theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
The story that Shakespeare wrote The Merry Wives of Windsor in response to a request from Queen Elizabeth to see Falstaff in love goes back a long way. In the prologue to his 1702 adaptation of the play, The Comical Gallant, John Dennis alludes to it as does Nicholas Rowe in the biographical essay at the start of his 1709 edition of Shakespeare’s works. This may be only wishful thinking, but we know that the play was performed in front of Queen Elizabeth, because the title page of the first quarto tells us “As it hath bene diuers times Acted by the right Honorable my Lord Chamberlaines seruants. Both before her Maiestie, and else-where”. The new exhibition at Windsor Castle, Shakespeare in the Royal Library may only boast a copy of the 1619 Quarto, not the 1602 edition (the one illustrated is from the British Library), but there are many more unique and…
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