Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary
Two records of performance survive in Henslowe’s accounts for early 1592 (new style):
Fol. 8 (Greg I, 15)
Rd at the comodey of cosmo the 12 of Jenewary 1593 . . . . . xxxxiiijs Rd at cossmo the 23 of Jeneway 1593 . . . . . xxiiijs
"Cosmo," also "The Comedy of Cosmo," was performed at the Rose playhouse by Lord Strange's company during the winter season of 1592-3. Though given just two performances and not marked "ne," it is not considered by Wiggins, Catalogue (#946) to belong to the set of plays in the 1592 list that similarly have few performances and no "ne" marking (see a discussion of the problem of non-ne plays in Henslowe's playlists @ Wiggins #878).
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
References to the Play
Malone did not comment on this play (p. 292). Collier, noting the absence of "ne" on its first appearance in Henslowe's listings, suggest that the main character might have been "related to the family of the Medici" (p. 30, n.1). Fleay, BCED expressed no opinion (2.298 #112).
Greg, II, #25, p. 157 apparently originated the conjecture that "Cosmo" was "[m]ost probably the same as" the play introduced a week earlier on 7 January and called "the gelyous comodey." He was persuaded to that opinion because "The Jealous Comedy" had been marked with Henslowe's enigmatic "ne," which almost always indicates a new play (or, a play new to the performing company's repertory) but had no apparent additional performances. Hinting at a subject for the play, he suggested that the name of the play "should perhaps be 'Cosimo'."
Wiggins, Catalogue, #946, considering Greg's reason for linking "Cosmo" with "The Jealous Comedy," is tempted but not convinced.
Manley and MacLean resist the lumping of "Cosmo" and "The Jealous Comedy" (pp. 125, 127).
For What It's Worth
It is curious but perhaps not significant that "The Jealous Comedy" and "Cosmo" returned identical receipts to Henslowe at their initial performances (44s).
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; 3 July 2020.