Enter the Clowns: Adapting Shakespeare after 1642

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Abstract

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.

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