Scenario of a play set in Thrace and Macedon (Folger MS X.d.206)

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Sir Edward Dering (c.1630)

Historical Records

Folger Shakespeare Library MS fragment

The outline of the plot of Acts 1-3 exists as a MS fragment, Folger MS X.d.206, "formed of six sheets folded once and sewed to make a quire of twelve leaves, each leaf measuring 11 3\4 inches in height by 7 1/2 inches in breadth" (Adams 21). The first 6 pages contain the scenario of the play, the rest of the quire is blank.

Pp.1-3 contain the author's notes on local details pertaining to his chosen scenes of Thrace and Macedonia; presumably these notes were intended to guide the author in his composition, and were noted with an interest in creating "authentic" sounding places and characters:

Dering p1 thumb.JPG Dering p2 thumb.JPG Dering p3 thumb.JPG
Folger X.d.206, p1
(Click here for transcription)
Folger X.d.206, p2
(Click here for transcription)
Folger X.d.206, p3
(Click here for transcription)

Pp.4-6 contain what is conventionally referred to as the "plot" --- an Act by Act summary of the play's action:

Dering p4 thumb.JPG Dering p5 thumb.JPG Dering p6 thumb.JPG
Folger X.d.206, p4
(Click here for transcription)
Folger X.d.206, p5
(Click here for transcription)
Folger X.d.206, p6
(Click here for transcription)

Theatrical Provenance

Unknown. Sir Edward Dering (1598-1644) is identified as the author by the Folger Shakespeare Library, but the grounds for this identification are not known. Adams refers merely to "the author" in his transcription and discussion of the manuscript fragment. Dering was an "antiquary and religious controvesialist", Cambridge educated, and in 1627 was the fifth baronet created by Charles I (ODNB). He was known to be interested in drama and "produced a shortened version of Shakespeare's Henry IV for private performance" (ODNB).

Probable Genre(s)

Tragi-comedy (Adams)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

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References to the Play

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Critical Commentary

The Folger bought the manuscript from Maggs, who assigned it a date of 1600 (cat. 434 [1923], lot 576). Adams notes that:

The date assigned by the catalogue to the manuscript, 'about 1600', is also incorrect; for the author's marginal note, 'Speede in Greece', citing his source for the 'Nationall propriety's' of Thrace, refers to John Speed's A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, first published, it seems, in 1627. (20-21)

The c.1630 date assigned by this LPD entry follows the Folger's own catalogue.

For What It's Worth

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Works Cited

Adams, Joseph Quincy. "The Author Plot of an Early Seventeenth Century Play." The Library, 4th ser., 26 (1945-46): 17-27.
Dering, Edward. Scenario of a play set in Thrace and Macedon. ca.1630. MS X.d.206 Folger Shakespeare Library.
Salt, S. P. "Dering, Sir Edward, first baronet (1598–1644)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. Sept. 2010.

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Site created and maintained by David McInnis, University of Melbourne; updated 14 March 2011.