Antony and Vallia

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Historical Records

Performance Records

Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 11 (Greg, I.21)
ye 4 of Jenewary 1594
. . . . . . . . .
Res at valy a for . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Fol. 12v Greg I.24)
ye 20 of June
. . . . . . . . .
Res at antony & vallea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ye 6 of septmbʒ 1595
. . . . . . . . .
Res at valia & antony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Fol. 13 (Greg I.25)
ye 26 of octobʒ 1595
. . . . . . . . .
Res at valia & antony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Theatrical Provenance

The play that theater historians collectively have called "Antony and Vallia" (based on Henslowe's variant spellings) had been acquired by the Admiral's men by January 1595, at which time it made its initial recorded performance at the Rose playhouse (if indeed it is the "valy a for" recorded on the 4th). Because Henslowe did not mark that showing with "ne" (the marking that most frequently distinguishes new plays in the diary playlists), theater historians have assumed a prior stage life for "Antony and Vallia," though no evidence suggests when and with which company that might have been.

Probable Genre(s)

Romance Harbage; Comedy Wiggins, Catalogue (#804)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

There are no obvious candidates for the title characters, and thus no obvious source texts for their story. See Critical Commentary below for a pattern of perceiving this play as an early version of some kind with a play called "Antonio and Vallia," itself lost yet attributed to Philip Massinger in 1620 with uncertain company provenance.

References to the Play

None known.

Critical Commentary

Malone does not even record the entry, "valy a for." His commentary begins with the June 20th entry of "antony & vallea," which he identifies with the item "entered in the Stationers' books, by Humphrey Moseley, June 29, 1660, as the production of Philip Massinger" (p. 297, n.9).

Collier puzzles over the garbled phrase in the diary on 4 January, which he reads to be "velya for." When he comes to the entry in June 1595 of "Antony and Vallea," he back-identifies the January entry as possibly an attempt at spelling the same title. Reinforcing Malone's conjecture, he also associates the Admiral's play with Philip Massinger's lost "Antonio and Vallia." Further lumping by association, Collier (in the entry for the "Antony and Vallea" on 20 June) mentions "Phillipo and Hippolito" (yet another lost play in the diary, July-September 1594) as having a history similar to that of the Admiral's "Antony and Vallia" in being "revived and altered" by Massinger at a much later date (p. 54, n.2; this second lost Massinger play is "Philenzo and Hypollita").

Fleay, BCED silently absorbs the January entry into the June one in 1595, repeating the identification with the seventeenth-century "Antonio and Vallia," which he attributes to Thomas Dekker as "altered" by Massinger and subsequently destroyed by John Warburton's cook (2. #142).

Greg II notes the poor showing of "valy a for" and projects a revision into the piece posted for 20 June; he accepts the by-then conventional opinion that the play in the diary was the basis through revision of Massinger's (and perhaps Dekker's) lost "Antonio and Vallia" (#66, p. 173).

Bentley, JCS (4.759) heads the entry for Massinger's "Antonio and Vallia" with Henslowe's 4 entries for "valy a for/antony & vallea/valia & antony" but proceeds to undermine any textual links such as serial revision. Indeed, he undermines further the assumptions that Warburton had ever had some version of an "Antonio and Vallia" play and that Moseley had ever had "an old manuscript of Henslowe's play."

Gurr addresses the absence of an "ne" for the initial entry of "valy a for" and suggests that the play might be a carry-over from the Admiral's men of the 1580s (#27, p. 213 n.34; also n.33).

Wiggins, Catalogue (#804) sets aside any textual link between the play in Henslowe's diary and the similarly named one entered by Humphrey Moseley and/or John Warburton, but he does find it plausible that the two items "were versions of the same story." He is skeptical that the source might have been "H. R.'s prose romance Honour's Conquest …in which there is a Princess Vallia" because the character named Antony in that work has too minor of a part and "no dealings with Vallia." Considering alternatives to guesses that the narrative of "Antony and Vallia" was a romance, he notes that the name "Vallia" belonged to a "Gothic King ... who ruled in the Pyrenees in the fifth century."

For What It's Worth

Wiggins, Catalogue (#804) puts some muscle behind the absence of a "ne" in Henslowe's entries for these titles by assigning the play to volume 2 of the "Catalogue" and thus to an origin before 1590. Gurr does likewise with the conjecture that the play might have belonged to a pre-1594 version of the Admiral's men, perhaps in 1593 (#27, p.213, n.34; see also n.33).

Works Cited

Gurr, Andrew. Shakespeare's Opposites: The Admiral's Company 1594-1625. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; 1 February 2021.