by the non-elite that was nonetheless consumed by the elite. Civic biblical theatre was effectively both, being written by clerics and performed by tradesmen under civic supervision for an audience that could include royalty and peasants alike. Shakespeare’s theatre was arguably more the latter: non-elite production for multiple audiences, including a public theatre audience already divided by class and economic status, visibly, by where they stood or sat to see a play.
        While the bulk of what has been written under the rubric “Shakespeare and popular culture” is concerned with his place in modern popular culture, Shakespeare clearly used a great deal of Elizabethan and Jacobean popular culture in his plays, from contemporary song and dance to ghost and fairy lore, making frequent specific cultural references that a large portion of his original public theatre audience would immediately have understood, although not all. This is hardly surprising, given the nature both of the audience and of the playwright himself. As Diana Henderson writes:

If forced to place young William Shakespeare in one cultural location, it would not be among the elite. He was born neither noble nor “gentle,” did not attend university, worked as an actor and provider of scripts for a professional theatre of such dubious status that it was not allowed to perform within London’s city limits, and wrote in a vernacular with little enough belabored classicism to remain generally comprehensible to most English speakers centuries later. . . . [E]ven within theatrical circles, he was perceived as an “upstart”; in lines attributed by Henry Chettle to Robert Greene, this “Shake-scene” threatens to undo the aspirations of those university-educated playwrights who strove to attain a higher status than the actors. He did so precisely by being a “Johannes factotum” who performed both roles. (7)

Indeed, “Will had a way of blurring boundaries” (Henderson 7), as did his plays. Yet he clearly aspired upward, both socially and culturally.
        For evidence, one might go to (the) Bottom: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, like Hamlet, includes a play-within-a-play acted at court, this time not by professional players but by “rude mechanicals” (3.2.9)—that is, the sort of labourers who as guild members did indeed produce and act in plays in Shakespeare’s youth. Theseus and the rest might mock the ineptitude of these players, whom his Master of Revels deems inappropriate entertainment for the court, yet Bottom the Weaver does get to sleep with the Queen of the Fairies, played by the same actor who plays Theseus’s own warrior bride, Hippolyta (see Meagher 107)—two queens for one. Nor are the play’s bickering courtiers and fairy royalty portrayed as being more dignified than the labourer-players they mock. The professional players playing these amateurs have themselves already played at court, and they will perform this same play there in 1604. However, according to the first Quarto edition of 1600, the play “hath been sundry times publikely acted” before audiences that doubtless included weavers, joiners, bellows-makers, and the like. That is, this is popular culture, both reflective of and produced for a general audience. It is popular culture that Shakespeare brings to his diverse theatre audiences, albeit raised (like some modern popular song) to the level of “high art”—something people might want to read as well as see and hear in performance, even beyond the original cultural context(s).
        While the Epistle attached to Troilus and Cressida implies that publication is more prestigious than performance, Shakespeare seems to have been relatively disinterested in publication of his plays. On the other hand, according to Francis Meres “his sugred Sonnets” were circulated “among his private friends” (Shakespeare 1921)—that is, as explicitly private rather than popular culture. And despite (or perhaps in part because of) his lack of a university education, he seems to have wanted to be seen as part of the elite. That is, he appears to have shared, at least to some extent, those “aspirations of those university-educated playwrights who strove to attain a higher status than the actors” that Henderson refers to. Why else go to the trouble of getting a family coat of arms following his father’s unsuccessful attempt to be recognised as a gentleman (see Shapiro, 1599 275ff.)?
        He also clearly wanted to be seen as a poet, not merely a playwright—one whose work was worthy of a royal patron such as Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, to whom he dedicated both The Rape of Lucrece and Venus and Adonis, the latter having appeared in print before any of his plays. Shakespeare may have written “from a position of relative subordination or disempowerment within a social order” (Lanier 50), but he also wrote to empower himself. His humorous digs at earlier religious drama as low entertainment less fit for a duke or a queen than for a popular audience, groundlings included, seem calculated to make himself, the glover’s son and actor/playwright William Shakespeare, appear unpopular, elite, perhaps a bit like Prince Hamlet himself, who hangs around with “common players,” recites favourite lines and writes speeches for them, and generally tells them what to do, but is not really one of them.
        As any fan of TV shows from Dallas to Downton Abbey to The Crown knows, we all like to imagine ourselves as being part of an elite rather than merely part of the rabble, the general populus. We want to be popular, but in the sense that we want to be less part of the crowd than among the elite that the crowd adores—that an elite adores. Which is not to say that we want to change our own ways. We might love Prince Hamlet in all his moody complexity, but we might still want to be like Bottom, adored despite himself, ass ears and all. Bottom arguably speaks as much for Shakespeare, the actor and son of a glover, as Hamlet speaks for Shakespeare, the poet-playwright. And they both continue to speak to us, across time and cultures, whether we consider ourselves part of an educated elite, or lowly groundlings.

