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Historical Records

Performance Records

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 (Q) Jerusallem the 22 of marche 1591 ...................... xviijs
Fol. 7 v (Greg I, 14)
Res at Jerusalem the 25 of aprell 1592 .................................. xxxxvjs

Theatrical Provenance

"Jerusalem" was the eighteenth of twenty-four plays performed by Lord Strange's men at the Rose from February to June, 1593. It was introduced in the fifth week of their run. Wiggins, Catalogue #892 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 "relatively late in its repertory life" compared with other plays performed by Strange's Men that also were not marked "ne" (see a discussion of the problem of non-ne plays in Henslowe's playlists @ Wiggins #878).

Probable Genre(s)

Harbage, basing his choice apparently on a scholarly tradition of association with the literature of the crusades, suggests that "Jerusalem" was an historical romance. Wiggins, Catalogue #892, also linking the play with source material from the crusades, abbreviates the generic label to "romance."

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

The scholarly commentary on "Jerusalem" is a product of guesswork about its subject matter:

Malone thinks that "Jerusalem" was "[p]robably The Destruction of Jerusalem, by Dr. Thomas Legge," 1577? (p. 291). Collier tactfully dismisses Malone's suggestion of lumping the play with Legge's (primarily because the latter was in Latin), but he does not dismiss the possibility of similar narratives.

Fleay, BCED, 2.298 #110, repeats the link to Legge, but he is much more interested in possible connections to two later plays, the lost two-part "Godfrey of Bulloigne" in the repertory of the Admiral's men at the Rose starting in June and July 1594 (Fleay, 2.302 #152), as well as Thomas Heywood's Four Prentices of London.

Greg II, #18 (p. 155) mentions the link to Legge's Destruction of Jerusalem only to dismiss it in favor of a "Conquest of Jerusalem" play. At the turn of the twentieth century, there was a powerful desire among theater historians to blend various discrete plays on the crusades into variations of one another, and Greg agrees, linking the lost 1592 "Jerusalem" with the lost "Godfrey" plays and Heywood's 1600 Four Prentices.

Manley and MacLean, in their main mention of "Jerusalem" (p. 125), do not connect with entries of a two-part "Godfrey of Bulloigne" in the offerings of the Admiral's men, July 1594-September 1595; therefore they do not engage the question of its possibly having been the first part of the later play-pair.

Wiggins, Catalogue, #892 doubles down on the serial relationship of Strange's men's "Jerusalem" and the Admiral's men's two-part "Godfrey of Bulloigne (#960)." He offers "Godfrey of Bouillon, with the Conquest of Jerusalem" as a contemporary alternative title for Henslowe's choice of "Jerusalem." He offers a plot summary of "Jerusalem" drawn from the early parts of William of Tyre's Godfrey of Bouillon (trans. William Caxton, 1481) and Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata (1575).

References to the Play

Information welcome.

Critical Commentary

See Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources and Analogues above for the opinions of Malone, Collier, Fleay, BCED, and Greg II.

Wiggins, Catalogue #892 suggests that "Jerusalem" (despite only two performances by Lord Strange's men) "cannot have been a box-office failure" if another company (here, the Admiral's men) acquired a play or two as sequels (i.e., the two-part "Godfrey of Bulloigne").

For What It's Worth

Manley and MacLean call attention to Henslowe's recording one performance of "Q Ierusallem" and another of "Ierusalem," asking whether the titles represent "one play or two" (p. 393, n.80).

Wiggins, Catalogue #892, in the context of "Jerusalem" as the first part of the lost two-part "Godfrey of Bulloigne," describes the Admiral's men as, in effect, "the successors of Lord Strange's Men." It is not clear in what sense he means "successors" except as successive lessees of the playhouse, but the claim invites the assumption that "Jerusalem" was on the tiring house shelf at the Rose when the Admiral's men began to play there in May 1594. It also invites a question of why this play—rather than ones with better financial histories—should have been an attractive acquisition (two plays by Marlowe [Jew of Malta, Massacre at Paris] are the only titles in Henslowe's playlists for both Lord Strange's men and the Admiral's men.

Works Cited

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