Enter the Clowns: Adapting Shakespeare after 1642

Open access


This paper focuses on the genre of drolls as they were compiled in Francis Kirkman‘s collection The Wits or Sport upon Sport, published in 1672 and 1673. The anthology includes scenes from Hamlet or A Midsummer Night's Dream and draws upon characters like Falstaff and others. By description and analysis of these dramatic pieces, I would like to draw one's attention to the genre that is almost unknown to the history of English speaking drama. This article focuses on the process of rethinking Shakespeare so as not only to entertain people in the critical period of English history, but also to preserve the dramatic conventions that William Shakespeare and his contemporaries created. It also considers the changes the authors of the drolls made when adapting the parent plays of William Shakespeare.

Baker, Henry Barton. English Actors from Shakespeare to Macready. New York: H. Holt and Company, 1879. Print.

Clark, Andrew. The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, Antiquary of Oxford, 1632-1695, Described by Himself. I.Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1891. Print.

Cox, Robert. Acteon and Diana. London: Printed for Edward Archer, 1656. Print.

Elson, John James. The Wits, or, Sport upon sport. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell UP, 1932. Print.

Goodwin, Gordon. ―Francis Kirkman‖. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 31. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1892. 219-20. Print.

Kirkman, Francis. The Wits, or, Sport upon Sport in Select Pieces of Drollery (…) London: Printed for Henry Marsh, at the Sign of the Princes Arms in Chancery Lane, 1662. Print.

Kirkman, Francis. The Wits, or, Sport upon Sport Being a Curious Collection of Several Drols and Farces (…). London: Printed for Fran. Kirkman, and are to be sold by most book-sellers, 1673. Print.

Kolin, Phillip C. Venus and Adonis. Critical Essays. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. Print.

Nungezer, Edwin. A Dictionary of Actors and Other Persons Associated with the Public Representation of Plays in England before 1642. Ithaca, N.Y.: 1929. Print.

Plomer, Henry Robert. A Dictionary of the Booksellers and Printers, 1641-1667. London: Bibliographical Society, 1907. Print.

Randall, Dale B.J. Winter Fruit: English Drama 1642-1660. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1995. Print.

Rollins, Hyder E. ―A Contribution to the History of the English Commonwealth Drama‖. Studies in Philology. 18, 3. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1921. 267-333. JSTOR. Feb 20 2017. Web.

Scanlon, Paul A. The Common Touch: Popular Literature from the Elizabethans to the Restoration. Volume 1. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. Print.

Shakespeare, William, and A. R. Humpreys. King Henry IV, Pt. 1. London: Routledge, 1996. Print.

Shakespeare, William, and Harold Jenkins. Hamlet. London: Routledge, 1982. Print.

Taylor, Gary. ―Shakespeare Plays on Renaissance Stages‖ in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage. Eds. Stanley Wells and Sarah Stanton. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002. 1-20. Print.

Willkie, Rachel. Staging the Revolution. Drama, Reinvention and History, 1647-72. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2015. Print.

Mercurius Democritus. 22 - 29 June 1653. 467. Print.


The Journal of Linguaculture Centre for (Inter)cultural and (Inter)lingual Research, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 93 93 13
PDF Downloads 65 65 12