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Chapter 7 - Pericles: A Performance, a Letter (1619)

from Part II - The Jacobean Tradition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 October 2019

Sophie Chiari
Affiliation:
Clermont Auvergne University, France
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Summary

David M. Bergeron reminds us that, for over 150 years, scholars and critics have known about a performance of Pericles at the Jacobean court in Whitehall on 20 May 1619. For the past fifty years some scholars have claimed that the Duke of Lennox arranged for or sponsored this performance. Bergeron uncovers the basis of this idea. He argues that to understand fully the 1619 event, scholars, editors, and critics need to return to the original source, found in a letter from Gerrard Herbert, dated 24 May, rather than depend, as most have, on a nineteenth-century transcription of the letter. He wants to know how scholars have reached their conclusion about Lennox’s involvement and determine its accuracy. His approach, therefore, underscores the fundamental point that scholars cannot rely on transcriptions or printed summaries of earlier manuscript or archival material without checking the primary material. Bergeron returns to the original Herbert letter and offers a transcription of the feast and performance of Pericles as recorded by Herbert four days after the event. He concludes that Bentley’s assertion, prompted in part by his reliance on Chambers, does not rest on solid evidence.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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