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Shakespeare & Beyond

Shining a light on the other playwrights of Shakespeare's day

The Roaring Girl
The Roaring Girl

Early Modern English Drama

To celebrate Shakespeare’s 453rd birthday this Sunday, the Los Angeles Times spotlighted a free, ambitious, and brand-new Folger offering which launched the same day. A Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama (EMED, for short) is a large, searchable digital resource on the hundreds of commercial plays by the other authors of Shakespeare’s time—including dozens of newly edited play texts.

The Folger has already made the texts of Shakespeare’s plays freely available online through Folger Digital Texts. With a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, EMED builds on this by opening the door to a range of other playwrights, some of whom were his rivals, collaborators, and friends.

The Los Angeles Times starts by describing a few of them:

One was a roguish figure and possible spy, stabbed to death after a mysterious arrest. Another wrote works of biting and often cynical satire. A third wrote only a few plays before dying in his early 30s, but not after penning some of the finest, and still startling, works of Elizabethan erotica.

Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Middleton and Thomas Nashe—despite the best efforts of high school and college English teachers—remain also-rans compared with William Shakespeare.


[…] Shining a light on the other playwrights of Shakespeare’s day […]

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