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A Book of the Play by Dutton Cook

A BOOK OF THE PLAY

_Studies and Illustrations of Histrionic Story, Life, and Character._

BY

DUTTON COOK,

AUTHOR OF

"ART IN ENGLAND," "HOBSON'S CHOICE," "PAUL FOSTER'S DAUGHTER," "BANNS OF MARRIAGE" ETC. ETC.

_THIRD AND REVISED EDITION._

In One Volume

London:

SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON, CROWN BUILDINGS, FLEET STREET.

1881.

CHARLES DICKENS AND EVANS, CRYSTAL PALACE PRESS.

PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.

This book, as I explained in the preface to its first edition, published in 1876, is designed to serve and entertain those interested in the transactions of the Theatre. I have not pretended to set forth anew a formal and complete History of the Stage; it has rather been my object to traverse by-paths connected with the subject--to collect and record certain details and curiosities of histrionic life and character, past and present, which have escaped or seemed unworthy the notice of more ambitious and absolute chroniclers. At most I would have these pages considered as but portions of the story of the British Theatre whispered from the side-wings.

Necessarily, the work is derived from many sources, owes much to previous labours, is the result of considerable searching here and there, collation, and selection. I have endeavoured to make acknowledgment, as opportunity occurred, of the authorities I stand indebted to, for this fact or that story. I desire, however, to make express mention of the frequent aid I have received from Mr. J. Payne Collier's admirable "History of English Dramatic Poetry" (1831), containing Annals of the Stage to the Restoration. Mr. Collier, having enjoyed access to many public and private collections of the greatest value, has much enriched the store of information concerning our Dramatic Literature amassed by Malone, Stevens, Reed, and Chalmers. Referring to numberless published and unpublished papers, to sources both familiar and rare, Mr. Collier has been enabled, moreover, to increase in an important degree our knowledge of the Elizabethan Theatre, its manners and customs, ways and means. I feel that I owe to his archaeological studies many apt quotations and illustrative passages I could scarcely have supplied from my own unassisted resources.

Some additions to the text I have deemed expedient. The few errors--they were very few and unimportant--discovered in the first edition I have corrected in the present publication; certain redundancies I have suppressed; here and there I have ventured upon condensation, and generally I have endeavoured to bring my statements into harmony with the condition of the stage at the present moment. Substantially, however, the "Book of the Play" remains what it was at the date of its original issue, when it was received by the reading public with a kindness and cordiality I am not likely to forget.

DUTTON COOK.

69, GLOUCESTER CRESCENT, REGENT'S PARK, N.W.

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. PLAYGOERS

CHAPTER II. THE MASTER OF THE REVELS

CHAPTER III. THE LICENSER OF PLAYHOUSES

CHAPTER IV. THE EXAMINER OF PLAYS


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