• John Russell Brown


In Elizabethan days, several lines of theatrical descent could be traced in the tragedies, comedies, and history plays to be seen on the London stages or studied in printed texts, but the degree to which Shakespeare’s plays are related to any of these families can be traced only with great difficulty and uncertainly. In his own day, Shakespeare had Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s and Polonius in Hamlet make a mockery of pedantic attempts to categorise dramatic genres;1 and, when we try to consider the wider questions of his working methods and the structure and modes of the plays, the most notable feature of them all is an astonishing variety, both of inspiration and of finished product.


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© John Russell Brown 1996

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  • John Russell Brown

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