Wooing of Death, The

Henry Chettle (1600)

Historical Records


To playwrights in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 69 (Greg I.121)

Receaued by me Henry Chettle of mr Henshlowe }
in earnest of a booke Called the wooinge of deathe } xxs
                                     By me henry chettle./

Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's players paid Henry Chettle 20s. for "The Wooing of Death" sometime between 27 April and 6 May 1600, which was during their final season at the Rose playhouse before a move to the Fortune in late summer or early fall. Greg II (#203, p. 213) suggested that a 5s loan to Chettle on May 6 1600 might have been toward the composition of this play. [[WorksCited|Chambers, ES (3.266) suggested that the play was "apparently not finished." Knutson finds no reason to consider it finished (p. 163). Wiggins, Catalogue (#1252) decides that it was "presumably performed" and agrees with Greg that the 5s loan on May 6 might have been for this play.

Probable Genre(s)

Tragedy ? (Harbage)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

None known.

References to the Play

None known.

Critical Commentary

Collier noted that Chettle signature was autograph (p. 169, n.3). For Greg, II, this play was one of many for which nothing was known (#203, p. 213).

Wiggins, Catalogue asks whether Death was wooed in the play or was the wooer (#1252).

Gurr considers it one of the many plays in Henslowe's records that "never got beyond the early draft stage" (p. 105)

For What It's Worth

Information welcome.

Works Cited

Gurr, Andrew. ‘’Shakespeare's Opposites: The Admiral's Company 1594-1625’’. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Knutson, Roslyn L. “The Commercial Significance of the Payments for Playtexts in Henslowe’s Diary 1597-1603.” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 6 (1991): 117-63.

Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 31 October 2009.