Difference between revisions of "Brooke's list"
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Revision as of 08:18, 8 November 2019
Between 1658 and 1662, the printer Nathaniel Brooke included, at the end of several of his publications, a list of "Books in the Press and Now Printing". The list changed very little over the four-year period, and it is of interest because it includes what appears to be a group of eight plays. None of them, as far as is known, were ever printed by Brooke, or anyone else.
Books in the Presse, and ready for Printing. 1· THE Scales of Commerce and Trade: by T. Wilsford. 2. Geometry demonstrated by Lines and Numbers; from thence, Astronomy, Cosmography, and Navigation proved and delineated by the Doctrine of Plaine and Spherical Triangles: by T. Wilsford. 3. The English Annals, from the Invasion made by Julius Cesar to these times: by T. Wilsford. 4. The Fool transformed: a Comedy. 5. The History of Lewis the eleventh King of France: a Trage-Comedy. 6. The chaste woman against her will: a Comedy. 7. The Tooth-drawer: a Comedy. 8. Honour in the end: a Comedy. 9. Tell Tale: a Comedy. 10. The History of Donquixiot, or the Knight of the ill favoured face: a Comedy. 11. The fair Spanish Captive: a Trage-Comedy.
(Edward Philips, The New World of English Words, 2S4r).
The advertisement runs in similar form in at least ten other Brooke publications found by EEBO-TCP. and is still running in 1662.
Greg, BPED, 1000-1 notes that this is an odd collection of eight plays, none of which Brook is known actually to have printed: "While at this date it is no doubt still possible, however improbable, that an edition of a particular play should have entirely disappeared, to suppose that this happened to a whole series of plays would be obviously absurd". There is indeed no reason to suppose that any of these pieces, if they ever did get into the press, actually got out again". Bentley agrees, arguing that the listing "The advertisements must have been at least premature... though one would assume that Brook had a manuscript." (Bentley, JCS, 5.1327).
Of the eight plays, one appears to be extant. The Telltale survives, or at least largely survives, thanks to its preservation in a manuscript now at Dulwich College. Another of them, "Honour in the End", is plausibly the play of that name recorded in Herbert's Office-Book as having been licensed for the Palsgrave's Men on 21 May 1624. The rest remain unknown apart from Brooke's list, but that two of the list are indeed clearly pre-1642 dramas bolsters the case that the other six might be.