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This Element traces the varied and magical history of Christmas publications for children. The Christmas book market has played an important role in the growth of children's literature, from well-loved classics to more ephemeral annuals and gift books. Starting with the eighteenth century and continuing to recent sales successes and picturebooks, Christmas Books for Children investigates continuities and new trends in this hugely significant part of the children's book market.
In Shakespeare's day, Pericles was one of his most popular works. It was first staged by the King's Men at the Globe Theatre sometime in late 1607 or 1608, and contemporary dramatists referred to it as a model of popularity. Robert Taylor's Prologue to his c.1613-14 The Hog Hath Lost His Pearl hopes that: 'And if [the play] prove so happy as to please, / We'll say 'tis fortunate, like Pericles'. Ben Jonson's 1631 poem 'On The New Inn' complains of the lasting audience interest in Shakespeare's 'mouldy tale', some twenty years after it was first staged. A licence to revive the play was granted in that same year, suggesting that Jonson's envy had some basis in fact. In 1640, James Shirley alludes to Pericles in his Arcadia, in which one of his characters exclaims: 'Tire me? I am no woman. Keep your tires to yourself. Nor am I Pericles Prince of Tyre.' The pun suggests that Shakespeare's play was still current towards the close of the theatres in 1642. In the Interregnum, Samuel Sheppard's poem The Times Displayed in Six Sestiads (1646) singles out Pericles in praise of Shakespeare: “See him whose tragic scenes Euripides / Doth equal, and with Sophocles we may / Compare great Shakespeare. Aristophanes / Never like him, his fancy could display. / Witness his Prince of Tyre, his Pericles.” / Pericles also appears to have been the first Shakespeare play to be staged during the Restoration, when theatres reopened in 1659, and it was revived again in 1661.
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