Textual Patronage in English Drama, 1570-1640
Through an investigation of the dedications and addresses from various printed plays of the English Renaissance, David Bergeron recuperates the richness of these prefaces and connects them to the practice of patronage. The prefatory matter discussed ranges from the printer John Day's address to readers (the first of its kind) in the 1570 edition of Gorboduc to Richard Brome's dedication to William Seymour and address to readers in his 1640 play, 'Antipodes'. The study includes discussion of prefaces in plays by Shakespeare's contemporaries as well as Shakespeare himself, among them Marston, Jonson, and Heywood. The book includes an Appendix that lists plays with prefatory dedications and addresses here analyzed. The author uses these prefaces to show that English playwrights, printers and publishers looked in two directions, toward aristocrats and toward a reading public, in order to secure status for and dissemination of dramatic texts.
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