Contexts

Historical Contexts: The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London

The Poetry and Prosody of Robert Wilson

Jeremy Lopez

Abstract: What is the purpose of modernizing, or even reviving at all, a play like Three Ladies of London? The play is a fascinating precursor or model for The Jew of Malta and The Merchant of Venice, as well as a vital hinge between civic and liturgical drama on the one hand and commercial drama on the other. But it is also a period piece, specifically preoccupied with the London of the 1580s, and obviously of great potential to be dreadfully dull to a modern audience. I will engage this problem by discussing the sound, structure, and historical (or trans-historical) significance of the play's ‘fourteener’ verse, which I think is the most fundamental marker of difference any modern production and audience must deal with.

Citation: Lopez, Jeremy, ‘The Poetry and Prosody of Robert Wilson’, Performance as Research in Early English Theatre Studies: The Three Ladies of London in Context, http://threeladiesoflondon.mcmaster.ca/contexts/JeremyLopez.htm.

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From the Talbot to Duck Lane: The Early Publication History of Robert
Wilson’s The Three Ladies of London

Kirk Melnikoff

Abstract: This essay tracks the early fortunes of Robert Wilson’s Three Ladies of London in print, from its initial publication in 1584 to its reprinting in 1592. Along the way, it addresses three overlapping questions: First, what possibly inspired Roger Ward to finance, print and distribute a quarto of the play in 1584? Second, when and why did Ward transfer his right-to-copy to John Danter, the play's second publisher? And third, why was Danter interested in the play? In order to answer these questions, this essay closely follows the careers of both Ward and Danter, paying particular attention to the publishing penchants and practices of each.

Citation: Melnikoff, Kirk, ‘From the Talbot to Duck Lane: The Early Publication History of Robert Wilson’s The Three Ladies of London’, Performance as Research in Early English Theatre Studies: The Three Ladies of London in Context, http://threeladiesoflondon.mcmaster.ca/contexts/KirkMelnikoff.htm.

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Robert Wilson’s Three Ladies of London and Three Lords and Three Ladies of London: A Comparison

Bryan Nakawaki and Paul Whitfield White

Abstract: Robert Wilson’s Three Ladies of London and Three Lords and Three Ladies of London are often jointly identified as belonging to the moral genre of drama. Such classification overlooks the fact that the plays are notably different from each other – perhaps more so than is typical of any other set of ‘paired’ plays in early modern England. This essay examines several major differences between the two plays – including their depictions of characters and the genres of entertainment on which they draw – and considers what they may reveal about the differing goals Wilson had in mind when authoring each play. Along the way, the essay also considers the possible influence of a number of literary works on Wilson’s London sequel, including John Lyly’s Gallathea and Sir Philip Sidney’s Lady of May and Arcadia.

Citation: Nakawaki, Bryan and Paul Whitfield White, ‘Robert Wilson’s Three Ladies of London and Three Lords and Three Ladies of London: A Comparison’, Performance as Research in Early English Theatre Studies: The Three Ladies of London in Context, http://threeladiesoflondon.mcmaster.ca/contexts/NakawakiWhite.htm.

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