Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary
Two records of performance survive in Henslowe’s accounts for early 1592:
- Fol. 7 (Greg I, 13)
Res at brandymer the 6 of aprell 1591 ................................ xxijs
- Fol. 7 v (Greg I, 14)
Res at brandimer the 8 of maye 1592 .................................... xxiiijs
"Brandimer" is one of nineteen plays scheduled by Lord Strange's men at the Rose playhouse that apparently were not new in the late winter and spring of 1592. Wiggins, Catalogue #897 assigns the play to 1591 within a range of 1576-92. Basing his argument on its few performances (a mere 2), he considers the play "in a late stage of its repertory life" compared with other plays performed by Strange's Men that were also not marked "ne" (see a discussion of the problem of non-ne plays in Henslowe's playlists @ Wiggins #878).
Romantic comedy (?) Harbage
Romance? Wiggins, Catalogue (#897)
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
Malone has no opinion on the story of "Brandimer" (p. 291); Collier (p. 24) and Fleay, BCED (2.298 #111) are also silent. Greg II (#19, p. 155) calls attention to the similarity in name with Brandimart, who appears in Robert Greene's Orlando Furioso, which Strange's men has given one performance the previous February (21st). Greg does not think this character was lifted out of the Greene play and given the star role here, but he does consider that as "King of the Iles" Brandimer might have headlined a play with a strong English theme.
Wiggins, Catalogue #897, although not convinced by Greg's line of thought, nevertheless points out a story line for King Brandimart in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, focusing on his early life. As an alternative to Greg's thinking, Wiggins offers a giant named Brandimore, who was killed by Guy of Warwick.
References to the Play
Malone (p. 291) does not hazard a guess on the narrative or source of this play; neither do Collier (p. 24) and Fleay, BCED (2.298 #111). See Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues, above for subsequent scholarly conjecture on an identification of the title character.
For What It's Worth
Wiggins, Catalogue #897 boosts the likelihood that the title character of "Brandimer" is the giant by making an argument about theatricality across the repertories staged at the Rose and Fortune: he notes that the Jacobean ballad, which features the dragon (Brandimore), also mentions characters in other plays including "Sir John Mandeville" (Strange's), "Abraham and Lot" (Sussex's), and Tamburlaine (Admiral's).
Manley and MacLean modernize the title of "Brandimer" to Brandimart (p. 339).
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 10 July 2020.