Shropshire: The Records and Editorial Apparatus
Published: October 1994© 1994
833 Pages, 6.98 x 10.00 x 1.22 in
The Records of Early English Drama volumes make available historical transcripts that provide evidence of early English drama, music, ceremonial, dance, and other forms of communal public entertainment in Britain before 1642, together with the necessary interpretive introductions and notes to explicate the materials for the reader.
Shropshire, in two volumes, is the eleventh publication in the series. In the introduction Alan Somerset surveys the social and economic history of each major borough and provides a commentary on the major issues raised in the documents. He discusses travelling performers routes, the places they performed, and the remarkable public exhibitions of high-wire artists, camels, bears, and giants. The records for this county are rich and varied, providing new detail about local playing and festivities. From Shrewsbury for example, comes the complete documentation of a unique, semi-circular outdoor amphitheatre. The documents reveal much - from robbery and riots - to the sometimes acrimonious disputes that show the growing Puritan opposition to sports, which attempted to combat an equally stubborn affection for traditional customs.
These records are an invaluable addition to the scholarship of early drama, establishing as they do part of the total context of the great drama of Shakespeare, his predecessors, and his contemporaries.
'The importance of the REED project establishes itself ever more firmly with the publication of each new volume, not least because the potential to yield important material and new perspectives on the drama and related activities is repeatedly demonstrated for geographical areas outside the first ranks of prominence for early theatrical culture. In the case of Shropshire, the appeal of the compilation is enlivened by the intrinsic qualities of the evidence, several pieces of which make extremely engaging reading.'Darryl Grantley, Comparative Drama
'With complete justification it has become something of a reviewing commonplace to congratulate each new volume of the Records of Early English Drama for its thoroughness of research, accuracy of transcription, and editorial judgment as well as to praise the vision of the project and the financial commitment of the various funding bodies. The eleventh volume in the series, devoted to the county of Shropshire, not only continues that tradition (now almost twenty years old) but improves upon it.'John Marshall, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies