Two Manuscript Comments by Early Readers in The Works of Mr John Marston (1633)
This note discusses two early manuscript comments in the copy of The Works of Mr John Marston (1633) at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre, University of Austin at Texas. The author of the first comment is Sir Richard Newdigate Jr (1644-1710), and the author of the second may have been an acquaintance of Sir Richard’s father and uncle, both avid playbook collectors. Sir Richard dismisses Marston as a ‘very dull sencelesse Poett, having read his plays Antonio and Mellida, Antonio’s Revenge, and Sophonisba, whereas the anonymous author praises Marston’sParasitaster for being ‘a good play’. The two readers’ comments are valuable because they reveal conflicting reactions to Marston’s drama in a family known for its theatrical enthusiasm and because they are not broad or derived like other early readers’ remarks, especially those from the first century and a half since the publication of Marston’s Works. In addition, Sir Richard’s mention of Antonio’s Revenge is the only early one so far made upon an actual reading of this play.
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