A Late Seventeenth-Century Reader of Sir John Suckling

  • Laura Estill University of Victoria
Keywords: seventeenth century, commonplace books, Sir John Suckling, manuscripts, commonplacing, extracting, english renaissance drama,

Abstract

Although Bodleian MS Eng. misc. c. 34 has been briefly discussed in relation to its Shakespearean extracts, this miscellany has been overlooked as a key example of seventeenth-century reader-response, particularly in relation to early modern plays and, as this article demonstrates, Suckling’s literary works. P.D.’s miscellany is a significant document not only because it offers concrete evidence (extracts, summary, and commentaries) of how Suckling was read in the seventeenth century, but also because it contextualizes this response to Suckling alongside commentary about other playwrights. These extracts from Suckling’s works show what drew readers to his work: his wit, his turns of phrase, and even his cavalier attitude. P.D.’s summary presents /Aglaura/ from the standpoint of an early modern reader and shows the depth of that reader’s engagement with the play’s byzantine intricacies. These commentaries reveal the opinions of a thoughtful reader who carefully considered Suckling’s poems, plays, and epistles. The extracts, summary, and commentaries in Bodleian MS Eng. misc. c. 34 offer one early modern approach to Suckling as a literary figure by both re-presenting selected words of the poet-playwright and preserving one reader’s response in his own words.

References

Works Cited

Aubrey, John, Brief Lives, ed. Richard Barber (Suffolk: Boydell, 1975), 294.

Berry, Herbert, Sir John Suckling’s Poems and Letters from Manuscript (London, ON: University of Western Ontario, 1960).

Clayton, Thomas and L. A. Beaurline, The Works of Sir John Suckling, 2 vols, (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971).

Dryden, The Conquest of Granada (1672).

Evans, G. Blakemore, “A Seventeenth-Century Reader of Shakespeare,” Review of English Studies (1945): 271-79.

Freehafer, John, “Brome, Suckling, and Davenant’s Theater Project of 1639,” Studies in Literature and Language 10 (1968): 367-83.

Harbage, Alfred, Cavalier Drama: An Historical and Critical Supplement to the Study of the Elizabethan and Restoration Stage (New York: Russell & Russell, 1964).

Hill, Thomas, The most pleasaunt arte of the interpretation of dreams (1571).

Rogers, Malcolm, “The Meaning of Van Dyck’s Portrait of Sir John Suckling,” The Burlington Magazine 120 (1978): 739-45

Squier, Charles L., Sir John Suckling (Boston: Twayne, 1978).

Tiffen, Belinda, “The Visual Autobiographic: Van Dyck’s Portrait of Sir John Suckling,” in Early Modern Autobiography: Theories, Genres, Practices, ed. Ronald Bedford, Lloyd Davis, and Philippa Kelly (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2006), 160-73.

Van Lennep, W., ed., The London Stage, 1660-1800, vol. 1: 1660-1700 (Carbondale, IL: Southern University of Illinois Press, 1965).

Wilcher, Robert, The Discontented Cavalier: The Work of Sir John Suckling in Its Social, Religious, Political, and Literary Contexts (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007).
Published
2013-11-18