Restoration Promptbooks
Brand: Southern Illinois University Press

Restoration Promptbooks

  • Publish Date: 1981-12-01
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Edward A. Langhans

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A major new reference tool that gathers for the first time all discovered Restoration promptbooks, with full facsimiles of the richest ones and transcriptions of the prompt notes in the remainder.

This book is the product of 25 years of searching in libraries and private collections in England and America by the distinguished coauthor of A Biographical Dictionary. Among the best sources of information about Restoration staging, acting, and theatre architecture, these promptbooks have been so difficult of access that most of them have never been studied in detail and a number of them are presented here by Langhans for the first time. As many of the promptbooks contain cuts and changes, they reveal how the players respected or ignored the playwrights wishes.

In an introduction, Langhans discusses the identifying features of promptbooks, their preparation, and their disposition; the audiences for which productions were prepared; the layout of a typical Restoration playhouse; the duties of the prompter and his backstage colleagues; acting conventions of the time; and the probability of further promptbook discoveries.

Among the most valuable promptbooks are The Change of Crownes by Edward Howard, Aglaura and Brennoralt by Sir John Suckling, The Loyal Subject by John Fletcher, The Sisters, The Ball, The Wittie Faire One, and The Maides Revenge by James Shirley, The Lady-Errant and The Ordinary by William Cartwright, The Vow-Breaker by William Sampson, The Wise-Woman of Hogsdon by Thomas Heywood, Tyrannick Love by John Dryden, and The Albion Queens by John Banks.

Appendixes provide brief examinations of some pre- and post-Restoration prompt-books, a facsimile of a manuscript prompt-book from Restoration Dublin, and a study of the only known actors part from Restoration London. More than seventy prompt-books or related documents are examined in part or in detail by Langhans.

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