Sanderson, John Russell (1975)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis dexamines for the first time the origin and development of the multi-part play in English between the years 1587 and 1630. After Tamburlaine, dramatic sequels become a regular feature of the professional theatre, and figure significantly in the early careers of Shakespeare and Marston as well as that of Marlowe. More than one hundred separate plays, extant and lost, are considered for evidence of composition, performance, publication, and literary and theatrical relationship. The plays are grouped according to genre, but at the same time a continuing chronological development is revealed. Many of the multi-part plays were unanticipated by the author, sequels appearing in response to popular success; others, especially among the Histories, were deliberately conceived in two or more parts. Nevertheless, in both categories, verbal and structural cross-references exist which can indicate intellectual consistency even where the original circumstances of performance made this difficult to perceive. From the general considerations, some specific conclusions emerge: many of the problems of 1 Henry VI are explained with reference to other planned sequences influenced by Tamburlaine; Munday's Huntington plays are shown to have an ingenious design in an extended rehearsal framework; new reasons are given for the derivation of 1 Hieronimo from an earlier sequel to Kyd's revenge tragedy; the structure of Chapman's Byron plays yields new evidence of their textual history; and Dekker's 2 The Honest Whore is profitably discussed in relation to Shakespeare's treatment of Hal in 2 Henry IV. In an essay comparing the composition and structure of sequels, it is suggested that they have an unrecognized significance to the growth and achievement of English Renaissance drama.
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