Works cited

Black, Daisy. Play Time: Gender, Anti-Semitism and Temporality in Medieval Biblical Drama. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2020. Print.

Burke, Peter. Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe. Third edition. New York: Routledge, 2016. Print.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Riverside Chaucer. Ed. Larry Dean Benson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.

[Coventry] The Coventry Corpus Christi Plays. Ed. Pamela M King and Clifford Davidson. Kalamazoo MI: Western Michigan UP, 2000. Print.

Davidson, Clifford. “The Coventry Mysteries and Shakespeare’s Histories.” Early Drama, Art, and Music Paper 6 (2016): 1-26. Print.

[EPT] English Professional Theatre, 1530-1660. Ed. Glynne Wickham, Herbert Berry, and William Ingram. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001. Print.

Gurevich, Aron. Medieval Popular Culture: Problems of Belief and Perception. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988. Print.

Henderson, Diana E. “From Popular Entertainment to Literature.” The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture. Ed. Robert Shaughnessy. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 6–25. Print.

Hokin, Catherine. “Uncovering Margaret of Anjou: A Queen More Sinn’d Against Than Sinning?” The Freelance History Writer [online] 20/05/2016. Web. 20/10/2022.

Lanier, Douglas. Shakespeare and Modern Popular Culture. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. Print.

Levin, Harry “An Explication of the Player’s Speech (Hamlet, II, ii, 472-541).” The Kenyon Review 12.2 (1950): 273-96. Print.

Meagher, John C. Shakespeare’s Shakespeare: How the Plays Were Made. New York: Continuum, 1997. Print.

Mill, Anna J. “The York Bakers’ Play of the Last Supper.” The Modern Language Review 30.2 (1935): 145-58. Print.

Rogerson, Margaret. “The Coventry Corpus Christi play: A ‘Lost’ Middle English Creed Play?” Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama 36 (1997): 143-77. Print.

Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare, based on the Oxford Edition. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt et alia. New York & London: W.W. Norton, 1997. Print.

— . Hamlet Quarto 1 (1603, Modern). Internet Shakespeare Editions [online]. Victoria BC: University of Victoria. Web. 20/10/2022.

Shakespeare in Love. Dir. John Madden. Miramax, 1998. Film.

Shapiro, James. 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. London: Faber & Faber, 2005. Print.

— . The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015. Print.

The True Tragedy of Richard the Third (1594). Ed. Ramon Jimenez and Robert Brazil. 2005. Elizabethan Authors. Web. 20/10/2022.

Weimann, Robert. Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition in the Theater: Studies in the Social Dimension of Dramatic Form and Function. Ed. Robert Schwartz. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978. Print.

[York] The York Plays: A Critical Edition of the York Corpus Christi Play as recorded in British Library Additional MS 35290. Two volumes. Ed. Richard Beadle. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009, 2013. Print.


Garrett PJ Epp is Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta, Canada, and now serves the Université Catholique de Lille both as an instructor and as an administrator. He has produced and directed a variety of early English plays, and his publications in the field include an edition of the plays in the Towneley manuscript, Huntington HM 1.


Professeur émérite à l’Université de l’Alberta au Canada, Garrett PJ Epp sert maintenant à l’Université Catholique de Lille en tant qu’instructeur et qu’administrateur. Il a mis en scène diverses pièces de théâtre anglaises des premières heures, et ses publications dans le domaine comprennent une édition des pièces du manuscrit de Towneley, Huntington HM 1.